A little dose of neighborhood charm might just be stealing the show away from the famed shopping found on State Street. Just a block over at the corner of West Victoria and Chapala, stark white walls house the 15 curated businesses of the Santa Barbara Public Market (SBPM). With most purveyors boasting local roots, the SBPM opened in April of 2014 with a commitment to create the ultimate dining, grocery and event experience for the people of the Santa Barbara area.
With vendors ranging from sweet shops to a local butcher, the marketplace provides a breath of gustatory options for grocery and instant gratification needs. In addition, Assistant General Manager Emily Cosentino states that the “startup mentality” of the SBPM makes for a great neighborhood hangout, and the businesses all benefit from sharing this consumer demographic.
Excited to visit the SBPM, but don’t know where to check in on Yelp first? Don’t you worry your hungry little head, the foodies of the Daily Nexus have brought home the bacon just for our lovely readers.
For the Sugar Fiends
This is not your average cupcakery. With 612 flavors in their repertoire, tiny cakes will never bore you at Enjoy. Of course, they would never put the impossible burden of choosing from so many unique flavors on you, so they put out five flavors each week that rotate every Thursday. If their plethora of flavors doesn’t sway you, just ask the 150 weddings they did in the last year. So stop by and try the autumnally delicious Pumpkin Baklava cupcake or their signature Chocolate Blackberry Syrah.
Rori’s Artisanal Creamery
As one of the first store fronts you see when you walk in the door, Rori’s makes it easy to instantly abandon all plans for a balanced lunch in favor of a massive ice cream taste test. This sweet spot prides itself on organic homemade ice cream focused on the purity of all natural, local ingredients. Their flavors range from a classic Creamy Vanilla Bean to the oddly named, yet still enticing Worms & Dirt which consists of chocolate malt ice cream with gummy worms and brownies. Students, don’t forget to bring your school I.D. because a nice 10 percent discount will come with your waffle cone.
Crazy Good Bread Co.
This family-owned business bakes their bread fresh just 14 miles away in Carpinteria. Crazy Good Bread Co. fan favorites include their brioche buns, which can be found in various restaurants around Santa Barbara, and their specialty rosemary olive sourdough. Best after a quick reheat in the oven, serve whole loaves to family, friends or my personal favorite, the party of one. I won’t tell anyone about the carb binge if you don’t.
Belcampo Meat Co.
Belcampo is a unique meat growing company with their own farm in Mount Shasta. They like to express customer appreciation through quality and freshness in all their cases. Cuts like rib-eye and filet mignon are readily available as well as the more obscure sheep’s head or lard. They even offer cooking classes in The Kitchen, the event space located in the SBPM.
If preparing the meat is not your thing, grab a burger at the counter where they are gourmet, yet quick and cheap.
Grab a Bite
Check out Flagstone Pantry, the first and only location created by culinary school grad and UCSB alum Kristen Desmond. You can choose from a variety of soups, salads, sandwiches and pastries made from scratch out of high quality, whole-food ingredients. According to Flagstone, that means no preservatives, no additives and no words they can’t pronounce. Fall specials include a butternut apple bisque and a must-try pumpkin whoopie pie. Flagstone offers numerous gluten-free and vegan options to choose from as well.
The Pasta Shoppe
Owner Diane Harding grew up wanting to own an Italian restaurant. Now her dream is fully realized, and she is sharing it with the citizens of Santa Barbara. At The Pasta Shoppe, they take the unconventional route of making fresh pasta daily. You can either eat immediately or buy to cook at home. A Roasted Butternut Squash Ravioli with brown butter sage sauce is featured on the menu for fall. For students of age, The Pasta Shoppe offers an excellent happy hour from 3-6 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Empty Bowl Gourmet Noodle Bar
What was originally supposed to be a taco stand is now the brainchild of three partners from the local area who wanted to bring a taste of the Asian ethnicity to SB. Empty Bowl Gourmet Noodle Bar has a major Thai street noodle influence all while using fresh and local ingredients from Roots Organic and Hers Farms. For a home-cooked touch, one of the owners’ mother hand-wraps each of their Jiaozi pork shoulder pot stickers. Today’s special is a vegetarian Tom Kha, a coconut milk-based curry with udon and tofu. If you can’t stick around to finish your Pad Thai at their spacious counter, Empty Bowl even does takeout.
The SBPM features many other vendors. Give the market a visit and explore Culture Counter, where you can find a curated global selection of cheese and salumi, JuiceWell, for pressed juices made from raw, live and local produce, Santa Monica Seafood, for fresh-caught seafood and The Kitchen, where you can participate in cooking classes and demonstrations.