The UC Santa Barbara Office of the External Vice President for Local Affairs hosted the Isla Vista Night Market on May 18, where student vendors and local restaurants sold art, jewelry, clothing and concessions. Staged at Little Acorn Park, the evening event that celebrated both emerging and well-loved businesses was open to the public. Live music from local bands Ray and Paul Holmberg and Cordoba, paired with the smells of fired-up grills, attracted a large student turnout.
Ironically, for a town utterly devoid of brick-and-mortar barbeque establishments, the I.V. Night Market’s food selection was dominated by grilled meat offerings. Tri-Tip Thursdays, a beloved pop-up established in fall quarter by three UCSB sophomores, was a hit among event attendees. Their classic tri-tip steak sandwiches were served in freshly toasted hoagie buns and came with a side of homemade buttermilk ranch dressing for the reasonable price of $8. According to Nick Storch, the business visionary with a background in competitive barbeque, the mission of Tri-Tip Thursdays is to “provide high-quality food for cheap prices so less college students go hungry.” Interested parties can find their weekly pop-up shop at 6518 El Nido Lane, which boasts a larger menu of tri-tip fries, funnel cakes and ice cream. In addition to Tri-Tip Thursdays’ steak sandwiches, barbeque lovers could also order from local business Promeatheus BBQ, which hosted a table boasting an expansive menu of brisket, macaroni and cheese, chicken drumsticks and more.
Meat lovers also had the option of ordering hot dogs, chicken tenders and an assortment of fried foods from the Dave’s Dogs food truck. Listed as No. 6 on Yelp’s top 10 list of best wieners in 2017, the Santa Barbara local restaurant reimagines the American staple with creative toppings, such as pastrami, jalapenos, macaroni and cheese, avocado, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, grilled pineapple and more. Dave’s Dogs Grill’s permanent location is on Turnpike Road in Santa Barbara. In addition to crafting gourmet hot dogs, in February, owner Dave Reynoso recently opened Dave’s Drip House, an ice cream and dessert shop in Goleta’s Turnpike Shopping Center.
For the duration of the event, a sizable line persisted outside of Elubia’s Kitchen, a Latin American food truck. The food truck is known for pupusas, Mexican street tacos and an assortment of Guatemalan dishes such as dobladitas, pan-fried corn tortillas filled with chicken and potato. Elubia’s Kitchen frequently pops up at events in Isla Vista, but fans of Latin American food can also visit their restaurant in Goleta.
Tri-Tip Thursdays wasn’t the only student-run food business at the night market. Meals of Olympus, a subscription food service with a focus on Mediterranean cuisine, showcased their premade meal kits at their table. Meals of Olympus was founded by childhood friends Sahag Bilamjian and UCSB fourth-year Hakop Feroyan who are committed to offering healthy, fresh meals to those in the greater Los Angeles area.
To accompany the many savory food options, student-run baked goods business Zaira’s Delights sold creative confections like churro cheesecake while other tables offered cups of Thai iced tea and homemade horchata. Many attendees left the night market with a satisfying meal, a handcrafted purchase from student-owned small businesses, a beverage in hand and a smile.
A version of this article appeared on p. 10 of the May 24, 2023 version of the Daily Nexus.
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