This week my friend Lori came to visit here in Southern California from Ozark, Alabama which if you don’t know is 22 miles from Dothan, which is 30 miles from Enterprise, just to give you an idea.
As I am the self-proclaimed Senior Vice President in charge of Tourism, it was my job to entertain her with a classic California day of food, sun and more food. My friend Joni had told me about a new venue that had recently opened in Santa Barbara called the Santa Barbara Public Market.
Located on Victoria Street, right off of State Street, the heart and soul of downtown Santa Barbara’s retail center, this 22,000 square foot space is home to some of the area’s best purveyor’s of “handcrafted, regionally sourced and sustainably made foods”.
For me this market is very reminiscent of my visits to The Ferry Building in San Francisco and Eataly in New York City. So, the Santa Barbara Public Market may not be an original idea, but it’s certainly a good one, and one that I hope the community as well as tourists will embrace if it is to do well and thrive.
The market itself is open and bright, modern and industrial looking, making it for me a very welcoming space. Sunlight streams in from skylights overhead. Scattered throughout the marketplace is seating, so when you purchase your food there is ample space to sit and enjoy it comfortably.
Everything you would need to prepare an elegant dinner party, to stock your fridge, or if you just need to grab a bite during your lunch break is under this one roof. There are 14 different purveyors offering everything from gourmet meats and seafood, to artisanal breads, coffee, ice cream and homemade pasta.
We stopped and had lunch at the Empty Bowl Gourmet Noodle Bar which was very tasty as you can see from the photos, and then we proceeded to the other businesses to take things home to share with our families. I, of course, had to buy the Orange/Chocolate Bread from the Crazy Good Bread Co. and I can confirm to you, that it was in fact, crazy good bread.
There’s already a pretty vibrant food scene in Santa Barbara with Olio e Limone being one of my favorites, and this is just one more option that will bring me back again and again. On this particular sunny afternoon, the marketplace was buzzing with shoppers and lots of positive energy. Each shopkeeper was cheerily handing out samples and were more than willing to chat with you about their particular product.
I think they’ve done a spectacular job with this concept and I wish someone would bring an idea like this to the San Fernando Valley, cause we sure could use it. I should also tell you that the market does have a parking lot in back of it which in the summer may not be large enough to hold all of its customers, but there seems to be several public parking lots in the immediate area.
It was certainly a delightful way to spend several hours if good food is your hobby. And you know it’s mine, so…
Santa Barbara Public Market – 38 West Victoria (at Chapala) Santa Barbara, CA 93101 (805) 770-7702 Open Daily from 7am – 10:30pm