Artisan food vendors flock to Santa Barbara Public Market
Kristen Desmond, one of the artisan food vendors inside the soon-to-open Santa Barbara Public Market, says the venue is a perfect example of that nugget of wisdom, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”
“I like the idea of the energy and the sense of community that the Public Market is going to create,” Desmond told the Business Times. “…I think there’s a focal point for our food and produce and local small-business talent. I just could not possibly replicate that customer experience on my own.”
Margaret Cafarelli, managing partner of San Francisco-based property management company Urban Developments, spent three years screening and selecting the vendors who will offer regionally sourced and sustainably made food and beverages.
“We wanted it to represent the best in class of local Santa Barbara and regional California,” Cafarelli told the Business Times during a tour of the market as workers were busy finishing the interior spaces.
Cafarelli said a soft opening for family and friends of vendors is planned sometime after April 12, depending on how final work progresses. Plans for the public opening were not finalized at press time.
The Public Market at Victoria and Chapala streets is part of the Alma del Pueblo (“Heart of the Town”) development that also will include 37 condominiums, a Full of Life Flatbread restaurant and a retail tenant to be announced later. The project is near the Arlington Theatre, on the site of a Vons market that closed in 2009. A massive Joseph Knowles tile mural that fronted the Vons on Victoria Street now adorns the Chapala Street exterior of the Public Market.
Cafarelli said it was important to the developers to create a space where people can get all of their groceries in one stop and also have a meal or a snack.
Diane Harding’s Pasta Shoppe will serve handmade pastas along with Italian sauces, pestos and compound butters. Customers will be able to order a pasta dish and a glass of Italian wine or beer at the counter or get a meal or ingredients to take home.
Harding, who owned a restaurant on State Street for 14 years, said she comes from a large Italian family where the Sunday feast was quite the event, and is excited about the opportunity to be part of a group of local artisans.
Rossell Studer, owner of Crazy Good Bread, said the Public Market reminds her of the days when she traveled in Europe and interacted with the producers of each food product as she shopped.
Studer said she takes pride in her artisanal methods, using a natural starter yeast and allowing up to eight hours for the dough to rise. She launched the business a year ago in Carpinteria and has another shop in Montecito. Studer said being part of a grocery setting is a good fit for her business.
Foragers Pantry will be a market within the market, selling groceries, organic produce, house wares and flowers.
Daniel Randall, managing partner of Green Star Coffee, said the public market will be the first retail site for the business, which has been supplying wholesale coffee for 10 years to restaurants, coffee shops and hotels, mainly through Jordano’s food distribution service.
“When this became available, it was good for us,” Randall said. “It’s only 320 square feet instead of having to rent maybe three or four times as much space to be able to open a coffee house.” Green Star deals exclusively in organic and fair trade coffee beans that are roasted locally.
“We expect this to help a lot because it can be our flagship store and we can get a lot of exposure to even local customers,” Randall said.
Rori’s Artisanal Creamery will sell small-batch ice cream made with organic and local ingredients whenever possible. Owner Rori Trovato said she is expanding her menu to include grab-and-go ice cream sandwiches, fudge bars and chocolate-dipped bon-bons. Trovato makes the ice cream in Montecito, where she also has a retail shop.
Other vendors will offer sustainably and humanely-raised meat and poultry; vegetable and fruit juices pressed on site; fresh seafood; cheeses and salumi; cupcakes and cakes; olive oils and vinegars; and a wine and beer tasting bar. [Scroll down to the bottom for the a full list of vendors.]
The Kitchen, another market space, will be available for cooking classes and demonstrations as well as winemaker and craft beer dinners. It will host pop-up chefs who will be in residence for a week to showcase their recipes.
Pasta Shoppe owner Harding said she expects the market to become both a tourist attraction and a hit with locals. “I think Santa Barbara has become quite a foodie town,” she said. “I think they’re really going to embrace the public market and all that its artisans have to offer.”
Urban Developments announced that it has hired Ashleigh Davis, former marketing director of the Downtown Organization of Santa Barbara, as general manager of the Public Market.
Cafarelli said Alma del Pueblo’s location near the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, the Arlington and Granada theaters and the public library was the key when the mixed-use project was conceived.
“We really feel like this location is as good as it gets downtown for living,” she said. “There’s so many public amenities for our homeowners.”
Prices for the LEED Platinum condos range from about $860,000 to $2.6 million. Features include a rooftop garden with 7,000 square feet of open space and a barbecue, potting shed and raised planter beds; a club room where residents can host parties; two guest rooms; and basement wine storage for residents. Cafarelli said six of the condos have sold.
“What we have found is that our buyers are very discerning buyers and they want to see the project finished,” she said. “And we think we have a tremendous amount of interest in the project. So we’re being patient and as soon as we finish we’re going to invite them all back in.”
PUBLIC MARKET VENDORS
15 vendors will open soon at the Santa Barbara Public Market:
• Belcampo Meat
• Crazy Good Bread
• The Culture Counter
• Empty Bowl Gourmet Noodle Bar
• Enjoy Cupcakes
• Foragers Pantry
• Flagstone Pantry
• Green Star Coffee
• Il Fustino Oils and Vinegars
• Juice Well
• Rori’s Artisanal Creamery
• Santa Monica Seafood
• The Kitchen
• The Pasta Shoppe
• Wine + Beer
[CORRECTION: A previous version of this article mistakenly referred to Urban Developments as Urban Developers in one reference. It also said Ashleigh Davis was previously with the Santa Barbara Downtown Association. That group is called the Downtown Organization of Santa Barbara.]