sb-public-market-bigAs luck would have it, the biggest local food news story of the year happened while The Restaurant Guy is out of town in San Diego.

I’m told Santa Barbara Public Market has opened to big crowds at the corner of Chapala and Victoria streets in downtown Santa Barbara.

Offering handcrafted, regionally sourced and sustainably-made foods, the Public Market is part of the Alma del Pueblo mixed-use development located in the heart of Santa Barbara’s downtown. With an a focus on local farms and artisanal ingredients, the LEED certified Market offers a collection of purveyors, each with a unique perspective. “The inspiration for this market was the public market in Madrid,” said Marge Cafarelli, the developer of the public market and neighboring Alma del Pueblo.

Vendors include Belcampo Meat Co., Crazy Good Bread Co., Culture Counter, Empty Bowl Gourmet Noodle Bar, Enjoy Cupcakes, Foragers Pantry, Flagstone Pantry, Green Star Coffee, il Fustino Oils and Vinegars, JuiceWell, Rori’s Artisanal Creamery, The Pasta Shoppe, and Santa Monica Seafood.

The market includes “The Kitchen,” which is a commissary kitchen that will feature specialty cooking classes and winemaker dinners. The Santa Barbara Public Market doors open at 7 a.m. daily, though hours may differ for each shop. For more information visit

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  1. Peter says:

    I wish all of them good luck. I am a little concerned that they might need it.

    • Christine says:

      I’m curious about your specific concerns? Seems like a new concept for Santa Barbara to have all those businesses in what looks (from pictures) like an open, one-roof type of space.

      • Peter says:

        Hopefully I am wrong. But having been in the space twice, I am concerned that there might not be enough there to really make it that exciting for people. The farmers market is a more vibrant collection of retailers to me.

    • Bob says:

      I was pretty excited about this place when I heard about it and I’ve been in this town a long time and am used to paying more for everything. I also don’t mind spending extra dough for quality stuff.

      That said, the prices (for everything) at this venture are crazy, off the charts, ridiculous expensive. The Empty Noodle bar is below average fare and should be retitled Empty Wallet Bar. $12 loaves of bread? Way, way overpriced farmed salmon and meats. I can’t imagine this place being a success, but maybe there are more billionaires with cash to blow than I suspect. Personally, I don’t see any reason to ever go back.

  2. Arlene says:

    I’m super dissapointed – they are having a “Open House” tomorrow, which apparently you needed tickets to attend. Didn’t see that anywhere. I emailed the coordinator and she basically told me too bad. Not a very welcoming kickoff…..

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