There has been a heavy blow to SB sandwich lovers. Readers Brendan and Paris let me know that Metropulos Fine Foods Merchant at 216 East Yanonali Street in the Funk Zone is closing soon after 20 years in business. The owners are retiring. There is an active discussion about this on Reddit. Metropulos opened in 2004.

Here is a message to you from Metropulos:

The Real Story

Dear incredible wonderful customers, and everyone else lurking out there:No beating around the bush here, we’re writing to let you know that we have made the decision to retire from the food business, and to close Metropulos. Probably, you have already heard some version of this news. Here is the real story.

We have been trying to sell the business and/or the building for some time now, but to date have had no offers (although we are hopeful that we will receive an offer soon…and from a really great team of operators). For the past year or so, our homeowners association (we are located in a commercial condominium) has been demanding that we allow them to tent our building for termites, as we are attached to the residential units. We have been trying to postpone the tenting until we have sold our building, as it means we’ll have to empty the building of all foods, packaging, dry goods, etc, and start over. Unfortunately, the HOA has imposed a deadline, forcing us to consider all options.

After 20 years and into our 60’s, starting over isn’t an option for us, so we’ve made the decision to close while we decide what’s next for the space. If the offer we are expecting does not materialize, we will locate a great operator, and we will lease out the space until the commercial real estate market improves. Or who knows, perhaps we’ll reopen under some alternate iteration! As can be expected, many of our employees have started their journeys to new, long term jobs and have been slowly leaving us for their new ventures.

A HUGE shout-out to the remaining employees and all the great employees we have had the pleasure of working with over the years. If you thought opening a food business was hard, you should try closing one! This team is incredible.Here’s what’s next:We will continue to sell sandwiches and salads through this week, or until we run out of ingredients. Whichever comes first. As we run out of ingredients, though, some things will need to be substituted on our salads and sandwiches.

We will continue to sell breakfast burritos, gyros and deli salads through the weekend, or until we run out of ingredients. Pot pies in the freezer until sold out. Beginning in the new year, we will liquidate our remaining inventory of foods, wines, cheese and charcuterie, and overstock packaging, becoming a retail shop until our shelves are empty. This will be a liquidation sale with most items reduced in price; all sales final and cash is appreciated.Hours in the new year will be 11-3 Monday-Friday.We appreciate your business over the years.

You have been an integral part of our growth and success, and have enriched our lives in ways you cannot know.It’s been an honor and a pleasure to be a part of the Santa Barbara food community, to have earned your trust and respect, and won your love.The outpouring of kind words has been overwhelming; we are proud to have created this successful business, from scratch, in the time before Funk Zone was a thing, before YELP and before SB had a local Whole Foods, multiple Trader’s Joe’s, and Bristol Farms. We brought our vision to fruition, and did what many said was impossible.

On another note…if anyone needs an excellent executive level employee, be sure to send us an email.After a little down time, one of us will be looking for something part time, new and exciting to keep us busy, while the other one becomes a gentle person farmer. Yes, chickens and goats are in our future. We also have a couple outstanding members of our team who we would love to assist into their new roles. Please let us know if this is something you’d like more information about.

Onward and upward, ya’ll stay safe out there. Queue the sunset, and two marauders riding into it. Our time in the food business is coming to an….

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  1. Jim Simms says:

    Cry me a river

  2. Gary Yencich says:

    I was living in Portland, OR, but visited Santa Barbara in early 2005 stopping with a friend to pick up a few items at Metropulos for a picnic lunch at the beach. We sampled many of the offerings and I spoke with one of the owners, Ann, and was impressed by hospitality, quality and variety of cheeses and charcuterie. Back in Oregon I had some changes going on at work and knew I would have to be moving soon but it was not clear as to where… Through luck and good fortune I ended up here in SB and so about 6 months later found myself at Metropulos again. After all that time and with no idea that I would ever be back Ann still remembered my name! Metropulos has been a bright spot in that location before the Funk Zone even took off. There were no Starbucks in SB yet. Wineries were Jaffurs and Santa Barbara winery a block away. That was it! Over the years (and more gyros than I can count) all the employees have been great, the service and quality continued to be excellent. Much appreciation and gratitude.

  3. Randy Peirce says:

    I discovered Metropulos and their great food not long after they opened only a few blocks from where I worked. I fell in love with their take on tuna salad with jicama, cilantro, lime juice, and red onions. I also had by first taste of fine Spanish jamon there. I was taking the Surfliner train north several weekends a month and would stop by before my 5:30 pm train to pickup a flavorful meal for the ride. I am sure I was the envy of many. Although I have not lived in Santa Barbara for several years now, I will always remember Metropulos, its owners, and staff fondly. You will all be missed, good luck in your future endeavors.

  4. John Jorgensen says:

    There were subtle hints of stress.
    Exterior windows, back door awning were filthy.
    The food biz of this type is tough, I worked for the owners of a similar style business decades ago. Labor, utilities, ( recall the natural gas price hikes?) workman’s comp and food costs can destroy what looks like a busy place. The food quality did not decline, bravo for that.
    The asking prices for the business and unit are probably way beyond market right now.