Santa Barbara Public Market opens to big crowds

At the corner of West Victoria and Chapala streets, the Santa Barbara Public Market opened its doors over the weekend. The already bustling market was filled with locals shopping for organic produce, cheese, meats and baked goods, while others were waiting until the Pasta Shoppe and Empty Bowl Gourmet Noodle Bar were fired up and ready to start serving lunch.

Inside the certified green building, shoppers browsed the diminutive egg cartons filled with tiny chocolate blackberry syrah cupcakes at Enjoy Cupcakes, giant tomahawk chops at Belcampo Meat Co. and rows of fusti filled with California grown and milled olive oils from Il Fustino.

The gathering under one roof of California artisanal foods from Santa Barbara County and beyond has been the passion project of owner Marge Cafarelli, as part of the mixed-use development Alma del Pueblo.

Cafarelli beamed while giving a tour of the space, showing off the newly finished vendors. Spaces include JuiceWell, Rori’s Artisanal Ice Cream, Green Star Coffee, Crazy Good Bread and Flagstone Pantry for prepared foods; Santa Monica Seafood sells fresh seafood, with a raw bar of shellfish and ceviches as well as sandwiches and other dishes. At the Pasta Shoppe, freshly extruded pastas are served at its counter, or are available to cook at home. A glassed-in kitchen has been built for demonstrations, private events and eventually pop-up chef dinners.

Inside Cafarelli's own Wine + Beer, the shelves are lined with wines both local and from around the world. Twelve craft beers are on tap plus four white and four red wines by the glass. Customers can bring food into the wine bar from any of the market vendors. Cafarelli also owns Forager’s Pantry with local organic produce and grocery items.

When asked about her goals for the market, Cafarelli said, “I hope that this becomes the destination for community gatherings. People can come meet one another to have meals and do their shopping. We want it to be an educational place for kids to learn about where their food comes from and meet the farmers. We will ask Belcampo to have their ranchers come in. We really want it to be that beloved place for the local Santa Barbara community.”

Cafarelli plans to invite Gov. Jerry Brown and the Santa Barbara community to a ribbon-cutting and grand opening in May.

38 W. Victoria St., Santa Barbara, www.sbpublicmarket.com.

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