The Italian Greek Market, famous for sandwiches, skinny shelves of imported food, and the beer honor system, closed its doors on Saturday, April 14. Born more than 35 years ago on the corner of State and Ortega, the market was owned by the Morosin family, Johnny and his mother, Sofia, and Giovanni Comin.
Misty eyes and hearty handshakes marked the passing of yet another Santa Barbara institution. As one diner and diehard fan, who bore the dubious honor of being Italian Greek’s last paying customer, said, “I bought the last two heroes, one to eat now, and one to put in the freezer. When I first moved to Santa Barbara from New York,” he remembered, “I used to take girls here on dates because I thought it was a classy place.”
Around 4 p.m. the doors finally closed, and the owners, staff, friends, and family celebrated in true Italian-Greek style: plenty of music, beer, and long tables groaning with food.
The market is survived by the owners’ new restaurant, Trattoria Vittoria, at 30 East Victoria Street. The space on the corner of State and Ortega will become a Verizon Superstore.
Once upon a time, The Indy’s offices were right down the street from the Italian Greek Market, and we’d like to have a moment of silence in honor of some of our classic faves:
• Managing editor Michelle Drown loved to get French bread with a slab of cheddar cheese and mustard-ever frugal, she pointedly reminisced, “It cost like a buck.”
• Publisher Randy Campbell’s daily fix was an egg salad sandwich on sourdough with avocado and Swiss cheese, with jalape±o chips. (Let’s hope he chased it with Altoids.)
• Ad rep Cynthia Mahoney, associate editor Shannon Kelley Gould, director of new media Robby Robbins, and columnist Starshine Roshell were all suckers for the gyros. Just thinking about that sloppy tzatziki sauce brings a tear to their collective eye.
• Columnist Barney Brantingham and his wife, Sue, were devotees of the dolmas. “Now where do we go?” they wonder.
• “The trust!” said news reporter Ethan Stewart, referring to the aforementioned beer honor system. He’ll also miss the bulk matte, but mostly, he’ll miss the beer.