Fresh Bread Shop
Our Daily Bread 831 Santa Barbara St., 966-3894
Our Daily Bread has been here so long-nearly 30 years-it’s going to snuggle up to Vior’s Bakery on Haley Street as the tried-and-true breadbasket of this golden land. Though most people lean toward the exotica like olive loaf or anything with jalape±os, the airy ciabatta and the substantial baguettes will make even the crustiest disposition rise to the taste.
Finalist- D’Angelo Bread
Fresh Fish Market
Santa Barbara Fisherman’s Market 117-F Harbor Wy., 965-9564
It’s been half a year since Brian Colgate’s harbor business moved into bigger digs a few doors down the row of shops about 100 yards away from the ocean. Employee Cadena Yules believes it’s already proven to be a big success: “We’ve worked really hard in the last six months to make this the best place in town, the freshest fish at the best prices,” she said. “So it’s awesome to be recognized. We’re ecstatic.”
Finalist- Kanaloa Seafoods
Gourmet Food Store
Lazy Acres Market 302 Meigs Rd., 564-4410
Although the core of this store is vitamins and herbal remedies, there’s a meat market in the back and a large produce section with dry goods sold in bulk. In other words, it has all the trappings of an unreconstructed health food store, circa 1969. But don’t be fooled: The rest of this Mesa market is dedicated to the largest selection of imported and domestic cheese section in town, fine wines, and a bakery/deli that draws the biggest concentration of shoppers anytime, most days. Where else would you go for caviar, fresh truffles, or artisanal honey? Right next to the wheat germ and across from the flax oil, pal.
Finalist- Trader Joe’s
Fresh Cake Shop
Jeannine’s Bakery1253 Coast Village Rd., Montecito, 969-7878; 3607 State St., 687-8701; 3305 State St. (in Gelson’s Market), 569-3222
“It’s a dying art,” said co-owner Alison Hardey of the bakery business, “and so that makes it all the nicer that the community recognizes us for it.” Lately, Hardy, her brother, and parents have been busy developing the restaurant end of the business because even though they sell 900 scones a day, baked goods are labor intensive and low profit compared to sandwiches and steaks. Nonetheless, she’s sure they merited the vote. “Honestly, we tried to get the staff to go out and vote for us, but they all said, ‘Whatever.'” She laughed. “That means it must’ve been our customers.”
Finalist- Anna’s Bakery
Ice Cream Shop
McConnell’s Ice Cream 201 W. Mission St., 569-2323; 7034 Marketplace Dr., Goleta, 968-0780; 1412 N. H St., Lompoc, 736-0020
It’s been a part of growing up in Santa Barbara for half a century, though Bob and Jean Moss have only owned the McConnell’s Ice Cream parlor for a little more than a year. “We’ve done great,” said Bob. “It’s been wonderful and now we’re trying to get people to be as crazy about our frozen yogurt as they are about the ice cream,” he said, explaining that the yogurt they serve has great ingredients and is only 35 calories. “So you can have it all the time,” he said. But most of all, Moss wants to credit his wife. “It’s hard to get started in a new business and she’s been with me all the way.”
Finalist- Cold Stone Creamery
Jack’s Famous Bagels 5050 Carpinteria Ave., Carpinteria, 566-1558; 53 S. Milpas St., 564-4331; 3891 State St., 563-2524
Chain owner Doralee Jacobson is convinced her company has the winning formula. “I think it’s the highest quality ingredients plus pride in our bakers’ work [that] equals the best bagels in the county. That’s what we believe to be the truth and I think that it is.”
Finalist- Bagel Cafe
Blenders in the Grass 12 locations
Yet another one of those Isla Vista success stories, this one begins in 1995 with three friends who researched the Golden State and then opened a gourmet smoothie stand in the loveliest student ghetto we know. A dozen years later and there are 12 stores from Camarillo to Santa Maria, and the readers love to vote with their clogged straws on the wonders of the healthful cocktails of nutritious refreshment.
Finalist- Jamba Juice
Health Food/Nutrition Store
Coffee by the Pound
Trader Joe’s 3025 De la Vina St., 563-7383; 29 S. Milpas St., 564-7878; 5767 Calle Real, Goleta, 692-2234
In the 1970s, Trader Joe’s was a little-known wine warehouse you had to drive down to Pasadena to visit. Today, it’s not only everywhere you want it to be-from Goleta’s Calle Real shopping center to Milpas Street, with a De la Vina Street store in between-but it’s also the city’s favorite place to grab superb nutrition, vintage vinous refreshment, and caffeine in the bean, providing the phrase “a cup of Joe” with a more universal meaning. Old timers waited quite a while for this franchise to arrive. Now that it’s here, we’ll never need to leave town.
Finalists- Health Food/Nutrition Store: Lazy Acres Market; Coffee by the Pound: Santa Barbara Roasting Company; Wine Shop: Wine Cask
Shalhoob Meat Company 220 Gray Ave., 963-7733
“My grandpa Jerry started [the shop] in the place where the restaurant is now, way back in the 1970s,” said Leeandra Shalhoob, second-in-command of the operation (after her CEO dad). A friendly place where quality, fair-priced meat is sold-and cooking advice is freely shared-the Gray Avenue store is off the beaten track, but obviously revered by the denizens. “We love Santa Barbara,” said Leeandra. “It’s so cool that we won.”
Finalist- Lazy Acres Market
Spudnuts 220 W. Carrillo St., 899-2779; 3629 State St., 569-3719
We’ve never been blessed with a Krispy Kreme or the more elegant East Coast staple, Dunkin’ Donuts. But no worries, for in this health-crazed community, we have been even luckier to warrant the arrival of Spudnuts, a chain that began in 1948 by one Barlow Ghirardo (or, depending which Internet entry you believe, Al and Bob Pelton in 1940), dedicated to the proposition that if wheat flour fried up into a nice sinker, potato flour would obviously improve the flavor. The readers pick them every year.
Finalist- The Eller’s Donut House
See The Week listings on here for days and locations, or call 962-5354
Who says all the best fruits and vegetables are grown between Point Conception and Camarillo? Santa Barbarans do. It’s undeniable that the farmers market boom has helped enhance a grassroots sense of community, giving us a place to meet friends on Saturday mornings while doing errands. The real benefit, of course, is the freshness of food stuffs that haven’t been shipped first to a distributor and then to a supermarket-nice things to eat and smell from earth to home turf.
Finalists- Produce/Greengrocer: Tri-County Produce Florist: Victor the Florist Inc.
Starshine Roshell – Mom, wife, and columnist for The Independent
Favorite restaurant to take the kids?
“The McDonald’s on lower State Street. Because it’s right across the street from Tupelo Junction Cafe, where I’ll be eating, and I can see them really well from the window there.”