The latest venture for The Lark complex is Helena Avenue Bakery, for who doesn’t need some more scrumptious reasons to devour butter? “The need for a bakery became quickly apparent as the Funk Zone neighborhood unfolded,” explains Sherry Villanueva, managing partner for Acme Hospitality, which operates the entire property. “We were excited to create a daytime, wholesome food venue that would serve the needs of our own businesses while giving people another reason to visit the area. We loved the idea of bringing more families down to the neighborhood and to tie our businesses more closely to the beach area.”
That means pastry chef Jeff Haines makes everything from artisan breads and bagels to baguettes and bâtards — and that’s just the Bs. There’s also stone-fruit galettes, flaky crust married with season-perfect peaches, and the gooiest, stickiest, yummiest peanut butter cookie. And the picnic counter offers all sorts of takeout ways to fortify yourself for a trip through the Urban Wine Trail, from charcuterie house made by chef Weston Richards, to a couscous and farro salad with cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and feta.
The goal is to make the Helena Avenue Bakery a kickoff spot, particularly since it shares space with the S.B. Wine Collective, which offers five of the region’s top wineries under one roof. “It’s the perfect place to start your wine-tasting adventure as our knowledgeable staff can guide you through a wine-tasting experience through the entire county,” said Villanueva. “The bakery is the perfect complement to that experience, with a gourmet cheese board or savory pastry. After learning all about Santa Barbara’s unique geography, it’s fun to head out to the Urban Wine Trail to taste through other fine producers’ wines. At the end of the tour, land back at the Collective for a glass, and finish your evening off with dinner at The Lark, Les Marchands, or Lucky Penny.”
The bakery is perhaps the strongest argument against the Funk Zone becoming simply a buzzed playground for adults. “The Funk Zone is expanding into a dynamic and multilayered neighborhood with new restaurants, art galleries, and retail stores opening every day,” insisted Villanueva. “The focus of the Funk Zone is about passion and craftsmanship, and that theme is apparent in every aspect of the area. We love being a part of the collection of artists in our immediate area and remain inspired by them every day.”
131 Anacapa Street, Suite D, (805) 880-3383, helenaavenuebakery.com