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Santa Barbara Public Market Expands with Mexican Eatery, More Beers on Tap

Corazón Cocina and The Garden add to the mix of flavors at the Victoria Street marketplace

The Garden, billed as a “new urban contemporary beer garden,” along with Corazón Cocina, a Mexican eatery by chef/owner Ramon Velazquez, are newly added to the mix of the Santa Barbara Public Market on Victoria Street.
The Garden, billed as a “new urban contemporary beer garden,” along with Corazón Cocina, a Mexican eatery by chef/owner Ramon Velazquez, are newly added to the mix of the Santa Barbara Public Market on Victoria Street. (Sam Goldman / Noozhawk photo)

As summer heats up, two new establishments are joining the ranks of the Santa Barbara Public Market’s food and drink emporium.

Corazón Cocina, a former pop-up Mexican restaurant by chef Ramon Velazquez, and The Garden, a beer garden with 40 craft brews on tap, are slated to open this week at the market, 38 W. Victoria St.

Velazquez told Noozhawk that his goal with Corazón Cocina is to change how people view Mexican food, which he said is more than just burritos and fajitas made with any convenient ingredients.

The chef said he grew up eating better Mexican food than what’s prepared in so many U.S. restaurants, where, he said, portion sizes are unnecessarily large and the ingredients that go into them are all the same.

“How can I bring flavors to people that we love to eat in places like Mexico?” he asked. “We love to go to Baja California, Yucatán, Oaxaca, Mexico City — and each state has different food.

“My goal is: How can I interpret that food, utilize local ingredients and make it something really good for people?”

Corazón Cocina​ used to take over the Three Pickles restaurant on Sundays, with an ever-changing menu for its pop-up spot.

The six to eight different tacos to be offered at the Public Market location, Velazquez said, represent different styles and flavors from different parts of Mexico and join ceviche, tostadas and more on the menu.

“I’ve always believed that food should be a little bit of a celebration when you eat,” he said. “It shouldn’t just be something you eat just because you’re hungry.”

Everything will be made fresh and in-house with local ingredients and in-season vegetables, he said.

The open, diverse and often-bustling environment of the Public Market was the perfect spot for Velazquez, who worked in and grew up around public markets in Mexico.

“Markets in general are usually very energetic places,” he said. “I want to bring my own energy to the (Public Market) — that energy that I grew up seeing and experiencing.”

Set up adjacent to Corazón Cocina along the Victoria Street side of the Public Market is The Garden.

Billed as a “new urban contemporary beer garden,” it features long tables, a booth, ample seating and, as the name implies, a garden theme.

The Garden boasts 40 craft beers on tap.

Despite the plentiful brews, the new purveyor caters to families as well as just those looking for a beer, according to the Public Market.

Giant TVs will show sports fans “a constant feed of live global sporting events,” and an “elevated bar menu” by Chef Kyle Jones will offer a variety of comestibles.

The Garden formally opened Friday, with hours 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Corazón Cocina will open by Sunday, Velazquez said, and will be open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Noozhawk staff writer Sam Goldman can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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