While Santa Barbara has long been known as a culinary destination, it launched in 2012 headlong into what has become the public market and food hall trend with the opening of the Santa Barbara Public Market. At the time it opened, the best way we could explain the food hall concept to prospective meeting group buyers was to refer to San Francisco’s Ferry Building Marketplace.
Five years later, Orange County’s food scene is on fire, with eight public market / food halls, and Santa Barbara has added two more public market spaces. And the implications for trendy meeting group dining are tremendous.
Often located in refurbished historic structures, these communal gathering places offer diverse collectives of dining, arts and retail experiences — and truly unique experiences for groups to gather for special events.
Some of Relevé Unlimited favorite public markets and food halls include:
- Santa Barbara Public Market
- The Mill in Santa Barbara
- Waterline Santa Barbara
- Liberty Public Market, San Diego
- Anaheim Packing District
- Lot 579 at Pacific City, Huntington Beach
- Union Market at The District, Tustin
- TRADE Food Hall, Irvine
- The OC Mix at SOCO, Costa Mesa
Dine-arounds, opening or closing receptions, winemaker or brew master dinners, spousal tours and activities, cooking classes and demonstrations, studio tours, interactive food tastings are some of the opportunities to present to your meeting group attendees.
These charming multitenant, shared-space developments that serve up a combo of food, drink, arts, and crafts also serve up event challenges that are best assigned to your destination management company (DMC) partner — like Relevé Unlimited. It takes a skilled event professional to navigate the communications and relationships to make a food hall event a success.
Whether it’s a dine-around, a partial or full buyout, or a “passport” experience, each public market vendor requires a separate agreement, and permitting may be required for large groups or to accommodate the consumption of alcohol in public spaces. A welcome challenge for Relevé Unlimited, public markets and food hall events allow meeting planners to offer their guests a truly unique and local California culinary experience.