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W W W. S A N TA B A R B A R A S E N T I N E L .CO M
by Wendy Jenson A former magazine editor, Wendy worked at
Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour, and Us Weekly in NYC, before moving west with Santa Barbara Magazine. Currently a public relations consultant, she relishes being out and about working on this column. photos by Wendy Jenson
A former Foster’s Freeze, orders are taken at the window at The Shop restaurant on Milpas.
The fab four Shop owners are Dudley Michael, Scott Manser (he’s single, ladies), and newlyweds Amy and Chris Vigilante.
After rising in the sun for hours, Shopmade bread is prepped for the oven by Chef Richard Maxwell.
t must have been one heck of a java jones. When east side resident Chris Vigilante craved coffee, he had to go all the way downtown to get some. “We love all the Mexican restaurants, but wanted a neighborhood coffee place,” he says of the impetus for opening The Shop, at the corner of Milpas and De La Guerra streets. No wonder one wall in the restaurant’s kitchen reads “Get Your Fix.” Four friends opened The Shop on December 13, 2012. Along with Chris, they are Scott Manser, Dudley Michael and Amy Vigilante. Dudley and Chris were roommates back in the day at UCSB. When Chris was Director of Restaurants at San Ysidro Ranch, he had to fire thenbusboy Scott. Apparently, Scott was a good worker who couldn’t resist taking a dip in the resort’s pool on his day off. “It was the most beautiful day,” Scott repeatedly says in his defense. Chris and Amy Brisendine met when they both worked at Wine Cask. They married two months ago. In the end, the space dictated what the restaurant ended up being. Built as a Foster’s Freeze in the ‘50s, there was a window for order taking, an inside dining room and outside eating area now filled with picnic tables. There was an efficient, but not massive, kitchen. Hence the menu grew beyond coffee shop fare. The exposed kitchen called for attractive appliances. A pricy Vulcan oven was discovered at an auction house. A red Hobart mixer from 1948 was found and refurbished. The name The Shop is a nod to J’s Tire being just off the back. Everyone has his or her role in the restaurant. Amy greets guests and takes orders. It makes sense that she’s the face of business. Amy could give Jennifer Garner a run for her money in the great
“Celia,” named for Celiac disease (gluten intolerance), is a new addition to the menu. It’s quinoa, faro, roasted corn, kale, winter squash, mandarin orange and feta cheese, toasted pistachio, and chili lime vinaigrette, $10. The “Shop Burger” is a 1/3 pound seasoned patty, green goddess salad dressing, spicy cheddar (it has a kick to it), lettuce, bread & butter pickles on a Shop bun, $8.25.
“In-Yo-Face” is thick-cut Shop toast topped with Shopcured salmon and dill crème fraîche, $6.50. “Granola Yogi” is Shopmade granola, vanilla yogurt, local honey, citrus and banana, $7.25.
smile and dimple department. Chris is the coffee man, using local Green Star Coffee (certified organic and fair trade). Dudley is in the kitchen with Scott, who also pinch hits wherever needed. Curly haired Chef Richard Maxwell hails from Puerto Rico. He moved to Santa Barbara eight years ago to open Sevilla. In keeping with other Milpas Street eateries, prices are reasonable. The most expensive item on the menu is $10. “It’s like a diner, quality food at a good price,” says Amy. Everything is Shopmade including ketchup, mayonnaise, jams, pickles, BBQ
sauce, ranch and Thousand Island dressings. The menu is broken down into “Breakfast” and “Later.” “We serve food that you’d crave when hung-over,” says Dudley. Dishes are cleverly named. “Best Damn Oatmeal” is organic steel cut oatmeal, brown sugar, mascarpone, golden raisins and pecans, $7.25. It takes over an hour to make. Real men can order quiche here. “The McQueen,” named after the manliest of actors, is quiche with scallions, black beans, corn tomato salsa and cheddar cheese, $6.00. “Mac on Crack” is Gorgonzola, pecans, chopped apple and bacon, $8.00. The “Lunchbox” is fries, onion rings or salad and soda with your choice of grilled cheese, chicken nuggets, corn dog or cheeseburger, $6.50. All breads and pastries are made on site, $2.25. The buttermilk biscuit is giant, and the cinnamon bun is sweet, literally and figuratively. The Sea Salt Brown Butter
The Shop Chef Richard Maxwell.
Cookie, similar in texture to shortbread, is sensational, $1.50. After ordering, diners get a number to take to their table. Dishes are brought to you so you don’t have to wait for your number or name to be called. “Once you sit down, you can relax. We’ll bring it to you,” says Amy. At most, the wait is 15 minutes. A steak sandwich, fish taco, shrimp poboy, and shrimp ‘n’ grits are soon to be added to the Later menu. There are plans to stay open through dinner, rather than closing at 4:00pm. Hipsters will feel at home here, but so will everyone else. The Shop is located at 730 N. Milpas; 805-845-1696. Open 7:00am to 4:00pm Monday thru Saturday; 8:00am to 4:00pm Sunday. Eagerly awaiting tips, tips, tips: If you have any restaurant information, please contact me at wendy@santabarbarasentinel. com.
Santa Barbara Film Festival 2013