Acme Hospitality’s newest venture adds color—both literally and figuratively—and a convivial spirit to the Funk Zone.
What was once a run-down neighborhood near the train tracks, Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone has since transformed into a burgeoning art, wine and beer wine district that attracts locals and tourists to shop, dine and drink every day of the week. Aiding in its dramatic transformation has been the growing number of food and beverage concepts established in recent years, many of those conceived by Acme Hospitality, the visionary group behind the popular The Lark, Lucky Penny and Les Marchands, among others. It’s with that same innovative spirit that Acme Hospitality continues to enhance the community with the opening of a colorful new marketplace in the Funk Zone, featuring Tyger Tyger, Monkeyshine and DART Coffee.
Located at 121 Yanonali St., the 1,900 square-foot marketplace is anchored by Tyger Tyger, a “fast-fine” dining concept focused on coastal Southeast Asian cuisine. Inspired by street food from southern Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, Tyger Tyger’s culinary program is led by Santa Barbara born and raised Chef Daniel Palaima, an alum of several critically-acclaimed restaurants throughout Chicago and California.
Featuring a selection of dishes available for dining onsite or for taking out, Tyger Tiger’s menu highlights the unique flavor profiles of southeast Asian street food coupled with the bounty of fresh, seasonal ingredients available on the Central Coast. “The combination of clean, vibrant southeast Asian flavors with the incredible ingredients available locally allow us to create something really special,” shares Chef Palaima. “We get to push the edge a bit, taking those traditional flavors and tying it into the Central Coast.”
More than two dozen specialty items are offered, including dishes like squid salad with glass noodles, fried shallot and fresh herbs; sticky rice with coconut and kaffir lime; weeping brisket with spicy chili jam and mung bean sprouts; and pork belly Báhn Mí with jalapeño and pickled carrot. Complementing the food is a beverage list featuring wine and beer from small producers around the world, chosen specifically to pair with Tyger Tyger’s array of vibrant flavors and spices, as well as
non-alcoholic drinks like Thai-style iced tea and passion fruit lemonade.
Adding to the marketplace’s casual, convivial vibe is the soft serve counter, Monkeyshine, serving up exotic twists on traditional ice cream with an array of Asian ingredients, as well as DART Coffee, the Funk Zone’s own small-lot, specialty coffee roaster. Owned and operated by husband and wife team, Erika Carter and David Dart, DART Coffee roasts fair trade organic beans onsite daily, while a menu of prepared drinks and retail coffees are available to go. The marketplace also features spices, hand-woven baskets and other products available for sale.
“We wanted to create a lively casual café that fills an open hole in food offerings of our immediate neighborhood,” says Sherry Villanueva, co-owner/managing partner of Acme Hospitality. “It was critical to us to continue our tradition of welcoming ambiance matched with the highest quality food and service and we’re confident in our team to deliver something extraordinary.”
Housed in the space of a former fishing net storage, originally built in 1945, the marketplace is a dynamic, imaginative, colorful and modern space that draws inspiration from the coastal areas of Southeast Asia while paying tribute to the playful, artistic spirit of the Funk Zone.
Originally published in the Winter 2019 issue of Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine.