October 25, 2016 – Lulu Carpenter’s coffee house in the Octagon building in downtown Santa Cruz closed its doors on Sunday. The historic building will now form part of the Abbott Square Market project, being built by the Museum of Art & History in partnership with John McEnery IV.
“It was an excellent run,” the coffee house posted on its Facebook page. Lulu’s had been operating at the Octagon for the past ten years, but the original shop on Pacific Ave. will continue to serve coffee.
Developer McEnery has already leased spaces inside the market complex to several food vendors and the 950 sq ft Octagon may be allocated to two separate food sellers bringing the total number of vendors to nine.
“The Octagon could serve as a great entry into the whole Abbott Square experience and we’re identifying opportunities for the long-term, as well as potential pop up uses in the short term,” says McEnery.
“The businesses all compliment each other really well. It is really bringing something different to Santa Cruz,” he added.
Construction got underway in September and he said build out of the individual market stalls is about to begin. Target opening date is now set for “early spring.”
Food businesses going into the Market include:
Poke It which will focus on quality ahi tuna bowls that can be customized with a choice of the bed it sits on—rice, chips or lettuce—and various sushi can be added. It will be run by food entrepreneur Cynthia Vo, who operates two stalls at McEnery’s San Pedro Square project in San Jose.
Veg on the Edge is an innovative vegan concept with an African twist, committed to patronizing local organic local farms with a critical eye to healthy eating. Veteran chef Jonathan Miller will make salads, soups and smoothies infused with outrageous flavors and rich textures. The African portion of the menu, created by Akindele Bankole, bursts with flavors that will captivate foodies of diverse palates.
Pizzeria la Bufala specializes in authentic Neapolitan style pizza, as well as a varied selection of freshly imported “Mozzarella di Bufala.” It is run by Sandro Costanza, who has more than 20 years of experience in Italian cooking, and knowledge of advanced techniques for making wood-fired pizza. He values the extensive use of organic produce available in local markets, as well as fine Bay Area purveyors of quality Italian ingredients such as: Parmigiano Reggiano, DOP Mozzarella di Bufala Campana, Pomodori San Marzano and Organic Pizza Flour from Giusto’s and Caputo Flour companies.
Milk and Wood which has branches in San Jose and Chicago is an artisanal maker of ice cream bars owned by Ron Le. Its name derives from the product—ice cream and the sticks that form the popsicle. It will occupy a space in the center of the market and make its ice cream from scratch daily in full view of the public. A variety of different flavors will serve as the foundation and dozens of toppings can be added ranging from Captain Crunch to sunflower seeds and will be finished with your choice of syrup and served in a cup.
Names of a local bakery and coffee shop, also slated to go into the market, will be announced soon.
In addition there will be a bar called Front & Cooper. The “Front” portion will feature 12 beer taps and 12 wine taps all sourced locally, while the “Cooper” portion will serve seasonal cocktails both hand-crafted and freshly-made, daily-batched, cocktails on tap. An oyster bar will be tucked into one corner of the market.
Abbott Square Market is modeled after McEnery’s successful San Pedro Square Market in San Jose.
Reconstruction of the outdoor square itself is set to get underway in about six weeks. There will be a brand-new design and new decking will extend the square out towards Cooper Street. McEnery says a full schedule of entertainment events are planned once the project is completed, including outdoor movies, children’s activities, trivia nights and live music every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night.
“We want this to become the culinary and entertainment hub of Santa Cruz,” says the developer.
Deborah Luhrman is publisher and editor of Edible Monterey Bay. A lifelong journalist, she has reported from around the globe, but now prefers covering our flourishing local food scene and growing her own vegetables in the Santa Cruz Mountains.