March 8, 2016 – The search is on for entrepreneurial chefs and innovative food concepts to be part of the new Abbott Square market hall opening in downtown Santa Cruz later this year. Developer John McEnery is looking for creative local food artists to lease five spaces inside the hall, which is located between the Octagon Building and the Museum of Art & History. “I want each and every one to be a quality business that can have a symbiotic effect on the whole project,” he said.
“We’re looking for people with new food concepts and some business experience,” he added. “But also for mom and pop cooks who have always dreamed of opening their own restaurant.”
The food spaces are about 300 square feet each and will lease for $5/sq ft. They will be arranged around a central dining area with a long bar on one end—similar to San Pedro Square Market in San Jose, also run by McEnery.
Three of the mini-restaurants—which he refers to as “little incubator spots”—are equipped with extractor hoods for cooking and two are more like kiosks, for serving food that doesn’t require a hood. “I’m just kind of open to all concepts, desserts, ramen, an oyster bar would be great or cool salad concept,” he says.
A sixth space has already been leased to a local couple and will be called Pizza Napolitano. McEnery’s company will operate the bar.
The permitting process for outdoor seating, decking and signage is currently underway and he hopes to complete the project before the end of the year.
Abbott Square is designed to be a vibrant new community hub and a place to meet friends before a night out on the town.