a food kiosk on Pacific Avenue in downtown Santa Cruz
One of the four city-owned kiosks in downtown Santa Cruz.
(Via City of Santa Cruz)
Food & Drink

City of Santa Cruz extends call for food businesses to operate kiosks, Tannery cafe

The kiosk outside downtown Santa Cruz’s Del Mar Theatre is empty following the demise of Cafe Campesino and another could open up this year, the city’s economic development manager says. And expanding the reach of the Tannery’s food outpost is the goal as the city looks for a new partner for the arts campus.

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Itching to launch a food business but don’t want to commit to a full-service brick-and-mortar restaurant? Here’s your chance as the City of Santa Cruz has extended the priority application deadline for its kiosk and pop-up program to noon Friday.

Currently, the city is reviewing applications for the kiosk outside the Del Mar Theatre on Pacific Avenue, which was home to Cafe Campesino for many years, according to Rebecca Unitt, economic development manager for Santa Cruz. The city also expects a second kiosk to become available this year.

Cafe Campesino was one of the city’s longest kiosk tenants, but it closed during the pandemic and wasn’t able to reopen, said Unitt.

At just 60 square feet, the kiosks are limited in terms of what can be prepared there. No fried food, for instance, due to building code restrictions, and there’s no room for bulky cooking equipment. It requires a unique tenant to be successful within those parameters. Among the city’s considerations in evaluating applications are strong experience and background in the food business, financial projections, and a concept that will be complementary to, rather than duplicative of, existing food businesses downtown. (See more information about the requirements here.)

Unitt said city officials plan to work closely with the selected tenants in terms of lease length, and they’re also considering a seasonal operating model.

Also up for grabs? The cafe at the Tannery Arts Center on River Street. That spot is currently managed by Artspace, the nonprofit that runs the Tannery, but the city is helping the organization find a new tenant, Unitt said.

“We’re really looking for someone with a strong marketing presence, who could bring in people from outside the [Tannery] community” and serve the businesses in the Harvey West area, she said. “We want someone who can be flexible and really complementary to the activity happening there.”

The application and additional information for the open spots can be found here.