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Even during pandemic downturn Broad Street Oyster Company opens up in Santa Barbara

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Not waiting to bring a new restaurant location to the surface, the owner of the Broad Street Oyster Co. has opened up in downtown Santa Barbara, even during a pandemic.

It's a challenging time for existing restaurants, but owner Chris Tompkins says a location opened in the multi-use Kim's Service Dept. building in the 400 block between Haley Street and Gutierrez Street. It was also an opportunity to move a pop up operation into a fixed location.

Broad Street had been known to those who dropped in to Municipal Winemakers in the Funk Zone. It's not the first time a weekend pop up business has gained enough traction to move into a permanent site. Broad Street first started serving in 2017 from the mobile business and opportunities followed.

The Broad Street Oyster Co. should also be known to anyone who is familiar with its operation in Malibu which opened in 2019. Tompkins has since recently opened a coffee and gelato site in that city.

Tompkins says he is in ideal location between the waterfront and the downtown promenade. He looks forward to the upgrades to the underpass and more vibrancy in the area.

His staff positions filled up with many applicants, which is somewhat surprising with reports in recent months of worker shortages.

The restaurant is flanked by Shaker Mill and Modern Times. All seats in the building are for all customers. Food and drink flows back and forth with no boundaries.

The opening now is timed to position the restaurant to hit its stride soon and be ready for the end of the pandemic when a surge of Spring and Summer business comes to Santa Barbara.

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John Palminteri

John Palminteri is senior reporter for KEYT News Channel 3. To learn more about John, click here.

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