Visitors to Monterey County this summer will be greeted with a host of new wining, dining and shopping options throughout the region with an array of locally owned restaurants, bars and shops in Salinas, Seaside and downtown Monterey. The destination is bustling with activity as local business owners are ushering in a wave of revitalization.
"Monterey County has always had a diverse set of experiences, particularly when it comes to wine and culinary experiences,” said Tammy Blount-Canavan, President and CEO of the Monterey County Convention & Visitors Bureau (MCCVB), adding “More than ever there are new craft breweries, tasting rooms and restaurants—inspiring options for unique, life-enriching memories”.
This year, visitors to Salinas will have more options than ever to quench their thirst. The Beerded Bean founder owner Eric Del Real is all perked up to pour his roasted gourmet coffee and a rotating selection of craft beer at his first brick-and-mortar shop, opening this month at 210 Main Street. He and business partners Michael Del Real and Ernest Rodriguez created a following for their coffee brand at farmers markets. If you love all things coffee, beer and beards, The Beerded Bean promises guests “the best of both brews.”
Sip, sip, hurray! Local winemaker Joyce Wine Company popped the cork on a new tasting room at its press facility at 1341 Dayton Street in Salinas this April. Wine connoisseurs are encouraged to go beyond the tasting rooms of Carmel and Monterey to enjoy a flight close to the vineyard where the grapes are grown.
Send your regards to Broadway Avenue in downtown Seaside. The $7 million West Broadway Urban Village Infrastructure Improvements Project created wider sidewalks and new bike lanes while revitalizing the economic and cultural fabric of Seaside’s newest district.
Monterey County has daily farmers markets throughout the region, and the newest one is right here in Seaside. Seaside Certified Farmers Market invites local food vendors and artisans to set up shop every Saturday on the 600 block of Broadway. Look out for pop-up cooking demos and share all the fun you’re having by tagging #shopbroadway and #seasidelove on social media.
Counterpoint Coffee Shop and Recording Studio, located at 565 Broadway, has been hitting all the right notes since percolating earlier this year. Owner Max Georis is focused on coffee mixology, including such signature drinks as espresso tonic. Here, the baristas are the deejays to your flavor palate. They are even working on creating cereal-flavored coffee. Beer and wine are also available. If you feel inspired to jot down original song lyrics on a napkin, the coffee shop conveniently has an on-site recording studio. Next door, Other Brother Brew Co. brewery and taproom will join the Seaside scene this summer.
While downtown Monterey has captivated travelers since before the days of John Steinbeck’s famous novel “Cannery Row,” the area is currently experiencing a renaissance, largely due to the recent $6.5 million renovation of the historic 1827 Cooper Molera Adobe property and the $60 million renovation of the Monterey Conference Center. Since the conference center reopened in January 2018, more than ten new businesses have opened on or near Alvarado Street, which conveniently ends at the conference center’s doorstep.
The Barns at Cooper Molera, which opened last year at 525 Polk Street, currently offers reimagined, rustic event space for private functions such as meetings, corporate events and weddings. Coming soon, it plans to open its doors to the community for festivals, dance nights and guest chef appearances. The Events by Classic Group is the official operator and caterer for The Barns. “The new buildings, shops, restaurants, outdoor seating, mixed-use projects and historic renovations create more vibrancy downtown,” says Cheryl Cox, owner and director of marketing & finance of Events by Classic. “It builds a stronger sense of community and makes Monterey an exciting place to visit.”
Alta Bakery + Café officially opened at The Corner Store at Cooper Molera in April. The bakery’s anticipated opening was led by culinary director and partner Ben Spungin, a well-known pastry chef with previous experience at Post Ranch Inn and Bernardus Lodge & Spa. Diners can expect bread and treats fresh from the oven, paninis, pizza and more. Spungin’s weapon of choice is chocolate, so he tends to get creative with how he incorporates his favorite ingredient.
The Folktale Group, the team behind Folktale Winery and Seventh & Dolores Steakhouse, has taken over the space at 475 Alvarado Street to open Pacific Bowls & Rolls. The new concept will serve dishes inspired by the bold flavors of Pacific Rim countries including favorites like The Ugly Dumpling and The Haute Dog. Just a few steps away, Cult Taco is the latest hotspot from the creative masterminds of the well-established Cultura comida y bebida in Carmel-by-the-Sea. This new cashless counter service restaurant serves creative Oaxacan cuisine and style with an authentic vibe.
Opening in June, Dust Bowl Brewing Company is set to open a tasting room in the historic Depot Building at 209 Figueroa Street. Easily walkable from downtown Monterey, visitors exploring the Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail will find this John Steinbeck-themed tasting room with a large outdoor heated patio, games and permanent food truck.
With so many new spots to sip, savor and enjoy, now is the perfect time visit Monterey County. Plan your trip now!