The Santa Barbara Funk Zone neighborhood hosts many of the city’s several dozen wine tasting rooms. It is a great neighborhood for a day out tasting wine and enjoying seaside weather. Shalhoob had been a local favorite butcher shop for decades before opening its Funk Zone Patio. It is a large space with long benches and an open area to play cornhole (a popular bean bag tossing game).
The patio is a beer garden popular with college students and weekenders, but it also serves as a showcase for chops and grinds from the attached Shalhoob butchery. The butcher shop has a local reputation for making great beef jerky. It is some of the best: soft and fresh, marinades fully incorporated into the meat. Be sure to grab a bag or two to take with you.
If you have time to stay, the Funk Zone Patio is well worth a lunch stop. Here you can have an artisan butcher’s take on the tri-tip sandwich. The meat is the most tender tri-tip we’ve yet experienced, almost like a different cut entirely. It is sliced much thinner and more precisely than most hand-carvers could do it. We favor thicker more rustic cuts ourselves, but that’s not a big deal. The uniform slices of tri-tip are touched on the grill after carving, and they come tossed in a spicy BBQ sauce (another unusual flourish) and are served on garlic bread. The marinade and sauce reminds us of the flavor of Shalhoob’s peppered jerky, but channeled through fresh BBQ. Accompanying fries are thin, skin on, and crisp. Overall, it’s a great lunch combo.
Equally recommended is the house ground SB burger. It’s a slightly thick patty topped with local artisan-made American cheese (for real!) and a thick layer of sweet-tart caramelized onions, then draped with a single crisp piece of gem lettuce. It’s one of the prettiest burgers we’ve come across; and it tastes almost as good as it looks.
Off-the-cob street corn is buttery fresh corn taken off the cob and made into a pass-around salad topped with chipotle aioli, parmesan cheese (a superior stand-in for the traditional Cotija), chili, and lime. Tossed together, it captures the flavor of street elote, without making a mess of your face every time you take a bite. It’s a really smart dish and a perfect foil for grilled meats.
On a nice day, this open space is the Funk Zone’s backyard BBQ and the grilled meats and corn are as good as you’ll find.