October 27, 2018 – Big changes are coming soon at Carmel Plaza shopping center. Already something of a gourmet food hub, the downtown complex will gain a highly-anticipated brewpub in December and an expanded Sur La Table store that will offer cooking classes next year.
The Yeast of Eden restaurant and microbrewery is now in the final phase of its build out on the ground level of the plaza, and co-owner J.C. Hill anticipates that it will open by the second or third week of December, barring any major problems. He is now hiring staff for the front and back of the house, with application details soon to be posted on the website yoebeer.com (currently under construction).
“Right now we’re putting finishes on the brewery and the interiors,” says J.C., who partnered with his father, architect John Hill, on the project. The Hills already own Alvarado Street Brewery in Monterey and a production brewery and tasting room in Salinas, where they’ve been crafting mixed fermentation beers for their boutique Yeast of Eden label.
The Hills have hired Stephen Paulson, formerly of Elysian Brewing, which operates four brewpubs in Seattle. Over and above that experience, however, J.C. says he was intrigued by Paulson’s stint at Ba Bar, another popular Seattle eatery that serves Vietnamese street food and craft cocktails.
J.C. says the menu will feature “bright, bold flavors designed to accompany beer,” with no particular cuisine in mind, but could include Southeast Asian and Latin American selections. Paulson, grew up cooking on his grandparents’ ranch, honed his skills at a variety of restaurants throughout the West, and for a time had his own restaurant in Seattle, Bottle & Bull. He is an avowed fan of farm-to-table cuisine, which should fit right in with the Carmel vibe.
Edible reported earlier this year on plans for Yeast of Eden (see story at http://ediblemontereybay.com/blog/alvarado-st-plans-carmel-brewery), and J.C. says the restaurant will seat about 140 and will feature “a pretty big bar component.” In addition to the Yeast of Eden mixed fermentation beers, there will also be a selection of Alvarado Street beers and guest taps, as well as cocktails and wine on draft.
The mixed fermentation brews, made with wild yeasts and natural fermentation techniques, will be “balanced and easy to drink, and they’ll pair well with food,” says J.C.
Yeast of Eden’s next-door neighbor will be a greatly expanded Sur La Table store, which will include a kitchen/culinary center to accommodate cooking classes.
“We’ll also be able to have private events, and classes will be offered every day,” says Carmel Sur La Table store manager Jessica Maciel, who is looking forward to the big move from the current store in Carmel Plaza.
The new 5,000 sq. ft space on the ground level of Carmel Plaza will have the store on one side, and the kitchen on the other, Maciel says. However, construction has not yet started, since some issues are still being worked out with the city, she says.
After it’s open—Maciel is hoping that will be early next year—Monterey-area residents who had been previously driving to Los Gatos or Santa Clara for Sur La Table classes will now have an option that’s closer to home. Carmel will be the smallest community, population-wise, to have a Sur La Table store with cooking classes, since all the others are in larger urban areas.
The Seattle-based Sur La Table, which has more than 100 stores throughout the United States dedicated to tools and supplies for cooking and entertaining, has been featuring cooking classes at its stores since 1996.
With all that food synergy going on, chances are good that foodies will be seeking out Carmel Plaza in 2019. J.C. Hill is excited about what’s to come.
“We’ve got fantastic local winemakers here, and the Cheese Shop,” he said. “It’s going to be the cool, happening place.”