By Tonya Williams
Pacific Coast Highway, CA Hwy 1, runs right through downtown Guadalupe, in Santa Barbara County. The downtown area makes you feel like you’re going back in time.
Guadalupe was established in 1840 and incorporated on August 3, 1946. The small city is home to only 7100 residents. It is a well-known destination for fantastic Mexican food and it is the “Gateway to the Dunes!”
The Oceano Dunes are a great place to explore, in a unique environment. Where else does the landscape change with every breath of wind? The dunes are a photographer’s dream.
If you’re taking a day trip to Guadalupe, there are a few things that should be included. The Mexican food is authentic and worth the trip. El Tapatia is inviting and Eddie makes you feel like you’re in the family kitchen. The Guadalupe Restaurant serves up the most delicious, ground beef enchiladas.
Everyone cheered and Facebook posts went wild, when the La Simpatia Café re-opened after its renovation.
Former Mayor and Guadalupe resident, Frances Romero stated, “We have several great restaurants in Guadalupe. King Falafel is a longtime favorite of mine. The menu has something for everyone ranging from vegan offerings to hamburgers for carnivores.”
If you’re going to the beach, which is only five miles away… think about visiting the Masatani Market. The market is a full grocery store, with great meats and it is a community staple. It is a great spot to pick up supplies for a picnic or a great day at the beach. It has been in Guadalupe for nearly a century. Harry Masatani has proven that the American Dream can happen anywhere, with diligence, a good heart and loyal customers.
Locals say that Harry always makes sure that international goods and other supplies are on hand, to cater to the diverse customers’ tastes and he has been known to take care of Guadalupe residents, with no questions asked, as their needs arose.
Tonya Talaugon Williams shared a great story about the type of people that live in Guadalupe. “My father grew up in Guadalupe, on a farm in a small one-bedroom house, with five brothers and sisters, raised by his Pop and Uncle. My grandpa was a farm worker; he worked non-stop to make sure his kids had enough. I grew up listening to my Dad and uncles tell stories about the things they did as kids, to entertain themselves… I loved listening and watching them talk about the good ol’ days, when there was no TV, internet, or cell phones, and you could stay out until dark and play. The stories were not always happy, growing up with a single dad with six kids, is a story that has its share of hardship and heartache. But the love and bond between them was unshakable.”
“I remember hearing about Masatani’s Market and how the owner, Mr. Masatani, would let them come in and buy the things they needed, before they received their paycheck. Mr. Masatani was a man who loved his community and knew that life was tough, with raising kids, paying rent, making sure that local families had enough.”
“Mr. Masatani always knew who our parents were. He would say, ‘Your Santos’ daughter, right?’ ‘I knew your dad when he was a kid’, he would say, with a grin, ‘He was a brat, but had a good heart’.”
“Harry Masatani made sure that everyone was taken care of, even if they didn’t have enough money. He was an example of generosity.”
“When Harry Masatani worked, he always had a joke or a funny story to tell you. Masatani’s Market will always be a landmark or legacy in Guadalupe. It’s part of the history of Guadalupe,” stated Joe Talaugon.
Tonya Talaugon Williams also shared, “Growing up, the Talaugon family always purchased their Prime Rib from Mr. Masatani, for their Christmas dinner. My dad was the Head Chef at The Office Restaurant, and he would only buy meats from Mr. Masatani.”
The Masatani Market 771 Guadalupe St., is the perfect place to stop, if you’re headed to the beach or dunes, for snacks, quality meats, a beer or a bottle of wine.
By the way, Happy Birthday Mr. Masatani. He just turned ninety-one year’s young.