Buy Local Challenge Blog

Buy Local Santa Monica has partnered with the 3/50 Project.TM  What three local businesses would you miss if they disappeared?  Your purchases keep them around, supporting our local economy and a unique, thriving community of businesses. 

It's simple to participate - pick three businesses you absolutely can't live without, and commit to stopping by, saying hello and spending $50 among the three this month to spur our local economy.  Then, go even further to support your favorites by telling us which ones you picked and why

Entries in Pico (77)


Tacos please! The best donuts & omusubi's so good that I decided to work there

Santa Monica Business #1:  Tacos Por Favor

Santa Monica Business #2:  Sunny Blue

Santa Monica Business #3:  Donut King

Why I can't live without these three businessesTacos Por Favor, where do I start?  You've been in my life since 2nd grade.  Ten years later, and you're still in my life. I remember when the french fries I bought from you were $0.60 and the bag was filled to the very top of the bag.  But now they cost $1.76 and are only half way filled.  But that doesn't matter! We grew up together so it only makes sense that we change together.  I have so many memories with  you and one of my fondest memories of us is walking in for the first time, going to the cashier and saying "Tacos please!'

Sunny Blue, it all started last year, when I first tried your omusubi's.  I thought, "Oh boy, I could eat these all day everyday."  And so I decided to work there.  Because I started working with you, I literally ate your omusubis every single day and never got tired of them.  Working with you made my summer one to remember.  From eating the food when no one was watching, to slacking off in the kitchen with David, it sure was fun.  I don't know what I would do if I lost you.

Donut King aka DK aka Second Home, you are my favorite business in all of Santa Monica!  Because you are right across the street from my school, for the past 4 years I have 3 of your delicious donuts almost everyday not including the weekends, and I have enjoyed every bit of it.  At the beginning of my second year in High School, something interesting happened.  Since I was now a regular customer, it was like you could read my mind, and I didn't have to say my order out loud.  I'd walk in, you'd say, Crumb Bear Claw with Glazed Twist in your pleasing Chinese accent and I'd say "Yup." Donut King, YOU ARE THE GREATEST!

Submitted by: Ayinde Shofu


Amazing jewelry + my favorite ice cream in town

Santa Monica Business #1:  Didio's

Santa Monica Business #2:  Bamboora

Santa Monica Business #3:  Foster's Freeze

Why I can't live without these three businessesDidio's has been my brother's and my favorite ice cream shop our whole lives. We used to roller blade down there with our dad on Saturdays and get their vanilla chip shaved ice. When we pass that place now, we love to look at all the candy they have there and get our favorite vanilla chip. Not to mention my mother loves having the only store that still carries razzles close too!

Bamboora is an amazing jewelry store where they sell beautiful Southeast Asian-inspired handmade jewelry that my mom and I fell in love with when we were walking by. This is now my go-to store when holidays come around to shop for gifts.  The owner is a sweet woman whose kids I coached in water polo and is always happy to see people coming in.  Without Bamboora, I don't know what I would do for Mother's Day!

To my friends and I, nothing marks the end of a long swim meet like a chocolate-dipped cone from Foster's Freeze.  From when I started swimming competitively when I was 11, Foster's Freeze was our place to wind down after the stress of racing.  Walking into Foster's Freeze fills me with memories of the excitement and fun that came with swimming.

Submitted by: Lauren


A must for tourists, an essential for every local....

Santa Monica Business #1:  Bay Cities Italian Deli & Bakery

Santa Monica Business #2:  Gilbert's El Indio Restaurant

Santa Monica Business #3:  Sunny Blue

Why I can't live without these three businesses: Nothing screams out Santa Monica like the famous Godmother sandwich from Bay Cities.  As a matter of fact, nothing in general can scream Santa Monica any better than this Deli and Bakery located in the heart of Santa Monica.  Today, I woke up, went to the beach with my friends for 4 hours, and then we all mobbed to Bay Cities.  Santa Monican's have so much pride in their local Deli, and if Bay Cities were to disappear I know Santa Monica would not be the same.

Same goes for Gilbert's.  When a local Santa Monican walks into Gilbert's, they feel safe; they feel at home. One of my most fond memories of growing up in Santa Monica is attending Taco Tuesday at my local Mexican Restaurant with all my friends and family.

What makes Sunny Blue a special local business is that it takes omusubi and Main Street dining to a new level. Sunny Blue defines Santa Monica as a laid back, hip, and young town through it's small decor and friendly managers. Sunny Blue is a must for every tourist, and an essential for every local.

Submitted by: Paria Sheshpari


My #1 choice when craving Italian cuisine...or truffle burgers

Santa Monica Business #1:  Original Tommy's Hamburgers

Santa Monica Business #2:  Bucca Di Beppo

Santa Monica Business #3:  Umami Burger

Why I can't live without these three businesses: Original Tommy's Hamburgers: I think Tommy's Hamburgers has one of the best authentic chili burgers that Santa Monica could offer. It's just so sad to see it soon go away for a Starbucks. I don't think it's necessary for the Santa Monica community to add another coffee shop when there are about 20 others already in the city. Almost every other person finds this unfair and there's nothing we can do about it. Their Chili Tamales were always my favorite. Having a slice of yellow American cheese, topped with chili cheese was always delicious. Their burgers as well are always made to perfection along with the side of fries that always come out nice and crispy.  It's always worth waiting for in the long lunch lines and it's just a shame to see it go away soon.

Buca Di Beppo: This is by far one of the best Italian restaurants that lies in Santa Monica.  Upon entering you almost feel part Italian yourself.  The portions are pretty big and just great for group parties.  Whenever I go there, I always have the most difficult time choosing a meal and I take a really long time doing so. I really love their Baked Ziti with four cheese.  As soon as it comes out, you can just see the deliciousness brought to you with it's baked texture, topped with several cheesy ingredients and filled with fresh italian pasta. This is definitely my number one choice whenever I'm craving some Italian cuisine.

Umami Burger:  Although the wait for this place is usually pretty long, I promise you it's worth the wait. Their burgers are fairly small yet filling. And although it's a bit high on the price side, you won't regret going there! My favorite is their truffle burger.  A small burger with a small kick of sweetness.  Topped with truffle cheese, and truffle glaze this burger can never manage to disappoint.  I can't forget about their secret menu which offers the best truffle fries, cheesy tater tots, and sweet potato fries.  I'll get lucky if I get to go sometime soon!

Submitted by: Heidi J.


A very influential guitar shop

Santa Monica Business #1:  Back on the Beach Cafe and Food Company, Inc

Santa Monica Business #2:  Bolivar Cafe + Gallery

Santa Monica Business #3:  McCabes Guitar Shop

Why I can't live without these three businesses: Back on the Beach is one of my favorite places to eat on a sunny Sunday morning.  I am ALWAYS in the mood for a huge serving of their brioche french toast, and I go to extreme measures to get it whenever possible.  Even back in the 1st grade, I would always beg my parents to take me to Back on the Beach for a post-ballet recital dinner.  Back on the Beach will forever hold a special place in my heart and tummy.

Bolivar is also a favorite restaurant of mine.  My favorite memory from Bolivar is ordering their surprise smoothies and always being amazed by their new tastes.  The sandwiches are mindblowingly beautiful and scrumptious, and the service is always friendly and personable.  If it weren't for Bolivar, my smoothie knowledge would be nothing compared to what it is today.

McCabes guitar shop is very influential to my life.  I took 5 years of private viola lessons at McCabes, and a year of guitar as well.  McCabes was my home every Friday from 3-5 for all of middle school and some of elementary school.  I will always be thankful for everything I learned at McCabes.

Submitted by: Kate Story