Buy Local Challenge Blog

Buy Local Santa Monica has partnered with the 3/50 ProjectTM and students from Santa Monica High School.  What three local businesses would you miss if they disappeared?  Your purchases keep these businesses around, supporting our local economy and a unique, thriving community of businesses.  Your purchases also make a difference to our schools, our parks and our community.  In 2013, purchases made at Santa Monica businesses raised $7.2 million for our schools. Buying local truly makes a difference.

It's simple to participate - pick three businesses you absolutely can't live without, and commit to stopping by, saying hello and spending money 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 Santa Monica Blvd (7)


Delicious Japanese food with happy hour

Santa Monica Business #1: Whole Foods

Santa Monica Business #2: Hikari Sake House

Santa Monica Business #3: Bay Cities

Why I can't live without these three businessesWhole Foods: I have been a customer of Whole Foods ever since I was a little girl, I basically grew up at this place. I really enjoy shopping here because there are many food options to choose from that are both healthy and delicious. Anything from sandwiches, pizza, a juice bar, baked goods, home-made style food, and even international dishes!  The quality of their products is worth the crowd of people you might stumble upon on a work day but the customer service is great and I always feel welcome with every visit.

Hikari Sake House: The atmosphere at this restaurant allows one to have a cultured experience just a few blocks from home. The Japanese food is delicious and always offering happy hour, it is also located right by the promenade which makes it very convenient to stop by for some tasty food after a shopping spree.

Bay Cities: The sandwiches are amazing and being there reminds me of being in a small deli in Italy. It's a really cool place and I appreciate being able to shop there for lunch.

Submitted by: Natalie Serrano


Crepes and music

Santa Monica Business #1: Cafe Crepe

Santa Monica Business #2: Santa Monica Music Center

Why I can't live without these three businesses: I often go to Cafe Crepe to get food before doing homework at the Santa Monica Library. It's a local cafe that is well known, and I have been going there for years. I go with both friends and family, and it is just an all-around great cafe with a calm environment. Music is my form of escape, and I can't remember a day when I haven't listened to music. I have met great friends there and have explained my musical taste.

Submitted by: Kareem Ahmed


From a small town

Santa Monica Business #1: Starbucks

Santa Monica Business #2: Subway

Santa Monica Business #3: Jamba Juice

Why I can't live without these three businesses: Being a teen in today's school, you do not get an adequate amount of sleep. We all know that a boost of caffeine gets you through your day. Monday through Friday, I am at a Starbucks getting my venti cup of coffee with two added shots of espresso. The employees know my name and treat me like I am valued. Following with Subway, who doesn't love an inexpensive sandwich with a variety of options. Finally, Jamba Juice is the best! A cool fruity smoothie on a weekend with best friends is always nice. There's never too much of a wait, and it's just amazing to have all of these businesses here. I'm from a small town and appreciating this town is something I will not take for granted.

Submitted by: Richard Anthony Gaynor


Food recs from the hungriest kid on the west side

Santa Monica Business #1: Bagel Nosh

Santa Monica Business #2: Tacos Por Favor

Santa Monica Business #3: Umami Burger

Why I can't live without these three businesses: I can't live without these businesses for many reasons, but the main one is I love my food!

As one of the hungriest kids on the west side, these three local restaurants have become a part of my schedule and eating habit.  Every Wednesday before school, a group of buddies and I would meet at Bagel Nosh. The #4 is what I order with a glass of fresh OJ. Couldn't start the morning any other way. The smiles and local quality of the joint really keeps people coming back. It has a nice mix of LA and New York vibes, allowing people to enjoy their meal, make it feel like a Sunday brunch, and keep the day moving.

Tacos Por Favor is without a doubt, my favorite Mexican food source in Santa Monica. Ever since the skateboard park opened up across the street, Tacos has been feeding me weekly since the age of 11. Its authentic music, banners, and beer really make the place. Make sure you try the carrots too; my mom goes crazy for them!

Lastly, my friends and I always order from Umami Burger. They're located in the back of Fred Segal. I love this smaller, urban burger place. They take a cool-hipster twist on the healthy organic American delicacy. Their Burgers are amazingly explosive with taste, and the home-made ketchup is almost like a sweet tomato paste that lightens the fluffy meat.

Santa Monica is the home of more than just these 3 great restaurants. You should consider visiting all if not one of these listings!  I also have the munchies right now....As a hungry kid, I must buy local.

Submitted by: Ben



Favorite places to eat on Sundays with my family

Santa Monica Business #1: Earth Wine And Flour

Santa Monica Business #2: Denny's

Santa Monica Business #3: IHOP

Why I can't live without these three businesses: These three businesses are my favorite places to eat on a Sunday afternoon after I get out of church with family.

Submitted by: Patricia Urena


My favorite aquarium, sushi + surf shop with real beachy-bums

Santa Monica Business #1:  Nature Aquarium

Santa Monica Business #2:  Sushi King

Santa Monica Business #3:  ZJ Boarding House

Why I can't live without these three businesses: Nature Aquariums is not only a place where I can go to get my fish tank supplies, but it is a gallery of salt, planted, and freshwater aquariums that amaze me every time I go in.  The Asian owner doesn't speak English perfectly, yet still does anything he can to be as friendly and as helpful as possible when you are asking questions.  It helps me relax going into the store, making me come back every week to see what is new.

Sushi King is a sushi restaurant on Wilshire that my family has been going to for years.  Their sushi is a traditional Japanese style, unlike many new sushi restaurants that are opening up in Santa Monica.  Yes it may be a bit expensive but you definitely get your bang for your buck.  The chefs behind the sushi bar are extremely friendly, being almost offended if you don't start up a conversation with them.  The fish is fresh, you feel like you are in Japan when you go; it's not some "wanna be" japanese restaurant, it makes you feel like you have stepped into another world.

ZJ Boarding House has been my surf/skate/snowboard store since I was a kid.  My dad has been shopping there for years before I started any of these boarding sports and takes me there to get all my new surfing supplies.  Recently I searched all over California to find a new surfboard that was perfect for me.  After about 30 different shops, ZJ boarding house was my place.  I have never been more pleased in a surfboard in my life.  The people there are the beachy-bums that love to talk about surfing or anything related to California really.  It is a great place to learn how to surf/snowboard/skate or get a new board!

Submitted by: Dylan Kleinman 


Best pizza, 24 hour donuts + yummy fruit

Submitted by:  anonymous

Santa Monica Business #1:  Stefano's Pizzera

Santa Monica Business #2:  Dk Donuts & Bakery

Santa Monica Business #3:  Santa Monica Farmers Market

Why I can't live without these three businesses:  I can't live without Stefano's Pizzeria on the 3rd Street Promenade because they have some of the best pizza. I also work on the promenade and they are a great place to go to for lunch because they give you a discount on your meal.

I cannot live without Dk Donuts & Bakery because I always go there. They have the best prices for sandwiches, boba, and of course a dozen donuts. The best part is they are open 24 hours so you can go for a late night snack. 

I also can't live without the SM Farmers Market because it is where I get all the best fruit products.  I love the apples they sell. Their fruit is the only fruit that tastes fresh and yummy to me.

Submitted by:  anonymous