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Owner Vince Grillo and Dana Pruitte, social media manager for Carlsbad Ranch Market, which has opened a 'groceraunt' in Vista. Photo courtesy Carlsbad Ranch Market
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Lick the Plate: Introducing the Carlsbad Ranch Market ‘groceraunt’

First off, I will give credit where it’s due on the term “groceraunt” as it came from the note I received from Carlsbad Ranch Market owner Vince Grillo describing it as a combination grocery store and restaurant. And after making a visit to their newest location in Vista, I’d say that is an accurate description. My immediate thought was how I wished this place was closer to my office as I would be there for lunch every day. It really is a lunchtime nirvana with a wide range of healthy options and more traditional deli fare for those days of indulging. On top of that you can pick up some high-quality staples for your pantry and refrigerator while you are there.

You may know the original Carlsbad Ranch Market located next to Tip Top Meats as it’s been there since 1985. They recently opened this beautiful second North County location at 3225 Business Park Drive in Vista. The new site is three times the size of the original Carlsbad store and has proven to be an immediate hit with local office workers looking for a fresh alternative to standard lunch fare. That groceraunt concept is evident in the local produce sold in the market morphing into ingredients for the salad bar, hot food line, and cold-pressed juice station. The salad bar contains over 48 items to choose from including signature salads such as PowerCrunch, CRM Couscous, or a Caprese Salad with heirloom tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese and basil. On top of that, Carlsbad Ranch Market has a solid breakfast lineup, available from 7 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., offering a breakfast burrito, fresh fruit, bacon, and yogurt with toppings.

The lunch buffet should be described in more detail as it’s a good one. Expansive is a good way to describe it and it happens on weekdays starting at 11 a.m. Seasonal foods are featured with locally sourced ingredients. The hot food selections, created by Executive Chef Ming Adler, vary daily. You may find Chinese BBQ Pork Char Siu, Baked Rigatoni Bolognese, and Chicken or Eggplant Parmesan, depending on the day. Additionally, “Tote Cuisine” dishes as they call them such as Chicken Cordon Bleu Lasagna, Roasted Brussel Sprouts and Caramelized Onion Quiche are ready for customers to take home and enjoy.

Carlsbad Ranch Market/Vista also offers a local produce-powered pressed juice bar, sandwiches and wraps made with Boar’s Head products, and “Grab & Go” entrees for take-out. The craft bar area offers wine and local craft beer on tap. I should note that on the sandwich side they have an amazing fried chicken sandwich and a Rueben that is happening the next trip back. The sandwich board is impressive and I would have to leave room one day a week to indulge in one of them. In all reality, my office in Oceanside is not that far and when planned right, could be done.

Burgers are happening as well and their signature Craft Brew Burger is finished with Chipotle Gouda, slices of local tomatoes, green leaf lettuce, and a caramelized onion and bacon marmalade prepared in Cali Creamin beer. And of course they also offer The Impossible Burger, but with their own twist on it topped with roasted onion garlic aioli, sharp cheddar, and local Valdivia Farms tomatoes.

I’m really loving the space itself, kind of ranch style farmer’s market with a bit of gourmet thrown in. Barn wood, metal work, and unique made-by-hand fixtures and furnishings give it that extra rustic yet contemporary feel. The parallam bar area is a one of a kind creation that is good for sipping wine or a beer and folks can enjoy dining in their intimate and comfortable patio.

I should also mention that the Vista Palomar Park where Carlsbad Ranch Market resides is full of fun new restaurants like Lemon Shark Poke Tap House, Cat and Craft Cat Café, which was bound to happen, along with mainstays like Palomar Pizza & Pasta.

Market hours are 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. Call (760) 599-7043 or visit carlsbadranchmarket.com. Keep an eye on their social media for live music events on the weekend. They are located at 3211 Business Park Drive Suite 3B in Vista.

Top: Owner Vince Grillo and Dana Pruitte, social media manager for Carlsbad Ranch Market, which has opened a ‘groceraunt’ in Vista. Photo courtesy Carlsbad Ranch Market