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Southwest Mobile Storage - Best Mobile Storage & Office Containers In San Marcos, CA

Southwest Mobile Storage is a family-owned shipping container business founded in 1995. Our strength for more than 25 years comes from the specialized knowledge and passion of our people, along with serving over 24,000 commercial, construction and residential customers. Our facility and expertise in maintaining, manufacturing, and delivering corrugated steel containers is unrivaled in the industry.

While the rental side of our business is regional with branches throughout the Southwest, our container sales and modification operations are nationwide and becoming global. San Marcos, CA offers a wide selection of portable offices and mobile storage containers you can rent, buy or modify.

Our experts in container rental, sales and customization are committed to providing you the highest quality and best experience from service to delivery - our reputation depends on it.

Whether your need is for storage, office space, moving, multi-purpose or custom use, we've got your back. Here's how:

Storage Containers San Marcos, CA



We bring your storage container to you for convenient, easy access at your home, business or jobsite. Plus, you'll get more choice in storage space and better security, for a fraction of the cost of a pod or add on building, saving money and energy.


Not enough room to keep a storage container at your business, home or construction site? No problem - we can store it for you. Plus, you get 70% more space and better security, for a fraction of the cost of public storage units.


Need a permanent storage solution for your business, residence or construction? We sell new and used shipping containers in many sizes with a variety of add-ons. Or customize a container to your specific storage needs with our certified fabrication experts.


Take your time packing with our moving containers. We'll deliver to your business or home and pick it up whenever you're ready to move. So, you don't have to stress about moving or making multiple trips in one day, like if you rented a moving truck.


Our moving container solutions ensure the long-distance move of your home or business is highly efficient and affordable throughout the southwest. In fact, we usually cost 20%-40% less than full-service movers.


We understand move-in and move-out dates might be different. We can store your moving container at our highly secure facilities until you're ready to move to your new home or business location, and you can conveniently access it at any time.


Whether you need a workspace, conference room, or other office requirement, our ground-mounted mobile offices meet any and all of your business needs. Plus, it's faster and easier than building additions.


If you need your shipping container to serve multiple uses, such as office-storage combos, breakrooms and even utilities, we've got you covered. We'll modify a custom container to fit your business needs and bring your business to the next level


We'll create a custom container to fit your unique needs anywhere in the US. With our container modification expertise, we make any idea a reality. From pop-up stores to multi-story structures, our unrivaled facilities and fabrication experts do it all.

You'll get your own dedicated storage and container expert to serve as your one point of contact for easy, convenient service you can trust.
With our wide selection of intermodal containers for sale and rent, you'll find exactly what you need, from size, to type and condition.
We maintain our rental fleet to the highest standard - our integrity depends on it.
Our certified, experienced Conex container modification experts have more than 500 years combined experience modifying ISO containers.
All of our containers come with high security dual-locking system for no additional charge, so you can rest assured your stored items stay safe and that you don't have to pay extra for it.
At our unrivaled 90,000 sq ft indoor fabrication facility, ensuring your custom shipping container is made exactly to your specifications.
With our level of service, quality and expertise, you won't find a better value anywhere else.
Our portable offices include lighting and electrical outlets, internet hookups, HVAC and were crafted by our in-house steel container fabrication experts for top-quality construction.

Premium Quality - High Security

With Southwest Mobile Storage, you get much more than a POD or typical Conex box. You also get high security, unparalleled service and unmatched container modification expertise and facilities. No other company offers that much.

Shipping containers and storage containers come in a range of sizes. The most common external lengths are 20ft and 40ft with a width of 8ft. ISO Containers are typically 8ft 6in tall, but high cube containers are 9ft 6in tall. We also have steel containers in a variety of sizes from 10ft long to 45ft long to rent or buy, and we can modify shipping containers into any size you want.

 Rent Storage Containers San Marcos, CA

SMS Mobile Storage Containers have these high quality features:

1/8" thick steel plate bottom side rails
High strength steel supporting cross members
1 1/8" thick hardwood floor with galvanized self-tapping screws
16-gauge corrugated steel walls
16-gauge roof
270-degree swing cargo door(s)
High security dual-locking system*
Spot-grinded, primed & repainted with a beige high-grade water reducible alkyd direct-to-metal enamel*
* Comes standard on all rental units

SMS portable workspace containers have these structural features:

High security window bars, lever & deadbolt set with lock box
Studs & R-19 Insulation covered with wood paneling
1 1/8" marine board floor is covered with a durable single part gray epoxy coating
Dual pane low-E horizontal sliding windows with screens and miniblinds
18 Gauge steel polystyrene core 3-hour fire rated personnel door
All of our workspaces are manufactured in-house and arrive new or restored to factory specifications
Exterior load center operating on 100 Amp single phase 230 Volt power
Light switch, receptacles and 4' light fixtures; all wiring is Romex 12/2
CAT-6 voice and data lines with electrical junction box
HVAC units ranging from 1 ton to 2 ton on rentals; ability to customize up to 10 tons of cooling

Having flexible storage containers options is important, but security is crucial to protect your peace of mind and your possessions.

At Southwest Mobile Storage, we don't believe in leaving things to chance. We want you to rest easy knowing your inventory, documents, tools, equipment and other items are safe 24/7. That is why we equip SMS high-security slide bolt locking systems and lockboxes on our entire fleet of rental freight containers.


High-security slide-bolt locking system and extra-long lock box, giving you twice the security and peace of mind.
No holes to ensure your rental shipping container is wind and water-tight.
No rust for your safety.
14-gauge corrugated steel for strength and reinforcement.

Contact us to speak with a helpful, friendly representative to better understand our full range of capabilities. We are happy to answer any questions you have, go over pricing and set up a time and place to deliver your Conex box. Our quotes are 100% free and you are under no obligation to pay for your consultation.


When you own a business or manage one, it's crucial to have efficient, affordable ways to store inventory and supplies, whether it's to grow your business or adapt to changes in the market, like the many caused by the pandemic.

Renting storage containers to keep at your business eliminates the cost and hassles of sending your staff to offsite storage facilities. Steel containers with roll up doors make storing and retrieving items faster and easier. Auto repair shops and other businesses that need easy access throughout the workday to secure storage for tools, parts, equipment or supplies find renting shipping containers to be the best solution for their business storage needs. Southwest Mobile Storage has your back.

 Storage Containers For Rent San Marcos, CA

Renting portable offices gives your business more workspace, breakrooms, pop up stores, security booths and more, without the cost and red tape associated with constructing building additions. Plus, a steel storage container fits neatly into one parking space and provides much stronger security than Pods and way more convenience than self-storage units.

If you have a specific need, we can modify shipping containers to build whatever you need to grow your business. Whether it's a portable workspace to run your business, like a pop-up container bar, or a durable facility for scientific research, like a container laboratory, or even a container gym, our unrivaled fabrication facility and modification experts got you covered. Our full-time, in-house staff of certified welders, engineers, electricians, carpenters and painters have over 500 years combined experience modifying thousands of container projects for just about any business use you can imagine.


Offsite storage alternatives cause a mess of hassles and headaches. Expanding office space and storage capacity at your location saves time, money and hassle of making multiple trips offsite.
We offer more choice in security, size and features in steel Conex boxes or ISO shipping containers than a public storage unit or Pod for less cost and far greater service.
We offer flexible, month-to-month rental agreements and prorate by the day after your first 28-day billing cycle.
With us, you get a dedicated account manager you can rely on, so you can focus on running your business than waste time with a different person every time you call that doesn't know or care as much.
While other companies may have some staff for modifying containers, most outsource the work, so you don't know who is actually doing the modifications or how much they're marking up the price.
 Mobile Storage Containers San Marcos, CA
When you modify a shipping container for your business, you won't have to worry about expensive, lengthy and complicated construction.
We have modified thousands of containers nationwide and internationally for more than 25 years for NASA, US Navy, GCP Applied Technologies, Helix and Sundt to name a few. And rent containers to Amazon, Walmart and many of other nationally recognized brands.
Our extensive staff makes it possible to custom build multiple projects simultaneously and our 90,000 sq ft indoor fabrication facility prevents contaminants from interfering with fabrication, which delivers better quality and precision.


Building additions to your home can be very expensive and requires going through the hassle of securing permits and waiting for construction. You can save money, time and stress by modifying a shipping container instead. Whether you need additional space for a home gym, recreation or storage, we can convert steel containers into anything you can imagine. Our custom container gyms, man-caves or she-sheds, garages and more give you the extra space you need without the hassle, cost and wait that comes with home renovation.

Renting shipping containers for temporary storage, either when moving or dealing with restoration from a fire or flood, provides a secure, convenient way to keep your belongings close for accessing them whenever you need to. Plus, renting mobile storage containers for moving costs less than traditional movers and allows you to take your time packing, reducing the stress that comes from moving. You can also rent portable offices for your home to make working remotely distraction-free.

 Rent Shipping Containers San Marcos, CA


With an extensive in-house staff and 90,000 sq ft container modification facility, we're able to deliver consistently high quality and work on multiple projects simultaneously for a fast turnaround.

Other companies don't have the facility, staff or resources to modify shipping containers and will outsource the work to various shops who may not have the special experience or tools needed to modify the right way.

You can rest assured knowing your custom container is safe in our hands. Our certified weld and quality control inspectors ensure everything is structurally sound and built to your specifications through every step of the process.

Renting a moving container from us makes your move much less stressful because you won't have to rush to pack your whole house into a moving truck in one day. Instead, you can take your time packing over the course of a month.

Our ISO shipping containers are weatherproof and come with vault-like security, so you don't have to worry about theft or damage to your belongings.

You won't get that level of security from U-Haul or other moving truck companies.

Renting a storage container at your home keeps your belongings close and gives you convenient 24/7 access, so you're always able to retrieve the contents of your container when you need to.

We know move in and move out dates don't always line up. We can store your packed rental container at our secure facility until your new home is ready.

With our mobile storage containers for rent in San Marcos, CA, you can save up to 40% when compared to full-service long-distance movers, while gaining more flexibility in your schedule.


We know your needs may change suddenly. With our extensive inventory and variety of sizes of portable offices and shipping containers to rent, buy or modify in San Marcos, CA, we provide fast service and the best value possible so it's easy for you to get whatever you need when you need it.

Renting storage containers and portable offices from us gives you more flexibility when it comes to your schedule and options. If you don't have enough space at your current location or simply would prefer offsite storage, you can keep your rental storage and office containers at your location or ours - whichever is most convenient for you. You also get more options to choose from when it comes to size and features, like portable offices with divided rooms for private meetings or office/storage combos for storage and office space in one container. All while costing a fraction of the price of a pod or self-storage facility.

You can also buy new or used freight containers from us and choose from a variety of add-ons, including lights, electricity, doors and windows. Or fully customize a shipping container to save time, money and energy by skipping the expensive, lengthy process of constructing building additions. We can modify a Conex box into whatever you can imagine for any use you need, from construction tool cribs to office buildings, monitoring stations, mobile communication towers and much more. The possibilities are endless.


You'll never face hidden fees or surprises with us. We give you transparent billing up front at the best prices.

With us, you get a reliable, dedicated point of contact, who keeps you updated every step of the way. You can rest assured knowing you'll always get what you need, when you need it.

No other company has the breadth and depth of staff and experience that we do when it comes to modifying shipping containers. Our certified welders, engineers, electricians, plumbers, carpenters and painters have more than 500 years of combined experience in fabricating custom steel containers.

We prorate your rent by the day after the first 28-day billing cycle, so you don't have to pay for a full month when you only have your mobile containers and offices for a few days.

While other companies may be able to do small container modifications, most don't have an in-house fabrication staff or 90,000 sq ft fabrication facility like we do. As a result, they outsource the work on your custom container, so you don't know who's actually building it.

Rest assured knowing your modified shipping container will be built to the highest quality standards. Our certified weld and quality control inspectors check every step of the fabrication process to ensure everything is structurally sound and built to your specifications.


Whether you're in need of a storage container for your commercial business, a portable office for your construction site, or a moving container for your home, our process is simple and straightforward.

Choose Your Container

Choose the mobile storage solution that works best for your needs. In this step, you will let us know the number of containers you need, their sizes and what types of doors to equip.

Choose Your Options

Let us know if you would like to add any of our rental options, like a folding table or shelving.

Choose Your Security

Choose from padlocks, puck locks and other enhanced security options. All of our storage containers come standard with dual-locking, vault-like security.

Choose Your Delivery Timeframe

You can expect standard delivery within 3-5 days of your order. If you need expedited delivery, we will do everything in our power to accommodate your needs.

Pick-Up Planning

Do you need to keep your shipping container at our location? Prefer to have our team deliver your packed container to a location of your choice? Let us know, and we'll be by your side to work out the logistics.




Let our team know where we should deliver your mobile storage container for rent in San Marcos, CA. Be sure to let us know if there are any special conditions that might prevent our drivers from entering your chosen destination. Before you schedule your delivery, let us know which direction you would like the doors of your container to face.



Our drivers can deliver your storage container Monday-Friday, between the hours of 6AM and 2PM local time. Our two-hour delivery window is the most precise in the industry. If you desire another delivery time outside of our standard delivery options, we will do our best to accommodate your needs. As a courtesy, our driver will call you at least 30 minutes before they arrive at your drop-off destination.



Before we deliver your Conex box, prepare your delivery area by ensuring that there are no low overhangs, arches, wires, trees or any other obstacles that could interfere with your delivery. It's a good idea to mark the space where you would like your steel container placed.



When our driver arrives, they will back our truck into the space where you would like your shipping container placed. Once we arrive, we will ensure that your container is delivered safely and securely. If placed on asphalt or pavement, we will use wood dunnage pads to make sure your ground surface is protected and the container is level.


Check out our FAQ page or reach out to our helpful customer service team today @


Latest News in San Marcos, CA

Active Tuberculosis Reported at California State University San Marcos

Students and staff at California State University San Marcos (CSUSM) may have been exposed to tuberculosis (TB) during this Fall Semester 2022 session, the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) announced today.HHSA Public Health Services and CSUSM officials have worked in close collaboration to identify and notify those with a higher risk of exposure to tuberculosis and will be providing no-cost testing to individuals at increased risk for infection. The period of exposure was from August 30, 2022 to Novembe...

Students and staff at California State University San Marcos (CSUSM) may have been exposed to tuberculosis (TB) during this Fall Semester 2022 session, the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) announced today.

HHSA Public Health Services and CSUSM officials have worked in close collaboration to identify and notify those with a higher risk of exposure to tuberculosis and will be providing no-cost testing to individuals at increased risk for infection. The period of exposure was from August 30, 2022 to November 8, 2022.

Tuberculosis is an airborne disease that is transmitted from person to person through inhalation of the bacteria from the air, which are spread when someone sick with TB coughs, speaks, sings, or breathes. people with frequent and prolonged indoor exposure to a person who is sick with TB should get tested.

“Symptoms of active TB include persistent cough, fever, night sweats and unexplained weight loss,” said Wilma J. Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “Most people who become infected after exposure to tuberculosis do not get sick right away. Some who become infected with tuberculosis will become ill at some point in the future, sometimes even years later. Blood tests and skin tests are effective to determine whether someone has been infected. All those notified of a high risk of exposure are encouraged to receive no-cost testing.”

Effective treatments are available to treat people who are sick from active TB. It is especially important for individuals with symptoms of active TB and those who are immune-compromised to see their medical provider to rule-out active tuberculosis, and to discuss treatment.

People who test positive for TB but who don’t have symptoms of active TB should get a chest x-ray and talk to a medical provider, as they most likely have “latent TB infection” or LTBI. People with a latent TB infection are infected with the TB germs, but the infection is essentially dormant or sleeping. Taking medicines for latent TB infection, or LBTI, can prevent people from getting active TB in the future.

Individuals who would like more information on this potential exposure should contact:

The number of annual TB cases in San Diego County has decreased since the early 1990s and has stabilized in recent years. There were 192 cases reported in 2020 and 201 cases 2021.

As of the end of October, a total of 150 cases have been reported this year. An estimated 175,000 people in San Diego County have latent TB infection and are at risk for developing active TB without preventive treatment.

Can sports put a tiny new university in San Marcos on the college map?

The University of Saint Katherine doesn’t have a traditional campus or a library. But it’s picking up momentum as it heavily recruits student athletes. Prospective students can find UC Santa Cruz difficult to ignore. It’s nestled among sweet-scented fir trees overlooking the Pacific and has academic programs known around the world.But Antonio Chavez’s gaze didn’t linger there when he was shopping for a college. He picked the University of Saint Katherine in San Marcos, a tiny new school that does...

The University of Saint Katherine doesn’t have a traditional campus or a library. But it’s picking up momentum as it heavily recruits student athletes.

Prospective students can find UC Santa Cruz difficult to ignore. It’s nestled among sweet-scented fir trees overlooking the Pacific and has academic programs known around the world.

But Antonio Chavez’s gaze didn’t linger there when he was shopping for a college. He picked the University of Saint Katherine in San Marcos, a tiny new school that doesn’t have a traditional campus, a library, an endowment, plentiful housing or name recognition.

Chavez liked the fact that USK, as its called, is a short drive from his home in Oceanside and that it features small classes with lots of access to teachers. It also offered him something that Santa Cruz might not have provided — a chance to play on the soccer team.

“That was a big goal of mine,” said Chavez, a senior. “I love the game.”

He found a spot on the team through an unusual business strategy that’s being employed by USK, whose classes are mostly confined to a single floor of an office building on state Route 78, across from Cal State San Marcos.

The school, which markets itself as the only orthodox Christian university in the country, heavily recruits student athletes as a way of helping to build enrollment.

About 85 percent of its 275 students play on Saint Katherine’s 10 men and women’s teams. By comparison, the figure at most traditional colleges and universities is below 20 percent and, at many, below 5 percent.

“Our athletics department is phenomenal at recruitment,” said Dr. Frank J. Papatheofanis, who founded the school in 2010 and serves as its president. “We didn’t intend for that to happen ... They’re great recruiters. And so we just went along with it.

“We get students who couldn’t afford this caliber of education basically because of athletics, (and)athletic scholarships.”

The dominance of sports is reflected in USK’s employment roster. The school has 10 full-time coaches and seven full-time academic teachers. Roughly $1.2 million of the school’s $5.5 million budget goes to athletics.

It might be a short-term thing.

Papatheofanis, a former faculty member at the UC San Diego School of Medicine, said he would like to reduce the number of student athletes to the 25-percent to 30-percent range over time.

For the moment, though, the private, nonprofit and accredited school intends to use sports to raise its public profile and help boost enrollment to about 500, roughly over the next decade.

It will do so far, far away from the glare of big time college sports.

Saint Katherine is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, or NAIA, which is largely composed of small schools, many which have religious affiliations. The NAIA is usually overshadowed by the National Collegiate Athletic Association, or NCAA, which has an abundance of famous mid-to-large sized schools, such as UCLA, Ohio State and Notre Dame.

Saint Katherine belongs to NAIA’s California Pacific Conference, which includes other little-known schools, including the University of Antelope Valley and Arizona Christian University.

For a young school, USK is holding its own. The men’s baseball team won the conference championship last year, and the women did the same in beach volleyball and softball.

“This (level of competition) is just fun,” said Eryn Leja, coach of the women’s volleyball team and assistant athletic director.

“You have a better opportunity to play at the national tournament because there are less teams than (in) the NCAA,” she added. “I like knowing that we have a chance to play on a national level.”

Papatheofanis, who is 63, began thinking about creating a school like USK during his high school years, when he was living in Chicago and wondering where to go to college.

“All of my friends had denominational schools (to choose from),” he said. “My Catholic friends had Notre Dame, my Protestant friends had Wheaton College, my Jewish friends had Brandeis. “I didn’t have anything ...

“I was surprised to discover so early in my life that although my ancestors came and built churches they didn’t build schools, they didn’t invest in educational systems or networks.”

He was expressing his desire to attend a college that was based on orthodox Christianity which, along with Catholicism and Protestantism make up the three main branches of Christianity.

Today, there is an estimated 260 million to 300 million orthodox Christians worldwide, the majority of whom live in Russia and other parts of Eastern Europe. About 7 million orthodox Christians live in the U.S.

The number living in California isn’t clearly known. Papatheofanis believes the figure is large enough to support a university, so he started one. The school offers degrees in four main areas, the largest being kinesiology, followed by business, the arts and humanities, and the natural sciences.

USK charges about $27,000 in annual tuition, which is on the low side for a small, private school.

The university’s smallness holds big appeal for some students.

“I always pictured myself going to some big college with a huge campus,” said McKenna Clugston of Murrieta, the president of the student senate. “Then I came here on a visit and loved the family atmosphere.”

The ambience also captivates Alden Reynoso, a human resources expert who teaches career development part-time at USK.

“I’m in a business where you don’t always get to bring your faith to work,” Reynoso said of working in HR. “But here I get to. That’s important to me.”

Recruiting student athletes to such a school can be a challenge, said Kai Harris, coach of the women’s basketball team.

“The big push is trying to build an atmosphere where people would rather be here than anywhere else,” Harris said. “Sometimes, we lose out to the big shiny lights and the nice locker rooms (of other schools). But we really try to find those players where culture is something really important to them.”

For Harris, the effort comes with a small but important near-term goal.

“We have a Handels Ice Cream place right down the street,” he said. “It has all of the local schools painted on the wall. You’ve got San Marcos High School, Mission Hill High School, Cal State San Marcos, Palomar College.

“But there’s no USK. My secret mission is (for us) to be relevant enough, loud enough, make enough waves, to where we get painted on the Handel’s wall.

“It’s symbolic.”

San Diego County might owe you money: $1M still unclaimed

San Diego County might owe you money, but the deadline to get it back is quickly approaching.There is roughly $1.1 million left to be given back, said the Treasurer-Tax Collector’s Office. The deadline is Wednesday, Nov. 30at 11:59 p.m. The most common reason why the county might owe you money is overpaying on taxes.San Diegans can check to see if they are owed money on the county’s website: Sdttc...

San Diego County might owe you money, but the deadline to get it back is quickly approaching.

There is roughly $1.1 million left to be given back, said the Treasurer-Tax Collector’s Office. The deadline is Wednesday, Nov. 30at 11:59 p.m. The most common reason why the county might owe you money is overpaying on taxes.

San Diegans can check to see if they are owed money on the county’s website:

“With the cost of living what it is, and the holidays approaching, I’m sure people can use this money,” wrote Treasurer-Tax Collector Dan McAllister in a news release. “My staff and I are working hard to return this money to the citizens of San Diego. The average refund is $755, and that can go a long way for those who are the rightful owners and who need it.”

The Treasurer-Tax Collector’s Office is required by state law to put unclaimed money in the general fund if no business or person claims it in three years.

There are a lot of very small amounts for individuals, such as $10, but the totals get pretty high for a lot of businesses. Orange County-based telecommunications company Mobilite is owed nearly $10,000, Village Wood Condominiums are owed $3,400, and Rancho Sante Fe retail hub Cielo Village is owed $3,538.

If you don’t have access to a computer, you can also visit branches of the Treasurer-Tax Collector’s Office downtown, in Chula Vista, Santee, San Marcos and Kearny Mesa. Or you call and ask: 877-829-4732.

If a person finds their name, the office has a one-page form to fill out that can be downloaded off the website. Potentially slowing things down: If the refund is more than $500, it needs to be notarized, which can usually be done at a UPS store, PostalAnnex or individual notaries.

Claims should be emailed to:

Or, if you are already somewhere getting it notarized, you can also mail it:

San Diego County Treasurer Tax CollectorATTN: Financial Division/Property Tax Refund Claim1600 Pacific Highway, Room 162San Diego, CA 92101

In the past five years, the office has refunded more than $383,300. There are nearly 2,000 unclaimed refunds this year.

Reopened 136-Year-Old Former Stagecoach Stop Is a Big Deal for Santa Ynez Wine Country

A reimagined old stagecoach stop is taking the Central Coast’s busy wine region by storm. Mattei’s Tavern has reopened as of November 18 in once-sleepy Los Olivos, located in the heart of Santa Barbara County’s wine community, bringing with it California ranch cuisine with plenty of luxury touches.Mattei’s T...

A reimagined old stagecoach stop is taking the Central Coast’s busy wine region by storm. Mattei’s Tavern has reopened as of November 18 in once-sleepy Los Olivos, located in the heart of Santa Barbara County’s wine community, bringing with it California ranch cuisine with plenty of luxury touches.

Mattei’s Tavern has been an on-and-off anchor for the Santa Ynez Valley for generations, operating as a stagecoach stop, various restaurants, a speakeasy bar, and more over the past 136 years. Initially, the property — including the restaurant and other lodgings and facilities spread across more than six acres — was a layover stop for travelers navigating the San Marcos Pass, eventually growing to become a local staple that expanded with the nearby population. The past 15 years have been much more uncertain, though, as the restaurant fell into various hands and attempted various comebacks.

This newest iteration has been years in the making, setting up Mattei’s Tavern to once again be a community gathering space as well as a travel hub, albeit now as part of the larger Auberge Resorts Collection property that will open in 2023 with 67 guestrooms. The hospitality group operates worldwide five-star properties and private residences in places like Napa Valley, Los Cabos, Anguilla, Greece, and beyond. The upscale hotel and restaurant’s arrival makes for the biggest opening in the area in decades, coming on the heels of growing tourism to the wine region and an explosion of culinary talent, mostly centered around Los Alamos, Solvang, and Los Olivos. Restaurants like Bar Le Côte, Full of Life Flatbread, SY Kitchen, Coast Range, and others have been swiftly changing the dining landscape nearby, and now comes Mattei’s Tavern.

The new Mattei’s Tavern features food from chef Rhoda Magbitang, who has cooked across Los Angeles and Las Vegas at stops like Bazaar Meat, Chateau Marmont, and Petit Ermitage. The seasonal farm focus means year-round produce from the likes of Finley Farms and Goleta’s Cultured Abalone, as well as meats from local ranches cooked over an open hearth and rotisserie. The full evening menu at Mattei’s Tavern can be found here, and reservations are now available via OpenTable.

Beyond Mattei’s (the restaurant), the property also plays host to an attached leather-bound bar offering cocktails, craft beer, and plenty of local wine; there’s the Shed for poolside dining come summertime; and Gin’s Tap Bar for smoked meats and drinks. During the day, Felix Feed & Coffee offers breakfast and lunch with espresso drinks, pastries, and lighter fare before venturing out and about. Expect the entire property to be fully up and running by February 2023.

Mattei’s Tavern is now open at 2350 Railway Avenue, Los Olivos, CA 93441.

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2350 Railway Ave, Los Olivos, CA 93441 888-218-4941 Visit Website

To share Native American culture and history the right way, artifacts should always be returned to tribes

Joely Proudfit, director of the California Indian Culture and Sovereignty Center and chair of American Indian Studies at California State University, San Marcos, talks about the need to return Native American artifacts to tribal communitiesEarlier this month, a Massachusetts museum finally returned some 150 Native American artifacts to Lakota Sioux peoples. The museum was in possession o...

Joely Proudfit, director of the California Indian Culture and Sovereignty Center and chair of American Indian Studies at California State University, San Marcos, talks about the need to return Native American artifacts to tribal communities

Earlier this month, a Massachusetts museum finally returned some 150 Native American artifacts to Lakota Sioux peoples. The museum was in possession of these items for more than a century and repatriation efforts had been in the works for decades, highlighting the long and drawn-out process of returning these artifacts to their rightful homes in tribal communities.

The 1990 Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act — which requires the return of Native American cultural items found on federal or tribal lands or from museums receiving federal funding — is a significant help in this process, but the law could use greater enforcement, says Joely Proudfit, director of the California Indian Culture and Sovereignty Center and chair of American Indian Studies, both at California State University San Marcos.

“NAGPRA has been in effect for 30 years, and it’s an important law in that it provides a pathway of human remains and funerary objects to be returned to tribes and tribal communities,” she says. “Overall, the intent of the law is a positive thing, and we support any effort to return Native American materials, items, funerary objects … back to tribes and tribal communities.”

In an Associated Press analysis of information from the National Park Service, about 870,000 items (including nearly 110,000 human remains) that should be returned to tribes under this law, are still being held by colleges, museums and other institutions, with the University of California Berkeley topping the list as of July 2022. Proudfit took some time to talk about repatriation efforts, why these items don’t belong in settler-colonial spaces, and how the return of these artifacts helps to facilitate healing for tribal communities. (This interview has been edited for length and clarity. )

Q: You’ve mentioned that NAGPRA has been unclear and has led to the use of loopholes to avoid returning items to Indigenous communities. What are some of these loopholes?

A: Unfortunately, I think some of the loopholes have been used for many years in slowing down the return of materials, or trying to rationalize maintaining those materials by splitting hairs over what is defined as “human remains” and “funerary objects.” NAGPRA is a good start, but it doesn’t go far enough because all cultural items should be returned to tribal communities. If the tribe wants it back, they should have it back. Unfortunately, museums have used salvage science for decades — it is the orientation of early academic (and perhaps present) research as characterizing Native people and culture in the past tense. Buying into manifest destiny, genocide and assimilation which (viewed) the end of tribal cultures as necessary and inevitable. There is nothing to be gained through interpretation from a colonial lens of our items; all of those materials should be returned to tribal communities.

Q: The Museum of Us and the San Diego Archaeological Center have committed to the standards of this law and promote the repatriation of Indigenous items. What has this experience and process been like, locally?

A: Locally, we have very well-organized tribal nations here who are looking to have those items repatriated, so when items are repatriated from some of these museums, it’s very positive. It’s about our future, it’s about our culture, it’s about resiliency and the restitution of our culture, and it’s about moving forward through our own lens and telling our own stories and having these materials back where they belong, with the people. So, NAGPRA isn’t so much about the past as it is about the future.

Q: For people who may try to argue that keeping these items in museums allows people to learn about Indigenous cultures and histories, are there instead ways in which these items and information can be shared that are more welcome and respectful? What would that look like?

A: While there are well-meaning anthropologists and archaeologists, they are interpreting these items and these materials through a colonial, European lens. So, the best way to learn about Native people and Native people in the past is to learn about Native people through a Native lens, which means repatriating all of the items back to Native people.

Q: According to the Kumeyaay Cultural Repatriation Committee, they had to sue the University of California in 2012 for the return of remains excavated from the San Diego campus in 1976. Are you able to speak to the potential burden and harm that comes from having to go through these sorts of channels to have items and remains returned?

A: Right, NAGPRA exists to avoid that, and it’s unfortunate that so many universities, including the UC system, have been resistant to that and that tribes have had to sue them to have those items maintained. Native people have to have a voice in the study of their own heritage and their own culture, and they need to bring those family members and those items back home. So, it’s really unfortunate when tribal nations and tribal peoples have to sue institutions to get them to follow the law, to follow NAGPRA, and to get access to what are their cultural items. If we want to heal the wounds of the past, we need to build that trust and to move forward together. We’re not moving forward together when we have to sue the institutions to do the right thing, so the institutions know what they need to do — they need to repatriate the items back to tribal communities because the best people to maintain, preserve, protect and share the knowledge that comes from these materials are the Native peoples themselves.

Q: With local examples like the Museum of Us or the San Diego Archaeological Center, what has it meant to have these cultural items returned? How do these returns facilitate communal healing?

A: That is the best pathway forward, to have materials repatriated in a good way and for tribes to have a ceremony in the repatriation process. For tribes to have the ability to share their culture, to focus on the future, and to be the ones who are sharing their living culture, not a reliance on someone else’s interpretation of who they are, who they were in the past, and who they are going forward. It’s an important opportunity for tribes to maintain the materials, to be the responsible party of their own items, materials and ancestors. It’s for their future.


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