Reader Bruce tells me that Caffe Primo at 516 State Street (formerly Pierre Lafond Wine Bistro) is opening next month:


Signs just went up in the front window of Cafe Primo saying that it’s opening on September 14th.


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The Alvaro Family, founders of Rudy’s Mexican restaurant plan to open Cito Street Café at 305 W. Montecito Street, next door to the original Rudy’s location which opened in 1976. The Alvara family has owned the corner property, referred to as Montecito Plaza, for many years. The business will be run by founder Rudy Alvarao’s daughter Andrea and will offer coffee, pastries, salads, pre-made sandwiches, beer and wine. Cito Street Café, which will be replacing a discount store that previously occupied the space just to the right of Rudy’s Mexican restaurant, hopes to open in November.


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Reader Cathy tells me that a sign for “805 Boba” has appeared in Paseo Nuevo Mall across from Pressed Juicery.

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SBMENUS EXPANDS TO MONTECITO is going the extra mile by expanding delivery service to include Montecito, with a territory that extends to all of Goleta. SBMenus, recently launched a free, user-friendly app making it possible to order restaurant delivery and takeout from any mobile device. A key feature of the app allows customers to track their order from the restaurant to destination, so customers can see where their food is at all times. SBMenus ensures hungry diners will have a wide selection from over 80 Santa Barbara restaurants such as Los Agaves, McConnell’s, Joe’s Café, Chase Bar & Grill, Santa Barbara Chicken Ranch, South Coast Deli, Fresco Café & Bakery, Our Daily Bread, and Union Ale.

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Traditionally the Sojourner Café at 134 E. Canon Perdido Street is closed on Monday’s. That changed this week when Nimita’s Cuisine opened for business, filling in for Sojourner every Monday. Owner Sojourner owner Donna Mudge has formed a partnership with Nimita’s owner Nimita Dhirajlal which current offers Nimita’s Cuisine via lunch truck and catering.

Dhirahlal’s web site offers the following description:

“I pride myself in being able to offer Ayurvedic meals geared to support health through a vegetarian diet by collaborating with local farmers and finally nurturing members of our community. The abundance and variety of fresh vegetables in our local market allows my cuisine to conjure up a modified version of Indian food that focuses on allowing us to respect the flavors of each vegetable while still enjoying the spices. I have been a culinary instructor since 1994. I have taught in the Canary Islands, Spain and have been actively teaching in the community of Santa Barbara since 1996. Venues where I have taught include SBCC Adult Education, Roblar Culinary School, Private Meetups, and SB County Jail. My commitment to nurture the community embraces every sector including the Hispanic community with which I delight doing group work in my job as a therapist. More than often, I integrate the art of cooking with therapy work. What we are all looking for is connection. When we work with food, appreciate it, understand its benefits and share it with community members, we are feasting our souls and healing happens in a subtle way. There is also a meditative benefit that come along with the mindfulness of cooking. My passion has led me to create my own company, Nimita’s Cuisine, which offers weekly deliveries to private individuals. I also actively supports the Meatless Monday campaign and am committed to bring this awareness to my local community. My business motto is: ‘Let me teach you how to make the meals. And if you don’t have time to make them, then let me bring them to you to enjoy.’”

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Kanaloa Seafood has moved from their long-time home at 618 East Gutierrez Street and opened this week at 715 Chapala Street. Their web site describes the business:

“At Kanaloa seafood company, our mission statement is the Hawaiian word, Kina’ole, which means “doing the right thing, in the right way, at the right time, in the right place, to the right person, for the right reason, with the right feeling, every time. Kanaloa Seafood is a full-service wholesale provider bringing a rigorous scientific approach and commitment to sustainable product sourcing. For over 30 years we have partnered with restaurants, hospitality groups, retailers — and now home cooks — consistently delivering the freshest seafood available directly to their doorstep. In addition to delivering seafood, we maintain retail markets in Santa Barbara and Oxnard, California.”

Call 966-5159.



Reader Primetime let me know that KEYT has a story on the new Globe restaurant at 18 E. Cota Street.

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A sandwich shop named Which Wich hopes to open five locations on the South Coast starting in 2016. Which Wich has over 400 locations in 38 states and more than 50 in California. Here is a description of the business from

“Which Wich Superior Sandwiches is an innovative yet simple concept that focuses on the ‘wich,’ a customizable sandwich available in more than 50 varieties. To ensure each sandwich fits the guest’s exact specifications, founder Jeff Sinelli created a revolutionary system that simplifies the ordering process—thereby creating greater efficiency, customer satisfaction, and, ultimately, brand loyalty. Which Wich was a hit from the moment it opened its doors in 2003, so we began franchising in 2005. Which Wich has received local recognition in nearly every market it serves, as well as industry accolades. In 2007, Which Wich was honored with the coveted Hot Concepts. Award from Nation’s Restaurant News, the premier trade publication for the restaurant industry. In 2010, Which Wich was named the fastest growing restaurant chain in the United States and Canada by Chain Restaurant Guide. We also are consistently ranked among the top 20 fastest growing concepts on”



Word has come to me that a brand of organic, sustainable, premium tea called Chai Diaries is newly available at Gelson’s in Santa Barbara. Ami Bhansali, the founder of Chai Diaries, will be sampling product on Sunday, August 23rd from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. “We are so excited to offer Chai Diaries teas to Gelson’s customers as we believe their quest for quality products will be satisfied by our delicious, wholesome and healthy teas,” says Bhansali. “I believe that health is realized holistically and Chai Diaries aims to support well-being both physically and mentally.” Chai Diaries’ loose-leaf, whole-leaf and 100% compostable teabags contain a variety of organic teas including Ayurveda, Black Teas, Blooming Teas, Chai Teas, Green Teas, Insta-Chais, Oolongs, Pu’erh, Rooibos and Tisanes (both caffeine free), and White Teas. Visit

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Readers tell me that Rebar Coffee has opened at 214 State Street, the former home of Tri Tip Company, which is immediately next to Union Ale. The main menu includes Cold Brew Coffee, Cold Brew Vanilla Sweet, Latte Coffee, Vanilla Latte, Mesquite Pecan Milk, Sparkling Tea, and Sparkling Lemonade. The espresso menu includes Espresso, Espresso Macchiato, Cappuccino, Caffee Latte, Americano, Iced Latte, and Iced Americano. Assorted pastries and baked goods are also available. Call 845-2222 or visit


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Crushcakes & Café has completed a merger with Simply Pies at 5392 Hollister Avenue in Goleta. Owner Shannon Gaston offers up some details:

“Hi John,
I wanted to let you and your readers know that Crushcakes & Simply Pies is now open in Goleta! We are serving our full breakfast, lunch, coffee and cake offerings as well as all of our delicious Simply Pies! Our official Grand Opening Party will be this Saturday, August 15th at 10 a.m. Come visit us for complimentary cupcakes, champagne and other delicious treats!! We are located at 5392 Hollister Avenue, open everyday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. We have a big patio out back. Bring your friends, family and dogs! Woof! Thank you!
– Shannon”




Word on the street is that On The Alley will open in Camino Real Marketplace in August and that neighboring eateries Jane and Pascucci will open in late November or sometime in December.



Reader Glenn tells me that a new restaurant named Café Dolce has opened at 475 1st Street in Solvang serving Gelato and other “Backyard Bowls-type entrees.” Call 708-9003.

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Reader Cynthia shares some thoughts from Carpinteria:

“Just curious to see if you had any information about the space where Taqueria Buen Gusto on Carpinteria Avenue in Carp was. It was so strange because one week the restaurant was closed and tented due to some kind of infestation then it looked open for a couple of days then it closed for good. I noticed some people working in there a couple weeks ago so thought it may have been sold? I’m praying for a great place to go in there:)”

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This just in from reader Jeremiah:

“Hi John!
I am hosting a local radio show that ‘takes a peek’ at the entertaining stories that make up the hospitality biz on KZSB AM 1290 each Thursday at 11 a.m. The show is rebroadcast at 9 p.m. and Saturday at noon and 12 a.m. Sunday morning for the late night industry professionals. The program is called ‘The Jeremiah Show.’ One of the segments that we produce once a month is called ‘Culinary Kids.’ This segment is sort of like a ‘Shark Tank’ for kids who want to open their own restaurants one day, and we encourage them to join us on air to answer questions and “pitch” us their business. We are looking for new Culinary Kids. Please ask your audience to send their Culinary Kids names, ages, ideas and a short pitch to Thank you John!
– Jeremiah”

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Reader Steve let me know that Boca del Rio at 318 North Milpas Street has closed. The business opened January 2012.

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Reader Steve also let me know that a new Mexican restaurant named Los Altos has opened at 318 North Milpas Street, the former home of Boca del Rio. Owner Alberto Gonzalez’s home of Jalisco Mexico is the inspiration behind the taste and feel of Los Altos. Happy hour is available daily 3 – 6 p.m. Delivery is available with $25 minimum order. Call 845-8898 or visit



This just in from reader Carolyn:

What’s going on with the old auto body shop in the Romanti-Ezer lot at 701 Chapala Street? Looks like a new restaurant is quickly approaching! There is also a new Ramen bar coming where Esau’s used to be! – Carolyn



Can someone please open a Poke Bar/Restaurant/Cafe PLEASE?! They are everywhere in Santa Monica, Venice, etc… Maybe I should…?

- Meeshell



Santa Barbara Public Market has lost two tenants. Crazy Good Bread closed yesterday and Belcampo Meat Co. closes tonight. You will still be able to buy Crazy Good Bread products in the market at Culture Counter and Il Fustino.



To celebrate the local community, the Santa Barbara Public Market has launched “Locals Night”, every Monday night at 5pm. All Santa Barbara locals are invited to the Public Market to enjoy great food and drink specials from participating merchants. Locals Night specials include:

  • Half Off BBQ Chicken Wings at Belcampo with beverage purchase from Wine + Beer
  • 10% off oils + vinegars after 5pm at il Fustino
  • 10% off a purchase of $10 or more at Flagstone Pantry
  • 20% off your purchase at Green Star Coffee
  • $1 off Draft Beer and Gassac rose wine at Empty Bowl Gourmet Noodle Bar
  • 15% off produce purchases at Forager’s Pantry
  • Two ice cream sandwiches for $8.05 from Rori’s Artisanal Creamery
  • Happy Hour all night at Wine + Beer
  • $1 Oysters at I`a Fish Market & Café


The William Sansum Diabetes Center wants to take the guesswork out of fun and healthy eating. Each year, more than 550,000 residents and visitors with diabetes snack, drink and dine at Santa Barbara establishments. With the help of a grant from the Mosher Foundation Sansum has launched a “#GuiltFreeSB” program with the goal to make Santa Barbara the world’s most diabetes-friendly destination. Sansum’s registered dietitian has worked with local restaurant and retail partners to identify colorful and delicious meals that are nourishing and nutritious for those with diabetes. For more information visit

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Locally owned and operated Taco Bell at 3771 State Street (near La Cumbre Plaza) is scheduled to close. In May 2012 Taco Bell at 2912 De la Vina Street closed after decades in business. That leaves Mesa and Milpas as the only locations in the city of Santa Barbara to order your Crunchwrap Supreme. Taco Bell at 140 North Fairview Avenue in Goleta is scheduled to be demolished then return in an all-new building.



Word on the street is that Dunkin’ Donuts is going to take over the space at 3771 State Street (near La Cumbre Plaza), the current home of Taco Bell. In November 2013 I first reported that Dunkin’ Donuts was looking for a home on the South Coast.

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In April I announced that Timbers restaurant at 10 Winchester Canyon Road in Goleta will reopen. Plans include an incubator kitchen, a local Deli Market & Pie Shop that will feature all local produce, wine, cheeses, honey, baked goods, pies and products made by local artisan producers only found in Santa Barbara, Goleta, Carpinteria and Summerland. The main dining hall will be recrafted to bring back the family-style dining of the past, offering family music and entertainment. I reported that the neighboring farm will be replanted with pumpkins, lettuce, and organic produce to be served in the on the property. The farm will offer “pick your own” tours and have livestock for the kids.

Reader Charlotte let me know that things keep moving along at Timbers:

“The Timbers remodel is shaping up. There is a new asphalt parking lot, a big vegetable garden. Things are looking great and lots of hammering is going on inside. This is really exciting for us skeptical locals out here. There is hope for our beloved Timbers! – Charlotte.”

While stopping by to check things out I noticed that the roadside Timbers sign has scaffolding and is in the process of being refurbished.




Mario and Lani Medina have owned and operated Mulligans Cafe & Bar at 3500 McCaw Avenue since December 1993. In April I announced that Medinas have taken over the space at 521 Firestone Road in Goleta, the former home of Elephant Bar & Restaurant which closed in August 2013. The new restaurant will be called High Sierra Grill & Bar, and will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner including a Sunday buffet. Menu will include BBQ, burgers, pizza, sandwiches, salads, and more. Opening is planned for sometime between August and the end of the year. Reader Charlotte let me know that things keep moving along at High Sierra Grill & Bar that a sign for restaurant was recently completed.




Reader Primetime passed me a tip that Globe restaurant at 18 E. Cota Street will open soon and include a $10 and under menu. I first wrote about Globe in January. Earlier this week I emailed Globe partner Laura Knight and received some details about the business:

“Hi John,

Yes, we are very excited to announce Globe will be opening soon, we anticipate Friday July 31st! It’s a concept Santa Barbara has been missing, a small plates lounge, everything $10 and under, with dishes from all over the World , we will feature seafood, meats, vegetarian & vegan, something for everyone! Alone or with friends you will be pleased with the food, spirits and service. The bar will feature fresh squeezed juices, a full bar, wines & beers from around the world, Our kitchen will be open late, a comfortable, cozy place in a unique atmosphere. The location is 18 E. Cota Street, between American ale & Blue Agave.

I have been working since January with 2 design friends, Sandy Cowan and Cathy Buckingham, to completely remodel the dining space (we didn’t have to do much to the kitchen, the space has an amazing, huge kitchen!) to create a space where everywhere you sit will be comfortable, like a giant living room, and everywhere you look, sexy, beautiful décor, a feast for the soul as well as the eyes! I have been working on the décor, food & menu concept, and Gerry Cruz is the operating partner.

Globe…coming soon to your planet!

Laura Knight & Gerry Cruz.
GLOBE – Santa Barbara. As unique and distinct as our customers”



For those of you who read The Restaurant Guy in the Santa Barbara Independent, this Thursday July 23rd the column moves from its longtime home in the back of the paper (near the classifieds) to the food section in the middle. This brings all the Independent’s food content together in one happy home. My column submission deadline moves from Tuesday to Monday so if you have breaking news to share please let me know by Monday a.m. if it is to make print the same week. There is no deadline for blog stories.

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Noozhawk reports that a fire broke out this morning in the kitchen at Carlitos Café y Cantina, 1324 State Street. Damage appears to be minimal and the restaurant is expected to reopen shortly.

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This just in from reader Mike:

“Hi John, we love your site. I never thought I’d actually have a “hot tip”. But I do ! Wings Chinese restaurant at 4427 Hollister Avenue (sorta where State becomes Hollister) is for sale. After 45 years the owner is retiring. It’s a hole in the wall for sure, but a sentimental favorite for me and my wife. I suggest you try the salted squid before they close shop. I hope they get a little media coverage with their retirement. 45 years may as well be a million in restaurant years. Anyway – I thought I’d pass on the information. Cheers, Mike”