After intense concentration and a wave of my hand over the all-knowing crystal ball, my eatery oracle has revealed a list of food and drink locations appearing in your future:

  • Caffe Primo, 516 State St. and 34 W. Carrillo St.
  • Del Taco, Santa Barbara (2 locations)
  • Dunkin’ Donuts, Santa Barbara (2 locations)
  • East Beach Tacos, 226 S. Milpas St. (formerly Norton’s)
  • Farmer Boy Restaurant, 3427 State St. (remodeling under new ownership)
  • Globe, 18 E. Cota St. (formerly Café Luck)
  • High Sierra Grill House, 521 Firestone Rd., Goleta (formerly Elephant Bar)
  • Jane, 6920 Marketplace Dr., Goleta (formerly Smoke N Barrel BBQ Shack)
  • Jersey Mike’s Subs, 3325 State St.
  • Live Oak Café at Best Western, 2220 Bath St. (formerly Las Aves Café)
  • Lure Fish House, 3815 State St. (formerly Ruth’s Chris)
  • Nona’s Italian Deli, 415 E. De la Guerra St. (formerly Italian Grocery)
  • Nuance, 119 State St. (formerly Blue Tavern)
  • On the Alley, 7038 Marketplace Dr., Goleta (formerly Gina’s Pizza)
  • OTaco, 6530 Pardall Rd., Isla Vista (formerly Angry Wings)
  • Pace, 108 Pierpont Rd., Summerland (formerly Big Yellow House)
  • Pascucci, 6920 Marketplace Dr., Goleta (formerly Holdren’s Grill)
  • PizzaRev, 12 W. De la Guerra St. (formerly Kahuna Grill)
  • Rusty’s Pizza, 5934 Calle Real, Goleta (moving from 6025 Calle Real)
  • Rusty’s Pizza, 111 State St. (moving from 15 E. Cabrillo Blvd.)
  • Smart & Final Extra, 7000 Hollister Ave., Goleta (Hollister Village Plaza)
  • Subway, 1936 State St.
  • Taco Bell, Hollister Ave. at Pacific Oaks Rd., Goleta
  • The French Press, 250 Storke Rd., Goleta (formerly Bicycle Bob’s)
  • The Mex, 413 State St. (formerly Pace restaurant)
  • Wahoo’s Fish Taco, 7000 Hollister Ave., Goleta (Hollister Village Plaza)
  • Yoichi’s, 230 E. Victoria St. (formerly Spiritland Bistro)
  • Yume Sushi, 428 Chapala St. (formerly Adama)
  • Zizzo’s Coffee, 7000 Hollister Ave., Goleta (Hollister Village Plaza)
  • Unnamed, 901 E. Cabrillo Blvd. (inside Santa Barbara Inn)


This just in from the Bacara resort:

150226-russellKurt Russell Headlines Santa Barbara Food & Wine Weekend Wine Dinner

Actor & Apprentice Winemaker hosts his first local GoGi Wines event in Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara – The secret is out – Santa Barbara is a food and wine lover’s paradise. So it’s no wonder celebrated actors such as Kurt Russell have chosen the American Riviera as the home for their winemaking passion.

“After tasting pinots from around the world, my personal belief is that the Santa Rita Hills area is, other than Burgundy, the best place to make pinot noir,” said Kurt Russell.

Russell, along with his daughter and actress Kate Hudson and musician Matt Bellamy, have partnered with Winemakers Peter and Rebecca Work, proprietors of Ampelos Cellars, to produce GoGi Wines and Hudson Bellamy Wines in the renowned Sta. Rita Hills AVA in Santa Barbara County. The Wine Saloon at the historic 1880 Union Hotel in Los Alamos, located 45 miles from downtown Santa Barbara, exclusively features all three labels.

Wine aficionados (and Russell fans) will have the rare opportunity to hear directly from Kurt about the stories which inspired his wines at the 2nd Annual Santa Barbara Food & Wine Weekend’s Grand Wine Dinneron April 18 at Bacara Resort & Spa. Now in its second year, the Weekend is produced by Bacara Resort & Spa together with The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts.  The weekend’s proceeds benefit The Foundation.

“Santa Barbara has always been recognized for our beautiful beaches, but it’s our culinary community that is now drawing national acclaim,” said Kathleen Cochran, general manager of Bacara Resort & Spa. “This weekend is designed to showcase all that makes Santa Barbara County’s food and wine so unique, so it’s only fitting that Kurt is joining the celebration.”

The Grand Wine Dinner with Kurt Russell will begin with a reception featuring live music, hors d’oeuvres and two Hudson Bellamy wines: Hudson Bellamy 2013 Rose of Syrah “Que Syrah Syrah” and Hudson Bellamy 2013 Sauvignon Blanc “A Little Time.”

A four-course “Ranch to Table” sit-down dinner will follow the reception. The menu will showcase the region’s best locally-sourced meat and produce, handcrafted by Bacara’s award-winning culinary team. Each course will star Russell’s personally selected wine pairings, including: GoGi Viognier 2013 “LuLu;” GoGi Chardonnay 2012 “Goldie;” GoGi Pinot Noir 2011 “Angelbaby;” and Ampelos Syrah 2010 “Gamma.”

Bacara’s Creative Director Lorrene Balzani will transform the resort’s grand ballroom into a rustic, old west atmosphere inspired by The Wine Saloon. “Our goal is to create an intimate and informal space that reflects Kurt’s approachable and fun-loving style,” said Cochran. “We want the evening to feel like a large gathering among friends, old and new.”

The Grand Wine Dinner with Kurt Russell takes places on Saturday, April 18 from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at Bacara. Tickets are available for $199, plus tax and gratuity, and can be purchased online at

Russell joins an all-star lineup of 25 other events happening over April 16-19 at the Santa Barbara Food & Wine Weekend. Now themed: Savoring the Past, Cultivating the Future, additional weekend highlights include:

  • Santa Barbara County Vintners’ Association wine tasting reception and video tribute to the late Julia Child, a Montecito resident, presented by her former producer and director, Geoffrey Drummond and baking guru/author Dorie Greenspan, who collaborated on the multi-award winning Baking with Julia TV series and cookbook.
  • Educational lunch with Los Angeles power couple and celebrity chefs, Suzanne Goin (Lucques, AOC & Tavern) and David Lentz, chef/owner of Santa Barbara’s The Hungry Cat
  • Cooking classes with famed chefs and cookbook authors, including Jim Dodge, Anne Willan and Virginia Willis
  • Neighborhood Tasting & Market that explores Santa Barbara’s top up-and-coming food regions, including Los Alamos, Arts District and the Funk Zone
  • Screening of A Year in Champagne in the resort’s 211-seat movie theater paired with a glass of champagne and local chocolate tasting
  • Curator from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History discussing all about “Julia Child’s Kitchen,” the museum’s most visited exhibit

All events are inspired by Julia’s lifelong passion for learning, love of eating well and mission to further gastronomy. They are designed to marry entertainment and inspiration, celebration with learning.

“The Foundation is delighted to continue to foster Julia Child’s legacy and our connection to Santa Barbara with Bacara Resort & Spa’s support.  Last year’s inaugural event embodied everything we had hoped it would, capturing what Julia loved about enjoying the best and latest in food, wine and cooking and what makes Santa Barbara such a special destination.  We are delighted to have Kurt Russell and so many other top people in food & wine join us this year to share their passion.  We hope to see many more Santa Barbarans join those from around the country at this year’s expanded and exciting weekend.” – said Todd Schulkin, Executive Director, The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts.

Tickets for all events are now available at Advanced reservations are recommended as events do sell out but same day tickets will be available for select events with greater capacity such as the Neighborhood Tour.

For tickets and a complete list of events and more information about the Santa Barbara Food & Wine Weekend, please visit

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Reader Bruce tells me that Sandbar at 514 State Street has reopened. The business closed in early December for an extensive remodel.

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Readers Bob and Jim tell me that Steve’s Patio Cafe at 3007 De la Vina Street has started renovating their kitchen and is working on ADA compliance for the patio. I am told the work will be done by March 3rd.

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Reader Primetime tells me that Casa Don Roge at 4928 Carpinteria Avenue in Carpinteria has a large sign out front indicating that the restaurant now serves rotisserie chicken.


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Hoffmann Brat Haus at 801 State Street has announce the completion of its outside patio remodel–complete with newly installed gas lamps–inviting customers to celebrate traditional German beer, gourmet brats, a new wine list, and additional perks around the large new fire pit.

“Our patio with the new fire pit is the only one offering a State Street view in downtown Santa Barbara,” explains general manager Nicole Mullen. “Now, beer enthusiasts can enjoy their German beverage and gourmet brat in a comfortable setting around a fire, with our new gas lamps adding to the rustic, warm atmosphere.”

Offering beers of Germany and Belgium, the Hoffmann Brat Haus has added a second beer from the oldest brewery in the world–the Weihenstephaner Original Lager. Beer enthusiasts can now enjoy both the Weihenstephaner Vitus and the Original Lager, as well as the restaurants’ most popular, the classic König Pilsener, in the 2-liter traditional German beer boot.



Lease negotiations are underway for Pascucci restaurant to open a second location at 6920 Marketplace Drive in Goleta, the former home of Holdren’s Grill. Another Santa Barbara favorite, Jane restaurant, may occupy the neighboring space, once the home of Pastavino and Smoke N Barrel BBQ Shack. In the mid-2000s a Pascucci restaurant opened in Camino Real Marketplace, run by relatives of the owner of downtown Pascucci, but the name soon switched to Zaffiro and that business closed in June, 2008.





This just in from reader Mark:

Hey John,

On my way home I noticed a rather large fence around Steve’s Patio Cafe at 3007 De la Vina Street.  Has that property changed owners or are they renovating?  Thought you might know.




Readers Papa John and DeeDee tell me that Greek restaurant Santorini Island Grill opened in January on the ground floor of the UCSB UCen where Domino’s Pizza used to be. To see the menu visit

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I am more than a little late to report this story. Readers tell me that Maria’s Bakery at 4928 Carpinteria Avenue in Carpinteria closed in 2013 and that a new bakery, Casa Don Roge, has replaced it.

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Hillstone, the company behind the Houston’s restaurant chain, has opened The Honor Bar at 1255 Coast Village Road, next to Jeannine’s, in the former home of Turk Hessellund Nursery. Last August Hillstone officially announced that they were opening an R+D Kitchen at this address and I don’t know if those plans are still in the works or if The Honor Bar is a replacement. Honor Bar dishes out their take on classic finger foods, such as burgers, sandwiches, fries and even sushi. Honor Bar has a separate wine by the glass list, cocktail menu as well as draft and bottled beer options. The Starters & Snacks section of the menu features Honor Bar Dips, Deviled Eggs, House-Smoked Salmon and Roasted Nuts & Olives. The Burgers & Sandwiches menu includes Honor Burger, Veggie Club, Ding’s Crispy Chicken Sandwich, Today’s Featured Sandwich and French Dip Au Jus.



This just in from owner Donna Mudge:


Although the Sojourner has gone through difficult times along the way, most notably the recovery after an arson fire in ’88, the community has always been there. Our neighborhood has experienced several transitions over the last few years with business changes and construction, but I believe our corner will thrive and we would like to remain an anchor here for many more years to come. We are proud to be a part of such a great neighborhood! We are making internal adjustments to serve our customers better and to be a sustainable and viable business, but we cannot do it without the continued support of our long-standing community of “Sojies” along with our new friends and patrons. ‘It takes a village…’ never rung more true for me.

Thank you,
Donna Mudge



This just in from owner Ken Boxer:

Hi John,

Beginning February 12th I lowered all my menu prices across-the-board at Palazzio.  We still will have the same gargantuan size portions, the same high quality ingredients, the only  changes our customer’s will notice will be the significant reduction of our menu prices.  We have dropped our prices by 30 to 35 percent.

The simple reason for the reduction?  I wanted our customer’s to really see  a “value” oriented menu.  I wanted to return to the basics, as to why I opened Palazzio.  It was all about—VALUE.    I  have rolled back our menu  pricing to what our menu pricing was 15 years ago.

It’s a very noticeable difference.  I’m hopeful the first thing our customer’s will notice is how affordable the menu is and the enormous value they are getting for the price.

Thanks, John!!  Hopefully we’ll see you again for one of our Ken Boxer Live shows!!

Best wishes,



This just in from Las Aves Café at the Best Western Plus Encina Inn & Suites, 2220 Bath Street:

“After several years serving Santa Barbara at its’ current location, Las Aves Café has sold their restaurant and it close on February 9th.  Ownership looks forward to taking their wonderful recipes and service to a new location in the future. After a short refresh, a new farm to table inspired restaurant named Live Oak Cafe will open on property. The restaurant will serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner to Santa Barbara residents, visitors, and the surrounding professional and medical neighborhood. The restaurant will highlight many of the extraordinary products that Santa Barbara has to offer including: local produce, seafood, wines, and craft beer in an innovative and comfortable atmosphere.”



Reader Steve talked to the manager at Ralph’s Market, 100 West Carrillo Street and was told that they’re planning on having a “wine steward” on site, offering tastings five days a week, probably starting in a week or two.



Relais de Paris at 734 State Street closed in early January and posted a note on the front door saying they are remodeling and will reopen “next week.” Unfortunately it appears that next week never arrived. Several neighboring businesses tell me that they have seen no activity at all at the site for more than a month. The business originally opened in October 2012, replacing long-time tenant Ruby’s Cafe & Spirits Lounge. Should Relais de Paris come to life again I’ll be the first to let you know.



Reader Mike shared some wisdom about the closing of El Rincon Bohemio restaurant at 298 Pine Avenue in Old Town Goleta. He passed the word that a new Mexican restaurant named La Hacienda opened in its place in January. For more information call 683-0456.



High Sierra Grill House was  approved by the Santa Barbara City Council today for a 10-year lease, with additional options, to take over the former home of The Elephant Bar.

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Hayes Commercial Group has posted this message on the City of Carpinteria web site about Tony’s Restaurant at 699 Linden Avenue:

“The best central corner location with four stop signs on Linden Ave three blocks from the beach in Carpinteria. This restaurant has been a local favorite for many years. All furniture, fixtures and equipment (less personal items) are included in the sale. The restaurant’s name, logo, menu, and recipes may be negotiated in the sale. This is a Trust sale of the real property.”



Lease negotiations are underway for Jane restaurant to open a second location at 6920 Marketplace Drive in Goleta, the former home of Pastavino and Smoke N Barrel BBQ Shack. I contacted Jane restaurant at 1311 State Street and was told that no contracts have been signed yet. The two businesses that used to occupy that address shared a kitchen and I am hearing that remodeling will involve installation of a second kitchen so that two free-standing restaurants can occupy the building. Pacific Coast Business Times reports that Holdren’s Grill, the former neighboring tenant, will be replaced by another popular downtown Santa Barbara restaurant. More information coming soon.




Readers DJ, Jeff and Justin let me know that Cabos Baja Grill and Cantina at 5096 Carpinteria Avenue has closed, and after a quick remodel inside and out, was replaced by Cielo Bar and Grill which opened February 6th. I am told that the new General Manager is Molly Quigley with new Executive Chef Jean-Paul Luvanvi. Cielo has a new menu with Tex-Mex cuisine, while retaining some of the Cabos favorites. Hours are 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. For more information call 684-5507.

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Reader Jon informed me that Café Luna at 2354 Lillie Avenue in Summerland has closed. The business had been open since April 2006. A note on the front gate reads: “To our cherished friends, family and loyal customers: we’re sad to report that there has been a lunar eclipse. Café Luna has closed. We’ve enjoyed 5 awesome years of Luna ownership and we owe it all to our customers and staff. Thank you for your support.”



Blue Tavern at 119 State Street closed last December. Reader Iceman tells me he spoke with the assistant chef for the new operators of the old Blue Tavern location and was told that it will be replaced by Nuance, to be headed by a known chef. I am told they are planning to open as Nuance in about a month.



Reader Elizabeth tells me that Los Agaves at Camino Real Marketplace started serving breakfast on January 31st. Elizabeth says that mimosas, coffee, and Mexican Hot Chocolate are included with their variety of breakfast offerings. I don’t know if other locations offer the same.



Here is a list of local restaurants that have closed in the last year:

  • January 2015: Gina’s Pizza, 7038 Marketplace Dr., Goleta; Xanadu French Bakery, 1028 Coast Village Rd., Montecito.
  • December 2014: Bay Roadhouse Bar & Grill, 202 State St.; Blue Tavern, 119 State St.; Coffee Bean SBA, 500 Fowler Rd., Goleta (now Le Mission Café); Killer Shrimp, 416 State St.; Miro at the Bacara Resort, 8301 Hollister Ave., Goleta; Pita Pit, 971 Embarcadero Del Mar, Isla Vista.
  • November 2014: Adama, 428 Chapala St.; Angry Wings, 6530 Pardall Rd, Isla Vista; Firehouse Subs, 6530 Seville Rd, Isla Vista; Kahuna Grill, 12 De La Guerra Pl.; Norton’s Pastrami and Deli, 226 S. Milpas St.; Pace, 413 State St.; Tri Tip Company, 214 State St.
  • October 2014: Hot Spots, 36 State St; Pierre Lafond Wine Bistro, 516 State St.; Quizno’s, 7127 Hollister Ave, Goleta.
  • September 2014: Cafe Del Sol, 30 Los Patos Wy., Montecito; New Baja Grill, 7024 Camino Real Marketplace, Goleta (now Los Agaves).
  • August 2014: none.
  • July 2014: none.
  • June 2014: All India Café, 431 State St. (now Himalayan Kitchen); Harold’s Caribbean Kitchen, 731 De la Guerra Plaza (now Killer B’s); Montecito Confections, 1150 Coast Village Rd., Montecito (now Wayne Kjar Cakes).
  • May 2014: Holdren’s Grill, 6920 Marketplace Dr, Goleta.
  • April 2014: D’Vine Café, 205 W. Canon Perdido St. (now Barbareno); Mad Dogs, 505 State St. (now Ana’s Taco Bar); Magic Pita Café, 5 W. Haley St. (now Tacos El Rey); Smoke N Barrel BBQ Shack, 6920 Marketplace Drive, Goleta.
  • March 2014: Bangkok Palace, 2829 De la Vina St.; Betos Subs, 731 De La Guerra Plaza; Brummis, 3130 State St. (now TAP Thai); The French Table, 129 E. Anapamu St. (now Piano Gastrolounge); Sunnyside Market & Deli, 436 E. Gutierrez St.
  • February 2014: none.
  • January 2014: Museum Cafe 1130 State St. (now Fire & Ice Museum Café); Rusty’s Pizza,15 E. Cabrillo Blvd. (moving to 111 State St.); The Pan, 18 E. Cota St.; Wahoo’s Fish Taco, 511 State St. (now Barbarian’s Pizza); YoYumYum, 5915A Calle Real, Goleta (now Pizza Hut).
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Mario and Lani Medina have owned and operated Mulligans Cafe & Bar at 3500 McCaw Avenue since December 1993. In mid-December I called Mulligans and was told that the Medinas are in final lease negotiations to take over the space at 521 Firestone Road in Goleta, the former longtime home of Elephant Bar & Restaurant which closed in August 2013. Word on the street is that the new restaurant will be called High Sierra Grill House, a joint venture with co-owner Manuel Perales who already runs a High Sierra Grill House in Fresno. The business has been approved by the Airport Commission and is awaiting approval from Santa Barbara City Council on February 10th. High Sierra Grill House 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. Thanks to readers Gary, Carol, JM and Anonymous.




While I was ordering the “Island Bowl” at a local Backyard Bowls location, I asked if they had any news to share. I was told that Backyard Bowls is expanding beyond the South Coast and will be opening a new location in West Hollywood later this month. Backyard Bowls opened their first location at 331 Motor Way in downtown Santa Barbara in November 2008 and since added outlets in La Cumbre Plaza and on Calle Real in Goleta.

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This spring the locally owned Shalhoob Meat Co. at 220 Gray Avenue in the Funk Zone will be opening an on-site café named “Shalhoob Meat Co. Patio.” Their web site offers the following description: “Shalhoob proteins are all natural, hormone and antibiotic free, and smoked over oak wood. Our hand pressed burgers are a special grind of brisket, tri-tip and chuck. All ingredients from our ‘scratch kitchen’ are locally sourced. Every aioli, sauce and dressing is made in house with only the freshest ingredients.”

The menu will include:

  • SALADS: Assorted greens, Cherry Tomatoes & Toasted Sunflower Seeds with Choice of Dressing $6. House made Ranch, Balsamic or Sherry Vinaigrette. Add Grilled Chicken $3, BBQ Chicken $3, or Tri Tip $4.
  • SMOKED TRI TIP PLATE with Fries or House Salad $12
  • BBQ CHICKEN PLATE with Fries or House Salad $10
  • SMOKED TRI TIP SANDWICH choice of Pico de Gallo or BBQ Sauce $10
  • SHALHOOB’S SPECIAL GRIND CHEESEBURGER White Cheddar, Lettuce & Tomato $8 with Bacon $9
  • PORK BACK RIBS Choice of BBQ Sauce Bourbon or Chipotle $13
  • SMOKED TURKEY CLUB Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato, Avocado & Chipotle Aioli on Sourdough $9
  • BBQ CHICKEN SANDWICH White Cheddar $10
  • SANTA BARBARA STYLE CHEESE STEAK Provolone, Onions, Peppers & Whole Grain Mustard Aioli on Ciabatta Roll $11
  • BACON JAM CHEESEBURGER Bacon Jam, White Cheddar & Black Pepper Aioli on Brioche Bun $10

All sandwiches and burgers are served with choice of fries or salad. Kids menu, which includes fries, offers a cheeseburger for chicken tenders for $6.



Starting January 26th Costco closed their food court and deli for remodeling. The deli is closed for five weeks and during that time rotisserie chicken, wings and ribs will not be available. The deli will continue to service a limited entree menu. The food court is closed for three weeks. No pizzas will be available for Superbowl Sunday.