R+D Kitchen, an offshoot of the Houston’s restaurant chain, plans to open a location on Coast Village Road, in a new building currently under construction, situated immediately to the left of Jeannine’s Bakery. The property used to be a nursery. I am told that R+D Kitchen has approached several businesses in town offering to purchase their liquor license for $175,000, reportedly a significant premium over the going rate. Here is a message from their web site:

“R+D Kitchen’s mantra is all about crisp, flavorful cuisine. In each of the R+D’s, one can enjoy the light and airy qualities of the space where there is a connection to the outside. The first R+D was established in Newport Beach at Fashion Island and has slowly expanded to four locations including Dallas, Santa Monica, and Yountville in California’s Napa Valley. In the works next: R+D Kitchen in Montecito, CA!”



The ongoing California drought has forced state-wide water rationing. Our lawns are brown. Our fountains are dry. It’s even affected the Rumor Machine which stopped printing when the internal lubrication dried up. After a recent blast of WD-40 onto the rollers, a piece of paper suddenly popped out that read: “Though Lucky Penny was previously destined to migrate to 131 Anacapa Street, the former home of the recently-closed Avelina Wine Company, some time next year the popular eatery will instead be moving to 202 State Street, the current home of Bay Roadhouse Bar and Grill.” As always, this rumor might be completely false or a brilliant forecast of future events. Your call.



The folks behind Barbareño restaurant, coming this fall to 205 West Canon Perdido Street, formerly D’Vine Café, have started a series of pop-up dinners so you can try their food in advance of the opening. “We’re weekly holding pop-up dinners for our restaurant, Barbareño, up until the time we open,” says co-owner Julian Martinez. “We’ve done one pop-up at The Shop on Milpas, one at Pacific Crepes, and one at Three Pickles downtown. They’ve been a lot of fun, and it’s been a great way for people to try out some of the food we’ll eventually be serving at the restaurant. People can stay up on where our next dinners will be through our blog at barbareno.wordpress.com.”

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This just in from reader Jessica:

Hey John,

I read your column every week.

Changes are coming to the Funk Zone. Oreana Winery has been sold to an LA-based winery called Agua Dulce and they have submitted plans to change half of the building into a tasting room for that brand. The property next door, that once was a fish drying business, has been purchased by Melville Winery for what one has to assume will be a tasting room as well.




If you can help reader Jen please leave a message in the blog.

Hi John,

After the fun of clicking away at your website for the last two hours I thought maybe you’d just know the perfect dinner spot for our team of 10 somewhere between highway 154 and Stearns Wharf. Here’s my wish list:

  • No long table where we can’t see/talk to folks at the other end, prefer round or more flexible setup
  • More casual than formal
  • Not too loud
  • Midrange in price ($25 budget per person); specials would be great it’ll be Weds at around 5:30pm
  • 2 vegetarians, 1 gluten-free, a couple of foodie locavores and a couple of big appetites
  • Outside dining would be great but not as important as food (for instance I went back to Zaytoon over the weekend and confirmed that while fun the food was mediocre)
  • Happy hour buffet would be cool or something that gives the opportunity to mingle before the meal

Any recommendations for a fun, relaxed spot that feels special but not intimidating?

Thanks in advance! I always flip to your page first in the Independent. Food “gossip” is the most tasty!




I spoke with Cafe Del Sol at 30 Los Patos Way in Montecito and was told that their liquor license has been suspended. I was not given a time frame for when alcohol sales will resume. Tasty food continues to be served as usual!



This just in from Palazzio, 1026 State Street:

Hi John,

I want to personally apologize to all of our dining customers.  The “buck” stops with me and I take full blame and responsibility for my restaurant’s kitchen staff. Here’s what happened:

I was getting reviews from our customers for the past year that our food was tasting different, and the food was not up to our standards. I couldn’t understand why? Our ingredients were the same, our cooks have been with us for 20 years and our recipes hadn’t changed either. So, what had changed? I investigated and I discovered that a couple of our Prep Cooks had decided to take “short cuts” with our recipes. They were skipping recipes procedures, and quite frankly, I was shocked. There were ingredients in the recipes that they were just not including.  They began to change the recipes and I had no idea that they were not following the recipes. What an owner’s nightmare.  We’ve been open over 20 years and we shouldn’t have these types of problems, especially since many of my kitchen staff have been with me for almost 20 years!!

I wanted to let all of our customers know that after my spending one solid week in our kitchen, (last week) I can now say that everything is back to our “original” recipes. I have instituted “checks and balances” so that this is NOT going to happen again. So to all those customers who have been sadly disappointed with the Palazzio brand in recent times, I am, again, extremely sorry, and I would be hopeful if you’d please try us again!!

Moral of the story: you cannot ever “let up” your guard.  Keeping a watchful eye, hands on, over your entire restaurant’s procedures is always best policy for our guests and for Palazzio.

Ken Boxer
Owner of Palazzio

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Silvergreens restaurants (791 Chapala Street and 900 Embarcadero Del Mar, Isla Vista) will spin-off a new eatery this fall named Kyle’s Kitchen at 5723 Calle Real in Goleta, the former home of Quizno’s. I contacted Ron Gleiberman, Partner and Director of Operations at Silvergreens Restaurants and Catering, who confirmed the news. “Yes, we have a new location going in on Calle Real,” says Gleiberman. “It’s called Kyle’s Kitchen, with the owner’s son being the inspiration behind the concept. It will be focused on great burgers and salads in a fast casual setting. We will be using the outside patio on either side of the pergola for outside seating. The goal is to get it open in October.” Thank you to readers Barbara and Iceman for the tips.


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The newest Santa Barbara food truck is actually a food bike. Filled with 15 dozen fresh tamales in the bike’s steamer, weekend visitors to the Funk Zone will be able to buy fresh tamales starting August 23rd. Santa Barbara Tamales-To-Go owner Richard Lambert says the tamale bike will be located at the Santa Barbara Art Foundry, 120 Santa Barbara Street. “They invited us to park at the entrance from noon to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, August 23-24,” says Lambert. “If the idea proves popular, tamale weekends at the Art Foundry will become an ongoing series.” Lambert’s company makes and delivers tamales year-round to homes and businesses in the Santa Barbara area. If you want to try one of the company’s tamales, they’ll also be serving at the 5th Annual Tequila Harvest Festival in Santa Barbara on August 30th.




This just in from downtown Silvergreens:

Silvergreens is excited to announce their new Happy Hour taking place Sunday thru Friday from 3pm to 6pm and all day on Saturdays. $4.00 Fig Mt beer. $4.00 local Santa Barbara county wines. $4.00 appetizers. Check out a great vibe. Grab some Coconut Chicken Skewers, an Apple & Brie Flatbread or some Ceviche Tacos. Pair your apps with our new Michelada or a glass of Pear Cider. Eat Real Food for Happy Hour!

Offer valid at our Downtown location only. 791 Chapala Street across from Paseo Nuevo.

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This just in from The Burger Bus:

Hello John-

It has been a long time, we hope all is well.

We just wanted to give you the heads up that we are hosting a Pop Up Brunch at Municipal Winery (22 Anacapa) this Sunday the 24th from 11-1pm.  We will be serving up some delicious Louisiana Style Southern Comfort food including:

  • Pulled Pork and Grits with Red Eye Gravy and Cracklin Dust
  • Smoked Brisket Hash with peppers and onions
  • Lemon Mascarpone Pancakes with Fresh Berries
  • Eggs, Bacon, Louisiana Hot Sausage, toast and Sweet Potato Home Fries will be choices too!

There will be some other treats as well, but you need to come down to find out. We hope you can swing by and check it out.

Michael & Cheryl Gardner
The Burger Bus

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This just in from Finch & Fork restaurant at 31 West Carrillo Street:

Hi John!

I wanted to let you know, we are hosting a “Farewell to Tiki Tuesday Luau” on Tuesday, August 26th beginning at 5:30 pm.  We’ll have live entertainment, Chef James Siao will be roasting a whole pig and serving an island inspired buffet, and of course, there will be tiki cocktails!

Tickets are available via Night Out and more information is posted on Facebook. Guests who have questions can call Finch & Fork at (805) 879-9100.


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Word on the street is that two regional restaurant chains are independently considering setting up shop in the 8,700-square-foot property at 521 Firestone Road in Goleta, the former home of Elephant Bar, which closed last September.



Los Arroyos Montecito is celebrating ten years at its current location at 1280 Coast Village Road. On Monday, August 25th they will have a special anniversary menu with the most popular items at 50% off. The dining destination will also have complimentary sweet treats for all customers and live mariachi music from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Los Arroyos Mexican Restaurant & Take Out first opened in 1999 in Downtown Santa Barbara. Five years later they opened the second location in Montecito followed by a third eatery in Camarillo in the The Promenade at The Camarillo Premium Outlets.

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Reader Rudy let me know that a Mediterranean cafe is coming to 938 Embarcadero Del Norte in Isla Vista, the former home of Javan’s.


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glutenStarting last week, “gluten-free” labels on packaged foods have a defined meaning. Until now, the term “gluten-free” had not been regulated, and product manufacturers made their own decisions about what it means. Under the new rules food manufacturers must ensure that anything labeled gluten-free contains less than 20 parts per million of gluten – ensuring that those products are technically free of wheat, rye and barley. That amount is generally recognized by the medical community to be low enough so that most people who have celiac disease won’t be affected by eating a product with gluten-free labeling.

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I am hearing that construction has started at 403 State Street, the former long-time home of Esau’s Cafe, before they moved to 721 Chapala Street. The space has been vacant since Esau’s departed. I don’t know what type of business is coming to that address.


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Reader Cathy tells me that Napoleon’s Macaron’s at 305 Paseo Nuevo, formerly Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, has closed. The business opened in February of this year. Here is a message from their web site:

Unfortunately, today is our last day in Santa Barbara. We wanted to thank everybody in town for making us part of their community. We will be back very soon. We promise!

In the meantime, you may still order our macarons to be shipped overnight on www.napoleonsmacarons.com

And if you ever get a chance, you can still visit our other stores in California Napoleon’s Macarons Americana Napoléon’s Macarons Napoleon’s Macarons Valley Fair and Napoleon’s Macarons San Francisco Centre




This just in from reader PrimeTime:

There was a fire at the Indigo Hotel and Blue Tavern restaurant at 11:30 today linked to equipment on the roof. It is located at 119 and 121 State St. near Mason. The hotel is open tonight but the restaurant will be closed about a day while repairs are made.


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A new Mexican eatery named Tacos El Rey has opened at 5 W. Haley Street, the former home of Magic Pita Café and Greek House Café. I am told that the restaurant menu offers only tacos and that each cost about a dollar. In a previous write-up about this business it was suggested they might also sell burgers but that did not turn out to be true.

Reader Ryan describes his experience this way: “I gotta say, the tacos are fantastic! I got all three meats they were serving that day and a veggie (mushroom) and they were on hit! The salsa bar was tasty as well. They need some interior tables and the ability to take credit cards but those are small things I’m sure they will iron out. I also asked about the menu and they said they are going to keep it simple for now and sell only tacos which I think is great. Focus well on those little beauties and you’ve got yourselves a hit!”

For more information call 963-5758. Thanks to readers Ryan, Brendan and Karl for the tips!




Reader Brendan tells me that Taqueria El Pastorcito is coming to 2009 De la Vina Street, the former Los Gallos restaurant. I’m told the place doesn’t seem to be open yet. A few months ago I spoke with the family that operated Los Gallos, as well as both Daily Grind coffee shops, and they told me that they planned to reopen at a restaurant at 2009 De la Vina.



rosnerWine Cask has a new top chef in the kitchen. The locally renowned, Santa Barbara landmark restaurant at 813 Anacapa Street has welcomed Executive Chef David Rosner to Wine Cask and Intermezzo.

Chef Rosner brings an extensive culinary background from across the globe, including work from Europe, New York City, Los Angeles, and Santa Barbara where he was Executive Chef and Director of Operations for Café Luck in 2008.

“We are thrilled to welcome Chef Rosner to the Wine Cask team,” said Mitchell Sjerven, Co-Owner of Wine Cask. “His culinary expertise and passion for sustainable, organic produce allows him to employ a unique, modern approach with classic techniques to each dish – which we believe is the perfect blend for the Santa Barbara palette.”



Sal’s Pizza at 900 N. Milpas Street is celebrating its 10th year in business on Santa Barbara’s Eastside. The small, unassuming pizza shop opened its doors on August 7, 2004. Celebrating a 10-year anniversary on the Santa Barbara restaurant scene is no small feat, especially with the ups and downs of the local and national economy over the last few years. Owner Sal Esquivel credits customer loyalty, great food and excellent service as keys to thriving in such difficult times.

“The past 10 years have been a dream come true,” says Esquivel. “I have seen generations of students from Santa Barbara High School graduate and enter college, and I have seen the neighborhood grow and become a destination for all Santa Barbara residents. Times have been tough occasionally, and many people didn’t think I would make it past my first year. But we never doubted it, never gave up, and did all the hard work needed. I thank God, my family and my staff for that. I’m one lucky guy.” The restaurant is open Monday – Friday 11:00 a.m. – 9:30 p.m. and Saturday – Sunday 1:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. For more information call 568-0222.



Chef Leslie Thomas will demonstrate how to make Nutella and Mousse on Sunday, August 31, 1 p.m. – 2 p.m. in The Big Kitchen at the Santa Barbara Public Market, 38 W. Victoria Street. Both recipes are gluten-free, dairy-free and soy-free. Dessert ingredients kits available for purchase at end of class. Limited seating available. First come, first served. Samples and recipes provided. For more information call 770-7702.


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Angry Wings restaurant at 6530 Pardall Road in Isla Vista is closed for the summer and will reopen in the fall.

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A new café named Boochies opened on August 11th at 113 W. De la Guerra Street, the former home of Bella Dolce Bakery and Saffron. Owner Rebekah Winquest, a nutritionist who runs the restaurant with her husband Shawn, tells me the eatery is 100% organic and include juices, gluten-free baked goods, raw desserts, Matcha tea and Pâté of the day. The café is also a “health and nutrition hub” offer cooking and nutrition classes.

Photos by reader PrimeTime

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I have been on vacation in Redwood National Forest for awhile and Internet is almost non-existent so the food news has trickled to a crawl, as you can probably tell. I’ll be home soon. I have a bunch of good stuff piled up ready to share with you. See you soon.

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blindtigerA new entertainment venue named Blind Tiger Restaurant and Bar is having a pre-opening Fiesta celebration at 409 State Street, the long-time home of Savoy Theater, with a grand opening set for Labor Day weekend. The Fiesta schedule: Thursday: Moonshiner Collective 9 p.m., DJ Nagai 11 p.m.; Friday Rey Fresco 9 p.m., DJs Wizkid, Katashtrophy and Valid all evening; Saturday DJ ID3X 9 p.m., Well Groomed 11 p.m. A limited menu includes cheese and charcuterie plates, flatbreads, sliders, tacos and snacks.

Blind Tiger’s web site describes the venue:

“Whether you’re a Santa Barbara local or just passing through the area, we invite you in to enjoy everything Blind Tiger Restaurant & Bar has to offer. Enjoy an open and relaxed atmosphere with stylish décor, craft beers, delicious bites, signature cocktails and wine. Offering some of the best live performances, live music, guest DJ’s, themed parties and a high definition projection TV, Blind Tiger has it all.

“Blind Tiger Restaurant & Bar occupies one of Downtown Santa Barbara’s most historic buildings, dating back to 1889, exuding all the stimulation and excitement of a multi-level, vibrant venue. In exploring the three levels, the main bar, the mezzanine, and the balcony, you’ll find an array of entertainment − full bars, dance floors, spots to unwind, and seating throughout. There is something for everyone ~ perfect for corporate receptions, watching the game, happy hour and social celebrations.”

For more information call 957-4111 or visit blindtigersb.com. Thanks to reader Gary for the tip.



A new café named Boochies is opening in the first few days of August at 113 W. De la Guerra Street, the former home of Bella Dolce Bakery and Saffron. Owner Rebekah Winquest, a nutritionist who will be running the restaurant with her husband Shawn, tells me the eatery will be 100% organic and include juices, gluten-free baked goods, raw desserts, Matcha tea and Pâté of the day. The café will also be a “health and nutrition hub” offer cooking and nutrition classes.

“Everything is made from scratch,” says Winquest. “For example the muffins are made from my own gluten-free blend of almonds, chia seeds, raw coconut. My ingredients are not cheap but we really worked on keeping the prices down. Every single ingredient is very specifically researched and hand chosen. If I’m not going to put it in my body I am not going to create it in a recipe. We have a little bit of everything. We have vegetarian. We have vegan. We have raw. Everything we have is Paleo and gluten-free. There is no flour and nothing that is not easily digested. Everything I use is sprouted and 100% organic. Everything is made fresh and can be taken out including pizza, wraps, and veggie burgers.”

For more information visit justgoodenergy.co (.co not .com)

Owners Shawn and Rebekah Winquest at Boochies. Photo by Perry White Photography.



While attending a Boochies pre-opening party I enjoyed a unique pizza crust made by Outer Aisle Gourmet. Owner Jeanne David tells me she just developed a proprietary cauliflower pizza crust and cauliflower veggie bread. “There is no flour, no carbs at all besides the cauliflower,” says David. “It includes a little bit of Parmesan cheese, cottage cheese. It’s high protein with two carbs and two grams of fat. We will be selling them locally first then hopefully building a national distribution model.” Outer Aisle Gourmet products will be available September 1st at Isabella Gourmet Foods, 5 E. Figueroa Street. For more information call 448-5805 or visit outeraislegourmet.com.