Bluewater Grill, coming in January 2018 to 15 East Cabrillo Boulevard (formerly Rusty’s Pizza and Castagnola Lobster House) has named a local executive chef. Chanel Ducharme, former chef de cuisine at the Hungry Cat, has assumed executive chef duties at Bluewater Grill. The Santa Barbara native and seafood and shellfish aficionado has a large culinary following along the Central Coast and is currently undergoing training with Bluewater Executive Chef Jason Mazur to master the Bluewater method of sustainable seafood preparation. “We are thrilled to build a culinary and management team that can introduce Santa Barbara to Bluewater’s 21-year tradition of hospitality and signature seafood and shellfish – much of caught locally off the California coast by our own fishing boat,” explained Jimmy Ulcickas, Bluewater co-founder and co-owner.

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Santa Ynez Valley native Anthony Endy returns home to join the Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort team as the new executive chef. Endy brings his extensive list of California eatery experience, ranging from local Central Coast cafes to a regional franchise, to prepare him for his new role uniting local sensibilities with elevated culinary approaches. “Alisal is an iconic Central Coast property, and I’m excited to maintain the integrity of the The Ranch and expand upon the food and beverage program with new offerings,” says Endy. “The essential elements—seasonal ingredients, classic ranch recipes, BBQs—are all there, now with a bit more technique and flare.” Endy aims to capture the essence of California cuisine with the depth of flavor and heartiness of Western ranch cooking. He plans to achieve this using locally sourced Santa Ynez Valley ingredients at their peak and is working with a local farm to grow fruits and vegetables especially for Alisal. The new menu will include vegan and vegetarian options, and a farm-to-table program with cooking classes and hands-on guest workshops that will enhance the guest experience.

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 Juice It Up!, a national raw juice bar and hand-crafted smoothie chain, has announced that is now open inside HiWi Tropical Fusion at 6555 Pardall Road in Isla Vista. “We’re thrilled to officially open Juice It Up! inside HiWi Tropical Fusion, and have the opportunity to serve healthy locals our delicious fresh-squeezed raw juices and hand-crafted smoothies,” said general manager of HiWi Tropical Fusion, Nareh Shanazarian. “With fall semester now in session, UCSB students are looking for better-for-you options to get that boost of natural energy in the morning, or that necessary afternoon pick-me-up before class begins, and that’s where Juice It Up! comes in. We can’t wait to serve students and Isla Vista residents for years to come!”

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Readers Daddy, Kay Lee and Chompee McGillicutty let me know that Somerset restaurant at 7 East Anapamu Street, which opened last December, closes October 23rd. Chompee says that owner Steve Hermann — a Montecito-based architectural designer and hotelier who purchased the property for $2 million in 2015 and then spent “millions” more renovating it — will be remodeling the space and vibe toward a more casual concept. I am hearing that chefs Lauren Herman and Christina Olufso, along with mixologist George Piperis, will stay on. The new restaurant is expected to open two to three weeks after closing. Here is a message to you from Somerset management:

“We would like to Thank our loyal patrons for supporting us this past year. After much thought, we are closing our fine dining restaurant, Somerset, beginning October 23rd, 2017. While we have had an overwhelming amount of appreciation and support from our guests during this first year, we have found that it was time to move towards a more accessible dining experience for our Santa Barbara community. We will be closed for a brief renovation before we open our new casual restaurant in the 7 East Anapamu space. Thank you! Sincerely, Management”



Multiple readers tell me that La Colmena on Milpas Street is closed, and that it has a notice posted on its door for outstanding rent. The business opened in August 2008.



Poki Rito restaurant at 848 Foothill Boulevard in San Luis Obispo, near Cal Poly, has opened a second location at 6530 Seville Road in Isla Vista, next to UCSB. Co-owner Pongwarin “Oak” Rujiehan tells me that the SLO location opened a year ago and the local restaurant arrived September 16th. The menu includes bowls and wraps ranging from $10-$14. Oak says that many Poke shops don’t offer wraps and that avocado comes with no extra charge. A small order includes 2 proteins and one side, medium comes with 3 proteins and 2 sides, while the large includes 4 proteins and 3 sides. Proteins come in three categories: Naked (ahi tuna, salmon, albacore, yellow tail), Dressed (ahi shoyu, spicy wasabi salmon, scallop, shrimp, tofu edamame), and Cooked (spam, kalua pork, teriyaki chicken, beef patty, sous vide egg). Sides offered are spicy crab and tuna, seaweed salad, avocado, tamago, and macaroni salad. A variety of sauces and toppings are also available. Call 883-3933 or visit

Co-owner Oak Rujiehan shows the delicious Poke bowl he made for The Restaurant Guy.

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Summer is fading, but autumn in Los Olivos is great for outdoor entertainment. The  new Bear and Star restaurant at 2860 Grand Avenue continues their series of special events with Movie Night in conjunction with the Fess Parker Wine Country Inn. The starting line-up includes Princess Bride, Dances with Wolves, Forrest Gump, The Man from Snowy River, True Grit and Davy Crockett starring the beloved Fess Parker. Every Thursday night beginning October 12, The Bear and Star will screen classic films on the Garden Patio featuring a fourteen-foot screen with digital surround sound. Cozy blankets and complimentary popcorn are provided by the restaurant, and the complete menu from The Bear and Star will be served at the bar throughout the evening. Movie Night will continue through November 17, with plans to extend through the fall and winter season. Movie Night is from 7:00-9:00 p.m. on Thursdays and is free to the public. Seating is limited and on a first come first serve basis; low profile chairs welcome.

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You may enjoy using Uber when you need to get somewhere in a hurry but now you may use the company when you just feel like staying at home. UberEATS is Uber’s food delivery platform that makes getting food as easy as requesting a ride. The UberEATS app connects you with a broad range of local restaurants and food, so you can order from the full menus of your local favorites whenever you want. UberEATS has been expanding across the nation rapidly and officially launches in Santa Barbara on October 11th. UberEATS has close to 30 local restaurants available on the platform, including On The Alley, South Coast Deli, Woodstock’s Pizza, and more.

“We’re thrilled to be launching UberEATS in Santa Barbara, bringing a convenient and reliable way for people to get the food they love; opening up new economic opportunities for delivery partners; and enabling restaurants and chefs to connect with more customers,” says Ben Story, General Manager of UberEATS.

“Genuine Restaurant Concepts (Benchmark Eatery, Farmer Boy, and On The Alley) are honored to be a launch partner with UberEATS,” says owner John Bennett. “We are very excited that our customers are now able to enjoy our various menu items utilizing the quick and convenient service of UberEATS. We look forward to adding our other restaurants Brophy Bros. Santa Barbara and Brophy Bros. Ventura to the delivery service in the near future.” Visit



The major renovation of Coast Village Plaza at 1187 Coast Village Rd in Montecito, which has been underway during the past year, is scheduled for completion very soon. Renaud’s Patisserie & Bistro and Empty Bowl Gourmet Noodle Bar are the two newest commercial tenants, and when their tenant improvements are completed early next year they will join Juice Ranch, Here’s the Scoop, The Tennis Shop, UPS, Norvell Bass Cleaners, Riviera Smiles, Sequel Salon, Giovanni’s Pizza, and Richie’s Barber Shop. Renaud’s will occupy the space and patio adjacent to the new driveway on the south end of the property and Empty Bowl Gourmet Noodle Bar will occupy the space and patio downstairs formerly used by Scoops.

In less than 10 years, Renaud’s Patisserie & Bistro has become a thriving, award-winning fixture in Santa Barbara, offering “a taste of Paris” with a bakery in Gelson’s Market and two other bistro locations in Santa Barbara serving breakfast and lunch. The Coast Village Plaza location will offer an expanded menu with special dinner items.

Empty Bowl Gourmet Noodle Bar is a popular Asian fusion restaurant at Santa Barbara Public Market, founded by Jerry Lee, an eight-year veteran of San Ysidro Ranch’s Stonehouse restaurant. The Coast Village Plaza location will be called Khao Kaeng by Empty Bowl Gourmet Noodle Bar. “Khao Kaeng means ‘curry on rice’ in Thai,” Lee said. “We will offer some of our popular menu items from Empty Bowl Gourmet Noodle Bar plus additional comfort specialty Thai food our Chef Nui grew up with in Thailand.”

Commercial brokers Francois DeJohn and Steve Hayes of Hayes Commercial Group have been hard at work marketing vacant spaces and searching for high-quality tenants. “Renaud’s and Empty Bowl are great additions to this ‘lifestyle center’ and to Coast Village Road,” DeJohn said. “These are local businesses that operate at a very high level and are sure to be welcomed and enjoyed by the Montecito community.”

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Reader Steve H. sent me a tip that Oat Bakery has quietly opened at at 5 West Haley Street, the former home of Hana Kitchen, Tacos El Rey, Magic Pita Café, and Greek House Café. “They are currently open to the public 3-1/2 hours per week: 4:00 to 7:30 pm on Tuesday only which is also downtown Farmers Market day,” says Steve H. “It is run by a Danish lady. Beautifully rustic tasty round loaves, both regular and gluten-free.”

Photo by reader Steve H.

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In April 2016 I announced that Handlebar Coffee Roasters is opening a second location at 2720 De la Vina St. (formerly Sleep Shoppe). To the delight of many Handlebar finally mde good on their promise and are now open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

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Serial restaurant entrepreneur William Lam is the owner and chef of several restaurants in town including Saigon at Five Points and on State Street (near the Granada), and Sachi Ramen on Chapala Street. You can now add to that list Sunny Korean Restaurant at 532 State Street, the former home of Zia Café. “I like the food business,” says Lam. “I like to create something different. I started with Vietnamese food then ventured into Japanese Ramen. In downtown Santa Barbara we had nothing close to traditional Korean food, so I wanted to do something different than other restaurants around here.” Lam tells me that he modifies the dishes to make the food a less spicy to satisfy local tastes. He does at the same thing at Saigon. I asked Lam why he opened Sunny Korean Restaurant and not another Saigon or Sachi Ramen. “I love Kimchi!,” he replied. While visiting the newly remodeled downtown eatery The Restaurant Gal and I enjoyed a few dishes including dumplings, stir-fried glass noodles with vegetable, Bulgogi, and Jjigae. It was terrific. Give it a try.



Some things take time to get just right and that’s why the new plant-based Oliver’s restaurant at 1198 Coast Village Road spent 5 years remodeling the former home of Peabody’s into a sight to behold. Oliver’s is the creation of cellular phone pioneer Craig McCaw. A plant-based restaurant typically has no meat, dairy, butter or eggs.

The first thing you notice when arriving at Oliver’s  is that one side of the building is completely open (via accordion doors) to seamlessly connect the bar area with the patio. You can feast under a forest of lighted trees on the heated patio, enjoy your meal in cozy quarters in the dining room or pull up to the large table near the bar.

“Being a plant-based restaurant we try to get as close to the original form of food as we can to get as healthy and healthful and tasteful of a meal that we can give you,“ says Assistant General Manager Phillip Thompson. “There is a lot of hesitance about [plant-based restaurants] in the community and the world at large. Come and taste the food. It’s high end cuisine but not fine dining, you don’t have to feel uncomfortable here. If you come and taste the food you will see what it’s about. It’s delicious. It’s healthful. You feel good after eating it. It’s just good food.”

The Small Plates menu ($7-14) includes Herb Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Avocado Toast, Summertime Hummus, Hearts of Palm Ceviche, Artichoke “Crab Cakes”, and Zucchini Flatbread. Salads menu ($12-14) includes Julia’s Cranberry and Chevre Salad, Chopped Salad, Sunflower Caesar Salad, Chickpea Nicoise Salad, and Citrus, Beets and Avocado. The Entrée menu ($18-22) includes Summer Risotto, Toasted Millet Polenta, Grilled Cauliflower Steak, Lotus Bowl, Carrot Udon Noodles, Veggie Burger, Wild Mushroom Tostada, Roasted Acorn Squash, and Kelp Noodle Pad Thai. Vegetable Sides menu ($7)  includes Rainbow Beets, Long Beans, Bulgogi Carrots, and Truffle Potatoes. For the cocktail menu ($14) Oliver’s partnered with the local juicery Juice Ranch, mixing Oliver’s high-end spirits with a local fresh organic juice.

Oliver’s is open for dinner Monday-Thursday. 5-10 p.m. and the bar stays open until 11 p.m. Friday-Saturday food service stops at 11 p.m. and the bar closes at midnight. Lunch is part of future plans and free valet service is available. Visit



Oveja Blanca (“White Sheep”) at 30 East Ortega Street closed last month and neighboring restaurant Black Sheep, which is run by the same family as was Oveja Blanca, has expanded into the space.

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Word on the street is that the old El Torito at 29 E. Cabrillo Boulevard will reopen next year as two restaurants. One will be run by Carlos Luna, the owner of Los Agaves, and the other will be run by Tina Takaya from Opal restaurant. As always, this rumor might be completely false or a brilliant forecast of future events. Your call.

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This just in from owner Benjamin Schroeder: “Wanted to drop a line that Santa Barbara Cider Company has opened in Old Town Goleta. We are open Thursday and Friday from 5-9 p.m. and Saturday from 3-9 p.m. We hope to see you here at some point!” The address is 325 Rutherford Street, Suite D. Their web sites describes the business as follows: “Our mission is to locally produce delicious Hard Ciders with simple and real ingredients to deliver a delicious and casual tasting experience. We source fresh pressed juices (nothing from concentrate) and do not add artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. All of our Hard Ciders are Gluten Free and made on dedicated Gluten Free equipment.”



Reader Steve H. says that Mosto Crudo is a wine and raw tapas bar opening soon at 7 West Haley Street, the former home of The Champagne Room. I’m told that they will at first serve only raw, cold tapas, nothing cooked.”Mosto” means “must” (a wine word) in Spanish, and “crudo” means raw. Steve H. says the business is run by an Italian and Peruvian couple.

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Mattei’s Tavern Restaurant, built in 1886 as a stage coach stop by Felix Mattei, has been purchased by Brian and Shamra Strange, with the restaurant leased by Chef Maili Halme. Halme hopes to open in December. Halme comes from a family with a background in the food industry. She used to run a catering company while her sister and mother operate Solvang Bakery.



Reader Paige says that Dave’s Dogs has opened at 149 South Turnpike Road in Goleta, the former home of Rusty’s Pizza which moved across the parking lot to Hollister Avenue.



The long-awaited opening of Hotel Californian, as part of the waterfront “La Entrada” redevelopment project, has arrived and along with its primary restaurant Blackbird. Call 882-0100. The official description of the restaurant is as follows: “Classic meets contemporary at Hotel Californian’s signature restaurant, featuring exquisite Mediterranean-influenced cuisine with an emphasis on Santa Barbara-sourced, hyper-seasonal ingredients. With the Pacific Ocean and the Funk Zone as a backdrop, Blackbird offers a sleek, yet approachable and wholly unpretentious atmosphere with a pulse on contemporary Santa Barbara.” Blackbird joins Hotel Californian’s street-facing café, named Goat Tree which offers a bakery and meals with a slight Moroccan flavor. Thanks to reader Peter for the tip.



A new restaurant named Basil’s Santa Barbara has opened at 608 Anacapa Street, the former home of Arch Rock Fish and Melting Pot. Basil’s offera Italian cuisine and it is the sister restaurant of Fabrocini’s Italian Kitchen at 18608 Ventura Boulevard in Tarzana. Both eateries are owned and operated by Rosemary Klein and Basil’s offers nearly the same menu as Fabrocini’s. The dinner menu includes salads ($6.50-$11.50), entree salads ($10.25), antipasti ($7.50-$11), pasta ($12.50-$16.50), seafood ($25-$28), chicken ($16), veal/steak ($14-$28) and pizza ($10.50-$18.50).

“We are a family establishment,” says Brett Klein, son of the owner. “My mom opened it and I come in work any time she needs anything. My sister comes up from our Tarzana location and works shifts if need be. My son is a server here as well. Head Chef Joey Fabrocini is helping is get everything going.” I quickly discovered that nearly everything is made from scratch, and while I stopped by for a visit, I tried the fresh (not frozen) calamari which is probably the best I ever had. Breakfast at Basil’s part of future plans. Basil’s is open daily 11 a.m.- 9:30 p.m. Thanks to readers Steve H. Primetime, Jeffrey, and Annie for the tips.

Owner Rosemary Klein at the new Basil’s restaurant in downtown Santa Barbara



Reader Jonathan says that Somerset at 7 East Anapamu Street has a sign outside that says they are offering happy hour from 5- 6 p.m.

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Reader Elise tells me that Starbucks will be opening in October inside Ralphs grocery store on Hollister Avenue in Magnolia Plaza.

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James Siao, the chef for the last five years at Finch & Fork, 31 West Carrillo Street, will be taking on a dual role as head chef at The Outpost at The Goodland Hotel, 5650 Calle Real in Goleta. Siao will continue to oversee the menu at Finch & Fork.

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Readers Steve H. and Peter T. tell me that The Goat Tree, which offers a bakery and meals with a slight Moroccan flavor, has opened inside the Californian Hotel at 120 State Street. The breakfast menu includes juices, smoothies, cereals and a variety of egg offerings. The all-day menu includes veggie dishes, humus, goat fries, soups, toast, fritters, lamb meatballs, along with a variety of sandwiches, salads and entrees. Entrees include sustainable salmon $22, market fish $24, chicken breast $20, skirt steak $28, Hope Ranch mussels $17, fish-stew-Bernard $28, rabbit + squid $26, short rib $28, chickpea-feta gnocchi $21 and whole heritage chicken $48. Hours are 6 a.m.-9 p.m. daily.

  • View Steve H.’s photo of the menu.


The husband-and-wife team of Laxman Perera and Keiko Miyata, who operate many popular local food businesses including Sushi Teri (with three South Coast locations plus Lompoc), Nikka Fish Market & Grill, Nikka Japanese Market, and Nikka Ramen, have launched their latest venture: Craft Ramen, which just opened at 436 State Street, the former home of Bucatini. Craft Ramen is a joint venture with Nikka Ramen head chef Mitsu Kusuhara. The menu includes SB Craft Tonkotsu Ramen, Shoyu Ramen, Vegan Ramen, Pork Chashu Bowl, Chicken Chashu Bowl and Spicy Tuna Bowl. A variety toppings are available in addition to salads, sides, beer, and wine. Craft Ramen is open daily for dinner from 4-10 p.m. and will begin offering lunch in October. Call 770-2170. Thanks to reader Steve H. for the tip.

STATE & H: Wesley Tom (left) and Dymon Taylor from Phoenix, Arizona, dine on the patio at the new Craft Ramen at the corner of State and Haley Streets.

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The popular Worker Bee Café at 973 Linden Avenue in Carpinteria now has a sister location at 5599 Hollister Avenue in Goleta, the former home of Sage & Onion Café, XO coffee shop and The Deli Planet. Sage & Onion Café closed last July. “If people know of us from Carpinteria it’s basically the same principle,” says co-owner Rick Mancilla. “We still do almost everything in house. Everything is made to order, everything is fresh. There are a couple of small differences in the menu from the Carpinteria location. All our specialties came over, but we don’t have the custom omelets and scrambles.” Unlike Carpinteria restaurant where the coffee options are regular or decaf, the new Goleta location has all the popular drink styles. On the breakfast menu specialty items include Homemade Corned Beef Hash, Worker Benedict, Potato Skin Hash, Grilled Biscuits & gravy, Breakfast Burrito with Homemade Salsa, Breakfast Croissant and Lox & Toast. Also available is French Toast, Pancakes, Waffles, Oatmeal, Grits, two eggs any style, Bacon/Sausage, Ham Steak, Chicken Fried Steak, Grilled Chicken Breast and Slices Tri Tip. The lunch menu includes a variety of cold sandwiches, grilled sandwiches and salads. Mancilla and a business partner purchased the restaurant in Carpinteria five years ago and started the expansion to Goleta earlier this year. The tables at the Goleta location have with a chalkboard finish so kids and can dine and draw. Currently when you drive by The Worker Bee Café II you might not see a large sign for the business as might be expected. Mancilla is waiting for owners of the Kellogg Square, where his restaurant is located, to complete a new, formal sign guidelines program that will apply to all tenants. Hours are 7 a.m. – 3 p.m. daily.

Co-owner Rick Mancilla and the new Worker Bee Cafe in Goleta



Reader Don let me know that Tale O’ The Pup (apparently a hotdog place) is coming to 956 Embarcadero Del Norte in Isla Vista and will be sharing the space with The Original Grilled Cheese Truck, also opening soon at that address. From what I can tell there will be no actual truck at The Original Grilled Cheese Truck. The business will be inside the building at 956 Embarcadero Del Norte which is former home of Santa Ymez Burrito, Kogilicious, Korean BBQ House, Sushilicious, and Berrilicious.

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Say thank you to reader Brendan:

At the corner of Embarcadero del Norte and Seville in Isla Vista (formerly Kogilicious and briefly Santa Ynez Burrito), a sign is up for “The Original Grilled Cheese Truck“. It appears to be this business: . The website has a section for “retail locations” that says “coming soon” so perhaps this will be such a location.

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Reader Steve H. says a new sign posted at 432 East Haley Street, next to Ah Organics Juice, says that Crush Tasting Room and Kitchen will be the next tenant.

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