LA ARCADA UPDATE

This just in from reader Mary: “The Arcada Bistro space was recently leased by Brendan Searls, of Dargans, Brendans Irish Pub, and Viva Modern Mexican. He’ll be opening an upscale Italian concept of his Pizza Mizza eatery, called ‘Mizza.’ Coming Soon signs are posted in the windows.”

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OLD TOWN COFFEE COMING TO GOLETA

A tipster let me now that a sign has appeared for Old Town Coffee at 5877 Hollister Avenue in Goleta. Future details will be posted at otcoffeeshop.com.

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NUGGET TO SEAFOOD?

I am hearing that Carpinteria’s KFC-Chuys-Cabo’s-Cielo-Nugget building at 5096 Carpinteria Avenue will next be the home of upper end seafood. This news has not been confirmed but I do my best to keep you on the cutting edge of restaurant rumors.

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THE SPACE FORMERLY-KNOWN AS OUTBACK UPDATE

Outback Steakhouse at 5690 Calle Real in Goleta closed their doors last November after many years in business. Word on the street is that The Towbes Group, the owners of the property, will soon announce a new tenant.

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BEAR AND STAR ANNIVERSARY

The Bear and Star, serving “Refined Ranch Cuisine” inspired by the Parker family at the eponymous Fess Parker Inn, 2860 Grand Avenue in Los Olivos, has announced the celebration of their one year anniversary with a birthday BBQ bash on May 3. The First Birthday BBQ is the kick-off for the restaurant’s popular Thursday night Backyard BBQ series.  After the May 3rd festivities, Backyard BBQ continues every Thursday night through the fall season with à la carte dishes priced from $5 – $14, a no host-bar and live music.

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LOS ARROYOS COMING TO SOLVANG

Reader Tyler recently discovered that the popular Los Arroyos restaurant, available locally downtown, in Goleta and in Montecito, will be opening a location this June in Solvang at 992 Old Mission Drive #110 and #120. Co-owner and founder Maria Rickard Arroyo is a 5th generation born in Santa Barbara. Co-owner, founder, and chef Jose “Tony” Arroyo came to the United States in 1984 at the age of 13 from his hometown of La Piedad, Michoacán, Mexico. Tony’s determination matched his passion for food, and in 1999 his dream of opening his first location became a reality. Family is the cornerstone of Tony’s philosophy in life and business. All his recipes are inspired from the home cookings of his Mother, “Mamá Toña,” and he says his biggest achievement is being a father to Diego, the future leader of Los Arroyos. Los Arroyos serves fresh, homemade Mexican food using Tony’s original recipes including a variety of dishes from traditional fare such as Sopes, Tamales, and Pozole to modern cuisine such as the Mama’s Salad with grilled vegetables, the Ceviche with fresh fish, and the Garden Burrito. Visit losarroyossolvang.com.

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SNEAK PEEK

The windows are partially papered over at the former home of Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, 7060 Hollister Avenue, in Goleta, and I peeked inside to see if there is any new construction for a future business. Verdict: Goleta Dickey’s is mostly still there but in suspended animation.

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STARBUCKS UPDATE

The Restaurant Guy lives near Costco in Goleta but sometime ends up at neighboring supermarket Albertsons at 7127 Hollister Avenue when I don’t need to buy groceries by the pallet. While stopping in for a box of Grapenut Flakes I noticed that construction has started near the inside front of the building which will be the future home of Starbucks.

 

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CODY’S BAR RETURNS

Reader Kay Lee sent me an update from Goleta: “In the ongoing odd saga of Cody’s Cafe, liquor license-no liquor license, open for dinner-closed for dinner-open for dinner again; today I received an email from Cody’s stating that they again have a full bar. As I recall they sold their license so not sure how they gained a new one.”

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C’EST CHEESE UPDATE

This just in from reader Jonathan: “Hi. I was in C’est Cheese today [at 825 Santa Barbara Street]. They are doing ‘grab-n-go’ sandwiches as of a couple of weeks ago. Some other changes afoot too.”

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CHOPPA CHANGES

Owner David Chen is a busy guy these days. He opened PokeMee in Hollister Village Plaza last year, he opened Choppa Ice Cream in the same area last week, and he has two more restaurants in the pipeline: Choppa Poke coming to 716 State Street, offering Thai-style ice cream and Poke in the former home of Mac cosmetics, and 212 Hotpot, a Chinese restaurant opening soon at 6533 Trigo Road in the former home of Kol’s Cafe and Crushcakes. Chen tells me that due to a name dispute he will be changing the name of his PokeMee restaurant in Goleta to Choppa Poke, matching the title of his future downtown venue.

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SPEAKING OF POKE

The Restaurant Gal and Kid recently dined at PokeCeviche in the Paseo Nuevo mall and hear that they now accept the Axxess card and have launched a rewards program.

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MEZZA THYME

Reader Primetime says that an ABC ownership application under the name Mezza Thyme has appeared at 20 East Cota Street, the former home of Nectar and Blue Agave.

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SNEAK PEEK

Vegan Greengo coming to 3613 State Street

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FINNEY’S OPENS ON THE WATERFRONT

Readers Jason, Brendan, and Primetime let me know that Finney’s Crafthouse & Kitchen has opened in the newly renovated Hotel Californian at 35 State Street, in the space once occupied by Rocky Galenti’s Bar & Restaurant. This is the second location for Finney’s whose flagship location is at 982 South Westlake Boulevard in Westlake Village. We might have to start calling South Coast their flagship home because the place was absolutely packed when I stopped by last week.

“Located in Westlake Village, Finney’s is a locally owned and operated restaurant and bar that brings upscale cooking to casual dining,” says owner Greg Finefrock. “Our local, seasonal ingredients are the soul of our culinary inspired American fare. Keeping it fresh, flavorful and at times, unexpected, are the goals we plan on continuing to hit with our first-class friendly service, menu, and bar. We offer 30 craft beers on draft, a full bar featuring hand-crafted cocktails, fine California wines, and seven HDTVs for sports viewing. We are also kid-friendly, family-friendly, and dogs are always welcome on our patio. The combination of chef-inspired food and our craft bar makes Finney’s Crafthouse & Kitchen a comfortable and inviting gastropub that attracts guests of all types – especially a local crowd who can feel right at home, whether ordering a classic favorite or trying a new culinary delight! A great passion goes into every plate that passes through our kitchen to your table, and each dish is made from scratch and contains the best local ingredients we could find. Finney’s Crafthouse & Kitchen is open for lunch & dinner, with Monday-Friday happy hour specials.”

I am told that during Happy Hour (Monday-Friday 3-6 p.m.) beers are $5. Hours are 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Sunday-Wednesday, Thursdays until 11 p.m., Friday-Saturday until midnight. Visit finneyscrafthouse.com.

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CHICKEN IN A BARREL CONFIRMED

Two weeks ago I wrote that reader Bill says that the former home of Petrini’s at 5711 Calle Real in Goleta might be the future home of Chicken in a Barrel BBQ. A coming-soon sign for Chicken in a Barrel BBQ has since appeared at that address. Owners Alex and Jennifer Vilera hadn’t planned on opening their own restaurant but after they moved from their home in Hawaii (home to Chicken in a Barrel BBQ) to California, they realized that the only way they were going to satisfy their craving for food from their favorite restaurant was by making it themselves. “We’re thrilled to have the Vileras as our first franchisees,” said Mike Pierce, Chicken in a Barrel founder and owner. “It was very important to us that our first franchise partners share the same goals and family values as we do, and Jennifer and Alex are a great fit in that sense. They, too, intend to spread the love of God with this business, and plan on creating a family-friendly atmosphere. We’re looking forward to seeing what great things come from them and the growth they’re bringing to the brand.”

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BLUE OWL UPDATE

Reader Rocky sent me this message last Saturday night: “John, There is a Change of Ownership notice in the window of Blue Owl [at 5 West Canon Perdido Street]. The person taking orders said she was told not to comment. Do you know what Cindy, the original owner, plans to do?” As luck would have it I was about 100 feet away from Blue Owl when I received Rocky’s message so I thought I would give my investigative chops a try. The line at Blue Owl was out the door and as luck would have it a nice young lady came out and offered me a menu. I asked her for the scoop and she delivered. The employee said that Blue Owl has been sold but nothing at all will change. She said that owner Cindy Black will be trying something new and that I should keep an eye out for it.

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SPORTSMAN LOUNGE UPDATE

This just in from reader Steve H.: “The venerable dive bar, The Sportsman, is closed, and its iconic neon sign is gone. Rumor has it that a steakhouse will take its place.” I called the venue and the phone number is disconnected.

In May 2017 many readers emailed me to let me know that Sportsman Lounge LLC posted a public notice of application to sell alcoholic beverages at 1226 State Street (next to the Granada), in the spot formerly occupied by Ultimate Bagels, Coffee Bean, and Santa Barbara Sandwich Company. I don’t know if that plan is still in the works.

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ENIGMA COMING TO DOWNTOWN

Reader Steve H. is on a roll. He also tells me that Enigma is coming to 23 E. Canon Perdido (next to the Lobero). It will be a wine bar and also offer small plates.

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CHOPPA ICE CREAM OPENS IN GOLETA

Reader Cris let me know that Thai dessert shop Choppa Ice Cream opened on March 31 in Hollister Village Plaza at 7060 Hollister Avenue in Goleta next to Pickles and Swiss. Thai-style rolled ice cream, a new type of ice cream that started in Southeast Asia and is spreading in the United States. Some people call it “Thai stir-fried ice cream” because it looks like it is made on a hot grill, in the same way people cook meat and vegetables but the grill used for making the treat is actually extremely cold.

A liquid base is poured on to the freeze platter in front of you and “chefs” add your flavors, things like cookies, candy, mango, and more, into the ice cream mixture. Then, the ice cream begins to freeze. Next, the chef spreads it in a thin layer over the cold surface. After a few seconds, the chef uses a tool to scrape the ice cream off the cold surface and turn it into a roll. The rolls are then put in a cup and covered with your choice of a dozen toppings.

Price is $6.99 per serving plus tax. Choose one of 10 different flavors and 3 toppings which are switched out daily including peanuts, M&Ms, peanuts, sprinkles, chocolate chips, gummy bears, and more. Call 845-5229.

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NEW SI CHUAN GARDEN OPENS ON DE LA VINA

Yen Ching restaurant at 2840 De la Vina Street closed on January 29th. Readers Annie and Dianne tell me that the replacement Chinese restaurant, New Si Chuan Garden, has now opened and has a “Grand Opening” banner outside.

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FRANKLAND’S CRAB & CO. OPENS FRIDAY AT THE MONTECITO INN

After the rebuilding following the devastating debris flows, Frankland’s Crab & Co. at the Montecito Inn opens Friday, April 6th. Scratch|Restaurants, the restaurant group known for its multiple restaurants in Encino (Scratch|Bar, Sushi|Bar, Woodley Proper), combines the talents of chef-owners Phillip Frankland Lee and Margarita Kallas-Lee for their first hotel venture outside of Los Angeles. Starting with Frankland’s Crab & Co., the group plans to open four concepts at the historic Montecito Inn.

Entering the sunny, windowed storefront perched at the main drive of the Montecito Inn, diners are greeted by an ordering counter and wall-sized menu. Wooden tables and stools fill the counter-lined interior, anchored by distressed concrete and “cheery” Crab & Co. sign lit with exposed bulbs.

Capturing fond early memories of jaunts to the Santa Barbara coast and weekend drives down Pacific Coast Highway, Lee reminisces through the nostalgia of lobster rolls, peel-and-eat shrimp, clam chowder, and good times with loved ones—arriving at the modern-day, casual seafood shack that is Frankland’s Crab & Co.

The menu highlights Santa Barbara catches like local ridgeback shrimp, wild-caught crab, clams and oysters, served raw, steamed, fried, or whipped with butter and other accoutrements in house-baked brioche sandwiches. Fish & Chips are comprised of a filet of wild-caught branzino battered in Scrimshaw brew, while Chowda features a stock made from a variety of shellfish, including  house-cured bacon, crab, lobster and prawn. Other classics include freshly-shucked Fried Local Oysters & Clams and a Mary’s Fried Chicken Roll topped with a tangy giardinera. Upgraded sides like a corn on the cob is brushed with lobster butter, a freshly churned butter drawn and steeped with lobster shells. Beachcomber and Wine Tasting picnic baskets make for an easy grab-and-go option.

For dessert, Margarita’s Homemade Iced Cream Sandwich rotates through flavors such as Peruvian dark chocolate chip cookies surrounding Madagascar vanilla bean ice cream and Latvian-style sgushenka. To drink, homemade root beer on draft, fresh lemonade, and iced tea are given the option to be spiked with mini bottles of premium gin, vodka, tequila and other spirits. A house keg on display allows for easy pints and pitchers of rotating local beers, while a selection of individual wine cans showcase favorites from the region.

Future Scratch|Restaurants eateries at the Montecito Inn include Margarita’s Snacks (late summer), The Monarch (late summer), and Silver Bough (winter 2018).  Frankland’s Crab & Co. is open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. No reservations needed. For takeout orders or more information, visit franklandscrabandcompany.com.

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BILTMORE AND SYR UPDATE

This just in from reader Gary: “John, I don’t know if you’ve already reported this but I was told yesterday by a Biltmore employee that the hotel and restaurants will now not reopen until the summer because of the damage from the mudslides. I think they were hoping to reopen earlier. He also said the San Ysidro Inn reopening could be a year — or even two years — away.”

The original opening date for the Biltmore was April 2nd and my call to Four Seasons reveals that it was indeed moved to June.

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GIVING ROOST A BOOST

Readers tell me that the previously unnamed restaurant, coming to 1305 State Street, the former long-time home of Downey’s, will be called Roost.

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VINEYARD HOUSE CLOSES

Reader Annie let me know that The Vineyard House Restaurant at 3631 Sagunto Street in Santa Ynez closed on March 10th.

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RETURN OF CHICKEN IN A BARREL BBQ?

Reader Bill says that the former home of Petrini’s at 5711 Calle Real in Goleta might be the future home of Chicken in a Barrel BBQ. In 2016 reader Nancy spotted a sign for Chicken In A Barrel BBQ, coming to 310 South Fairview Avenue which is a few doors down from Hollister on the ocean side, next to Orient Laundry. That sign has since disappeared and Chicken in a Barrel BBQ no longer plans to open in Old Town Goleta.

With about 35 years experience in this cooking style, owner and founder of Chicken In A Barrel BBQ, Mike Pierce, started this establishment in 2010 on the island of Kauai where he has 2 locations (in Hanalei and Kapaa). “The main thing that makes it unique is the way we barbeque our meat,” says Pierce. “It’s not grilled. It’s not smoked. It’s done in a 55-gallon drum. We call it hook’em & hang’em. We cook our chicken, roasts, beef, pork, buffalo, and our ribs while hanging them at the top of the barrel so that the heat is about 3 feet away from the meat. When those juices from the beef, and the pork, and the buffalo hit those coals it comes up in a steam and it literally steams the meat in its own juices. We have our own very unique rubs we make out of all our own herbs and spices. The main thing that makes us more unique than anything else is the love that we put in to it.”

A sign on South Fairview Avenue posted in 2016 that has since been taken down.

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CRISTINO’S BAKERY OPENS IN GOLETA

Reader Cris tells me that Cristino’s Bakery opened last year at 170 Aero Camino in Goleta, an industrial area on the north side of Hollister. Call 455-6900.

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SUNSHINE CAFÉ TO REPLACE MAX’S

Last week I wrote that Max’s Restaurant & Cucina, a longtime breakfast/brunch/lunch institution at 3514 State Street will be closing towards the end of this month after 33 years in business.  Proprietor Henrietta Forystek is retiring after a long career there, starting as an employee and then becoming owner. I am hearing the business was sold and the Max’s will be replaced by Sunshine Café which will be open for breakfast and lunch. The owners are first-time restauranteurs and I am told that they did not buy Max’s wine & beer license.

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NEW TACO SHOP ON MILPAS

Readers Steve H and Brendan says that Tacos Pipeye just opened at 217 North Milpas Street, on that funny triangular lot that used to be Pavlako’s way back when and more recently, La Colmena. I am told that Pipeye started out as a food truck and might continue to have one. Call 770-8979.

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FRANKLAND’S OPENS NEXT WEEK

Frankland’s Crab & Co., coming to the Montecito Inn at 1295 Coast Village Road, is officially opening Friday, April 6th.

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