Over the weekend I received a tip from reader Ken that a new vegan restaurant was coming to 426 Chapala Street, the former home of Sevilla, and that the owner previously operated a restaurant in Carpinteria for many years.

That sounded a lot like Deeahna Arrieta, owner of vegan restaurant Chamomile Cafe at 915 Linden Avenue that closed last year. I emailed Ms. Arrieta, inquiring if she was bringing a new vegan eatery to Chapala Street, and this was her response:

“Yes, it looks that way.  An old friend moved here to take care of the front end so that I can work on dealing with grace under pressure and making sure that the food is amazing.  I only plan on being in the front when I can greet and be sweet.  One is never too old to realize ones limitations and gifts, you know?  It will be called The Chamomile, vegan comfort cuisine, and will likely start with breakfast, lunch, small bakery, and juice bar.  Dinner will be eased in slowly.  There is a lot to do at the location since the previous rendition was dark and oppressive, at least to us.  We are working on bright and welcoming.  Feel free to share all of this with your readers.  And thanks for asking, sweetie.  By the way, that fabulous mosaic bar by renowned local artist Dan Chrynko, is for sale.  Can you let people know?  Thanks! Deeahna”

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  1. Geoffrey says:

    It’s good that she now knows her limitations and will be limiting interactions with customers. Her attitude with customers was a problem in Carpinteria.

    • Bob Howard says:

      This comment is totally false. I dealt with this person several times, as did my wife and our in-laws. Deeahna is a joy to be around and he food IS amazing. Thank God she is reopening and making this move, which she talked about for over a year or more before it happened! Apparently some in Carpenteria weren’t very good to her..

      • Bob says:

        Actually, her erratic behavior at Chamomile was pretty well documented (berating employees, rude to customers, etc.). The few times I ate there (my girlfriend loves her food, not me) I thought she was borderline psychotic. The girlfriend thought she was nuts too, btw.

  2. Lynn Shuster says:

    Really? I and my circle of friends frequented the old Chamomile often and loved the owner. It will be sad for us if she stays in the kitchen.

  3. This is the best possible news! Deeahna, please contact me at Go Vegan Santa Barbara (carrie@govegansb.org). We want to support this endeavor in every possible way! Congrats!!

  4. Annie Moynihan Stilwell says:

    This is so exciting! Santa Barbara REALLY needs vegan restaurant! We don’t even have a pure VEGETARIAN place! Can’t wait to try it!!!

  5. Deeahna says:

    Perhaps you will dine with us during those times when your body is not signaling you to eat meat? Either way, we respect your right to eat however you see fit. We are more about honoring the sanctity of all life, human and animal.

    • Erika Hutchings says:

      Deeahna! How have you been? Its been forever since I’ve seen you! A lot has changed! Send me an email or if you have a Facebook account you should add me so we can catch up! 🙂

  6. Know your facts says:

    Let’s hope she stays in the kitchen. I remember eating there one time and being badgered by her. I thought it was just plain Odd.

  7. OD says:

    This is very good news. The food at the old Chamomile was always very good. I will definitely be a regular at the new location. And I want to say that Deehana is a very nice person who, yes, can be a grump. But don’t let that deter you from enjoying a unique and super-enjoyable dining experience. Finally a real vegan place in Santa Barbara!

  8. Larry and Carole says:

    We have been to Chamomile Cafe many times over the years, and yes, the owner could have done with a lot more help. However, it was her commitment to the food that we always felt caused her stress, and we appreciated that. We shared our lives with her over the years and she did the same, and going to the cafe was like dining with family. We never witnessed the extreme behavior mentioned above, and, honestly, if she is already saying it herself, openly, why keep insulting?

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  10. WM says:

    Pretty funny to read some people complaining about the owner’s rude behavior with someone else pointing out that Vegan’s are historically known as vociferous “killer lunatics”

  11. SG says:

    You know something?…I feel the peaceful urge to hunt someone who answers to SL, empathetically skin him, kindly debone him, calmly stick a cherimoya in his mouth, gently broil him over a fire, then thankfully eat his flesh…

    Who would like to join me?

  12. Sharon & Andy Engel says:

    Yea Deeahna!! I’m so grateful you are opening Chamomile again in Santa Barbara! As you know we loved the vegan meals in Carpinteria. Finally Santa Barbara will have a good, true vegan restaurant and we will support you greatly in your new endeavor. Hopefully, you remember our daughter because she has applied for server position there. 🙂 We are so looking forward to enjoying your good food again. Thanks.

  13. Lissy Falhaber says:

    “Honoring the sanctity of life- human and animal”- what about the human workers and human customers?! As locals we constantly heard of staff who felt they were treated horribly, with a couple only lasting hours before walking out. Every time we set foot in that place some sort of drama with the owner was going on with staff or other customers- the last time we went I was pretty much verbally abused by the owner for asking for the bathroom key after we spent 40$ on lunch. I believe that food takes on the energy with which it was made, hence the phrase “made with love”- If a kitchen is stressed and staff is unhappy, the food isn’t “holistic” in my honest opinion.

  14. AE says:

    I ate at Chamomile a few times in Carpinteria and the food was outstanding. However I can’t forget the millions of anecdotes I’ve heard about the owner’s unprofessional attitude, so I am wary. I once applied there as a server years ago but turned down an interview because multiple friends told me how mean she is to her employees. Glad to know she is cognizant of her short temper now and has compromised to spend less time in the front of the restaurant. I hope this means Chamomile will be more successful this time around, since the food really is phenomenal and deserves to be popular.

  15. K says:

    Any word on when this might open? I’d love to give it another shot. Felt incredibly awkward the first (and only) time I went, but would love to give it another shot. It’s not exactly easy to find stuff like veg shepherds pie (or whatever home-style meals they’ll have).

    PS: I’m a vegetarian, and a very, very angry person. Very. Just thought I’d chime in with that. 😀

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  17. Megan says:

    Odd…how do you explain India? A peaceful nation, gained independence through civil disobedience not war and largely vegetarian.

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