Five years ago today, on April 24th 2007, “The Restaurant Guy” made its debut in the Santa Barbara Daily Sound newspaper. The South Coast has many experienced and talented restaurant writers/critics so it’s a miracle that this column ever came to be. The odds of survival were so low because of a little-known fact about The Restaurant Guy: he knows nothing about restaurants. And he knows nothing about food, either.
The reason for my total lack of culinary experience is that I am a software developer by trade and it was just by chance that I created the first local online restaurant guide when I launched SantaBarbara.com in 1996. After 10 years of running my restaurant guide, I developed a sizable network of volunteers (thanks for all your help!!!) feeding me news tips about restaurant openings, closings and “coming soon” rumors. Thinking that others might like this inside view of the local dining scene, on December 19th, 2006 I launched “The Restaurant Guy” food news blog.
One of my first blog readers was Jeramy Gordon, founder of the Daily Sound, who contacted me and asked me to be his restaurant columnist. Although I thought it was kind of ridiculous (as probably did Jeramy) for a computer geek with no dining background, and no writing experience, to become a restaurant columnist for a popular local newspaper, we decided to give it a shot.
The headline of my first column in print five years ago today was “One In, One Out” and it talked about how Cuzcatlan Salvadorian Cuisine at 2911 De La Vina St closed its doors and would soon be replaced by Jake’s Cottage Cuisine Café. I also published a rumor that The Melting Pot was considering coming to Santa Barbara. 253 columns later openings, closings and rumors still seems to be my thing.