MAGGIE’S OPENS

Reader David tells me that Maggie’s has opened at 1201 State St., the former home of State & A Bar and Grill. I have been following this story since February 2011 when blogger Craig Smith first broke the news.

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54 Responses to MAGGIE’S OPENS

  1. Jennifer says:

    We stopped in yesterday, and they were serving a special fiesta menu… $15 for chips and guacamole, $19 for a burger… Ouch.

  2. Matt says:

    Was this an exaggeration or did they really have chips and guac offered for $15??? What kind of burger was it?

  3. Jennifer says:

    It was really $19 for a BBQ burger with fries… And a medium sized serving of guacamole and chips for $25. They did say it was a special fiesta menu… Maybe their regular menu will be more reasonable.

  4. Jennifer says:

    Correction- the guac was $15 not $25

  5. SL says:

    I can’t comment on the food as I haven’t sampled it yet, but popped in for a drink (was acceptable) and have to say the remodel is a bit strange for SB. The really went over the top with the remodel and look to have put some serious $$$ into it. The vibe however comes off a bit dated and the patio is so dark now. This is an ambitious venture and it will be interesting to see if SB embraces it. As of now it doesn’t have the bright, fresh, coastal California vibe going at all, whether this is a good thing or not we shall see.

    • Jerry says:

      I have to agree with you SL. Just did not have a very SB feel to it. High end remodle but just not that inviting, I was in SB for Fiesta and passed going in after checking it out.

  6. Charlotte says:

    It has an Orange County vibe. Didn’t eat, just a cocktail…cosi, cosi. It’s a bit pricey for a simple menu (still reeling over my bill at Petros.)

    • SL says:

      Petros takes the cake for most absurd menu prices in SB. $27 for third-world farm raised, muddy tasting Tilapia fish tacos is downright insulting!!! Can’t you at least use some(local or not) halibut or something of the like if you are going to charge such a ridiculous price? I will never eat there again.

    • Jerry says:

      Agree Charlotte, perfect comparison. I live in the OC and used to live in SB and will be moving back as soon as poss. Lived in SB many yrs. ago and still kicking myself for moving. (you are also right about Petros! Ditto to SL

  7. Charlotte says:

    Not to beat a dead horse but I still can’t believe I paid $24 for a piece of Moussaka!! And it wasn’t even Moussaka, it was Greek Shepherd’s pie! I was totally mortified. I wonder what Greek folks must think? I will never go back either, it was insulting.

  8. Maggie says:

    Not sure what kind of opening this place had. Sign says something a long the lines of the patio being open from 5-10 for drinks (and appetizers maybe?) and that Mid-September they’ll be serving French Cuisine.

  9. Vint says:

    walked in and then walked out…..no thank you. vibe was not good.

  10. SL says:

    Anyone know why their listing was pulled completely from Yelp? Is this place actually fully open? I wanted to grab some drinks with friends this past Saturday afternoon, but the place was completely shut up and dark. Seems odd they don’t appear to be open even in a limited fashion during the often bustling weekend afternoon when they are on state St. with an “outdoor” patio. I’m not finding hours or even a sample of the menu anywhere online. odd

    • Josh says:

      I’m assuming they pulled their own Yelp site since you have to register there yourself. They had 3 very negative reviews about pricing and especially about rudeness of the owners. Very confused as well as I’ve seen staff training there but they are never open- maybe it was just a soft opening for fiesta???

  11. NRL says:

    Yawn, we lose a decent lunch place and get this? “Special fiesta menu” equals gouge the tourists. Probably not the locals, though, who will avoid this place.

  12. Charlotte says:

    No website ?? It makes no sense to me. Maybe it’s just a $$ laundering/ tax writeoff endeavor. Who knows….

    • Caren says:

      Funny??? I just saw their website and they have an amazing
      menu created by a French Chef. Why is everyone so nasty about this
      place? I am booked for the 6th of September, I will let you know
      how our dinner was. Besides, Maggie is one of my classmates and she
      is very professional, so I believe all these rumors have gone
      overboard!

  13. Mike says:

    They poured at least a million dollars into this endeavor…so far, have missed the summer business and don’t have a formula to make this location work. Money swirling down the drain. The decor and vibe seems so out of place and pretentious.

  14. Michelle says:

    I wanted to call and put in reservations, but I can’t even find a phone number? Does anyone know a phone number for the restaurant?

  15. Foddie says:

    I have lived in Santa Barbara all my life, and I have seen many restaurants come and go. No matter how much money the owners have I give this restaurant about 6-8 months before its no longer in business.
    Santa Barbara doesn’t need a place like this…!!!!

  16. Charlotte says:

    Are these people actual restaurateurs or just are they just rich folks that have a dream of owning their very own showey restaurant to impress their rich friends? Nothing about this place makes any sense to me.

  17. C G says:

    Maggie’s at Anapamu & State St:

    They have been remodeling for over a year, well over a million dollars sunk into it. They have also gone through four (or more at this point) chefs. The owner, a Hope Ranch matron, wanted it to be perfect before opening. Her husband told me a couple months ago that they would be serving “traditional American” fare such as meatloaf. That struck me as odd, given the sort of French Provincial style of decor. Now the stand by the patio says that they’ll be open in September with California French fare. I don’t think the owner has had a restaurant before — this could be Maggie’s Folly. Not a good idea to alienate and out-price the locals who could be the bread-and-butter that keeps the place afloat. Our office was thinking about having a group lunch there next week until we saw the prices. This would be an excellent and well-patronized lunch spot if it were more affordable AND offered the kind of food not available near that corner. Tupelo Junction and Scarlet Begonia have heavy high-calorie comfort food. East has Asian food but I don’t go there anymore because I leave there still hungry and $12 poorer than when I went in. Going out in a radius you then have MacDonalds, Coffee Cat fridge, Museum Cafe ($$$) China Pavilion (best bet nearby), and the places in La Arcada which are not inexpensive. Maybe Maggie’s could add a page to their menu, a Small Bites menu, and offer some excellent vegetarian dishes — or at least a damn salad! This is Santa Barbara, and despite what the owner’s dream might be, you have to sell what people will buy or they won’t come in!

    • Bob says:

      The inside info I heard, which could easily be complete bs, was that the owners basically wanted a place to hang out with their friends and have enough money accomplish that in any way they want. They are rich. In all likelihood their friends are rich. They’d probably like to meet more rich people. Those of us who are going to roll our eyes at $20 hamburgers aren’t even invited to the party. Personally, I started laughing when I saw the interior. Proves that money still can’t buy good taste.

      • SL says:

        That’s what I heard as well and sheds some light on to the whole thing. It was exciting to hear someone was spending a chunk of change to rehab the place and bring in something new. The end product though, sheesh what a train wreck so far. The lack of industry experience and attention paid to current dining trends is glaring. The only place in recent memory that tops it in being ridiculously out of touch with SB diners is Couchez (now the home of Union Ale). The deep pockets of the owners have allowed them to diddle around with the opening and finishes touches for months now and will probably allow them to stay open for a bit. After they realize what a colossal money pit having a place for your friends to hang out and play restaurant in the doors will likely close. Hopefully though they prove all us blow hards on this blog wrong and put out a great product (not sure if the interior could be fixed at this point though, blech)

  18. Mary says:

    Yes, this part of State St. could really use a pleasant restaurant, with decent prices, and a lot of vegetarian or vegan options. Meatloaf and burgers? Really? There are so many flavorful and exciting dishes that can be made without animal products that I can’t believe anyone would open a new place in SANTA BARBARA without including an array of delicious veg items. Perhaps Maggie’s will learn after the initial failure that SB doesn’t need another burger place and meatloaf is not high on anyone’s lunch list.

  19. James Stewart says:

    I mean worst drink

  20. Charlotte says:

    So Maggie’s has no website, not even a phone number online. And they are now planning to be Cal French….eventually..?? Why didn’t they OPEN as a Cal French place with a proper website etc… Seems really unorganized th say the least.

  21. Tony Torres says:

    Don’t bother with this place. Head more downtown for great restaurants and great FOOD.

  22. Ruth Ann, Realtor says:

    I’ve been to Maggie’s now several times and have to say I LOVE IT! The burgers and salads were pricey, but the best I’ve ever had. Much better than Lucky’s. The atmosphere is incredible. Elegant, yet open and friendly. I love sitting out on the patio in the super comfy higher chairs watching the people on State St. The chef just started so they will have some kinks to work out on the menu and with the service which is friendly, but sometimes slow and forgetful. The owners are involved, which says a lot to me. I don’t think they are trying to attract the masses, just those that appreciate the finer things in life. I’m in and so are many of my friends!

    • Mike says:

      Sounds like a fun and super cool exclusive place!

      Oh, yeah…it’s also the most beautiful restaurant in the world!

      Next week we’ll hear about Barry Manilow performing on the patio…or should we refer it as the Veranda?!

  23. Josh says:

    They’re back…….their yelp listing is back up- which conveniently deleted the previous negative postings. Never fear, they already have one again!

  24. NRL says:

    Well, Ruth Ann, Realtor, and the hoi polloi from down South may love it, but to last in this town you have to appeal to more than that. There are a lot of other choices in the vicinity, and based on the reviews I think I’ll go to those first.

  25. MN says:

    Just saw an ad in the Montecito Journal. Maggie’s is now open to WED-SUN. Mon-Tues for private events only. Maggie’s even has a family crest! And a new chef “Guillaume of Toulouse, France.”

    • SL says:

      Was this the ad you are talking about?:

      “Need to escape the torture of the ever present radio waves caused by the cell phone towers that are going up all over Cito and ruing our semi-rural way of life? Has that crushed gravel path added along San Ysidro made you feel like crying everyday?Pull off your tin foil hat and join us down at Maggie’s in Santa Barbara! We have enclosed what was once one of Downtown Santa Barbara’s greatest patios to protect you from the ill effects of cell phone towers and you can dine away in darkness in the middle of the day! We’ve imported a real live Frenchie to serve you classic exquisite French dishes such as “$25 Hamburger,” “Fried Chicken a la France,” and “Loaf de Meat.” The space is undoubtedly the most beautiful restaurant in the world with unique details that will make Great Great Grandma Mimi who you’ve raised from the grave feel right at home! We look forward to seeing you in our exclusive amazing restaurant space free from actual Santa Barbara residents and diners under 70! Bon appétit!”

    • Mike says:

      Does Guillaume have a last name? Or is he simply one of those one name wonders like Cher?

  26. Charlotte says:

    Big eye roll…These people are so bougoise that they HAD to fly a real live French Chef in to save the day? An American Chef or a local Chef that understands local ingredients, that has relationships with local farmers, fishermen etc. would just never do, for these people. Impressive? No. Silly? Yes. I think they have managed to insult the locals enough already.

  27. HARRY ROUSE says:

    Well, despite all the negative comments, the mrs. and I enjoyed a fine lunch there yesterday. The food was top-notch, the servers were first class, the owners greeted us and every other arrival like old friends, and the prices were well worth it. A beautiful setting, all done in good taste.

    From several of the prior comments, one would think our locals are too poor to afford this place. But Santa Barbara is full of people with plenty of money in their pockets, who don’t mind paying more for good value!

    So, do you go out to dine, or just to eat a cheap meal? Take your choice! We’re from Goleta, where we can’t find anything even close to Maggie’s.

    Harry & Carmen

  28. Charlotte says:

    Actually Holdren’s out in Goleta sounds comparable to Maggie’s for you and the Mrs…….but unfortunately over the past few years, they had to slash their prices and offer specials in order to stay in business…for all if those poor, tacky people in a horrible economy just in search of a cheap meal. Where were all the upper crust natives with their deep pockets? They came, they went. Not interested in spending $$ for simple meat and potatoes. Ruth’s Chris comes to mind as well…These days even people with money don’t appreciate getting fleeced.

  29. Lily says:

    I would like to see the menu before I decide on a restaurant and Maggie’s have yet to furnish their website with a menu. I am not rich, but I don’t mind spending the money for fancy multicourse meal with interesting ingredients. Most restaurants here, even the expensive ones serve the typical protein and 2 sides, yawns… Julienne is probably the only restaurant here that goes out of its way to do things a little differently.

  30. Sara says:

    I’m somewhat new to Santa Barbara, and have relied fairly heavily on this site to guide me, which has been really great. It’s a bit disheartening to see all the negativity in this post, as I’ve been looking forward to this place opening. I’ll certainly be giving it as fair a shot as I can, and I was digging around a bit and came upon what must be a newly published website that does have a menu. It’s at http://www.maggiesatstateanda.com for those of you, like the previous poster, who are interested like me.

  31. Jenny says:

    Here’s some advice to all you Debbie downers: go there and check it out for yourselves! It’s silly how people pass judgement on a place they haven’t even eaten at. If you try it out and don’t like it, fine, but don’t knock the owners for trying something a bit different in a town full of incredibly average restaurants. The owner, Barry, actually came over to our table and chatted with us for a bit after our meal, he was a nice fellow & seemed to genuinely care about what we thought. You might just like the place, we certainly did :)

  32. Michael B. says:

    How sad John that everyone has such negitive things to say,and so many experts in what Santa Barabra really is. Why don’t you jump in you were born and raised here. Maggie’s is a great place to go for excellent food and service. Chef Guillaume is one of the most tallented and nicest people I know. If you are interested in a lesser priced hamburger, Mc Donalds is just down the street.

    • Phil says:

      Another restaurant with an identity crisis.

      - Decor: Took the time machine and was back in the 70′s
      - Ambiance: Cold
      - Menu: A little bit of French, a little bit of Italian, a little bit of everything.
      - Food: Plates too big for the portions – fries deplorable
      - Name: Maggie’s ? sports bar? fine dining? pub? I will never know
      - Pricing: expensive

      Hard to get excited when you share your dining experience with only 2 other tables in the all restaurant.
      I will try back in 6 months after the break-in and the improvements.

  33. SL says:

    The fake and\or solicited reviews for this place are awesome. One of the recent ones posted on the restaurant guide on this site claims it is at least worthy of a Michelin star and fawns over the fact they have imported a real live Frenchie chef. Gag me with a spoon. Yelp has been removing the fake 5 star reviews left and right, but I guess since John is a one man show they slip by here. the cringe factor of this place and its owners is downright painful.

  34. Bob says:

    There’s a big spread on Maggie’s in Buckley’s newest laughably bad right-wing rag, The Sentinel. The “French born chef from Toulouse”, is mentioned no less than 3 times. The fixation these people have with this detail is beyond odd. At least as odd is Maggie describing the restaurant as “fine dining, but not stuffy”. Huh? I feel “stuffy” just walking past the front door where Barry (I presume) sits ominously glaring into space with that sweater draped around his shoulders like it’s 1985.

    Hey, I don’t mind spending real money on food, it’s one of the things I enjoy most, but this place has such a tremendously odd vibe that I can’t bring myself to go, and I don’t think I’m alone.

  35. The remarks re decor are downright bizarre. This woman puts
    a boatload of money into a restaurant for which she clearly has
    high aspirations, which DEPARTS from the typical SB sunny, bright
    aesthetic standard as is taken to task for not being SB enough?
    Typical SB myopia. I’m going to try the brunch today after having
    had wine before and after the symphony at Granada last week. I sat
    at the bar and everything looked impeccable. The tapestries are
    gorgeous, reminiscent of the Cloisters in NYC by Columbia, Medieval
    wing of the Met on the Upper East Side. Only on a thread in SB, do
    you get penalized for trying to be more like a real, big urban
    center with class and elegance. Grrrrr

  36. Gerald Bostock says:

    And it hits the fan again:
    http://www.edhat.com/site/tidbit.cfm?nid=122992

    Any new reviews? I haven’t been there.

  37. Bob says:

    Interesting. So they parted ways with their “real-live French chef” who they couldn’t stop lauding and traded him in for Hollywood royalty. Gotta say that I’ve been to several shows at The Arlington and The Granada over the last few months and not once have I considered setting foot in Maggie’s for a pre-show meal or a post-show cocktail.

    Of note, they re-did their website and now have a page for “Reviews”. I can’t say I’ve seen too many restaurants with the audacity to post reviews on their own page. These people are so out of touch it’s comical. Anyways, sounds like they’re circling the drain. Maybe having a clubhouse for your rich cronies wasn’t such a good idea after all.

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