My foodie duties for the year wouldn’t be complete without summarizing activity at food & drink destinations on the South Coast. In 2013 there were 47 openings and 32 closings of restaurants and food trucks across the South Coast.

When compared to the activity in 2012 the number of openings decreased by 2% while the number of closings decreased by 32%. The most openings were in March, August and November (6 each month). The most closings were in September (8).

OPENINGS BY CUISINE: American (13), Mexican (6), Pizza (4), BBQ (3), Indian (3), Latin American (3), Dessert (2), Japanese (2), Market (2), Californian (1), Coffee (2), Deli (1), Fusion (1), German (1), Hawaiian (1), Middle Eastern (1), Seafood (1), Steakhouse (1).

CLOSINGS BY CUISINE: Mexican (7), American (6), Deli (3), Italian (3), Greek (2), Japanese (2), BBQ (1), Chinese (1), Dessert (1), French (1), Hot Dog (1), Indian (1), Latin American (1), Sri Lankan (1).

LOST LANDMARKS: We said goodbye to a longtime dining institution with more than 30 years of service on the South Coast: The Elephant Bar restaurant near Santa Barbara Airport shut its doors for good last August.

ROAD WARRIORS: “The Food Truck Invasion” was a big story in this column in 2011. Sadly we lost several of them in 2013 including: O Street Truck (January), The New Black BBQ (January), Road Dogs (January), Culture Shock (December).

LONGEST REMODEL (7 years): Orient-Express Hotels Ltd. acquired El Encanto (800 Alvarado Place) in November 2004. Once the sale was complete, initial announcements had the hotel closing for renovation in 2005 and reopening in 2006. As it turned out the closing didn’t happen until 2006 and the El Encanto reopened in June, 2013.

MOST CONTROVERSIAL OPENING: Chick-fil-A Restaurant opened on February 7 at 3707 State Street (formerly Burger King). Chick-fil-A’s opening was partially delayed by political opposition to anti-gay-rights views attributed to the chain’s corporate ownership.

MOST CONTROVERSIAL CLOSING: On October 22, when I broke the news that Maggie’s Restaurant (1201 State St.) had closed after just 14 months in business (preceded by 9 months of extensive renovation), the story received more views (6407) and more comments (90 here, 69 on Edhat) than any other Restaurant Guy blog post this year. Though some comments were introspective and positive, the majority were less than flattering.

A FLASH IN THE PAN: Eateries that both opened and closed in 2013: Verde, 532 State St (4 months) and Cinco Estrellas, 316 N. Milpas St. (7 months), Anchor Woodfire Kitchen, 119 State St. (9 months)

MOST POPULAR STORIES: These are the Restaurant Guy’s top-25 most-read stories of 2013:

RESTAURANT OPENINGS: Here is a list of local restaurants that opened this year:

  • December 2013: Buddha Bowls, 901 Embarcadero del Mar, Isla Vista; Lilly’s Taqueria, 290 Storke Rd., Goleta
  • November 2013: Blue Tavern, 119 State St.; Brothers Restaurant at Red Barn, 3539 Sagunto St., Santa Ynez; Fresh Market, 222 N. Milpas St.; Magic Pita Cafe, 5 W. Haley St.; Paloma Restaurant and Tequila Bar, 5764 Calle Real, Goleta; Red Sands Market and Deli, 207 W. Anapamu St.
  • October 2013: Daily Grind, 2912 De la Vina St.; Tamira, 1027 State St.
  • September 2013: Smoke N Barrel BBQ Shack, 6920 Marketplace Dr., Goleta; Sushi Tyme, 819C State St.
  • August 2013: Lark, 131 Anacapa St.; McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams, 728 State St.; Miso Hungry, 3891 State St; Mony’s Mexican Restaurant, 217 Anacapa St.; Lucky Penny, 137 Anacapa St.; Verde, 532 State St.
  • July 2013: Book Ends Cafe, 602 Anacapa St.; Killer Shrimp, 416 State St.; Little Caesars, 109 S. Fairview Ave., Goleta; Mattei’s Tavern, 2350 Railway Ave., Los Olivos; Sorriso Italiano, 901 Embarcadero del Mar, Isla Vista
  • June 2013: Los Agaves, 2911 De la Vina St.; Tapatia #3, 5764 Hollister Ave., Goleta
  • May 2013: American Ale, 14 East Cota St.; Little Caesars, 1048 Casitas Pass Rd., Carpinteria; Panera Bread, 700 State St.
  • April 2013: Brasil Arts Cafe, 1230C State St.; Finch and Fork, 31 W Carrillo St.; Open, 4141 State St.; SY Kitchen, 1110 Faraday St., Santa Ynez; Toma Restaurant and Bar, 324 W. Cabrillo Blvd.
  • March 2013: El Encanto, 800 Alvarado Pl.; Georgia’s Smokehouse food truck, georgias-smokehouse.com; Hoffmann Brat Haus, 801 State St.; Sama Sama Kitchen, 1208 State St.; Seven Bar & Kitchen, 224 Helena St.; Yogurtland, 5880 Calle Real, Goleta
  • February 2013: Chick-fil-A, 3707 State St.; Kamal’s International Cuisine food truck, chefkamalsb.com; Kaptain’s Firehouse BBQ, 6545 Pardall Rd., Isla Vista; Persona Neapolitan Pizzeria, 905 State St.
  • January 2013: Anchor Woodfire Kitchen, 119 State St. (now closed); Cinco Estrellas, 316 N. Milpas St. (now closed); Sam Choy’s Pineapple Express food truck, samchoyspx.com; Sage & Onion Café, 5599 Hollister Ave., Goleta; The Bourbon Room, 4444 Hollister Ave., Goleta

RESTAURANT CLOSINGS: Here is a list of local restaurants that closed this year:

  • December 2013: Culture Shock (mobile); Verde, 532 State St.
  • November 2013: Altamirano’s, 422 N. Milpas St.; Las Palmeras, 432 E. Haley St.; Rudy’s, 5764 Calle Real, Goleta (now Paloma Restaurant and Tequila Bar)
  • October 2013: Cafe Int’L, 6578 Trigo Rd., Isla Vista; Good Karma Market & Deli, 207 W. Anapamu St.; Javan’s, 938 Embarcadero Del Norte, Isla Vista; Maggies, 1201 State St.; Takenoya, 5934 Calle Real, Goleta
  • September 2013: Anchor Woodfire Kitchen, 119 State St.; Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, 305 Paseo Nuevo; Greek House Café, 5 W. Haley St. (now Magic Pita Café); Italia Pizza & Pasta, 149 N. Fairview Ave., Goleta; Pacific Coast Café, 6440 Via Real, Carpinteria; Quizno’s, 1213 State St.; Sakura Express, 819C State St. (now Sushi Tyme); Spice Avenue, 1027 State St. (now Tamira)
  • August 2013: Elephant Bar & Restaurant, 521 Firestone Rd., Goleta; Hidden Dolphin Café, 217 Anacapa St.; Pastavino, 6920 Marketplace Dr., Goleta (now Smoke N Barrel BBQ Shack)
  • July 2013: Cinco Estrellas, 316 N. Milpas St.; Mediterra Cafe & Market, 5575 Hollister Ave., Goleta
  • June 2013: New China, 5764 Hollister Ave., Goleta (now Tapatia #3)
  • May 2013: none
  • April 2013: Coast Restaurant & Bar, 31 W. Carrillo St. (now Finch & Fork); Pasta House, 6546 Pardall Rd., Isla Vista
  • March 2013: none
  • February 2013: La Carreta Mexican Seafood, 290 Storke Rd., Goleta
  • January 2013: Los Gallos, 2009 De la Vina St.; Meat n’ Potatoes, 4444 Hollister Ave., Goleta (now The Bourbon Room); O Street Truck (mobile); Road Dogs (mobile); The New Black BBQ (mobile)

TRENDS: South Coast openings and closings over the last 7 years:yearinreview

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8 Responses to 2013 YEAR IN REVIEW

  1. Connie Milano says:

    thanks John always informative

    • Kathleen says:

      Someone should mention and review the opening of Fitzpatrick’s Tavern on First Street in Solvang CA.,in the old Cafe Angelica’s spot. I believe it opened in October. I went for dinner two weeks ago and it was very good. Space is small, only Beer and Wine and the menu is a lot like Dargan’s. I had Fish and Chips and it was great. Price is fair. I look forward to going again.

  2. Justin Vowels says:

    Thank you John – always great to know the new restaurant openings and closings in the area, and your reviews are greatly appreciated as well! Also love the “Accidental Santa” – my twins were finally old enough to “get” the whole Santa thing, and loved talking to Mrs. Claus this year.

  3. Linda Cowen says:

    Thanks for keeping us goodies up to date!!! Much appreciated. Happy New Year!

  4. Gerald Bostock says:

    Wow, John, you’ve been very busy!
    Thanks for all your work. Merry Christmas.

  5. Roberto says:

    and funkzone.com is languishing in misery.

  6. E Gralewski says:

    More openings than closings seemed positive.

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