The legendary Bennett family, owners of Brophy Bros. restaurant and On The Alley at the Santa Barbara harbor, are in escrow to buy Farmer Boy restaurant, an icon in San Roque since 1958, at 3427 State Street. I’m told escrow closes in April.

In the last year the Bennetts set sail from the harbor (before it needed dredging) to a variety of destinations around town. Last November they were involved with the purchase of the Cliff Room bar at 1828 Cliff Drive on the Mesa. Last January they took over 1201 State Street, the former home of Maggie’s and State and A. The same month they partnered with the purchase of Arch Rock Fish restaurant at 608 Anacapa Street.


Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Cameron Becker says:

    I really hope they don’t change much about this place I love eating at farmer boys and the staff please don’t change it to something it is not ! Santa Barbara has enough of the trendy spots and few greasy spoons I am excited to try it out when it’s all done but believe I will be voicing my opinion if it’s not that favorite breakfast spot it has always been!!

  2. tama says:

    please keep the cinnamon rolls. otherwise i’m looking forward to the new restaurant.

  3. Fay says:

    I wish they, or someone would jump on the old Elephant Bar, Sizzler or the rotting old Timbers location. Goleta is in need of more restaurants.

  4. Spank says:

    This is a great move. Farmer boy was just about the most mediocre restaurant ever and the owners had totally given up on it. Can’t wait for this.

  5. RexOfSB says:

    NOOOO! Leave Farmer Boy alone! Where else can you visit a time warp where it’s still 1958? In this case, change is not good. Please don’t mess with something that is obviously working.

  6. Spank says:

    Rex when was the last time you were in there? I took my family there last month, it looked like it hadn’t been washed in years and the food was terrible overall! I love throw backs, I love nostalgia, but call a spade a spade…

    • k says:

      agree! soooo filthy in there.. i couldnt eat the food.. just nauseated sitting there

      • RexOfSB says:

        That’s what I say–It’s still 1958 there. While the place could certainly use a coat of paint, I eat there all the time and really haven’t noticed “filthy” conditions. For adventures in general grubbiness, go no further than Super Cuca’s on W. Micheltorena Street.

  7. Mike says:

    PLEASE don’t take away the Saturday special!!! Where else can you get a bacon cheeseburger and fries for $5?!

    I love Ralph and his whole crew! We have had many good times here and hope for more. But I also can see why he’d sell…he’s been doing this his entire life just like his father before him. Time for a rest!

  8. SBNative says:

    Wishing Ralph, May, and the whole ‘Farmer Boy’ family great success in retirement (Ralph) and to the future working (team) with the new ownership and another great family – the Bennetts. Ralph has welcomed folks through that door for decades with nothing less than graciousness and genuine joy to see you. He has treated his staff like family, patrons like guest in his home. A very rare and appreciated gesture. Farmer Boy has stood the test of time because it did what it did very well – served local community with a whole lot of love on that plate beside the good old fashion grill food.
    Best Wishes to all. May Farmer Boy forever more be a great memory! Thank You Ralph and family.

    • Karen says:

      Oh, I so agree with you! Such good people, every one of them from Ralph to the waiters, waitresses and the cooks! Great and friendly people, I will miss them very much! Never more will there be such kindness to others as you see there, certainly not from Brophy Bros.

  9. Glenn says:

    I thought this was one of your april fools ones but we are still a bit away. Yeah a dive with a diner flare.

  10. Paul says:

    Very excited about getting a new place to eat for us Upper Staters, Farmer Boy was definetly not part of the rotation.

  11. Bob S. says:

    You can bet they are NOT buying it to keep it “just the same”, and I heard they intend to close it for 3 months for remodeling… I’ve enjoyed the ambience and the people, it took me back to memories of a simpler time in the world… but that probably all that will end now. ( as will my patronage )

  12. SL says:

    About the right size place to transform into an Oyster Bar. Sounds good to me.

  13. Karen says:

    Such ugly comments. We love gourmet restaurants but also love Farmer Boy’s, especially for breakfast. Ralph and his crew are such good people, it’s like eating with family going there. They feed many of the local poor, support the neighborhood endeavors and are just generally part of their community. It may need paint but it is not dirty and I’ve seen the kitchen. Brophy Bros. is hardly a beacon of cleanliness or good food to say the least!! I hope they don’t destroy one of the few remaining “diners” around. And, most of all, hope no one loses their job!!!!! That would really be terrible as these people have worked there forever and their lives would be devastated!

  14. Gerald Bostock says:

    Agreed with Mike, Rex & SBNative. I love Farmer Boy’s! I want my giant omelette. I hope it stays a diner/greasy spoon. It was the first restaurant I went to alone, and one of my first three restaurant, after Petrini’s & Harry’s with the family. Be kind, Bennett’s. I do enjoy Brophy’s; chowder & chilled shrimp.

  15. Gerald Bostock says:

    Oops, giant omission.

    I’m very happy for Karl! Have a great retirement!! Your face is one of SB’s classics; I’ll be sure to eat there regularly for the next few weeks and thank you.

  16. Gerald Bostock says:

    a wonderful story: I had breakfast, at the Farmer Boy counter, next to Danny from the barber shop before he died. I got to tell Danny how I accompanied my mom and brother, and probably even my deceased father, in for a hair cut. Danny was so loved, and I was so lucky to see him before he died.
    Farmer Boy is special.

  17. Jim says:

    The Farmer Boy.. Went there for lunches when working at Mac’s bicycle shop in the 1960s while in high school. I too went to Danny’s as I think most of us did from Peabody. Danny’s son & I were in the same class. Thanks on the above post for the info

  18. SBNative, thank you for saying it so eloquently for those that love Farmer Boy. We love Ralph and his staff and have been fortunate to dine there every week. We don’t need another high-priced restaurant that no longer feeds the unfortunate and seniors. Based on the comments I read here, there are a lot of snobs in Santa Barbara. For you snobs, there are plenty of snobby restaurants elsewhere to suit your snobby palettes. No reason to put down a restaurant that has endured the test of time and for good reason. MMMM, I wonder how many other restaurants have been around since 1958 besides Petrini’s (one of my favs) and El Paseo Restaurant. For you snobs, downtown has plenty of restaurants that charge $20 for a breakfast that fits on a teaspoon. For for those that are suffering from the un-evolved desire to be scene…go to Lucky’s!

  19. JAK says:

    They can clean it if they want, I’ll still eat there (i’ld even appreciate the change).

    They can redecorate it, and I’ll still eat there.

    They can tweak the menu a little (even the breakfast menu) and I’ll still eat there.

    I’ll bear with them if they raise the prices a little.

    If they mess with the staff, I’m probably outta there so fast the front door would break off of its hinges.

    Bottom line is that the place can use a refresh and I’ll even be willing to sacrifice the murals and the stainless steel display cases but I want to walk in after the reopening and see Lynda, Leo, Mae, Liz and the rest of the crew because their service is what keeps me coming there for breakfast several times a week for 20 years. Love you Ralph, love your business, happy (semi) retirement!

  20. Lynn says:

    Ralph and his family took great pride in that place and he was up very early every morning to start the fresh cinnamon roll dough. He bought the best eggs, bacon and produce, and the restaurant was never dirty. It may have looked like it needed paint to someone who didn’t know the history, because the farm murals on the wall were irreplaceable–the little boy shown in them was Ralph as a child and they were painted back then, when his parents owned the place and he was a child. He must be about 70 now, and he has worked hard and earned his retirement, which I hope he enjoys. It’s the end of an era.

  21. AMDG says:

    The new owners will need to preserve the beautiful Farmer Boy paintings on the walls — they are a Santa Barbara historic treasure. The new owners will also need to create a spot on a wall for a photo of Ralph with a smile on his face — and a photo like that should be easy to find. Ralph has always been a friend to everyone, and the soul of kindness and Christian charity to patrons with special needs. The waitresses are beloved for the same reasons. The new owners should continue all this. We should all throw a party for Ralph and all the staff. The City should pass a resolution for Ralph, too. Farmer Boy has always been clean and the bill of fare has always been solid American. Back in the ’80s when the Western White House was here, the White House Travel Office guys and the Secret Service would come to Farmer Boy. And isn’t Ralph’s place one of maybe two union restaurants in town? God bless Farmer Boy!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *