A Smart & Final Extra! is set to open in early 2015 as part of Goleta’s new Hollister Village Plaza, on the north side of Camino Real Marketplace. Santa Barbara already has a regular Smart & Final store at 217 E. Gutierrez Street. The “Extra!” version of Smart & Final stores are larger and feature more grocery options, such as a larger meat section or organic offerings.



Reader Marianne let me know that a healthy take-out eatery named “Market” will be open for business through May 24th, from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. at 1024 Coast Village Road.



Life lesson #862: don’t put a cover (similar to a giant sock) on an outdoor space heater that is not bolted down because it will allow the wind to push it over.




Michael and Kathryn Graham have launched the new café section of their popular C’est Cheese store at 825 Santa Barbara Street which opened in 2003. Michael Graham tells me that they will be taking all the raw ingredients at their store and start cooking with them in the new café. The cheeses, meats and olive oils from the store will be used for sandwiches in the café while their new cafe will be making jams, spreads and sauces that will be available in the cheese shop.

C’est Cheese will be making their own pastries in-house from scratch in addition to mayonnaise, pickles and patés. Local, seasonal salads will be available from ingredients bought at the Farmers Market. Coffee will be provided by popular local java joint French Press. C’est Cheese also has opened a second patio on the north side of the building offering afternoon sun and a great view of the Riviera.

Even though the new cafe is open, construction continues. They will be temporarily moving the store into the cafe area so C’est Cheese can remodel their existing space.

C’est Cheese is open for breakfast at 7 a.m., lunch will be available until 3 p.m. and pastries/coffee will be available until 6 p.m. Thanks to readers Jonathan and Primetime for the tips!




Jersey Mike’s Subs, known for its fresh sliced/fresh grilled subs, opens at 1213 State Street on May 21, in the former home of Quizno’s Subs. They opened a location in Goleta in March, 2012. Started in 1956, Jersey Mike’s now has 1,300 restaurants open and under development nationwide.  In just three years, the company has nearly doubled in size.

Franchise owners Dawn and Troy Robinson are holding a grand opening and free sub fundraiser from through May 25 to support the Children’s Cottage Hospital. The new restaurant, located at 1213 State Street, is circulating 5,000 coupons throughout the community offering a free regular sub for a minimum $1 contribution to Children’s Cottage Hospital.  Customers must have a coupon to be eligible.

“At Jersey Mike’s, we have a tradition of partnering with a local charity for our grand opening celebration,” said Dawn Robinson. “As we open our doors in Santa Barbara, we will be raising money for the Children’s Cottage Hospital.  As parents and business owners, Troy and I are committed to caring for our community and we know that every dollar can make a difference in the lives of children who are facing unimaginable challenges.”

Hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week. For more information call 730-3344 or visit

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If you can help reader Whirl please leave a message in the blog.

have you ever considered adding a link for restaurants with air conditioning?  Restaurants, have you ever considered providing John with the information for that list?

Putting together an “air conditioning list” is not something currently on the itinerary. This week notwithstanding, Santa Barbara typically doesn’t have hellishly-hot weather. Restaurants don’t send me anything except press releases so there is no chance that information will drive up Voluntary Road and arrive at my doorstep. I was at the new Santa Barbara Public Market this week and, in addition to being cool, it was cool.
- The Restaurant Guy



barbarenoA new restaurant named Barbareño, offering “Central Coast cuisine,” is coming soon to 205 W. Canon Perdido Street, the former home of D’Vine Café which closed recently after 10 years in business.

Barbareño will be led by chef/co-owner Julian Martinez, who has seven years of restaurant experience including serving as the head chef and kitchen manager of Doc’s of the Bay in Emeryville, CA, sous chef at Wexler’s in San Francisco, CA, and server at the French Laundry in Yountville, CA. General Manager /co-owner Jesse Gaddy will run the dining room.  Gaddy managed the Shakedown Café in Claremont, CA, is a studying sommelier at Deep Sea Tasting Room, has worked as apprentice butcher at the Old Fashion Country Butcher in Santa Paula, and worked the Chef’s table at Revival Bar and Kitchen in Berkeley, CA.

For dinner, the menu will be centered around modern interpretations of traditional dishes that are rooted in this area. Some dishes that exemplify Barbareño’s cuisine are Ranch Agnolotti with caramelized carrot puree, roasted celery root, and buttermilk; Santa Maria BBQ with 12-hour tri-tip, tomato coulis, cilantro oil, and pinquito beans; and Chilled Avocado Soup with basil, white wine, and avocado blossom honey.

To complement its menu, Barbareño will feature a small bar that stocks unique wines of California, with a focus on the Central Coast. Craft beers will also be offered, sourced from small-scale California breweries.

“The idea for this restaurant really came about when I began studying the roots of Italian and French cooking,” says Martinez. “In those cultures, not only does each region have its own cuisine, but every small town and village has its own unique style of cooking, based on the climate, geography, history, people, and local traditions…everything that makes that place special is really celebrated it in their food. We want to bring that micro-regional ethic here to Santa Barbara to create an experience that couldn’t come about anywhere but here.”

Barbareño is slated to open mid-July. Hours will be Wednesday – Sunday, 5:30 – 10 p.m., and will eventually expand to brunch service on the weekends and casual lunch service during the week.



boochies2A new café named Boochies is coming to 113 W. De la Guerra Street, the former home of Bella Dolce Bakery and Saffron. Owner Rebekah Winquest, a nutritionist who will be running the restaurant with her husband Shawn, tells me the eatery will be 100% organic and include juices, gluten-free baked goods, raw desserts, Matcha tea and Pâté of the day. The café will also be a “health and nutrition hub” offer cooking and nutrition classes. They hope to open in late June or early July. For more information visit

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Last night The Restaurant Gal and I waited tables at Pascucci restaurant (729 State St.) along with dozens of other volunteers and hard-working (and hard-playing) cooks, to help raise funds for the Solstice Parade. 100% of each bill, including tips, went to Solstice. Despite the heat it was a very busy night that raised thousands of dollars of donations.


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Want to escape the South Coast heat today? Go to Death Valley where it is forecast to be colder than Santa Barbara.

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Reader Brendan tells me that Mad Dogs at 505 State Street, which opened in September 2006, has been put to sleep and that the former hotdog hangout has been replaced by “Ana’s Taco Bar.”



Reader Eric tells me that JuiceWell and Crazy Good Bread, that opened last year in a shared space in Montecito, have both closed. I’m told that their Santa Barbara Public Market and Carpinteria locations are still open. As for why they closed, Eric was told that Montecito was a “pop-up” location and, with the other two stores, it didn’t make sense to continue.

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Reader David let me know that on Saturday, May 10th, Jill’s Place at 632 Santa Barbara Street reopened after having closed from a fire exactly one year ago to the day. They are only open for breakfast and lunch right now.  Owner Jill Shalhoob sent me a few details:

“This week we are back to our morning and lunch hours of 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. We are serving our breakfast sandwiches and wraps , deli sandwiches, burgers, and salads.  We are going to take it slow and easy, get lunch back and making the old favorites our customers have been waiting a year for. Customers have been so supportive, calling in and ordering their ‘usuals’ then dropping by to take a look. We should be opening for dinner in a couple of weeks. ” – Jill Shalhoob



fredThe Restaurant Gal and I recently enjoyed a fine meal at Fresco Cafe (3987 State Street) with retiring local astronomer Fred Marschak and his wife Nancy, who are moving to Pennsylvania soon.

Fred has been teaching astronomy and science at Santa Barbara City College for 37 years, ran the planetarium at the Museum of Natural History for decades, and has been the local go-to person for all heavenly events that graced the night skies.

While enjoying Fresco’s popular Hot Mushroom Combo, which is on my top 10 lunches list, owner Jill Brouillard walked by. My automatic response was, of course, to ask her to send me any news about Fresco that I might have missed and she kindly obliged:

Hi John,

Some of what is new at Fresco Five Points:

  • We now cater seven days a week and provide staffing and assistance with rentals.
  • We offer Fundraising Saturday Evenings where an approved non-profit or people in crisis can receive 15% of cash sales between 5 and 9 p.m.
  • We have many gluten-free items on our menu, including sandwiches, salads, pastas, desserts. Especially good is our gluten-free caramel and coconut banana cream pie. In our case you may also find coconut macaroons, flourless chocolate cake, sour cream coffee cake muffins, all also gluten free.

- Jill Brouillard



Geek Alert: While at Costco today I found out that, for the next 3 weeks, they are offering a $2/cartridge discount off of all printer ink cartridge refills. It’s not advertised.

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Word on the street is that Elements Restaurant might return to Santa Barbara, to its former long-time home at 129 E. Anapamu Street, currently occupied by Piano Gastrolounge. As always, this rumor might be completely false or a brilliant forecast of future events. Your call.

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mcg2I ran into Mr. Santa Barbara (a.k.a. Larry Crandell) at a party recently and he showed me his solid metal “McGold Card.”  It reads:

“The McGold Card. This card entitles Larry Crandell free food for himself for life at any of our Santa Barbara or Goleta locations. Happy 90th birthday. Thank you. David Peterson”

Crandell tells me he was very appreciative to receive it and tries to dine at McDonald’s at least once a month. Larry is a local legend and a friend to many. In addition to numerous other things, Crandell has been the Master of Ceremonies at local events for more than 50 years. He’s now 91, works out multiple times per week, and is as strong as an ox. He flexed his bicep to prove it. It was solid metal, like that gold card in his wallet.




Share your Mother’s Day restaurant suggestions by leaving a comment in the blog here.



A day-long Dine Out event will be held Tuesday, June 24th to support CADA’s youth programs. Residents are invited dine at their favorite participating restaurant and a percentage of proceeds will go to support CADA Kids. CADA Kids represent the preventive substance abuse programs of CADA, reaching thousands of young people annually. CADA Kids includes:  The Mentor Program; Teen Court at the Daniel Bryant Center; TART and CARE – early intervention programs in grade schools; Friday Night Live & Club Live leadership programs; Youth Service Specialists – serving all local public junior high and high schools. Dine out at a participating restaurant on  June 24th and make a difference in the lives of our area youth. To sign up as a participating restaurant or to check the listing of restaurants, go to

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On Wednesday May 14, 5 – 9:30 p.m., The Restaurant Gal and I, along with more than a dozen others, will be waiting tables at Pascucci restaurant 729 State St for the Solstice Parade’s annual fundraiser. 100% of your dining bill, including tip, will go toward Solstice (thank you Pascucci owner Laura Knight!)

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Earlier this year Bangkok Palace at 2829 De La Vina Street closed as the first step to moving to a new location on De la Guerra Street. Reader Erica now tells me that they won’t be reopening:

Hey, John.

Just wanted to let you know that Bangkok Palace is closed for good, they are not reopening. However, the head chef, Tom, is now cooking at Your Choice on Upper State. Hope all is well, thanks for all you do.


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The Restaurant Gal and I dined at The Black Sheep restaurant, 26 E. Ortega Street, which opened on Sunday. We enjoyed Roasted Heirloom Carrots (in duck fat with garlic rosemary), Roasted Beets (with pear, blue cheese, frisee, pistachio), Potato Croquettes (rouille), Jumbo Diver Scallops (a la Minestrone, flageolets, cannelloni white beans, tomato and herbs), Braised Brunette Downs Australian Grass Fed Beef Cheeks (braised in banana leaves with ancho chili, annatto seed, tequila, lime and tomatoes), Chocolate Caramel Hazelnut Tort (salted caramel sauce and vanilla bean ice cream) and Rice Pudding (with seasonal fruits and berries).

Happy hour at The Black Sheep is from 4 – 6 p.m. Tuesday – Sunday. For more information call 965-1113 or visit

Pictured below: Ruben Perez “The Decision Maker” (right) and Nate Curteman “Assistant Decision Maker”




If you can help reader Terry please leave a message in the blog.


I am planning to propose to my girlfriend on Butterfly Beach at the end of May and wanted to know if it’s OK to have some wine  and a picnic on the beach while watching the sunset?  If alcohol is prohibited, is there an area nearby to that beach where you can have alcohol?




San Marcos Parent-Child Workshop will be presenting the 25th Annual spring fundraiser & auction, “Sip, Sample, and Savor” on Saturday, May 10, 4 – 7 p.m at the Saint Barbara Greek Orthodox Church, 1205 San Antonio Creek Road. Participating vendors include Andersen’s Danish Restaurant and Bakery, Beck’s Bakery and Bites, Brasil Arts Café, Del Pueblo Café, Delgado’s Mexican Food, Fresh Market, Jack’s Bistro and Famous Bagels, Nimita’s Cuisine, Organic Soup Kitchen, The Palace Grill, Pampered Palette, Renaud’s Patisserie & Bistro, World Cuisine Express.

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Food and Wine Safari will be hosting a Supper Club at the Four Seasons Biltmore on Wednesday, May 7 at 6 p.m. price is $110 for five courses—all wine, taxes and gratuity included. Wineries include Proulx in Paso Robles and Tercero in Santa Ynez Valley. For more information visit or call Elizabeth at 698-3426.

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This just in from reader Jaya:


I wanted to inform John, The Restaurant Guy, about a new Caribbean style restaurant that opened. Chef Harold Welch of World Cuisine Express opened Harold’s Caribbean Kitchen. He is operating out of Tony Ray’s place in De la Guerra plaza. He is serving lunch and dinner 11:30-1:30 p.m. and 5:00-8:00 p.m. Closed Sundays.

Here is the link to the menu. Would love if you could spread the word.




shaveitLast week I wrote that Spudnuts is coming to Seville Road in Isla Vista, next to Firehouse Subs.

Reader Cris tells me that a franchised eatery named “Shave It,” will be opening next door to Spudnuts.

Their web site,, describes the business:

“If you have ever scooped up a handful of soft and fluffy freshly fallen snow and taken a bite, you know how snow melts in your mouth. Imagine that same white snow drenched with your favorite flavor – that’s a Shave It.”

Flavors offerings include pink lemonade, passion fruit, root beer and many others.



Reader Glenn tells me that a restaurant named Deli Express has opened in the Winchester Canyon area next to El Sitio, 7398 Calle Real in Goleta.



Readers “Mister P” and “Black CA Guy” tell me that Smoke N Barrel BBQ Shack at 6920 Marketplace Drive in Goleta has closed after 7 months in business. I stopped by and saw a sign on the door that read “Closed for business. Thank you to our customers that supported us.”



Santa Barbara’s Bennett Family recently purchased local icon Farmer Boy restaurant, 3427 State Street, and will close the eatery for several months of renovation, starting tomorrow (Thursday). If you want their popular giant cinnamon roll you better run over there today and get one while you can.

The diner, which arrived on the scene in 1958, will reopen in the fall. I am told it will be a family friendly environment with a diner platform. “The footprint will remain the same but everything needs to be brought up to date,” said new owner John Bennett. “Health and building codes require a complete overhaul. There may be some subtle rebranding but we are committed to the history of the location and honoring Ralph Karleskint’s lifetime of commitment to the community and the business.”

The Restaurant Gal and I stopped by today for a visit and was told that, when they reopen, Farmer Boy will start serving dinner and the hours will be expanded to 7 a.m. – 10 p.m. Thanks to reader Tim for the tip.