Reader Cynthia shares some thoughts from Carpinteria:

“Just curious to see if you had any information about the space where Taqueria Buen Gusto on Carpinteria Avenue in Carp was. It was so strange because one week the restaurant was closed and tented due to some kind of infestation then it looked open for a couple of days then it closed for good. I noticed some people working in there a couple weeks ago so thought it may have been sold? I’m praying for a great place to go in there:)”

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This just in from reader Jeremiah:

“Hi John!
I am hosting a local radio show that ‘takes a peek’ at the entertaining stories that make up the hospitality biz on KZSB AM 1290 each Thursday at 11 a.m. The show is rebroadcast at 9 p.m. and Saturday at noon and 12 a.m. Sunday morning for the late night industry professionals. The program is called ‘The Jeremiah Show.’ One of the segments that we produce once a month is called ‘Culinary Kids.’ This segment is sort of like a ‘Shark Tank’ for kids who want to open their own restaurants one day, and we encourage them to join us on air to answer questions and “pitch” us their business. We are looking for new Culinary Kids. Please ask your audience to send their Culinary Kids names, ages, ideas and a short pitch to info@HJLRestaurantAdvisors.com. Thank you John!
– Jeremiah”

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Reader Steve let me know that Boca del Rio at 318 North Milpas Street has closed. The business opened January 2012.

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Reader Steve also let me know that a new Mexican restaurant named Los Altos has opened at 318 North Milpas Street, the former home of Boca del Rio. Owner Alberto Gonzalez’s home of Jalisco Mexico is the inspiration behind the taste and feel of Los Altos. Happy hour is available daily 3 – 6 p.m. Delivery is available with $25 minimum order. Call 845-8898 or visit losaltosrestaurant.com.



This just in from reader Carolyn:

What’s going on with the old auto body shop in the Romanti-Ezer lot at 701 Chapala Street? Looks like a new restaurant is quickly approaching! There is also a new Ramen bar coming where Esau’s used to be! – Carolyn



Can someone please open a Poke Bar/Restaurant/Cafe PLEASE?! They are everywhere in Santa Monica, Venice, etc… Maybe I should…?

- Meeshell



Santa Barbara Public Market has lost two tenants. Crazy Good Bread closed yesterday and Belcampo Meat Co. closes tonight. You will still be able to buy Crazy Good Bread products in the market at Culture Counter and Il Fustino.



To celebrate the local community, the Santa Barbara Public Market has launched “Locals Night”, every Monday night at 5pm. All Santa Barbara locals are invited to the Public Market to enjoy great food and drink specials from participating merchants. Locals Night specials include:

  • Half Off BBQ Chicken Wings at Belcampo with beverage purchase from Wine + Beer
  • 10% off oils + vinegars after 5pm at il Fustino
  • 10% off a purchase of $10 or more at Flagstone Pantry
  • 20% off your purchase at Green Star Coffee
  • $1 off Draft Beer and Gassac rose wine at Empty Bowl Gourmet Noodle Bar
  • 15% off produce purchases at Forager’s Pantry
  • Two ice cream sandwiches for $8.05 from Rori’s Artisanal Creamery
  • Happy Hour all night at Wine + Beer
  • $1 Oysters at I`a Fish Market & Café


The William Sansum Diabetes Center wants to take the guesswork out of fun and healthy eating. Each year, more than 550,000 residents and visitors with diabetes snack, drink and dine at Santa Barbara establishments. With the help of a grant from the Mosher Foundation Sansum has launched a “#GuiltFreeSB” program with the goal to make Santa Barbara the world’s most diabetes-friendly destination. Sansum’s registered dietitian has worked with local restaurant and retail partners to identify colorful and delicious meals that are nourishing and nutritious for those with diabetes. For more information visit sansum.org/guiltfreesb

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Locally owned and operated Taco Bell at 3771 State Street (near La Cumbre Plaza) is scheduled to close. In May 2012 Taco Bell at 2912 De la Vina Street closed after decades in business. That leaves Mesa and Milpas as the only locations in the city of Santa Barbara to order your Crunchwrap Supreme. Taco Bell at 140 North Fairview Avenue in Goleta is scheduled to be demolished then return in an all-new building.



Word on the street is that Dunkin’ Donuts is going to take over the space at 3771 State Street (near La Cumbre Plaza), the current home of Taco Bell. In November 2013 I first reported that Dunkin’ Donuts was looking for a home on the South Coast.

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In April I announced that Timbers restaurant at 10 Winchester Canyon Road in Goleta will reopen. Plans include an incubator kitchen, a local Deli Market & Pie Shop that will feature all local produce, wine, cheeses, honey, baked goods, pies and products made by local artisan producers only found in Santa Barbara, Goleta, Carpinteria and Summerland. The main dining hall will be recrafted to bring back the family-style dining of the past, offering family music and entertainment. I reported that the neighboring farm will be replanted with pumpkins, lettuce, and organic produce to be served in the on the property. The farm will offer “pick your own” tours and have livestock for the kids.

Reader Charlotte let me know that things keep moving along at Timbers:

“The Timbers remodel is shaping up. There is a new asphalt parking lot, a big vegetable garden. Things are looking great and lots of hammering is going on inside. This is really exciting for us skeptical locals out here. There is hope for our beloved Timbers! – Charlotte.”

While stopping by to check things out I noticed that the roadside Timbers sign has scaffolding and is in the process of being refurbished.




Mario and Lani Medina have owned and operated Mulligans Cafe & Bar at 3500 McCaw Avenue since December 1993. In April I announced that Medinas have taken over the space at 521 Firestone Road in Goleta, the former home of Elephant Bar & Restaurant which closed in August 2013. The new restaurant will be called High Sierra Grill & Bar, and will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner including a Sunday buffet. Menu will include BBQ, burgers, pizza, sandwiches, salads, and more. Opening is planned for sometime between August and the end of the year. Reader Charlotte let me know that things keep moving along at High Sierra Grill & Bar that a sign for restaurant was recently completed.




Reader Primetime passed me a tip that Globe restaurant at 18 E. Cota Street will open soon and include a $10 and under menu. I first wrote about Globe in January. Earlier this week I emailed Globe partner Laura Knight and received some details about the business:

“Hi John,

Yes, we are very excited to announce Globe will be opening soon, we anticipate Friday July 31st! It’s a concept Santa Barbara has been missing, a small plates lounge, everything $10 and under, with dishes from all over the World , we will feature seafood, meats, vegetarian & vegan, something for everyone! Alone or with friends you will be pleased with the food, spirits and service. The bar will feature fresh squeezed juices, a full bar, wines & beers from around the world, Our kitchen will be open late, a comfortable, cozy place in a unique atmosphere. The location is 18 E. Cota Street, between American ale & Blue Agave.

I have been working since January with 2 design friends, Sandy Cowan and Cathy Buckingham, to completely remodel the dining space (we didn’t have to do much to the kitchen, the space has an amazing, huge kitchen!) to create a space where everywhere you sit will be comfortable, like a giant living room, and everywhere you look, sexy, beautiful décor, a feast for the soul as well as the eyes! I have been working on the décor, food & menu concept, and Gerry Cruz is the operating partner.

Globe…coming soon to your planet!

Laura Knight & Gerry Cruz.
GLOBE – Santa Barbara. As unique and distinct as our customers”



For those of you who read The Restaurant Guy in the Santa Barbara Independent, this Thursday July 23rd the column moves from its longtime home in the back of the paper (near the classifieds) to the food section in the middle. This brings all the Independent’s food content together in one happy home. My column submission deadline moves from Tuesday to Monday so if you have breaking news to share please let me know by Monday a.m. if it is to make print the same week. There is no deadline for blog stories.

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Noozhawk reports that a fire broke out this morning in the kitchen at Carlitos Café y Cantina, 1324 State Street. Damage appears to be minimal and the restaurant is expected to reopen shortly.

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This just in from reader Mike:

“Hi John, we love your site. I never thought I’d actually have a “hot tip”. But I do ! Wings Chinese restaurant at 4427 Hollister Avenue (sorta where State becomes Hollister) is for sale. After 45 years the owner is retiring. It’s a hole in the wall for sure, but a sentimental favorite for me and my wife. I suggest you try the salted squid before they close shop. I hope they get a little media coverage with their retirement. 45 years may as well be a million in restaurant years. Anyway – I thought I’d pass on the information. Cheers, Mike”



sbmenusHaving good, convenient choices when it comes to food delivery and takeout is key, and SBMenus.com is now making it easier than ever for the Santa Barbara community. SBMenus, Santa Barbara’s online restaurant guide & delivery service, has just launched a free, user-friendly app making it possible to order restaurant delivery and takeout from your mobile device.

I’m told that SBMenus is the only restaurant delivery service in Santa Barbara to launch a mobile app. SBMenus now offers delivery menus from over 80 restaurants at your fingertips, and provides the convenience of one-click ordering and paying directly through the app. Order delivery or takeout from many of Santa Barbara’s restaurants, including Los Agaves, California Pizza Kitchen, Silvergreens, South Coast Deli and McConnell’s, to name a few. A key feature of the app allows you to track your order from the restaurant to your home or office so you can see where your food is at all times.

“We set out to create a convenient way for people to order food delivery and takeout from their favorite restaurants, and now with the new app we’re making it easier than ever to do from their personal devices,” said Bryan Brand, Managing Partner of SBMenus. “Our community has an incredible selection of restaurants, and with the growing demand from students and business professionals, adding a mobile app was a strategic solution to accommodate our customers’ needs.”

SBMenus new app connects on-the-go customers looking for restaurant delivery or takeout, and restaurants seeking delivery solutions with this free, mobile app for iPhone, iPad, and Android. Customers can browse by cuisine or search their favorite restaurant.

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Reader Robert tells me that Barbecue Company at 3807 Santa Claus Lane in Carpinteria has served up their last rack of baby backs. I stopped by and confirmed their exit from the under-represented South Coast BBQ scene which now can be counted on one hand. The business opened in February 2009, replacing Pita Inn which itself replaced Smokin’ Jacks Kansas City BBQ.



A sign for Borrello’s Pizza & Pastaria has appeared at 3807 Santa Claus Lane in Carpinteria, the former home of recently-closed Barbecue Company. The ABC license indicates the business is run by Michael Anthony Borrello.



Reader Robert let me know that another pizzeria is coming to Carpinteria, at 699 Linden Avenue, the former home of Tony’s. The name remained elusive at press-time.



My wife and I spent our 3rd wedding anniversary today,  along with our son, having breakfast at Cajun Kitchen and dinner at Bouchon restaurant in downtown Santa Barbara. For dinner, appetizers were Squash Soup, Grill & Chill salad, and crab cakes. Entrees were Grilled Lamb Rack and Roasted Duck Breast. Dessert was Chocolate Molten Lava. Food and service was amazing.




Last week I reported that reader The Shadow told me that a sign on the window at Crushcakes, 6533 Trigo Road in Isla Vista indicates that the business is moving next month to a new location on Hollister Avenue. Crushcakes owner Shannon Gaston sent me an email filling in the details:

“Hi John,
I saw the little blurb you put in your last restaurant news section in the Independent about Crushcakes on the move and wanted to give you a little more info: Crushcakes & Simply Pies are tying the knot! Crushcakes has purchased Simply Pies at 5392 Hollister Avenue in Goleta and will be serving Simply Pies at all of the Crushcakes locations. Crushcakes Cafe in Isla Vista will be moving into the Simply Pies location in Goleta and serving our full breakfast, lunch, coffee and cake menu in addition to the Simply Pies menu. We are remodeling our new location in Goleta and hoping to reopen in August. Stay tuned for our “official” grand opening party! See you then!
– Shannon”

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Several readers have told me that Relais de Paris at 734 State Street has reopened after closing in January.



Enjoy the 27th annual French Festival this weekend (July 18 – 19) at Oak Park, 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.

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This just in from Cal Taco at on Hollister Avenue:

“Hi John, Cal Taco Fresh Grill is a family owned restaurant. It has been open for 28 years in Goleta and we just start serving breakfast. We are located on 7320 Hollister Avenue and are open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. We are serving breakfast from 8 – 11 a.m. Monday – Friday and 8 a.m. – noon Saturday and Sunday. Thank you, Sam”

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150716-los-agavesLos Agaves Restaurant has announced the opening of its fourth location at the Shoppes at Westlake Village, located at 30750 Russell Ranch Road. The eatery had a soft opening on July 13th and will hold an official grand opening on Monday, July 20th. The newest location at Westlake Village is serving their award-winning Mexican cuisine that has made Los Agaves a favorite among foodies across the South Coast. “We are proud to open our doors to Westlake Village and welcome all to come taste and savor the flavors of authentic Mexico,” said Carlos Luna, owner of Los Agaves. “At Los Agaves, we have always taken tremendous pride in being a part of the community, embracing our neighboring businesses and residents alike, and we hope to surpass expectations with our dedicated service and quality of food in our newest location for many years to come.” Family owned and operated, Carlos Luna opened his first location on Milpas Street on Santa Barbara’s East Side in September 2008. Los Agaves quickly gained fame, taking the title as “Best Mexican Restaurant” and “Best Salsa” in 2013, 2014, and 2015 in the Santa Barbara Independent annual Reader’s Poll. Los Agaves opened on De la Vina Street in June 2013 and in Camino Real Marketplace in October 2014. Call 818-874-0769.



Reader Brendan let me know that Bob Montgomery, owner of the Nugget restaurants in Summerland and Goleta, has opened his third South Coast Nugget location at 21 W. Victoria Street, the former home of Arlington Tavern and Epiphany. Manager Jemal James tells me that the popular, extensive Nugget menu is available including the baby back ribs which were first introduced at the Goleta location. “We are opening up in a new neighborhood and want to invite everybody down,” said James. The new Nugget is open daily 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. Happy hour is available 3 – 6 p.m. including $4 draft beers, $4 cocktails and $4 house wines. Call 770-2626.




Reader Steve let me know that Ah Juice has opened at 432 East Haley Street in downtown Santa Barbara.

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The 27th annual Santa Barbara French Festival returns to Oak Park, 300 W. Alamar Avenue, July 18 and 19 to celebrate Bastille Day and all things French. Admission is free. Enjoy food, wine, mimosas, crepes, pastries, music, dance, the Poodles & Pals Parade and Femme Fatales Drag Revue. The French Festival is a community event not to be missed. Each day the fun starts at 11:00 a.m. when the entertainment kicks off on three different stages and continues non-stop until 7:00 p.m. This event is brought to you by Center Stage Theater and Speaking of Stories, and is a fundraiser for them — so you can have a great time and benefit a good cause at the same time.

The Poodle Parade expands to Saturday and Sunday: Napoleon and JellieBeanz are getting ready to lead the French Bulldog Village Poodles and Pals Parade. For 2015, in response to popular demand, the French Festival is expanding the parade to take place on both Saturday and Sunday. The parade will provide the finale for entertainment on the Eiffel Stage both days, beginning at 6:00 p.m. with an accordion processional through the park.

For complete details on the performers, food, crafts, shopping and activities visit FrenchFestival.com.

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