SUSHI CAFÉ UPDATE

Reader Shelby tells me that Sushi Café at 28 West Figueroa Street now has a sign that says the business has been renamed Sushi Café Poke Bar.

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HONOR MARKET OPENS THIS WEEK

Reader Primetime tells me that a business named Honor Market opens this week next to the Honor Bar at 1255 Coast Village Road in Montecito.

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NOOK AND LAMA DOG OPEN IN THE FUNK ZONE

The first two tenants at The Waterline, a commercial mixed-use project at 116-122 Santa Barbara Street in the Funk Zone, have opened for business. Nook by Master Chef Norbert Schulz, and Lama Dog Tap Room and Bottle Shop started serving customers earlier this week. It’s been 35 years since Master Chef Norbert Schulz and his long-time business partner, Brigitte Guehr, first opened a restaurant in Santa Barbara and Nook, is their latest creation. Housed in a blue shipping container, Nook has an order window and a pickup window and buzzers to let you know when your food is ready. The menu includes Blackened Rockfish Soft Tacos $14, Maine Lobster & Shrimp Albondigas Sandwich $16, Pretzel & Beer-Battered Fried Shrimp $13, House-Made Bratwurst $12, Chicken Sausage $12, Duck Foie Gras Burger $18, Nook Burger $14, Waterline Seafood Burger $15, Purple Potato Waffle & Fried Chicken $14, Dungeness Crab Cakes $14, Grilled Iron Steak Sandwich $17, Grilled Salmon Salad $16, Lobster Mac ‘N Cheese $16, and Tempura Soft Shell Crab Sandwich $18. Nook is open daily 11 a.m.-10 p.m.

Nook shares space with Lama Dog Tap Room and Bottle Shop. Alex Hart, the Lama’s “beermonger,” tells me that the business has a bunch of beers on tap and that they have an exponentially greater number of bottles that are available for consumption onsite or to-go. Small and large format bottles are available. Owner Pete Burnham began his career by spending countless hours climbing barrel stacks, analyzing fermentations, and bottling cases of wine. He was just like any other “cellar rat”, doing grunt work at one of the many wineries in the Santa Ynez Valley in order to gain experience and start making a name for himself in this tight-knit winemaking community. Soon thereafter, he landed an assistant winemaking job at Carr Winery and was given the opportunity to make his own wine on the side using Carr’s land and equipment. He became intrigued by the ever-growing craft beer culture that had started exploding around 2010. At the time, he says he was shocked to realize that Santa Barbara didn’t have any truly good, diverse beer concepts and he soon after made it his mission to fill that void. His answer: Lama Dog Tap Room & Bottle Shop, named for Pete’s lovable and enormous Tibetan Mastiff, Lama (named for fellow Tibetan, the Dalai Lama). Lama Dog is open Sunday-Wednesday 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Thursday-Saturday 11 a.m.-midnight.

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PHAMOUS CAFÉ OPENS IN GOLETA

For regular readers of this column you might have just experienced Déjà vu. A few weeks ago I wrote that at Phamous Café, a sign was up and that people were frequenting the business. It turns out those “customers” were just construction crew. The real deal happened last week when Phamous Cafe opened at 7127 Hollister Avenue Suite 25 in Goleta next to Albertsons, in the space formerly occupied by Quiznos Sub. I stopped by and the place was busy with people enjoying Vietnamese food. I tried their Bánh mì sandwich and it was terrific. They bake their bread fresh in-house every day. All the meat, Pâté and other assorted offerings are also fresh. Phamous Café is open daily 10 a.m.-9 p.m. daily and closed on Tuesdays.

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UPTOWN SMART & FINAL OPENS

Smart & Final has opened at 3943 State Street, the former home of Albertsons, and Haggen (for about 3 seconds).

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BREAKFAST OPENS

Readers Cathy, Steve H., and Primetime report that coffee with some art, a surfing vibe, and healthy bites is now being served up in the newest business at 711 Chapala Street in called “Breakfast.”  I am told that there are many fresh, organic and locally made side choices for someone looking for an energy bar, bagel or a cookie. For the most part the business is a place to show art and clothes. Visit breakfastcultureclub.com

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LE PETIT BISTROT OPENS DOWNTOWN

A new French restaurant named Le Petit Bistrot has opened at 532 State Street, the former home of Verde and Zia Cafe.  “We are opening a French restaurant with authentic French food with good old recipes from France,” says owner Salvatore Italiano, a native of France. Le Petit Bistrot offers an extensive breakfast, lunch and dinner menu, available on their web site lepetitbistrotsb.com.

In the restaurant itself they have what might be the nicest menus I have ever seen; each is like a fancy coffee table book with descriptions and photos. The quality of the menu mirrors the care taken during the remodeling of the building where everything is new and top of the line. Le Petit Bistrot offers a French and American breakfast where lunch and dinner includes soups, salads, sandwiches, a French burger, steak frites, veal, pork and much more. The signature dish at Le Petit Bistrot is the seafood pasta. Another item Italiano pointed out is a pork dish named Jarret Braise a la Biere with braised pork knuckle and bier sauce.

The restaurant is open daily from 7 a.m. to 11 p.,m. with a brunch is available on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.. Le Petit Bistrot is closed on Mondays. They will have a full liquor license which should be finalized a few days after opening and will include French and local wines. A grand opening is planned for June. Call 845-3488 or visit lepetitbistrotsb.com. Thanks to readers Laura and Wade for the tips.

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NECTAR TO OFFER LUNCH IN JUNE

Here is a message to you from Aparna Sherman, co-owner/manager of Nectar restaurant at 20 East Cota Street (formerly Blue Agave):

“Hi John, I am writing to inform you that Nectar is opening for lunch in June. And it will be called the Curry House at Nectar – featuring healthy Indian foods, salads and chai. The concept and menu is created by me, Aparna Sherman. I am an Indian born private chef and cookbook author. A former chef of the Chopra Center for Well-Being in San Diego, I’ve been cooking for private clients for nine years in Santa Barbara. The food will be served through our kitchen window and we will open up the downstairs for people for to dine in. We will have a rotating menu of five curries and some Indian desserts as well. “

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BREAKFAST COMING TO CHAPALA

This just in from reader Wade: “At the complex located at 715 Chapala Street it appears that a new dining/eatery will be opening alongside Kanaloa Seafood. Above the large door a sign ‘Breakfast’ has been painted on the building.” Thanks also to reader Cathy for the tip.

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LITTLE KITCHEN OPENS ON ORTEGA

A new late-night restaurant named Little Kitchen, part owned by, and next door to Wildcat bar & club, has opened at 17 West Ortega Street, the former home of Nardonnes La Famiglia Pizzeria. The menu, available from 11 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. includes Southwest Chicken Tikka Masala, Loaded Pub Fries, Bangkok Street Fries, Philly Cheese Steak, Banh Mi Sliders, Fench Toast Bites, Brioche Breakfast Sandwich and Cheeseburger Egg Rolls. Little Kitchen is open Friday – Sunday and will offer lunch and dinner I the near future. Thanks to reader Cathy for the tip.

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LIGHTHOUSE UPDATE

Last month I wrote that construction for a restaurant is underway at the Lighthouse on Cabrillo Boulevard, formerly Rusty’s Pizza. Michael Martz from Haynes Commercial Group offers some details: “John, They are rebuilding the property and adding a 2nd story that will have a beautiful balcony with fantastic views of the waterfront. We will be delivering restaurant shell to a new tenant and are actively marketing the space for a qualified operator.”

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IT’S MAGIC

The restaurant property at 30 Los Patos Way, currently the Montecito Event Center and previously known as Café del Sol, has been purchased by the founder of the famous Magic Castle in Los Angeles. Milt and Arlene Larsen purchased the property and have announced long-term plans to transform it into an offshoot of the Magic Castle. For the time being, the property will continue to operate as the Montecito Event Center. Mr. Larsen founded the Magic Castle in Los Angeles in the 1960s with his late brother Bill Jr. Steve Hayes and Michael Martz of Hayes Commercial Group represented the seller, and Joe Parker of the Santa Barbara Group represented the buyer in the transaction.

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ARTS & LETTERS UPDATE

Reader Primetime let me know that construction has started at 7 East Anapamu Street, the former home of Arts & Letters Cafe. Word on the street is that a new restaurant will be moving in.

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WATERLINE TO OPEN IN THE FUNK ZONE

Miramar Group, a local commercial real estate investment, development, management and brokerage firm, has announced the upcoming completion of the Waterline, a multi-tenant, commercial mixed use project in the Funk Zone. The Waterline is located in 10,000+ sq. ft. of industrial warehouse space at 116-122 Santa Barbara Street.

Once completed Waterline tenants will include Topa Topa Brewing Co., the Nook by Master Chef Norbert Schulz, Lama Dog Tap Room and Bottle Shop, Blair Fox Cellars, Fox Wine Co. and The Guilded Table artisan collective. The first phase of the Waterline – including the Nook restaurant and Lama Dog Tap Room and Bottle Shop – is set to open in late May of 2016, the second phase – Topa Topa Brewing Co., Blair Fox Cellars, Fox Wine Co. and the Guilded Table artisan collective – set to follow later this summer.

“We’re extremely excited to be a part of the Funk Zone’s continuing revitalization,” notes Miramar Group founding partner John Goodman. “Our goal with the Waterline is to create not just a Funk Zone landmark for visiting patrons, but a real community gathering place. Somewhere you can come and meet your neighbor while you enjoy everything the property has to offer.” Visit waterlinesb.com.

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NO CORKAGE FEE

Petit Valentien restaurant at 1114 State Street will have no corkage fee Monday-Thursday from now through August.

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THE DOGGY DOOR OPENS LOS OLIVOS

Reader Marianne sent a tip that Kevin Vander Vliet and his wife, owners of Enjoy Cupcakes, have just opened a new hot dog place named The Doggy Door in Los Olivos. It is located at 2446 Alamo Pintado Avenue, Suite D (inside the water tower). Visit doggydoordogs.com.

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LE MACARON COMING TO PASEO NUEVO

Reader Wade tells me that there is a new business named Le Macaron coming soon 819A Paseo Nuevo, (formerly Chocolate Opulence), featuring French Pastries. Le Macaron is next to Sushi Tyme. Reader Cathy says Le Macaron opens Thursday May 5th and my call to the business confirmed it.

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SPROUTS OPENING IN JULY

Readers Cris and Dick passed word that the web page for Sprouts Farmers Market has announced an opening date of July 27, 2016 for the new Goleta location at 175 North Fairview Avenue, the former home of Haggen (for about 3 seconds) and Vons. I’m told that the page also lists the services the store will offer including Olive Bar, Deli Catering Trays, Fresh Sushi, Juice Bar, Salad Bar, Sandwich Bar, and Coffee Bar.

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SAUSAGES IN SOLVANG

Reader Tyler let me know that Copenhagen Sausage Garden has opened at 1660 Copenhagen Drive in Solvang. Visit csg-solvang.com.

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ALMOST PHAMOUS

Last week I reported that a Vietnamese sandwich shop named Phamous Café has opened at 7127 Hollister Avenue Suite 25 in Goleta next to Albertsons, in the space formerly occupied by Quiznos Sub. It turns out that there is indeed a new sign on the building, the doors are now open, people are coming and going, but the visitors are not patrons. Foot traffic is from construction crew. Hopefully the restaurant opens soon.

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NOODLE CITY REOPENS

Last week I reported that Noodle City at 5869 Hollister Avenue in Goleta had closed but might reopen soon, and indeed they have – to a packed house I’m told.

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DINE OUT FOR SOLSTICE

Join the Summer Solstice Celebration at Pascucci Italian Restaurant, 729 State Street on Thursday, May 5 for the 16th annual Celebrity Dine-out Event. Laura Knight, owner of Pascucci, once again turns over her business for the entire evening in support of the Summer Solstice Celebration. With an all-volunteer staff, ALL sales from the evening (including food, drink, and tips) go directly to support this year’s Summer Solstice Parade, held on June 25th and the Festival at Alameda Park, June 24th-26th. Wait and Bar Staff will be on hand throughout the evening to add to the festivities of the evening, including Mayor Helene Schneider, Councilwoman Cathy Murillo, John “The Palm” Palminteri, Alan “Weathermeister” Rose, and someone called “The Restaurant Guy.”

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CAFÉ INTERNATIONAL CLOSES

Readers Allen, Annie, Bob and Esther let me know that a sign appeared on the inside of the window at Café International, 5664 Calle Real in Goleta, indicating that the restaurant is closed for a few days. That sign was subsequently covered up on the outside of the window with a new message saying “closed for good.” A glance inside reveals that parts of the interior are being dismantled.

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MOTHER’S DAY ROOFTOP BRUNCH

Finch & Fork’s Chef James Siao has put together a buffet for the whole family, set to stunning mountain views. Choose from an array of stations, including “Build Your Own” Omelets, Chilled Seafood, as well as a Meat Carving station. Other brunch favorites include a Grilled Stone Fruit Salad with pulled mozzarella, petite arugula, toasted pistachios, and fig reduction, and Brioche French Toast with maple syrup, and mixed berry compote. A dessert table is also included. $85 per person. 31 W Carrillo Street. For reservations call 879-9100.

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RESTAURANT CONNECTION UPDATE

Reader Annie reveals that Kai Sushi, Sachi Ramen & Robata Bar, and Saigon are all now available for delivery with Restaurant Connection. Visit restaurantconnectionsb.com.

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LOMPOC UPDATE

This is a bit out of my usual coverage area but one of Lompoc’s most distinctive restaurant, the Jalama Beach Cafe on Ocean Avenue (noted for its huge “Hi! Let’s Eat” sign out front) has closed. Thanks to reader Bernard for the tip.

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RETURN OF THE LIGHTHOUSE?

Reader Wade was walking his dog near the newly opened side of the Mission Creek Bridge project on Cabrillo Boulevard and noticed work being done on the original Keeper’s Lighthouse building, also the former home of Rusty’s Pizza. He checked the City of Santa Barbara Building Permit status on-line and I am told that it indicates that a new, unknown restaurant is doing work on the first floor along with a addition of a second floor and balcony It is unknown if the property is still held by the family which owns Rusty’s or if a transaction transpired to include new ownership of the building/property.

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CACHUMA LAKE CAFÉ

Reader Primetime tells me that the Santa Barbara County Parks department is getting set to open a new cafe near the boat marina at Cachuma Lake. The photos sent to me show an interior that is mostly complete. This is an interesting development considering that Cachuma Lake might be in tumbleweed status within a year.

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DRAUGHTSMEN OPENS

Reader Paulette sent a tip that a new production brewery and taproom called Draughtsmen Aleworks, announced here in February, has opened at 53 Santa Felicia Drive in north Goleta. Santa Felicia Drive runs behind Best Buy and #53 is at the north end, across Hollister. Here is a press release sent to me by the business:

The Goodlands gains visionary renegades and do gooders who have a passion for good beer. This is a team and beer with a purpose. “We created this endeavor to blend exceptional craft beer with positive social change. And, of course, to have as much fun as we can along the way.” stated Scott Stefan, Draughtsmen’s self-appointed

“Our social mission compels us to use our company in innovative ways to make the world a better place and improve the quality of life starting with our own local community.” Said Stefan. The taproom will have an on-going not-for-profit tap where they will help promote and give back a percent of sales dedicated to do-goodery within the local community. “We seek to partner with organizations doing good work and doing it well. We see these great organizations spending so much time seeking funds and we want to be a consistent fundraising tool for them.” Commented Stefan. Currently, the Draughtsmen are meeting with numerous organizations in the community and creating sustainable programs to give back to the community they live and work in.

With nothing but an idea and the passion to brew great-tasting beer, Stefan met Reno King and Kris Turner collectively well over a decade ago and they grew their dream together, of course, over pints. They put together a first-rate team to grow a business that supports good beer and the local community. “Our team’s goal is to put everything on the line for what we believe in.” Said Reno King, the designated hops wranger. King, a Goleta native, has been brewing since he was 18. He brewed at Santa Barbara County’s award-winning brewery Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company and was the head brewer at Poseidon Brewing Co in Ventura, CA, until leaving to start Draughtsmen.

Draughtsmen, a Central California craft brewery is creating quality classic beers and a handful of euphoric concoctions for the local and regional marketplace. “It is our mission to brew a well rounded selection of beer styles. Our inspirations are drawn from all over the world with an emphasis on our own local beer tastes in California. We’re not afraid to take risks and try new techniques. In fact, we plan to do just that. Ultimately, we’re still looking to attain a balanced flavor profile for each beer that we brew. We hope that our local Goleta community, as well as the surrounding area, will join us at the brewery for a pint.”

The Draughtsmen team have been working nights and weekends for over a year building out their location from an odd group of multiple offices and a machine shop to a large space that is open with the brewery in full view of the taproom. It’s clean in design with an approachable colorful personality, not unlike its founders.

The Draughtsmen are looking forward to sharing a pint on their grand opening day on Saturday, May 14th. There will be food trucks, music and plenty of friends and folly. Up-to-date details about the grand opening will be posted on the website and social media pages.

About Draughtsmen Aleworks

Draughtsmen Aleworks was founded in Goleta CA ‘the Goodlands’ by a team who are passionate about beer and the good people who drink it. Draughtsmen Aleworks is a lifestyle company dedicated to make, distribute and serve the finest quality classic beers and a handful of euphoric concoctions with a commitment to integrating social, economic and environmental factors in their community into a unique business model built around sustainable business practices and philanthropic partnerships. They have the indomitable spirit to brew, a love of the quirky and relaxed side of life and are proud to bring together a community with these core values and continually strive to do the right thing – one beer at a time. Draughtsmen Aleworks is located at 53 Santa Felicia Dr., Goleta, CA. The taproom is open from 2-8pm  Monday-Thursday and 11:30-9 Friday-Sunday. For more information please visit draughtsmenaleworks.com.

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LE PETIT BISTROT UPDATE

Reader Wade informed me that the signs for a new French restaurant named Le Petit Bistrot, coming to 532 State Street, the former home of Verde and Zia Café, have been taken down. I don’t have any confirmation that the plans for the eatery, announced in this column in January, have changed.

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