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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Readers Mike and Diane tell me that there is a sign on an empty lot at the intersection of Turnpike Road and Calle Real that says “Tom’s Burger and Mixed Use Development.” Rumor has it that a Starbucks might also go there.



Reader Liz says that Don Paco’s Taco Truck will be opening a non-mobile restaurant somewhere on Milpas Street.

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Vincent Lesage is the new Executive Chef at Bacara Resort & Spa. At the age of 30, Chef Vincent Lesage’s career already includes 3-Star Michelin restaurants in Paris as well as experience at some of the world’s most luxurious hotels. Born and raised in Paris at the center of the food universe, Lesage was surrounded by the rich flavors and techniques that define French gastronomy. But it was actually art that inspired him to become a chef. An avid art lover, he spent his spare time at the Louvre, studying the beautiful paintings and color palates that would later influence his artistic presentations.

After graduating from the Institut Paul Bocuse in Ecully, France, Lesage trained at some of the world’s most celebrated establishments, including The Ritz Paris, the Michelin three-star restaurant, L’Astrance, and Michelin three-star restaurant, Bras.

Most recently, Lesage served as Executive Chef of Balboa Bay Resort in Newport Beach where he opened two of the city’s only waterfront restaurants, Waterline and A&O Kitchen + Bar. Prior to that, he served as Executive Sous Chef at St. Regis Monarch Beach, managing a culinary team of more than 60.

Today, as Executive Chef of Bacara’s renowned culinary program, Lesage oversees the resort’s six dining experiences, including a new signature restaurant opening spring 2016. When asked about his vision for Bacara, Lesage says “I approach every outlet as its own distinct concept. From a healthy breakfast at Spa Café to a casual family meal at The Bistro, each experience is unique, and each experience is exceptional.”




From my vantage point up here in the South Coast food news control tower I can many things off in the distance though summer fog frequently obscures the view. One fuzzy object appearing in my gastronoculars is a rumor that Cajun Kitchen is considering opening at 5677 Calle Real in Goleta, the former home of Denny’s. As always, this rumor might be completely false or a brilliant forecast of future events. Your call.

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This just in from reader Primetime:

In celebration of IHOP Restaurant’s 57th birthday, participating locations are offering guests a 57 cent short stack of pancakes from 7am-7pm TODAY, July 7th.

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Reader The Shadow tells 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.



This just in from reader Dad:

Panera Bread at State and Ortega has a sign on the windows/doors this morning saying that this location is permanently closed.

I called the 700 State Street eatery and confirmed that they’re gone. Panera Bread opened in May, 2013. I was also told that the upper State Street Panera Bread is still open.



fig-grill1Reader Cris let me know that the Govender Family will transition Fresco Café North to The Fig Grill over the 4th of July weekend and hope to open Monday, July 6th. The emphasis of the new restaurant will be small plates and craft beers. The Govender Family sent me details about the changes:

“Hello John,

We wanted to inform you that we have decided to change the name of our restaurant in Goleta from Fresco Cafe North to “The Fig Grill.”

We are turning over a new leaf!!! For the past 20 years we have had proud relationships with two local families that started home-grown restaurants which are a part of Santa Barbara history. We have been a franchisee of Giovanni’s Pizza and Fresco Cafe Group, respectively, with two decades of experience in operating and managing three restaurants.

It is now a perfect time to begin a new chapter with an independent and fresh concept. For the 11 years that we have been at this Calle Real location as a Giovanni’s and Fresco Café North, we have grown and developed into a restaurant that is a favorite amongst locals in both the family and business sector of our neighborhood. We are looking forward to continuing this tradition but with a fresh menu with simple ideas to include more options in small plate items, local craft beers on tap and some of our own popular favorites which have become synonymous with the Govender family and our loyal, long serving staff. Our customers, the life blood of any establishment, will continue to enjoy the same outstanding service from familiar personnel in front of house operations and our busy, competent kitchen.

We are looking forward to serving you with the best food, building better relations and offering you a new, tasty menu beginning this summer. Welcome and thank you.

- The Govender Family”

  • View the menu at The Fig Grill




Reader Laila tells me that Chef Ramon Velazquez just signed a lease to open a brick and mortar location of Corazon Cocina in the Montecito Country Mart (aka the Vons shopping center). It will be located in a redesigned space formally occupied by Xanadu Bakery. Fans of tacos and ceviche, rejoice!



This just in from reader Anna:

“Hi John, Longtime reader, first time contributor. Santa Barbara needs to know what’s happening Friday and Saturday nights at the Goodland Kitchen at 231 South Magnolia Ave in Goleta. Buena Onda, an Argentinian pop-up, is serving up incredible empanadas, tamales, delicious salads, ceviche & yuca chips, and amazing chimichurri. It will be there through August – outdoor seating, BYOB, and friendly crowds. Not only have we been more than once already (it opened June 11), but we’ve gotten back in line on each trip to order seconds! We suggest the carne and caprese empandas with the quinoa salad.”

Thanks also to readers Avery and Margaret for tips about Buena Onda.



Reader Steve let me know that Ah Juice is almost ready to open at 432 East Haley Street in downtown Santa Barbara. A message on their web site ahjuice.com describes the business:

“From the very beginning we at ah juice committed to providing the highest quality medicinal juice available while keeping our business performing at the highest level of sustainability possible. Drinking our juice regularly promotes healing and health to our whole being. We have not wavered from these goals and have continued to be amazed at the testimonials provided by our customers and their willingness to participate in the program to sustainability. 100% Organic-no compromise and 95% produce from local farms. We hand clean and inspect all the produce. Anything that is not bright green, yellow, purple, red, or is shriveled is not in our juice. Minimize oxidation: To maximize nutrient quality and minimize losses we overfill each jar to remove air, cap and refrigerate immediately. All juice is packed in glass containers. Cold pressed every morning!”



Reader Tom says that there is a new sushi bar at Chinese restaurant Empress Palace, 2251 Las Positas Road. I am told it has been in place for several weeks.



Noozhawk reports that Norton’s Pastrami and Deli at 18 West Figueroa Street will be opening a second location in Goleta next year.



Reader Paul tells me that Pasta Shoppe and Juice Well inside Santa Barbara Public Market at 38 West Victoria Street have closed. I called both businesses and their phone numbers are disconnected.



A new Japanese restaurant named Yoichi’s, serving traditional Kaiseki cuisine, Sushi and Sashimi opens at the end of June at 230 East Victoria Street, the former home of Spiritland Bistro. Yoichi’s offers seasonal Nigiri sushi & Sashimi only and does not offer any rolls. Owner chef Yoichi Kawabata has 25 years of chef’s experience in Japan and America, and specialized in Kaiseki cuisine, most recently working at Nobu in Tokyo.

Kawabata tells me that the most refined form of Japanese cuisine known as Kaiseki. “Traditional multi-course meals are prepared from the freshest seasonal ingredients,” says Kawabata. “And it is prepared by highly skilled chefs in ways to enhance their original flavor. Each course follows the next in precise sequence, paced perfectly for maximum enjoyment. The most important aspect of Kaiseki is it should reflect seasons. Both ingredients and tableware are selected carefully to evoke profound awareness of the time of year. Kaiseki cuisine originated in the 16th century and began with Sen no Rikyu, the pioneer of tea ceremony. There are 2 ways of enjoying Kaiseki: with sake and as part of a formal tea ceremony. Japanese people like to sip on sake while eating small portions of a number of different types of food. Kaiseki is the most refined version of that style of meal. In modern times it is served in high-end restaurants and traditional hotels known as Ryokan.”

Hours are Tuesday – Sunday 5-10 p.m. Call 962-6627.



After intense concentration and a wave of my hand over the all-knowing crystal ball, my eatery oracle has revealed a list of food and drink locations appearing in your future:

  • Caffe Primo, 516 State St. and 34 W. Carrillo St.
  • Del Taco, Santa Barbara (2 locations)
  • Dunkin’ Donuts, Santa Barbara (2 locations)
  • Farmer Boy Restaurant, 3427 State St. (remodeling under new ownership)
  • Gandolfo’s New York Delicatessen, 718 State St. (formerly Killer B’s)
  • Globe, 18 E. Cota St. (formerly Café Luck)
  • High Sierra Grill House, 521 Firestone Rd., Goleta (formerly Elephant Bar)
  • Jane, 6920 Marketplace Dr., Goleta (formerly Smoke N Barrel BBQ Shack)
  • Kanaloa Seafood, 715 Chapala St.
  • Lure Fish House, 3815 State St. (formerly Ruth’s Chris)
  • Nona’s Italian Deli, 415 E. De la Guerra St. (formerly Italian Grocery)
  • Nugget, 21 W. Victoria St. (Arlington Tavern)
  • Oliver’s, 1198 Coast Village Rd. (formerly Peabody’s)
  • On the Alley, 7038 Marketplace Dr., Goleta (formerly Gina’s Pizza)
  • Pace, 108 Pierpont Rd., Summerland (formerly Big Yellow House)
  • Pascucci, 6920 Marketplace Dr., Goleta (formerly Holdren’s Grill)
  • Rebar Coffee, 214 State St. (formerly Tri Tip Company)
  • Rusty’s Pizza, 111 State St. (moving from 15 E. Cabrillo Blvd.)
  • Rusty’s Pizza, 2315 Lillie Ave., Summerland (Stacky’s Seaside)
  • Rusty’s Pizza, 5934 Calle Real, Goleta (moving from 6025 Calle Real)
  • Sachi Ramen and Robata Bar, 721 Chapala St. (formerly Esau’s)
  • Smart & Final Extra, 7000 Hollister Ave., Goleta (Hollister Village Plaza)
  • State Streets Backyard, 731 De la Guerra Plaza (formerly Killer B’s)
  • Subway, 1936 State St.
  • Sushi Café, 28 W. Figueroa St. (formerly Henning’s Cake Boutique)
  • The French Press, 250 Storke Rd., Goleta (formerly Bicycle Bob’s)
  • The Little Door, 129 E Anapamu St. (Piano Riviera Lounge)
  • Third Window Brewery, 412 E. Haley St. (formerly Tileco)
  • Timbers, 10 Winchester Canyon Rd. (reopening)
  • Wahoo’s Fish Taco, 7000 Hollister Ave., Goleta (Hollister Village Plaza)
  • Wildwood Kitchen, 412 E. Haley St. (formerly Tileco)
  • Yoichi’s, 230 E. Victoria St. (formerly Spiritland Bistro)
  • Zizzo’s Coffee, 7000 Hollister Ave., Goleta (Hollister Village Plaza)
  • Unnamed, 901 E. Cabrillo Blvd. (inside Santa Barbara Inn)
  • Unnamed, 7 E. Anapamu St. (formerly Arts & Letters Café)
  • Unnamed, 17 W. Ortega St. (formerly Nardonne’s Pizzeria)


Yvan Morin from Pacific Crepes at 705 Anacapa Street tells me that after 18 years of doing business they have decided to offer breakfast and lunch only. Pacific Crepes is open 7 days a week 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.



Readers tell me that Dawn Patrol has opened at 324 State Street the former home of Beachbreak Café. I’m hearing that it’s an order-at-the-counter and grab-a-seat kind of spot now.



This just in from the Santa Barbara Wine Festival:

Enjoy an afternoon of tasting under the oak trees along Mission Creek as the premier wineries of the Central Coast congregate at the annual Santa Barbara Wine Festival, a major fundraiser for the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. Held outdoors on the beautiful campus of the Museum at 2559 Puesta Del Sol Road, Santa Barbara on Saturday, June 27 from 2:00 to 5:00 PM, guests will sip, swirl and savor a variety of wine from over 50 wineries complemented by tasty hors d’oeuvres and desserts from famed local restaurants, farm-to-table caterers and other top shelf food purveyors.

Participating wineries include: Alexander and Wayne, Alma Rosa Winery, Andrew Murray Vineyards, Arthur Earl, Au Bon Climat, Avelina Wine Company, Babcock Winery and Vineyards, Beckmen Vineyards, Bedford Winery and Vineyards, Black Sheep Finds/Holus Bolus, Blair Fox, Brander Vineyard, Brewer-Clifton, Byron, Cambria, Cargasacchi, Carr Vineyards and Winery, Cebada, CORE, Crawford Family Wines, Daniel Gehrs Wines, Dierberg Estate Vineyard, Epiphany Cellars, Falcone Family Vineyards, Feliz Noche Cellars, Fess Parker Winery & Vineyard, Fiddlehead Cellars, Flying Goat Cellars, Foxen, Gainey Vineyard, Grassini Family Vineyards and Winery, Jaffurs Wine Cellars, Jamie Slone Wines, Kalyra, Ken Brown Wines, Kenneth Volk Vineyards, Kita Wines (Chumash Tribe), Koehler Winery, Kunin, Larner Wines and General Store, Margerum Wine Company, Melville, Mosby Winery & Vineyard, Municipal Winemakers, Oreana, Palmina, Qupé, Rancho Sisquoc Winery, Refugio Ranch, Sagebrush Annie’s, Santa Barbara Winery, Silver Wines Star Lane Vineyards, Sunstone Vineyards and Winery,
Tablas Creek Vineyard, Tercero Wines, Toucan Wines, Transcendence Wines, Vogelzang,
Whitcraft Winery, The Winehound, and Zaca Mesa Winery.

“This is a wine-focused festival. However, we have a large array of top-shelf food purveyors, many of whom are especially paired with wineries that complement one another,” said Festival Chair, Meridith Moore. “It is exciting because many of the winemakers and chefs are present and available for the guests to meet and discuss the qualities of their varietals and menu items – just another example of why this has become one of the most beloved wine festivals on the Central Coast and the one to attend.”

Participating food purveyors include: Arch Rock Fish, Barbareno, Benchmark Eatery, Bob’s Well Bread, Brophy Bros., Ca Dario, C’est Cheese, Cinnies, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, Country Catering, Coveted Cakery, Finch and Fork, FreezerMonkeys, Funk Zone Patio, Georgia’s Smoke House BBQ, Il Fustino, Jessica Foster Confections, Le Sorelle, Michael’s Catering, Omni Catering, The Outpost at Goodland Hotel, Pacific Pickle Works, Paloma Restaurant, Renaud’s Patisserie, Sama Sama Kitchen, Santa Barbara Tamales To Go, Tartisan, The Shop, The Stonehouse, Truffle Gatteau, Via Maestra 42, and Village Modern Foods.

Among the delectable menu items scheduled to be sampled are: Braised Short Rib Meatballs (Michael’s Catering); Oyster Shooters (Brophy Bros.); Savory Tarts (Tartisan); Homemade Tamales (Santa Barbara Tamales To Go); Sage and Butternut Squash Raviolis (Ca Dario); Organic Popsicles (FreezerMonkeys); Cheese Tastings from around the World (C’est Cheese); Hand-rolled Truffles (Jessica Foster Confections); and Mini Cupcakes (Coveted Cakery); to name a few.

The Santa Barbara Wine Festival is a ticketless event. Guests 21 and older may purchase admission on the Museum’s website (www.sbnature.org). All guests must present a valid identification for admittance. Guests without valid identification will not gain access to the Wine Festival. Admission purchased by Friday, June 26 prior to 5:00 PM is $70 for Museum members and $95 for non-members. If available, admission may also be purchased at the door the day of the Festival for $105. The Santa Barbara Wine Festival also offers a Designated Driver Program, where guests accompanying at least one ticket holder who have agreed to the guidelines of the program are granted complimentary admittance to the Wine Festival. As a Designated Driver, guests will wear a badge to signify “No Alcohol” and will not receive a tasting glass.

Guests in attendance are also invited to participate in the “Every Cork Wins” raffle, where all participants win a prize. For $30 to pull a cork, participants are guaranteed to win a prize worth at least $30, many of which are valued at $100 and above. All proceeds from this event benefit the Museum’s exhibits and education programs.

In efforts to control traffic in and around the Museum on the day of the Wine Festival, the Museum is offering free parking at three designated offsite parking lots and round trip shuttle service to and from the Wine Festival. For those guests who prefer to park in the Museum lot, a limited number of parking passes are available online for $20. We recommend that guests walk, taxi, Uber, or be dropped off as the best ways to get to the Wine Festival.

The Santa Barbara Wine Festival is sponsored by The Berry Man, Inc., Classic Party Rentals, Mission Wealth Management, Riviera Insurance Services, Real Water, and OnQ Financial. For more information and to purchase admission for the Santa Barbara Wine Festival, please visit www.sbnature.org/winefestival.

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Reader Steve tells me that there is a sign at 721 Chapala Street, the former home of Esau’s Café, indicating that the next tenant will be Sachi Ramen and Robata Bar.



Reader Steve also tells me that there is a coming-soon sign for Kanaloa Seafood 715 Chapala Street.



Here is a list of local restaurants that have closed in the last year:

  • June 2015: Cajun Kitchen, 865 Linden Ave., Carpinteria; Santa Monica Seafood, 38 W. Victoria St. (now I’a Fish); Tony’s, 699 Linden Ave., Carpinteria
  • May 2015: Esau’s Cafe, 721 Chapala St.; Killer B’s BBQ and Bar, 731 De la Guerra Plaza; Nardonnes La Famiglia Pizzeria, 17 W. Ortega St.
  • April 2015: Arts & Letters Café, 7 E. Anapamu St.
  • March 2015: Beachbreak Cafe, 324 State St.; Denny’s, 5677 Calle Real, Goleta; Hennings Cake Boutique, 28 W. Figueroa St. (now Sushi Café); Los Tarascos, 5915B Calle Real, Goleta (now Las Brasas Mexican Grill); Steve’s Patio Cafe, 3007 De la Vina St. (now Terraza Café)
  • February 2015: Cafe Luna, 2354 Lillie Ave., Summerland; Las Aves Cafe, 2220 Bath St. (now Live Oak Café)
  • January 2015: Cabo’s Baja Grill & Cantina, 5096 Carpinteria Ave, Carpinteria (now Cielo Bar and Grill); Domino’s, UCSB Ucen (now Santorini Island Grill); Rincon Bohemio, 298 Pine Ave, Goleta (now La Hacienda); Gina’s Pizza, 7038 Marketplace Dr., Goleta; Relais de Paris, 734 State St.; Xanadu French Bakery, 1028 Coast Village Rd., Montecito.
  • December 2014: Bay Roadhouse Bar & Grill, 202 State St.; Blue Tavern, 119 State St. (now Nuance); Coffee Bean SBA, 500 Fowler Rd., Goleta (now La Mission Cafe); Killer Shrimp, 416 State St.; Miro at the Bacara Resort, 8301 Hollister Ave., Goleta; Pita Pit, 971 Embarcadero Del Mar, Isla Vista.
  • November 2014: Adama, 428 Chapala St. (now Yume Sushi); Angry Wings, 6530 Pardall Rd, Isla Vista (now OTaco); Firehouse Subs, 6530 Seville Rd, Isla Vista (now Spudnuts); Kahuna Grill, 12 De La Guerra Pl. (now PizzaRev); Norton’s Pastrami and Deli, 226 S. Milpas St. (now East Beach Tacos); Pace, 413 State St. (now The Mex Authentic); Tri Tip Company, 214 State St.
  • October 2014: Hot Spots, 36 State St; Pierre Lafond Wine Bistro, 516 State St.; Quizno’s, 7127 Hollister Ave, Goleta.
  • September 2014: Cafe Del Sol, 30 Los Patos Wy., Montecito; New Baja Grill, 7024 Camino Real Marketplace, Goleta (now Los Agaves).
  • August 2014: none.
  • July 2014: none.
  • June 2014: All India Café, 431 State St. (now Himalayan Kitchen); Harold’s Caribbean Kitchen, 731 De la Guerra Plaza; Montecito Confections, 1150 Coast Village Rd., Montecito (now Crushcakes).
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In February I wrote that Hayes Commercial Group had posted a message on the City of Carpinteria web site that Tony’s Restaurant at 699 Linden Avenue is for sale. Readers now tell me that the place is closed and boarded up. I called Tony’s during business hours and nobody answered the phone.



This just in from Mac’s Fish & Chip Shop, 503 State Street:

Hi John,

2010 was a fantastic year for fans of iPads, Jeggings, inspirational Chilean Miner survival stories and traditional Fish & Chips.  But unlike KFC’s Double Down, Vuvuzelas and the iPhone 4, half a decade later Mac’s Fish & Chip Shop is still very much alive and kicking.  So come help us celebrate our FIVE YEAR ANNIVERSARY on TUESDAY 23rd JUNE where we’ll be serving FREE CHIPS all day (from 11am to 9pm) with the purchase of any Fish, Savoury Pie, Sausage, Chicken, Sandwich or Haggis item.  There will probably be a few bottle of bubbly knocking about as well, depending on how breakfast goes.  Hope you can join us for some merriment at 503 State St.




Reader Robert let me know that Cajun Kitchen at 865 Linden Avenue in Carpinteria has closed for good after 16 years in business. A notice about the pending closure was posted on their door in early June.



Reader Dad tells me that a listing on the Radius Commercial Real Estate web site says that the space occupied by Crazy Good Bread in the Santa Barbara Public Market is available for lease. I called Crazy Good Bread and they said they are open for business as usual.

The Radius listing reads: “The Crazy Good Bread Company space is located in the Santa Barbara Public Market, part of the new Alma del Pueblo mixed-use development in the heart of downtown. The space has all the fixtures you may need to set up shop, including hood, ovens and sinks. Join a host of other food purveyors located within the Public Market including Empty Bowl Gourmet Noodle Bar, Green Star Coffee, Rori’s Artisanal Creamery and Santa Monica Seafood. Please do not disturb existing tenant. Call Listing Agent for showing.”



In early June I noticed that the for-lease sign had been taken down at 718 State Street, the former home of Killer B’s, Kozmo’s, California Crisp and Fat Burger. There didn’t appear to be any new construction going on. Readers Mike, Brendan and Patrick now tell me that a new sign has appeared with the name of the next tenant: “Gandolfo’s New York Delicatessen.”

Owner Dan Pool opened Gandolfo’s first location in Salt Lake City, Utah, in 1989. The deli has since expanded to 32 locations in 13 states, primarily in the west. The nearest Gandolfo’s New York Delicatessen location is in Oxnard. Visit gandolfosdeli.com.




This just in from reader Jeffrey:

John –

Did Litos [Mexican Restaurant at 514 E. Haley St.] change ownership? The inside has been remodeled, and it now has ‘real’ dishes and eating utensils. Portions are also smaller…carnitas are still great.  I didn’t see the old owners when I lunched today…has it changed ownership?