Rincon Brewery opened October 20 at 5065 Carpinteria Avenue in Carpinteria and readers tell me that packed crowds have been seeking the seaside suds every night.

Their web site offers this description: “Rincon Brewery is dedicated to providing the highest quality, full-flavored, malt beverages. Our inspiration originates from the beautiful Rincon Beach coastline to the fresh, thriving local Carpinteria farmlands. Combined, these “waves of grain” provide the ideal blend that define the essence of Rincon Brewery. With a strong commitment to preservation and restoration of our natural environment, we promise to bring you the freshest, most exceptional, hand-crafted beers the Central Coast has to offer. Our vision is to create an environment at Rincon Brewery, where along with serving the finest beers, friendships will be made, businesses will be shaped and conversations will be cultivated.”

The food menu includes soup of the day $7, Carpinteria salad $10, kale salad $15, fried chicken salad $12, hummus $7, grilled artichoke $7, potato chips $5, sweet potato fries $7, buffalo wings $9, french fries $6, onion rings $6, corn bread dusted dill pickle spears $7, cheesy bacon beer dip $8, sliders $9, beer braised brat $14, fish n (actual) chips $12, tacos $10, the basic burger with cheese $11, RB burger $14, tarpitz pie $7, cookie & cream $7, rootbeer float $5 and stout float $7.

The beer menu includes Bates Blonde, Mac Brown, 684 Saison, Indicator IPA, Rivermouth Stout, La Reina Lager, Harvest Pumpkin Ale, Warrior Pride Red Ale.

Rincon Brewery is open daily from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. For more information call 684-6044 or visit rinconbrewery.com.


Leave a comment


Zizzo’s Coffee at 370 Storke Road has signed a lease to be a tenant in the upcoming Hollister Village Plaza currently under development across from Camino Real Marketplace. The other two confirmed tenants are Smart & Final Extra! and Supercuts. Zizzo’s new space will be 1,450 sf and will emphasize beer and wine in addition to coffee. The smaller Storke Road location currently has an application to begin serving beer and wine.

Sharing a driveway with Storke Road Zizzo’s is a self-serve car wash that will be replaced by a Fuel Depot. The new 1,667 sf development will include a drive-in car wash, a self-serve car wash and gas fueling dispensers. Thanks to reader Cris for the tip!



Today, Tuesday October 28th, The Natural Cafe at 5892 Hollister Avenue in Old Town Goleta closed permanently starting at 3:00 p.m. Tomorrow,  Wednesday October 29th, The Natural Café reopens in Camino Real Marketplace at 11:00 a.m., immediately next door to the Hollister Brewing Company, in a space once occupied by a Hallmark Store.  Manager Marco Hernandez tells me that the Camino Real Marketplace location has a brand new kitchen but everything else remains the same including the staff, menu and hours. Patio dining is available in the front of the business. The restaurant is open daily from 11:00 a.m. – 9 p.m. For more information call 692-2363 or visit thenaturalcafe.com. Thanks to reader Cris for the tip!


Leave a comment


prlLast March The French Table restaurant 129 E. Anapamu Street was sold and became Piano Gastrolounge. I am now told the business has been updated again and the new name is Piano Riviera Lounge. The business is run by Chef/General Manager Stephen Goularte and musician Fabrice Allain, two local tastemakers and seasoned veterans in the hospitality and entertainment industry.

“I feel very fortunate to partner with Stephen and Fabrice who understand the Santa Barbara culture and community, and see the extraordinary opportunity to integrate our casual culinary approach to good food and drinks into the experience,” said Michael Ganz, owner of Piano Riviera Lounge. “They have created the perfect fusion of food, music, art and culture, and we’re excited to share it with everyone.”

Under the culinary direction of Goularte, whose passion and palate is inspired by casual Riviera cuisine (French, Italian, Spain and California), the menu features local farmer’s market fresh cuisine and seasonal favorites. The menu is inspired by the casual, fresh culture of the Rivieras and in addition to main entrees, a large selection of small plates are designed to be shared amongst friends, or romantic dinners on the patio terrace. At Piano Riviera Lounge, Goularte has created a selection of vegetarian options, seafood specials and a wide variety of wood-fired pizzas. The bar has an extensive beer and wine list featuring local favorites and prime picks from France and Italy, along with handcrafted, fresh fruit Soju cocktails and Sangrias.

Santa Barbara music and art aficionado Fabrice Allain offers a rhythmic blend of local music talent to compliment the pulsating sounds of world music. The baby grand piano is the highlight, and depending on the day, you can enjoy a solo pianist, an 8 piece jazz band, or DJ onstage.

Piano Riviera Lounge is open for lunch and dinner Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. – 9:00 p.m., Saturday 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m., and Sunday from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. For more information call 882-0050 or visit sbpiano.com.



Hot Spots coffee shop at 36 State Street has closed. The building is scheduled to be demolished to make room for La Entrada de Santa Barbara.

1 Comment


Barbareño, a new restaurant located at 205 W. Canon Perdido Street, the former home of D’Vine Café, will be holding its grand opening on Wednesday, October 29th. Partner-chef Julian Martinez and chef de cuisine Owen Hanavan will be serving a menu focused on Central Coast cuisine, with an emphasis placed on contemporary interpretations of regional specialties and traditional dishes. General manager-partner Jesse Gaddy and Floor Manager Ryan Springmeier will be overseeing the dining room and service.

All the ingredient sourcing will be Californian, working primarily with ingredients from the Santa Barbara farmers market. The highly seasonal menu will have a selection of small plates like the Ranch Salad with little gems, house-cultured buttermilk, parsley vinaigrette, and sun gold tomatoes; larger plates include pork belly and loin with caramelized whey, strawberry nectar, and savory black walnut granola.

Jesse Gaddy, Lenka Davis, and Kris Brown are behind the beverage menu, which will focus on wines and beers solely from California, with a particular emphasis placed on the Central Coast. Wines will be offered by the bottle or by the glass, and three beers will be on tap, along with a selection of bottled brews. Coffee will be sourced from Santa Barbara-based Handlebar Coffee Roasters.

With a contemporary ranch-style design, the restaurant space is rustic yet refined.  The main dining room holds approximately 30 guests. A heated outdoor patio area, highlighted by a wood burning Santa Maria grill and smoker, will accommodate an additional 25 guests.

“Growing up here I always felt that the Central Coast was a really special place,” says Martinez. “With Barbareño, we hope to celebrate this area, bringing the culture and its environment to life. This will be a restaurant that could not exist anywhere else; a place that embodies where we are, how we got here, and the moment in which we’re living–where the food is not only locally sourced, but also locally inspired.”

Barbareño will be open for dinner service Wednesday through Sunday 5:30-10 p.m. Reservations can be made online at barbareno.com or by phone by calling 963-9591.

BARBAREÑO BOYS: Chef/co-owner Julian Martinez (right) and General Manager/co-owner Jesse Gaddy are opening a new restaurant in the former home of D’Vine Café.



Pierre Lafond Wine Bistro at 516 State Street has been sold and is set to close at the end of this month. In its place at a future date will be Caffe Primo, which has locations at 8590 Sunset Boulevard and 612 S Flower Street in Los Angeles. The official business name is Caffe Primo 101, LLC.

Caffe Primo offers house-roasted coffees and a variety of dining options. Specialties include paninis made with fresh artisanal breads, such as the Roasted Tomato, Fig and Goat Cheese Panini; fresh salads like the Signature Chop Chop with salami, turkey, provolone and individual pizzettas such as Prosciutto & Arugula and Pizza Margherita. Caffe Primo also offers premium gelato and sorbetto’s from Primo Gelato, which was named among the “Best of LA” by Los Angeles Magazine, one of the “top five ice creams in the city” by Angeleno.

Breakfast, which is served all day, includes items such as the succulent Crab, Swiss and Tomato Frittata and House baked Pastries, Muffins and Cookies. For more information visit iloveprimo.com. Thanks to readers Matt and Brendan for the tips!

Related story: Will two Caffe Primos be opening downtown?

141023-pierre-lafond2 - Copy



greyhound2Reader Brendan pointed out to me that the real estate web site for PDC Capital Group, an organization involved with the renovation of the old Greyhound station at Carrillo and Chapala, offers the following announcement, dated December 2013: “The lease for Caffe Primo 102 has been fully executed and assigned to the project company. The project company is awaiting landlord approval before store build out can commence.” Will two Caffe Primos be opening downtown?



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

  • October 2014: Simply Pies, 5392 Hollister Ave., Goleta; Sweet Alley, 955 Embarcadero del Mar, Isla Vista.
  • September 2014: Cafe Del Sol, 30 Los Patos Wy., Montecito; Killer B BBQ and Bar, 718 State St.; 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 Wayne Kjar Cakes).
  • May 2014: Holdren’s Grill, 6920 Marketplace Dr, Goleta.
  • April 2014: D’Vine Café, 205 W. Canon Perdido St.; Mad Dogs, 505 State St. (now Ana’s Taco Bar); Magic Pita Café, 5 W. Haley St. (now Tacos El Rey); Smoke N Barrel BBQ Shack, 6920 Marketplace Drive, Goleta.
  • March 2014: Bangkok Palace, 2829 De la Vina St.; Betos Subs, 731 De La Guerra Plaza; Brummis, 3130 State St. (now TAP Thai); The French Table, 129 E. Anapamu St. (now Piano Gastrolounge); Sunnyside Market & Deli, 436 E. Gutierrez St.
  • February 2014: none.
  • January 2014: Museum Cafe 1130 State St. (now Fire & Ice Museum Café); Rusty’s Pizza,15 E. Cabrillo Blvd. (moving to 111 State St.); The Pan, 18 E. Cota St.; Wahoo’s Fish Taco, 511 State St. (now Barbarian’s Pizza); YoYumYum, 5915A Calle Real, Goleta.
  • December 2013: Culture Shock (mobile); Verde, 532 State St.
  • November 2013: Altamirano’s, 422 N. Milpas St.; Las Palmeras, 432 E. Haley St.; Rudy’s, 5764 Calle Real, Goleta (now Paloma Restaurant and Tequila Bar)
  • October 2013: Cafe Int’L, 6578 Trigo Rd., Isla Vista (now Lovin’ Oven); Good Karma Market & Deli, 207 W. Anapamu St. (now Red Sands Market and Deli); Javan’s, 938 Embarcadero Del Norte, Isla Vista (now Aladdin Café); Maggie’s, 1201 State St. (now Benchmark Eatery); Takenoya, 5934 Calle Real, Goleta.


Readers Brendan and Bill let me know that iGrill Korean BBQ has reopened under new ownership at 3132 State Street. iGrill is now operated by the family that owns Nikka Fish Grill, Nikka Market, and Sushi Teri.

Leave a comment


The Daily Nexus reports that Sweet Alley at 955 Embarcadero del Mar in Isla Vista has closed. The business opened in February, 2009. Thanks to reader Cris for the tip.




Los Agaves has announced the opening of its third location in Goleta in the Camino Real Marketplace. Located at 7024 Market Place Drive in the former home of New Baja Grill, the new Los Agaves Goleta restaurant offers authentic Mexican food in a casual setting.

“We are very excited to open our doors to the Goleta community,” said Carlos Luna, owner of Los Agaves. “We will continue our dedication to making the most fresh and delicious authentic Mexican cuisine and look forward to sharing our unique flavors with our new neighbors.”

Luna opened his first location at 600 North Milpas Street on Santa Barbara’s east side in 2008. Los Agaves quickly gained fame with local, taking the title as “Best Mexican Restaurant and Best Salsa in Santa Barbara” in 2013 and 2014. After successful five years of business, Luna opened his second location at 2911 De la Vina Street in June of 2013.

Everything guests enjoy at the Mexican restaurant’s two other locations can be found at the new Goleta location: fresh daily specials, complimentary chips, homemade salsa bar, authentic Mexican favorites, ice-cold cervezas, and more.

Los Agaves offers flavors of Mexico, bringing traditional Mexican culture to every bite of their cuisine. Signature dishes include their Chiles Norteños stuffed with shrimp and Oaxaca cheese, topped with chipotle dressing, served with rice and beans and a house salad; Agaves Enchiladas with fresh halibut and shrimp; the tender Carne Azteca accompanied with stuffed Anaheim peppers, grilled nopalito, and chorizo; among many more favorites.

All locations are open for lunch and dinner daily, Monday through Friday from 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. Catering services available upon request.




Here is a list of local restaurants that have opened this year:

  • October 2014: Aladdin Café, 938 Embarcadero del Norte, Isla Vista; Tri Tip Company, 214 State St.
  • September 2014: Café 154, 4151 Foothill Rd.; Taqueria El Pastorcito, 2009 De la Vina St.; The Outpost at The Goodland Hotel, 5650 Calle Real, Goleta
  • August 2014: Boochies, 113 W. De la Guerra St.; Tacos El Rey, 5 W. Haley St.
  • July 2014: Benchmark Eatery, 1201 State St.; Mesa Verde, 1919 Cliff Dr.; Papa Johns Pizza, 5756 Calle Real, Goleta
  • June 2014: Himalayan Kitchen, 431 State St.; Spudnuts, 6530 Seville Rd., Isla Vista
  • May 2014: C’est Cheese Café, 825 Santa Barbara St.; Caribbean Kitchen, 731 De la Guerra Plaza; Jersey Mike’s, 1213 State St.; The Black Sheep, 26 E. Ortega St.
  • April 2014: Ana’s Taco Bar, 505 State St.; Beach Bowls, 901 Linden Ave., Carpinteria; Belcampo Meat Co., 38 W. Victoria St.; Crazy Good Bread Co., 38 W. Victoria St.; Deli Express, 7398 Calle Real, Goleta; Empty Bowl Gourmet Noodle Bar, 38 W. Victoria St.; Enjoy Cupcakes, 38 W. Victoria St.; Fire & Ice Museum Café, 1130 State St.; Flagstone Pantry, 38 W. Victoria St.; Green Star Coffee, 38 W. Victoria St.; Juice Well, 38 W. Victoria St.; Lovin Oven Mediterranean Bakery & Café, 6578 Trigo Rd., Isla Vista; Pasta Shoppe, 38 W. Victoria St.; Rori’s Artisanal Creamery, 38 W. Victoria St.; Santa Monica Seafood, 38 W. Victoria St.
  • March 2014: Betos Subs, 731 De La Guerra Plaza (now closed); Blaze Pizza, 6546 Pardall Rd., Isla Vista; Firehouse Subs, 6530 Seville Rd., Isla Vista; Jimmy John’s, 909 Embarcadero del Mar, Isla Vista; Olio Crudo Bar, 11 W. Victoria St.; Piano Gastrolounge, 129 E Anapamu St.
  • February 2014: The Lovin’ Spoonful, 2028 Cliff Dr.
  • January 2014: Barbarians Pizza, 511 State St.; Wok on the Wild Side, 901 Embarcadero del Mar, Isla Vista
1 Comment


A new Mediterranean restaurant named Aladdin Café opened on October 6th at 938 Embarcadero del Norte in Isla Vista, the former longtime home of Javan’s. Owner Sako Abdulhai tells me the restaurant is run by a family who were raised out here with parents from Syria. “We are serving Mediterranean, blending the regional cuisines into one,” says Abdulhai. “We are using the best of the Lebanese, the best of the Jordanian, the best of all that whole culture and making a menu around that.”

The sandwich menu includes Beef Shawarma (beef, parsley, tahini, pickes), Chicken Shawarma (chicken, lettuce, garlic sauce, pickles), Falafel (falafel, lettuce, tomato, mint, pickles, tahini), Ground Beef Sandwich, Chicken Sandwich and Hamburger/Cheeseburger.

The plate menu includes Shish Taouk (chicken breast, rice, salad, hummus, pita), Shish Kabob (beef, rice, salad, hummus, pita), Kaffa (ground beef, rice, salad, hummus, pita), Mansaf (chicken breast, rice, yogurt, cucumber), Kabsi (lamb, rice, yogurt, cucumber), Combo Plate “Vegetarian” (falafel, malfoof, French fries, salad, baba ghanoush).

Hours are 8 a.m. – midnight weekdays and 8 a.m. – 1 a.m. on weekends. For more information call 770-7288

Aladdin Café staff (l – r): Scott Abdulhai, Steven Abdulhai, Georgia Tahan, Wanda Abdulhai, Fred Abdulhai, Maan Najjar, Owner/Manager Sako Abdulhai, Chef Hathim Aziz

The Restaurant Gal ordered the Shish Taouk plate at Aladdin Café with chicken breast, rice, salad, hummus, served with pita bread. The Restaurant Kid is not old enough for solid food so he missed out on quite a treat.



Captain Fatty’s Craft Brewery is scheduled to open in November at 6483 Calle Real, Unit D, in Goleta.



Reader Don sent me an advertisement for Mandarin Palace at 3955 State Street in the Five Points Shopping Center. The write-up announces that the restaurant is now under new ownership.



Two weeks ago I published a tip from reader Mark who said Del Taco plans to open at Hollister and Turnpike, next to Cody’s Café. The manager of the Turnpike Center tells me this is false.



Reader Brendan tells me that Yellow Belly and Crushcakes Kitchen/Tasting Room have opened at 2611 De La Vina Street, the former home of Tap Thai cuisine which moved to upper State Street. Owners Alex Noormand and Tracy Clark tell me the eatery offers soups, salads and sandwiches. Part of the De la Vina street building will be used by Alex’s sister Shannon Gaston who will share the kitchen and open a Crushcakes wedding cake tasting room. The official name of the business will be “Yellow Belly Tap Sucker Bar And Restaurant.” This is word play on a real bird named “Yellow Belly Sap Sucker.”



A new IRS rule could end, or at least curtail, the practice. NPR reports that the Internal Revenue Service has begun classifying automatic gratuities as service charges that are taxable as regular wages and subject to payroll tax withholding. Currently, automatic gratuities are considered tips, and it’s up to the wait staff to report the amount as income. NPR says that the original rule went into effect in June 2012, but the IRS pushed back enforcement until last January to allow restaurants time to comply. The rule change stipulates that a tip is defined as “something given without compulsion” and that a customer must have an “unrestricted right to determine the amount,” according to the California Restaurant Association’s website.



tri-tipTri Tip Company is a new restaurant bar opening Saturday, October 4th at 11 a.m. in Santa Barbara’s waterfront Funk Zone district. The owners Matt and Ben had an idea to bring something different and new to the area that is getting to be known for great wine, great food and great fun.

“Tri Tip Company is a place for people to come, sit and enjoy some traditional and not so traditional barbecue flavors with some very unique crafted elixirs, shots, punches, cures and tonics for the non-alcoholic drinker to the most discerning palleted cocktail aficionado,” says Matt Jameson-Chrestenson. “The atmosphere is simple, appealing and classy with bench seating and an open patio.”

The food menu offers a variety of traditional Santa Maria style and not so traditional barbecue sandwiches, focusing on tri-tip, chicken, barbecue pork, ribs and unique side dishes. The drink menu offers unique blends of house made concoctions of spirited and non-spirited drinks either in barrels that have been aged for months or on draft. Ice selections and fresh botanical garnish will round the drinks off.

Tri Tip Company is located at 214 State Street. The building has been split into two separate restaurants with Union Ale in the back and Tri Tip Company in the front on State Street. Tri Tip will not have TV’s in its location. Tri Tip Company will be open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner starting at 11 a.m.

The menu includes:

  • BLTrip – tri tip, bacon, guacamole, mayo, tomato and fresh basil leaf, $11
  • 805 Philly – thinly sliced tri tip, bell pepper, onion, pepper jack cheese, $10
  • Gryk – tri tip, cucumber garlic tzatziki, tomato, onion, $11
  • Classic American – tri tip, cheddar cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato, onion, mayo, $10
  • Pho’ Dip – tri tip, citrus hoisin, sambal mayo, basil, mint, cilantro, bean sprouts, onion, pho broth, $12
  • Santa Maria – tri tip, pico de gallo, smoky bbq, mayo, $10
  • Korean Pork Shoulder – house kimchi, chili mayo, cilantro, lime, $11
  • Deep South – barbecued pork, Carolina mustard sauce, pickles, bbq onions, $10
  • Cubano Panini – sliced pork, ham, dijonaise, garlic pickles, swiss, $12
  • Chickichetta – grilled chicken breast, caper mayo, chimichuri, $11
  • Smoked Chicken Salad – chicken, smoked almonds, jalapeños, apples, red onions, arugula, basil mayo, $12


Pizza Hut’s web site now lists jobs available for a new restaurant coming to 5915A Calle Real, the former home of YoYumYum frozen yogurt. Positions offered include Shift Manager, Team Member, Delivery Driver, General Manager and Assistant Restaurant Manager. This new Pizza Hut location is right down the street from the future Rusty’s Pizza and few blocks away from Papa John‘s. Thanks to reader Cris for the tip!



Today Governor Jerry Brown signed the nation’s first statewide ban on single-use plastic bags at grocery and convenience stores. A national coalition of plastic bag manufacturers said it would seek a voter referendum to repeal the law, which is scheduled to take effect in July 2015. Under SB270, plastic bags will be phased out of checkout counters at large grocery stores and supermarkets such as Wal-Mart and Target starting next summer, and convenience stores and pharmacies in 2016. The law does not apply to bags used for fruits, vegetables or meats, or to shopping bags used at other retailers. It allows grocers to charge a fee of at least 10 cents for using paper bags.



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


I am looking for Devine’s 85% dark chocolate bars but can’t find them anywhere in Santa Barbara.  Could you tell me where I could purchase some?

Thank you,




Readers recently pointed out a listing on LoopNet.com real estate web site for a lease at 1201 Anacapa Street. It reads:

“First time available in 20 years! The iconic Coffee Cat location has been a mainstay of the Santa Barbara Central Business District. This high-profile corner location is suitable for retail, financial services or office users. Located a block off State St, the building serves a high daytime population of office workers, including the County Administration complex, the County Courthouse and the central branch of the Santa Barbara Public Library.”

I called Coffee Cat and was told that they have no plans to move or close. That’s great news. Coffee Cat is one of my favorite places for business meetings downtown.



The now-closed iGrill Korean BBQ at 3132 State Street has a change of ownership sign out front indicating that the space is being taken over by the family that owns Nikka Fish Grill and Nikka Market. I don’t know what their plans are for the space.



22 restaurants are participating in the second-annual Taste of Milpas, set for Saturday, October 4th, noon to 4 p.m. Patrons can stroll up Milpas Street, stopping at each restaurant, where they will be treated to samples at participating venues. This year the event includes a new beer and wine garden, live music, great art, plus demos and tastings from Fresh Market, Fresh and Easy and Tri County Produce. MTD shuttles and pedicabs will help ferry attendees up and down Milpas. Tickets are $30 in advance or $35 the day of the event. Child admission is $10. A wine-tasting wristband can be purchased for an additional $15. Tickets can be purchased at the event or online at mcasb.org.

Leave a comment


Reader Mark says Del Taco plans to open at Hollister and Turnpike, next to Cody’s Café. In July I reported that two Del Tacos are coming to town so I believe a Santa Barbara location is also in the works.

Update: This tip is false. Del Taco is not coming to the Turnpike Center.



Reader Primetime let me know that a new store named Rocket Fizz, with the tag line  “soda pop and candy shop,” is coming to 1021 State Street.




Michael Graham, owner of C’est Cheese at 825 Santa Barbara Street, asked me to pass this message to you:

“We just (finally!) finished construction on the cheese shop and have it 100% up and running alongside our new cafe! It’s come together really well and it’s a really fun integration having the cheese shop right next to the cafe since we are able to use the cheese shop’s amazing cheeses & salumi in the cafe and now that we’re roasting our own meats & making our own sauces & jams in our new kitchen we’re able to sell all sorts of house-made products in the cheese shop.”



Jersey Mike’s Subs has leased space at Loreto Plaza Shopping Center, 3325 State Street. Loreto Plaza, at upper State Street and Las Positas, is home to Gelson’s Market and Harry’s Plaza Café.