A new eatery named Merci To Go opened in April at the Montecito Country Mart at 1024 Coast Village Road. Merci To Go offers sandwiches, salads, dinners and desserts Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The main menu includes Vietnamese Chicken Salad, Organic Beets, Quiche Lorrain, Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad, Moroccan Carrot Salad, Mary’s Organic Chicken Paillard with Meyer Lemon Salsa, Grilled Asparagus, Heirloom White Beans and Mac n’ Cheese. Dessert offerings include Valrhona Triple Chocolate Brownies, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies, Organic Lemon Poppy Seed Bundt Cake, Butterscotch Pudding and Homemade Granola. Call 310-270-5272 or visit



Reader Jenny tells me that a business named The Food Liaison has opened in the Shepard’s Place Shopping center on Casitas Pass Road in Carpinteria. I am told The Food Liaison offers catering, cooking classes and healthful take
out meals. Visit

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There is a new barware and cocktail accessories store named Still has opened downtown at 37 East Ortega Street. Their website offers the following description:

“Still is a retail space devoted to the art of cocktail craftsmanship. For the amateur home mixer to the professional mixologist, we carry a wide variety of barware, bar tools, glasses, quality vintage pieces, and the finest modern cocktail accessories. We also feature natural, local, and artisanal mixers, sodas, syrups, and shrubs. Our bitters tasting bar allows customers to sample Santa Barbara’s largest selection of cocktail bitters.”

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On May 26 at 7:30 p.m. Cielito restaurant at 1114 State Street is offering a 5-course menu inspired by the tastes and aromas of Melville Vineyards’ offerings. Enjoy food & wine pairings crafted by Executive Chef Kurt Steeber. Cost is $100 per person. Call 965-4770 for reservations.

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This just in from reader Richard, owner of Santa Barbara Tamales-To-Go (

“Hi John. We just received some good ‘tamale news.’ I opened an email letting us know that our application was accepted. Beginning in 2016, March 23rd will be listed as National Tamale day in Chase’s National Calendar of

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This year, Southern California Chick-fil-A restaurants are celebrating Memorial Day early and honoring the region’s military personnel with the 5th annual Military Appreciation Night on Wednesday, May 20, from 4-7 p.m. All active military personnel and those who have previously served are invited, along with their immediate family members, to enjoy a free entrée at Chick-fil-A restaurant, 3707 State Street.

The free Chick-fil-A entrée offer is valid with a military ID or proof of service and is only available for dine-in customers. The offer includes a choice of the Original Chick-fil-A Chicken Sandwich, Chick-fil-A Spicy Chicken Sandwich, Chick-fil-A Nuggets (8-count) or Chick-fil-A Chicken-n-Strips (3-count).

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On Thursday May 21, Wine + Beer and the Santa Barbara Public Market at 38 West Victoria Street invite food and wine enthusiasts to a Margerum Winemaker Dinner in The Kitchen at the Public Market. Julian Martinez, Head Chef at Barbareño Restaurant, 205 West Canon Perdido Street, and his team, will partner with Doug Margerum, winemaker and owner of Margerum Wine Company, to offer a locally inspired pairing menu, reflective of the California Central Coast.

Guests will be welcomed with a glass of Margerum Riveiera Rosé of Grenache 2014 and a selection of hors d’oeuvres including Santa Maria Tartare, Ranchero Scotch Eggs and Santa Barbara Sea Urchin. Dinner begins with a fresh Stone Fruit Salad, with Drake goat cheese, fennel vinaigrette and mahlab, paired with Margerum Sybarite Saubignon Blanc 2013. Next guests will indulge in a Spring Rack of Lamb, with dukkah spice, beets, sun-dried black olives and lime-rose gastrique, paired with Margerum ‘M5’ GSM Blend 2013. The dinner ends with Olive Oil Brioche Beignets with pistachio marzipan, cherry and amaro, paired with Happy Canyon Vineyards Piocho Red Blend 2011.

The Margerum Winemaker Dinner is $95 per person. Call 770-7702 to make a reservation.

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The Restaurant Guy is a member of his Santa Barbara High School class reunion committee and is charged with finding a venue for a July, 2016 gathering. We are looking for a location that can handle 150-200 people. Preferably this would be a place that can serve dinner and have a no-host bar. If you have any suggestions please post them here or email Thank you.



The last night of business for Arlington Tavern at 21 W. Victoria Street is Saturday, May 16th. This address will be the future home of The Nugget restaurant. Arlington Tavern opened in April, 2012.



Sweet Alley at 955 Embarcadero del Mar in Isla Vista is available for fundraisers. They cut a check at the end of the evening for 15% of total sales. No questions asked. Contact

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A new restaurant named The Little Door will be coming to 129 East Anapamu Street, the current home of Piano Riviera Lounge and former home of Elements Restaurant & Bar. The space is being taken over by the Meschin brothers, owners of The Little Door in West Los Angeles. With the arrival of a new GM Emmanuelle Recher, a new culinary path has already been given to the Riviera Piano Lounge. The Chef Stephen Goularte is testing out and bringing a new menu including his lasagna Bolognese, a Steak au Poivre or a Mezze platter. Piano Riviera Lounge will close this summer and The Little Door will have a grand opening at the end of summer. Visit



Lure Fish House, coming soon to La Cumbre Plaza in the space formerly occupied by Ruth’s Chris Steak House, is in escrow to purchase the Type 47 alcohol license from neighboring business Marmalade Café. This information is available in the ABC License Query System at Reliable sources tell me that the license purchase is not guaranteed to go through but if it does, employees from Marmalade Cafe might migrate to Lure Fish House as well. I spoke with Marmalade Café and was told Marmalade will not be closing and that there are no changes planned.



This just in from Barbareño at 205 West Canon Perdido Street:

“Barbareño, now six months old, is serving their casual but inventive Central Coast Cuisine for weekend brunch. Their menu draws inspiration from Santa Barbara staples, incorporating ingredients that define the region and grow particularly well here. Pistachios in creamy marzipan, olive oil, and Cabernet Sauvignon jam adorn their French toast; while local Lompoc pinquito beans, housemade chorizo, and smoked ranchero sauce give a unique spin to the classic huevos rancheros. Paying homage to local legend, Herb Peterson, inventor of the Egg McMuffin, Barbareño reimagines eggs benedict to honor his breakfast sandwich. An innovative drink menu including: cold-brewed handlebar coffee with smoked cacao nibs (aptly named “Turbo”),  a refreshing “Lime Rose Drank”,  and a high-class Brass Monkey rounds out the offerings of what will surely become a Santa Barbara brunch favorite. Their inviting, dog-friendly patio is the perfect spot to enjoy these creative new dishes! Hours are 9:30am to 1:30pm on Saturdays and Sundays.”



On May 20th at Marmalade Café in La Cumbre Plaza the Greater Santa Barbara Lodging and Restaurant Association is presenting a State of the Industry discussion with California Restaurant Association President Jot Condie. Free continental breakfast available at 8:30 a.m. and discussion begins at 9:30 a.m. RSVP at

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May 15th is National Pizza Party Day and Persona Wood Fired Pizzeria at 905 State Street is ready to help everyone celebrate. The Santa Barbara-based create-your-own, hand crafted pizza franchise is welcoming pizza lovers to enjoy a one-topping Neapolitan pizza for $4.95 from 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.

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This just in from reader Cagara:

Question:  What was happening at The Lark last week? Saw several busloads unload there with Anthony Bourdain among the group.



This just in from California Pizza Kitchen at 719 Paseo Nuevo:

SANTA BARBARA, CA – California Pizza Kitchen (CPK), the authority in creative dining with a California vibe, announced today that it has transformed its Santa Barbara location with a fresh, contemporary design and a vastly expanded menu. The Santa Barbara CPK is among the first in the country to get the Next Chapter makeover, taking place at 80 CPK locations nationwide in 2015.

“We have worked around-the-clock to create a fabulous new experience for our guests,” said Managing Partner Kevin Secky. “Our new environment welcomes Santa Barbara patrons with a relaxed, upscale feel and many natural elements.”

Sustainable materials are a guiding factor in the Next Chapter design. The warm rustic décor features many elements like oak floors, tabletops and chairs from reclaimed wood and stone countertops. Fabrics used for seating are from recycled materials. Even the glassware, dishes and stemware have been reconsidered in the new design, updated for a casual but refined dining experience. Additionally, the open floor plan has flexible seating with indoor/outdoor dining options and walls feature local landmarks for a neighborhood feel. For more, visit

The adventurous new menu includes the signature hand-tossed pizza favorites like CPK’s iconic BBQ Chicken Pizza with new options in appetizers, salads, sides and mains designed to showcase seasonal dishes, locally sourced ingredients and globally inspired flavors. For the complete menu, visit

The centerpiece of the new Santa Barbara CPK is the open kitchen, where guests can watch as pizzas are hand-tossed, their food is prepared from scratch and favorite artisan pizzas as well as exciting new main courses like fire-grilled rib-eye and roasted halibut are baked.

“We are upping our game with this transformation, which we call The Next Chapter,” said G. J. Hart, CEO of California Pizza Kitchen. “Taking the best of our history and soul and innovating to make it current for today’s sophisticated guest, the new look, menu and experience creates a space to relax and unwind in a welcoming neighborhood environment.”

The Santa Barbara CPK is one of 80 locations across the country that will be remodeled this year with all CPK restaurants completing their Next Chapter renovation by the end of 2016.

Picking Up the Pace: Lunch Duos
For a unique creative lunch, CPK is introducing Lunch Duos, a quick way to create meal pairings with lunch-sized versions of a favorite pizza or sandwich and a soup or salad. Lunch Duos give guests a great value, with over 80 fresh, made-to-order options to mix, match and enjoy in the middle of their time-challenged days.

Satisfaction Guaranteed
The New CPK menu encourages diners to seek unique and seasonal flavor combinations, but offers a Menu Adventure Guarantee: If a guest tries a new dish and is not satisfied, it will be replaced with his or her favorite item from the CPK menu. CPK also will continue to offer delicious menu choices to diners with dietary restrictions offering vegetarian/vegan choices, and gluten-free items.

Masterful Mixology
CPK has curated a unique collection of handcrafted cocktails, craft beers and carefully selected wines. Cocktails are created from fresh fruits, juices, purees and herbs. Paired with artisan flatbreads and other creative appetizers, CPK is an inspired after-work destination.

Cooking with CPK
Founded in 1985, CPK recently published their “Taste of the Seasons“ cookbook to celebrate their 30th anniversary. The book, the fourth in a series, is a collection of recipes for many classic CPK dishes and seasonal menu items. Created by CPK’s top chefs Brian Sullivan and Paul Pszybylski, each recipe uses fresh ingredients that are inspired by Mother Nature’s harvest throughout the year.  The book is sold exclusively at CPK restaurants for $19.95. All proceeds from the sale of Taste of the Seasons will be donated to children’s charities. For more visit

CPK offers a special birthday program that allows kids to play chef and make their own pizza from the freshest ingredients. The fun also includes VIP-style behind-the-counter restaurant tour, a meal and dessert from the award-winning CPKids menu, souvenirs and a certificate for a free CPKids Meal for each child’s next visit. (Available at participating locations.)



Carol Metcalf and her friends, notable comediennes Karen Rontowski, Cat Wagner, Charlene Mae and Samantha Ross, will perform at Max’s Dinner Comedy Night on Sunday, May 17th at Max’s Restaurant and Cucina, 3514 State Street at 7:30 p.m.   The evening will honor the work of Direct Relief International, with 10% of all guest checks donated to the relief efforts underway following the earthquakes in Nepal. Dinner is available from 5 p.m.  Call 898-9121 or visit



Owner Shannon Gaston tells me that Crushcakes has opened a new location at 1150 Coast Village Road, the former home of  Montecito Confections and Whodidily:

150514-crushcakes-smallHi John,
I wanted to let you know about our new Crushcakes location in Montecito, we just opened Saturday!  We are offering our full Intelligentsia Coffee, Tea and Espresso Bar, scratch-made pastries, muffins, scones, cookies, cakes and cupcakes.  We are also selling some new items in Montecito that we don’t currently have at our other stores including Savory Pot Pies, Mini Quiches and scratch-made croissants.  We are located at 1150 Coast Village Road, the phone number is 805.969.2500.  We are taking orders for custom cakes and cupcakes now, give us a call!!
Thank you,


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150507-jersey-mikes - CopyJersey Mike’s Subs, known for its fresh sliced/fresh grilled subs, opened at 3325 State Street on May 6. The first area Jersey Mike’s Subs opened at 7034 Marketplace Drive in Goleta during March of 2012. A second store was launched at 1213 State Street last May. Franchise owners Dawn and Troy Robinson are currently holding a grand opening and fundraiser that runs until Sunday, May 10 to support San Marcos High School and Santa Barbara High School.

The new restaurant, located in Loreto Plaza, is circulating thousands of flyers throughout the community with various offers. For each offer redeemed, Jersey Mike’s will make a $1 donation to San Marcos High School or Santa Barbara High School. Customers must have a coupon to be eligible.

“We are very excited to open our fifth Jersey Mike’s location,” said Robinson. “Our tradition at Jersey Mike’s is to partner with a local charity for our grand opening during the first five days. We feel that working with Santa Barbara High School and San Marcos High School is a great opportunity to give back to the students in Santa Barbara and support the youth programs.”

The Robinson’s history with Jersey Mike’s extends much further than 10 years as franchise owners. “My parents were New Jersey natives who moved to California in the 50′s,” said Dawn Robinson. “Whenever my family visited New Jersey, they would return with a suitcase they deemed ‘The Sub Suitcase’ loaded with authentic sub sandwiches from Jersey Mike’s original store in Point Pleasant at the Jersey Shore.”

This is the fifth Jersey Mike’s location for Dawn and Troy Robinson and their second location in Santa Barbara. In November 2006, the Robinsons opened their first Jersey Mike’s location in Camarillo. They also own Jersey Mike’s locations in Goleta and Moorpark.

The restaurant’s hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week. Call 682-1741.



Reader Brendan says that an alcohol license sign has appeared in the window of a building on Santa Barbara Street in the Funk Zone, next to Fox Wine. The sign mentions a brewery called “Brew 42.”



This just in from reader Joe:

“Hi John! I tried to go to Shang Hai on Milpas for lunch today, and several of their windows were boarded up. They had a sign on their front door saying that they are closed for remodeling until further notice.”



This just in from reader Brian:

“I’m not sure if you’re aware but I was walking in old town Goleta today and I noticed what appeared to be a new wine tasting room across the Goodland Kitchen. They looked to be serving wine and a couple draft beers.”



Last month I wrote that there is a new sign dated 4/3/15 in front of Petrini’s Italian Restaurant at 5711 Calle Real in Goleta that indicates it is transitioning to new ownership by Goodland Hospitality, Inc. Reader Mary now tells me that the Santa Barbara News-Press is reporting that Goodland Hospitality, Inc. has also purchased Petrini’s at 14 West Calle Laureles.



Readers Brendan, Cathy and Ted let me know that The Mex has opened at 413 State Street, the former home of Pace, Momma Donna’s, Billies, and Lettuce B. Frank.

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Arts & Letters Café at 7 E. Anapamu Street has closed. New building owner Steve Hermann, a Montecito resident, hopes to open a new restaurant in the space before the end of the year.



This just in from Freeman’s Flying Chicken:

Flying Chicken Starts up New Dinner Club

Santa Barbara, CA – Freeman’s Flying Chicken has introduced a new way to do dinner, and it’s one of a kind. Now available throughout the Santa Barbara and Goleta communities, the Freeman’s Flying Chicken “Dinner Club” is a special online service that allows a customer to sign up, select the night of the week that they want dinner delivered and pre-choose what they want to eat dinner. New “club only” dinners and sides are available, as well as special reduced pricing to Club members, and side dishes can be swapped out or upgraded with the click of a button. Freeman’s goal with this new offering is to make it easier for busy families to bring the family dinner back, “we’re trying to give mom or dad the ease that not only do they not have to cook, but they can sit down and enjoy the hassle-free and healthful convenience of Freeman’s Flying Chicken on a regular schedule at a time that works for them.” Freeman hopes that others will pick up on the idea too. Parents can order for hungry college students or people with parents or home-bound relatives can purchase to be sure there is at least one healthy meal delivered each week. “There are many ways this service could be used” Freeman added.

As part of this launch, Freeman will be offering a new “Southwestern” dinner, that includes corn tossed with cilantro and bell peppers and spritzed with fresh lime, our signature spicy black beans, and new creamy chipotle aioli sauce. The dinner is currently available to club members only. Additional “club only” meals will be released in the coming months, including special dishes for Vegetarian and Gluten-Free diners. The new club site is and it’s free to sign up.

Take out or delivery orders can be placed online or by calling. For walk-up and take-out orders, FFC is located just inside Gate C of Earl Warren, right off of the 101 at the Las Positas exit, in Santa Barbara, CA. Freeman’s Flying Chicken is open 4-9pm, seven days a week. Phone: (805) 765-9200 Online:

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Fresco Cafe in the Five Pts. shopping center has started a Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday Happy Hour, from 5-7 p.m. They offer all beer and wine at $2 off regular price and there will be a special appetizer introduced from their catering menu as well. Also on Mondays, Al Vafa will be entertaining on the patio with vocals and guitar from 6- 8.30 p.m. This May it will be 28 years that Fresco has been at Five Pts shopping center. Fresco will be celebrating their anniversary on Saturday, May 30th with food and entertainment for all.

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Los Agaves Restaurant is bringing the heat to the heart of downtown with a pop-up restaurant in The Kitchen at the Santa Barbara Public Market, 38 West Victoria Street. Kicking off on Cinco de Mayo (Tuesday, May 5th), Los Agaves will pop-up at the Public Market every Tuesday throughout the month of May, offering a special lunch and dinner menu inspired by coastal Mexico street foods, with new and exclusive items not found at their other Santa Barbara and Goleta locations.

The pop-up location will offer tacos, tostadas and Ceviches such as; Tacos Arrachera, grilled steak soft tacos with pinto bean paste on flour tortillas; Mahi Mahi Tacos served on a fresh made grilled plantain tortilla (Paleo & gluten-free); Shrimp Tacos with a tempura cerveza, topped with a cabbage slaw; Vampiros Pastor, a crispy corn tortilla topped with pinto bean paste, cheese and al pastor meat; Ceviche Verde Tostada, wild halibut marinated in a citrus sauce mixed with mango, green apple, jicama and cucumber topped with plantain chips; and Mushroom Tacos, savory shitakes sautéed with guajillo chili, garlic and cheese. Guests can sip on a fresh-squeezed Agave margarita, or peruse the ample wine and craft beer offerings at Wine + Beer to enjoy with their meal.

Los Agaves Pop-Up hours at the Public Market are as follows: Every Tuesday throughout May, beginning May 5th – Lunch served 11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m, Dinner served 5–8 p.m. Family owned and operated, Carlos Luna opened the first Los Agaves location on Milpas Street in 2008.



A new 7- Eleven has opened at Mission and State, and word on the street is that Tina Takaya from Opal Restaurant is one of the partners. I am hearing that a Grand Opening is set for May 1st with music, freebies and more.