Mac’s Fish & Chip Shop at 503 State Street has closed and will become the new home of Hana Kitchen which is moving from 5 West Haley Street. Here is a message to you from owner Grant MacNaughton:

Hi John,

After 6 1/2 years of frying up authentic British Fish & Chips to the masses, it is with extremely mixed emotions that I announce that yesterday (Tues 29th) was Mac’s Fish & Chip Shop’s last day of business.

It has been an extraordinary ride so a massive thanks to the customers, staff, suppliers, friends, family and caffeine-based products who have supported us along the way.  Running a restaurant may be up there as the most physically and emotionally demanding things we have ever taken on (and remember, we have three young kids!), but we want to step down on a high and make way for a fresher set of legs and brain cells. My family will be happy to go on our first family vacation in six years, my friends will be happy that I don’t permanently smell of fish and, frankly, I’m sick of faking this ridiculous British accent.

Our successors at 503 State St (Hana Kitchen, who have outgrown their current Haley Street location and need more room to expand) intend to give our staff the opportunity to apply for positions in their new home so hopefully there will be little disruption to their employment.

Thanks again for all your support and, whatever you do, live life to the Mac’s (can you believe you that’s the first time I’ve used that pun?).

Mr & Mrs Mac

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Somerset restaurant, offering California seasonal cuisine with Mediterranean and French influences, opens at 7 East Anapamu Street on December 9 in the the former home of Arts & Letters Cafe. The property has been extensively remodeled and the original courtyard has been upgraded.



Reader Cris let me know that Nikka Ramen has opened at 5701 Calle Real in Goleta, the former home of India Club. The restaurant had a soft opening on November 21.



The Hungry Cat restaurant at 1134 Chapala Street, which opened in April 2007, plans to close after Christmas. Reader Wade was walking by the business recently and noticed a liquor license change of ownership sign suggesting that the next tenant will be PAK Burger, Inc. Word on the street is that this business is brought to you by Phil and Kourtney Wright, owners of The Sportsman and Whisky Richards. Rumor has it that one of the names under consideration for the new restaurant is “Juicy Lucy’s.”

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Readers Wade and Bruce tell me that the former Rusty’s Pizza Lighthouse building at 15 East Cabrillo Boulevard, currently under construction, has signage on the property indicating that the space has been leased. Readers Foodie Dan and Cris passed word that the new tenant is Bluewater Grill and that the restaurant hopes to open next year in a new two-story restaurant space overlooking the ocean.

Celebrating their 20th year in business, Bluewater Grill was established in Newport Beach in 1996, by partners Rick Staunton and Jim Ulcickas. Bluewater Grill has grown into a family of seafood restaurants in California (Newport Beach, Redondo Beach, Tustin, Catalina Island, Coronado, Temecula, and Carlsbad) and Arizona (Phoenix). “We work directly with the Seafood for the Future program at the Long Beach Aquarium,” says Ulcickas. “They review all our purchases on a quarterly basis to make sure that we are doing our best to feature only sustainable seafood. We serve over 40 types of seafood throughout the year. Seasonal specials can feature cioppino and bouillabaisse during those frigid months and comfort foods that people may have enjoyed when they were growing up including fried Ipswich clams from Cape Cod, softshell crabs from Maryland, Petrale sole from the San Francisco bay area, Dungeness crab from the pacific northwest, sand dabs from Southern California and of course things like harpoon swordfish that people have grown up with here.” Visit

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Goleta’s George Levinthal and “Team Santa Barbara” headed to Orange Beach, Alabama last week to compete at the World Food Championships and returned to report a successful trip was had by all. Competing in the Burger category, George finished the first round in the top 10, and 11th overall after the final round. A great accomplishment considering he competed against not only other home cooks like himself but professional chefs, and restaurant operators. A total of 45 competitors in all battled it out for prize money and bragging rights as the best burger chef around.

Team Santa Barbara consists of L.J. Washington and Anne Peyrat as well as Jennifer Hernandez and Jill Monthei who flew in at the last minute to support George and assist him. Team Santa Barbara was one of the 430 teams from 40 states and 14 countries who competed at the World Food Championships to try to bring home the top prize of $100,000.00. Even though he didn’t win the big prize, George was thrilled to get as far as he did. “My goal going to Alabama was to finish in the top 15 or 20 considering the competition,” said Levinthal. “It was so awesome to hear my name called for 10th place and see my name in lights. I don’t think I’ve smiled that much in a long time.”


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Owners Antonio and Elisabetta Gerli tell me that their restaurant Sorriso Italiano at 901 Embarcadero del Mar in Isla Vista is currently having a promotion for catering. “The Holiday Party Season is here, why not have your party catered by Sorriso Italiano?” says Antonio Gerli. “We can create great meals for your office meetings, team parties, birthday parties and family gatherings. Use promotion code: AUGURI15 to get 15% off until December 11th. 2016.” Visit

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This just in from Santa Barbara Tamales-To-Go:

Hi John,

For your tamale fan readers, our holiday online order desk is now open at
We offer five flavors: chicken verde, chipotle pork, chile and cheese, vegetable, and spicy black bean. We also deliver free between Carpinteria and Goleta. Happy holidays!

Richard Lambert

There is a minimum order of 24 tamales.


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Reader Patrick says a new sign has been posted in the window at Ahi Sushi, 3631 State Street. The sign reads “Dear Patrons, Ahi will close its doors on November 6, 2016 and reopen under new ownership after a minor remodel. Thank you for your continuous patronage. Sincerely Henson & Ken”

IMG_7716Photo by reader Patrick



Readers Wade and Bruce tell me that the former Rusty’s Pizza Lighthouse building at 15 East Cabrillo Boulevard, that is currently under construction, has signage on the property that indicates that the space has been leased. “It will be truly interesting to learn who the new tenant will be and what concept they will have for the newly re-designed, two-story restaurant space overlooking the ocean!” says reader Wade.

IMG_1833Photo by reader Bruce



Reader Steve H. let me know that Alchemy Spa and Café at 430 Chapala Street closed last September. “It is with deep sadness that  Alchemy Spa and Café is now closed,” said owner Emma Narachi. “I would sincerely like to thank Alchemy’s clients for their kind support over the last five years.” Alchemy opened March 2011.

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The restaurant and bar space at the Montecito Inn, that used to be the home of Montecito Cafe, has been leased by the husband-and-wife duo behind Scratch Bar & Kitchen in Los Angeles. The hotel’s owners teamed up with broker Liam Murphy of Hayes Commercial Group earlier this year in search of a tenant to bring a new concept to the 2,513 SF space at 1295 Coast Village Road.

“Due to the iconic nature of the property and the unique location within the hotel, we were tasked with identifying a restaurateur that would bring excitement to the eastern end of Coast Village Road,” Murphy said. “Not only did we find a qualified tenant, but we are excited that they will be providing several different offerings to serve both the local community and hotel guests.”

Scratch Bar & Kitchen is the creation of executive chef Phillip Frankland Lee and pastry chef Margarita Kallas-Lee, both of whom have garnered awards and appeared on cooking shows such as Top Chef. Their plans for the Montecito Inn space are still under development, but they are planning to have more than one concept within the space, in order to offer both their popular Scratch bar dinner experience while still providing more casual restaurant service for hotel guests and locals seeking breakfast, lunch or dinner. As the name suggests, everything in the kitchen is prepared from scratch.

The Lees are hoping to open the new restaurant in the summer of 2017.

scratch - CopyChef Phillip Frankland Lee and his wife, pastry chef Margarita Kallas-Lee (both front center) at Scratch Bar & Kitchen in Los Angeles.



Question from reader Lisa:

Hey, J.D.
Are there no vegetarian/vegan restaurants serving dinner on Thanksgiving? I’m sure I’m not the only vegetarian/vegan who would like to know.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

Answer from The Restaurant Guy:

Adama on Chapala Street used to offer Thanksgiving (minus the turkey), and they were on my Thanksgiving list but unfortunately they are closed now. I don’t know of any  restaurants that are offering a vegetarian/vegan version of a traditional Thanksgiving meal. There might be some that are offering a regular menu on Thanksgiving but I don’t track those restaurants.



The Black Sheep and Oveja Blanca at 30 East Ortega Street will be open on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Holiday gift certificates at both restaurants are available: $50 dollars gets a $65 gift card and $75 dollars gets $100 gift card. Sales end Christmas day.

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The Black Sheep at 26 East Ortega Street will be doing a special Omakase eight-course menu on Tuesday December 6th. Chef, Robert Perez, and Chef, Juan Agustin will be creating a variety of raw seafood and cooked with hot protein items. The menu will be on there website by November 23. $50 per person, 5 -9 p.m. Reservations are suggested. Call 965-1113



This just in from D’Angelo Bread, 25 W. Gutierrez St:

Good Morning John,

I think your Readers would like to know about our new offers for Thanksgiving:

As always D’Angelo Bread will be open on Thanksgiving Day, but for the first time we will be opening our doors at 6am for Order pick up  ( Full Table Service will be available, as always from 7 am to noon ) for our Customers who are traveling out of town and wish to bring some of our delicious baked goods to their Families and Friends.

Do you want to bring a fresh loaf of one of our classic handmade Breads that you just can’t get anywhere else? A loaf of Sourdough, Kalamata Olive or Sourdough Multigrain perhaps?
Or for those of you who enjoy life on the dark side…maybe a French Rye, a Pumpernickel, a Rudolf Steiner or even or 100% Whole Grain Sunflower Rye Bread.( We slice all Breads upon request)

Our Tarts are available in individual and large size ( serves 4-6 ) and the flavors are Pumpkin, Pear Almond, Lemon, Wild Blueberry and Sour Cherry! We always have extra Tarts available, but if you want to make sure that you get exactly what you want please pre-order!

If you love Pumpkin Bread and Chocolate you should try our Chocolate Pumpkin Bread, a Customer Favorite for Years!

Also, not to forget our full line of Pastries… everything from our Apple Turnover, Chocolate Croissant, Cinnamon Bun, Cream Cheese Danish to my absolute Favorite, the  Raisin Snail. Try them out, you won’t be disappointed !

So come in and pick up something for your Thanksgiving Feast or enjoy a Breakfast in our cozy little bakery before the rest of the Family wakes up and Friends arrive….

Find our full Breakfast and Lunch Menu at
For Order please call 805-962-5466 7am-2 pm daily

Thank you and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Dietmar Eilbacher
D’Angelo Bread

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This just in from Finch & Fork restaurant at 31 West Carrillo Street:

This Thanksgiving, Gather Around Finch & Fork’s Table

Holiday classics and Finch & Fork favorites come together in a three-course menu. Starters and entrees feature seasonal selections from Chef Siao, like Roasted Butternut Squash Soup, Herb Turkey Breast with butter whipped potatoes, crispy walnut stuffing, country pepper gravy, roasted baby carrots and cranberry compote, and Pan Seared Skuna Bay Salmon with roasted grapes, parsnip puree, charred broccolini, salsa verde, and roasted acorn squash. Seasonally themed desserts, like Pumpkin Mousse and Pecan Pie round out the meal. Dinner is $80 per person. Reservations: 805-879-9100

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Reader Valerie reminded me that I never added a new Korean restaurant to the Dining Guide. I wrote about it in January and added it to the guide today.

Hi John,

Did you hear about the new Korean Restaurant/Diner that opened?  Choi’s Market on Patterson and Hollister has now converted half their store into a diner. When you walk in, there are about 6 tables and a wall separating their store from the diner.  The menu consists of 15 different dishes to choose from less than $13.  In the past they offered maybe a couple dishes.





Reader Steve tells me that McConnell’s Ice Cream at 201 West Mission Street has completed a name change. It is now known as Mission Ice Cream, featuring McConnell’s Ice Cream.

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Partner Laura Knight sent me an update about Globe at 18 East Cota Street:

We opened Globe about 1-1/2 years ago, and are going to be making some changes in the next week. We will close for 1 week to do some light remodeling, have new banquets installed, and move some of the couches upstairs to make it more lounge-y, adding more bar stools & high-tops, and busting out a new menu! The new menu will be small but yummy, including Homemade pot pies (smoked chicken or vegetarian), unique salads, and more. We’ve had General Manager and master mixologist, Andy Davis at the helm since April, and will be staying open later, and anticipate re-opening Tuesday November 29th. Hope to see you soon at 18 East!

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Reader Nancy spotted a sign for Chicken In A Barrel BBQ, coming to 310 South Fairview Avenue which is a few doors down from Hollister on the ocean side, next to Orient Laundry. It’s an unusual place to have a restaurant to say the least but their other locations seem to have a funky flair and are very popular. If you build it, they will come.

With about 35 years experience in this cooking style, owner and founder of Chicken In A Barrel BBQ, Mike Pierce, started this establishment in 2010 on the island of Kauai where he has 2 locations (in Hanalei and Kapaa). “The main thing that makes it unique is the way we barbeque our meat,” says Pierce. “It’s not grilled. It’s not smoked. It’s done in a 55-gallon drum. We call it hook’em & hang’em. We cook our chicken, roasts, beef, pork, buffalo, and our ribs while hanging them at the top of the barrel so that the heat is about 3 feet away from the meat. When those juices from the beef, and the pork, and the buffalo hit those coals it comes up in a steam and it literally steams the meat in its own juices. We have our own very unique rubs we make out of all our own herbs and spices. The main thing that makes us more unique than anything else is the love that we put in to it.”

The main menu includes Chicken In A Barrel Plate (1/4 piece chicken), Sampler Plate (a taste of chicken, beef, pork and babyback rib), Babyback Ribs Plate, Chicken & Rib Plate (1/4 piece chicken and 2 babyback ribs), Pork Plate, Hoagie (with choice of shredded pork, chicken or beef), and Chicken For Two (1/2 chicken, 2 scoops of rice, 1 side of chili). Also available is an ala carte menu, a hamburger menu, tacos, burritos, salads and a kids menu. Visit

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For more than a year Rusty’s Pizza at 149 South Turnpike Road in Goleta has been planning to move from their hole-in-the-wall to a full-sized restaurant across the parking lot. They finally got a permit, construction has begun, and the new Rusty’s Pizza will be completed April or May of 2017. “The store will feature party / meeting rooms, our ever-popular expanded salad bar, TVs and video games,” says owner Tyler Duncan. “We’re excited to expand from our current offering and move into this great new space.”

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The Restaurant Kid (food news columnist in training), his mom and I enjoyed dinner recently at Nectar Eatery & Lounge, 20 East Cota Street, the former home of Blue Agave. Nectar, which opened in October 2015, is brought to you by Brad and Aparna Sherman. Nectar offers a menu of globally-inspired ethnic dishes along with local wines and craft cocktails, plus a large tequila list. The focus of Nectar’s menu is small and shareable plates using fresh ingredients and international flavors. We ordered the Onion Pakoras (with date tamarind chutney), Curried Fish Tacos (crispy wonton, thinly sliced jalapeno), Organic Kale Salad (tomatoes, parmesan cheese, almonds with evo and lemon), Filet Mignon (fingerling mash, kashmiri almond sauce, asparagus, crimini mushrooms), Pistachio Gelato (upside down waffle cone, chocolate boat), Chocolate Citrus Torte (guava coulis, fresh whip). All in all it was a great experience.

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The Hungry Cat restaurant at 1134 Chapala Street, which opened in April 2007, plans to close after Christmas. Here is a message for you from owner David Lentz:

“We are very proud to have done business in Santa Barbara for close to ten years. It’s with a heavy heart that we must announce that we are closing up shop! We want to thank all of our past and present employees, local purveyors and winemakers for making it such a great journey. It has always been our pleasure to serve the Santa Barbara community and perhaps we will have another opportunity in the future.

The Hungry Cat will remain open until Christmas and during that time all cocktails will be $12 and all of our fresh oysters will be $1.50/ daily.

I am also personally planning a farewell dinner in mid to late December (stay tuned for information) Check our website for updates.

Our reasons for closing: We had an offer we couldn’t refuse, declining business, and our current economic climate. Due to being based in LA with 3 young kids, I decided it was an important time to spend with my family. Our flagship Hollywood location of The Hungry Cat will remain open. Thanks again to a great city, wonderful community and a decade of support”

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Reader Gustavo shared with me a story about a local business named Buena Onda, which is Spanish for “Good Vibes. It is run by Tomás Baistrocchi and Matias Requena, local Argentineans that are spreading a bit of South-American culture through their culinary art of empanada-making. They are known for their pop-ups around town, serving authentic, hand-made, organic Argentine empanadas. Unknown to me, Buena Onda also has a home at 724 East Haley Street where they run their private events operation, as well as serve locals with their grab-n-go takeouts. It is a family run operation that focuses in offering quality in their organic ingredients and also takes the time to hand-craft each empanada.

Reader Gustavo says he is a regular customer and has tried every empanada on their menu. He suggests you try the traditional meat empanada (with grass fed ground beef). He also recommends the Italian-influenced “caprese” with mozzarella and fresh basil, and the Red-Quinoa/Goat Cheese/Spinach. An Argentinean signature, finger-liking sauce: “Chimichurri” which they included with every take out. Pick-up hours are Wednesday-Saturday 4-8 p.m. Call 679-3320 or order online at

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Local pie enthusiasts and creatives Leela Cyd and Joya Rose Groves will present the second-annual Spectacular Santa Barbara Pie Contest on December 3 from 3-6pm. The event will take place at Potek Winery in The Mill, 406 East Haley Street. Contestants must register online at, with an entry fee of $25. All proceeds of from the day will go to the Transition House of Santa Barbara. There will be 7 categories of winners: Best Sweet Pie, Best Savory Pie and Best in Show, in addition to Junior division, People’s Choice, Wild Card, Special Diet. Prizes include ice cream cakes from McConnells, a robe, pajama, boots from UGG, gift cards to local restaurants and more.

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This just in from owner Ruben at The Black Sheep restaurant, 26 East Ortega Street:

“Ok, everyone. You are not going to want to miss this one. My friends are visiting from France. On Tuesday the 15th we will be featuring a special Corsican 4 course menu $45pp. Reservations are suggested because seating is limited, 5-9 pm.  Call 805-965-1113.”

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Give thanks while celebrating with family and friends at the Bacara Resort at 8301 Hollister Avenue in Goleta. They are having a Thanksgiving Champagne Brunch Buffet at the Bacara Ballroom Terrace on November 24, 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Executive Chef Vincent Lesage’s extensive Champagne brunch buffet will feature roasted turkey, honey glazed ham, assorted shellfish and sushi, prime rib, California wine country salads, decadent desserts, and more. $95 for adults, $45 for children 12 and under, plus tax and gratuity. View the menu. For reservations, please call 844-213-6466.

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Ca’ Dario Ristorante & Pizzeria at 29 East Victoria Street is trying to raise money for CALM (Child Abuse Listening Mediation / courtesy of 805 Living Magazine. They will be featuring a dish Gnudi al Burro e Salvia through November and December and $2 will be donated to CALM with every order of the dish.

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Here is a question for you from reader Marlene:

Are there any restaurants in Goleta and Santa Barbara WITHOUT music blaring (or any music) playing?  Almost walked out of Outbacks today–can’t stand the loud music. “