Lucky Penny at 137 Anacapa Street no longer serves breakfast and has updated hours to be Sun-Thur 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri-Sat 11am-10 p.m.

Leave a comment


Readers Hog, Maureen and Annie tell me there is an “Under New Management” sign posted at High Sierra Grill & Bar which replaced The Elephant Bar at 521 Firestone Road in Goleta in December 2015.



This just in from reader Steve H.:

“Hana Kitchen just opened in their new location at 503 State less than an hour ago. Not even a sign yet. And the Mac’s Fish and Chips menu is still posted outside. Ha!”

Leave a comment


Reader Susan says that the managers at the former Cafe del Sol are still part of the local restaurant scene:

“Hi John, Here’s some fun news for those of us agonizing every time a popular local restaurant goes under, a scene happening too frequently the past couple of years. One of our biggest losses was Cafe del Sol, the kind of place that was loaded with residents and friends. Part of that was thanks to Alfredo and Manny, Manager and Assistant, who always made us feel welcomed. Where are they now? I just found out that they’ve taken over the Crocodile restaurant at the Lemon Tree Inn! They have a new menu and that same wonderful service. Count on us being ongoing customers.”



The New Year brings a new menu to Outpost at 5650 Calle Real in Goleta, where chef Nick Bajal has added seasonal dishes including the Plantain Empanada (pork carnitas, tomatillo broth, and queso fresco), Crispy Chicken Thighs (miso potato salad, Korean chili cucumber and grilled lime), Acorn Squash (red quinoa, shaved heirloom carrot, ginger vinaigrette, crispy lotus root and pickled fresno chili), Confit Duck Leg (coriander vinaigrette, greens, mirin roasted apples and parsnip) and Lamb (braised red cabbage, nori butter peas and crispy white sweet potato). Bajal has updated the Pick Three section too, offering a variety of street tacos and bao-buns, like the Mushroom Bao-Bun (hoisin leeks, scallions and sesame seeds) and Seafood Scrapple Bao-Bun (uni aioli and green onion). New to the menu is a Mexican Spiced Chocolate Pudding with salted caramel whipped cream and crispy sugar cookie.



With sweeping water views and sustainability on the menu, The Club & Guest House at UCSB is officially open for business. The former Faculty Club has been under renovation since late 2015. The reborn building features boutique lodging, state-of-the-art meeting spaces and a first-class dining room overlooking the campus lagoon and the ocean beyond.

“I am thrilled about the new Club & Guest House,” said Willie Brown, UCSB’s associate vice chancellor for housing, dining and auxiliary enterprises. “It is a very unique space that captures the history of the old building while looking towards the future aspirations of one of the world’s great public institutions. As a gathering, meeting and special events venue, UCSB now has a living room where staff and faculty colleagues can continue their natural exchange of ideas while dining from a quality menu that focuses on local, sustainable and organic offerings.”

Done in partnership with UCSB Housing & Residential Services, the renovation
also came with an expansion: The Club & Guest House is twice its former size, with
increased dining and meeting space, 34 guest rooms and an outdoor terrace. UCSB Foundation trustee, real estate investor and philanthropist Betty Elings Wells
helped fund the project with a significant leadership gift to name the west terrace and a
pavilion at the new club. The building also boasts a members’ lounge, a bar, a private, ocean-view dining room adjacent to the main dining area and modernized restrooms. An entrance has been added at the restaurant level, as have a larger lobby and enclosed entry upstairs.

The dining room offers breakfast daily for hotel guests and is open for lunch to the broader campus community from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. each weekday. “Our beautifully remodeled modern facility now includes state-of-the-art conference rooms together with a new seasonal menu incorporating sustainable, fresh and locally sourced items coupled with exceptional service delivered by our very own UCSB students,” says Indras Govender, food and beverage manager for The Club and former owner of Fresco Cafe North. Call  893-7720 or visit

170202-theclub - Copy

Leave a comment


Reader Miranda says that Somerset restaurant has reopened after a brief closure from a kitchen fire and water sprinkler-related cleanup.

1 Comment


This just in from 18East at 18 E. Cota Street:

image1“18East Santa Barbara’s POP-UP venue and home of the 2nd strongest tasty drinks is proud to present Drews Brews BBQ and Smoke-Haus this weekend 01/27 and 01/28. This will be the fourth POP-UP and 18East formerly GLOBE , there have been 2 tasty and successful showing by newly local chef Mark Nargi and Fried chicken so good it make you throw rocks at your momma presented by local pop-up artist the Beefhearts kitchen, 18East is anxiously awaited both their returns next month. If you weren’t aware 18East is also providing entertainment weekly, Thursday’s are for open mics and acoustic music, Friday’s are for Funky DJs, and Saturday’s are good for Jazz combos. For scheduling and information keep informed with 18EastCota on instagram and Facebook or just stop for a drink.”

1 Comment


Readers Laura and Hollis tell me that is appears Caffe Primo at 516 State Street (the former home of Pierre Lafond Wine Bistro) has closed. Google search results say “closed permanently” and Open Table lists Caffe Primo as “offline.” But Yelp and Caffe Primo’s own web site don’t yet mention any changes in status. Caffe Primo opened in October, 2015.

150903-2Photo taken of Caffe Primo before it opened in 2015.



aldos-1Reader Ray says that there is a sign at Aldo’s Italian Restaurant at 1031 State Street saying it is being remodeled and that the for-lease sign, mentioned by other readers, refers to the office upstairs that is available for sublet. Aldo’s web site doesn’t indicate that anything has changed. Previously multiple readers told me that the business was closed which of course is true under the remodel scenario. I have confirmed that the main phone number has been disconnected. It is unusual for a business to disconnect their main phone number because of a remodel. Usually restaurants create a voice message telling customers that the business is temporarily closed, like what Somerset restaurant recently did. I emailed the owners of Aldo’s on January 18th and have received no response.

1 Comment


HiWi Tropical Fusion has opened at 6555 Pardall Road in Isla Vista. The founders of HiWi, along with their culinary chef, have over 30 years of experience in the food industry and all share a love of travel. Their menu is thus composed of a fusion of tropical flavors inspired by a number of countries and cultures. The lush, outdoor-only dining restaurant was built from the ground-up and has one of the largest dining patios in Isla Vista.

Their mission statement reads: “At HiWi Tropical Fusion, we strive to deliver delicious and healthier quick-serve food options to our customers in a relaxed and modern dining setting.  We aim to keep our food clean using primarily preservative-free and locally sourced ingredients, including organic beef, organic poultry, and wild-caught fish whenever possible. All our sauces are made in-house.”

HiWi tries to be a sustainable business and uses only compostable plates and utensils. They are also the first business in Isla Vista to partner with the City of Santa Barbara Environmental Services Composting Program. Hours are 9 a.m.-midnight Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-2 a.m. Friday-Saturday and 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday. Call 845-1717 or visit


Leave a comment


Reader Annie says that recently opened Somerset on Anapamu is now closed due to a kitchen fire that occurred early morning January 23 when food was left cooking on the the stove. The sprinkler system activated and left two inches of water in the restaurant. There is currently no proposed reopening date.



Several readers told me that Night Lizard Brewing Company will be opening its doors soon at 607 State Street (next to Radio Shack). Their mission statement reads: “Night Lizard Brewing Company is committed to producing the highest quality craft beers using the freshest local ingredients, while inspiring and educating the public on current environmental challenges facing the central coast.” Call 335-1909 or visit


1 Comment


Reader Jonathan says that Bar 29 has opened at 1134 Chapala Street, the former home of The Hungry Cat. A reader tells me that the business name comes from the fact that the bar is made of copper and that copper is atomic number 29 on the element table. According to their Facebook page, Bar 29 is a “Craft cocktail bar with elevated bar food and a friendly, sophisticated atmosphere”. The menu includes Wagyu sliders with bacon jam, glazed pork belly pops, lamb meatballs, and more. Call 284-4997 or visit



Reader Annie says that Aldo’s Italian Restaurant at 1031 State Street closed its doors and that the phone number is no longer in service.



Last Thursday Mesa Burger at 315 Meigs Road hosted a private premier party for “My Kitchen Rules,” local resident and Iron Chef Cat Cora’s new show on Fox on Thursdays at 9 p.m. It was a fun evening and the sliders were amazing!




The Mex Authentic at 413 State Street has reduced their hours. Instead of offering daily service the restaurant in now only open Thursday – Sunday.



While driving home last week I noticed that an error was recently introduced to a northbound freeway sign in Goleta. The Los Carneros signs on both sides of the 101 freeway were recently upgraded to include “EXIT 107” on the upper-right corner. Caltrans used identical new Los Carneros freeway exit signs for both northbound and southbound, but they should not have.

The two lane southbound 101 in western Goleta is briefly three lanes (just between Storke and Los Carneros) and the right lane terminates at Los Carneros, so there is a large, yellow “EXIT ONLY” marker included on the southbound sign. For some reason Caltrans added the same yellow “EXIT ONLY” marker to the northbound sign where there should not be one, because there are only two freeway lanes when approaching Los Carneros on the northbound side and the right-hand lane does not end.

If, on the northbound side, Caltrans is planning to some day extend the 3rd freeway lane all the way from Fairview to Los Carneros, this new sign would make sense, but only after that work was done. Currently this brand-new northbound Los Carneros exit sign is misleading because it implies that the northbound 101 freeway reduces to a single lane at Los Carneros, which it does not.




Jean Yamamura at The Santa Barbara Independent reports that the family that owns Rose Cafe at 424 East Haley Street has decided to close the restaurant in 2021 which will be the eatery’s 85th year in business. Agnes Guevara, the family matriarch who ran the restaurant for decades, died in 2014 and her daughter Anna Olvera manages daily operations.

Leave a comment


The Santa Ynez Valley is known as much for its culinary creations as its world-class wines. The Santa Ynez Valley Restaurant Week returns for a seventh consecutive year, Jan. 22-28, offering foodies an opportunity to enjoy three-course tasting menus for $20.17. Representing each of the Santa Ynez Valley’s six distinct communities, two dozen restaurants — from the region’s emerging establishments to long-time favorites — will participate in Restaurant Week this year. In addition to the offerings of the Valley’s restaurants, select Santa Ynez Valley wineries will offer wine and small bite pairings in their tasting rooms for $20.17. And special lodging deals are available at numerous hoteliers throughout the Valley. Santa Ynez Valley Restaurant Week menus do not include tax, tip or beverages, and reservations are encouraged. For the latest updates on Santa Ynez Valley Restaurant Week, including menus and dining hours, visit

Leave a comment


Ahi Sushi at 3631 State Street closed its doors on November 6 with plans to reopen under new ownership after a remodel. Reader Foodie Dan tells me that the new restaurant will be named Sun Sushi.

Leave a comment


I visited a few local restaurants that are coming to the South Coast including Luna Grill (3925 State Street), Cajun Kitchen (6025 Calle Real, Goleta), Kyle’s Kitchen (7060 Hollister Avenue, Goleta) and Sharkey’s Woodfired Mexican Grill (7000 Hollister Avenue, Goleta). Of the four only Cajun Kitchen appears to have started construction and it appears that they have a long way to go.

under construction



Reader Annie says that The Food Liaison at 1033 Casitas Pass Road in Carpinteria is temporarily closed for an expansion/remodel. They are expanding into the space next door. I am told that the tentative reopening date is January 30th.

Leave a comment


I recently wandered into Isla Vista and discovered a few things:

  • HiWi Tropical Fusion restaurant at 6555 Pardall Road in Isla Vista had a one-day trial opening recently with free samples but the restaurant is not open full time yet and should be soon, perhaps this weekend or next week. Unlike your typical I.V. hole-in-the-wall, HiWi is a professional operation, with seasoned management and a brand-new building that was constructed from the ground up. HiWi has one of the largest dining patios in Isla Vista.
  • OTaco, which opened at 6530 Pardall Road in Isla Vista in April 2015, has closed and another restaurant, which I know nothing about, is preparing to take its place. Since I started this column 6530 Pardall Road has been the home of Otaco, Angry Wings, Chino’s Rock & Tacos, Eclectic I.V., China Garden and Kung Pao Kitchen.
  • Sources tell me that an unnamed Poke restaurant is coming to 901 Embarcadero del Mar, the former home of Jimmy Johns.


Readers Laura and Annie let me know that American Ale, which opened in May 2013 at 14 East Cota Street, has closed and the owners will soon replace it with a new eatery named Foxtail Restaurant. American Ale 02 is still open at 214 State Street (formerly Union Ale).



Join the folks at Phoevermore Vietnamese restaurant, 1017 Casitas Pass Road in Carpinteria, for foods and drinks at a ribbon cutting and grand opening event on Thursday January 26 from  3:30-5:30 p.m.

Leave a comment


Reader JP says that some restaurants in San Diego starting adding a surcharge to cover the January 1st minimum wage increase and wonders if this is happening locally:

Hi John,

Being originally from San Diego ages ago I still follow news & sports there.  I ran across this article in the San Diego Union-Tribune today and thought you might like to see if this is starting to happen in Santa Barbara?  If so, even the new surcharge, I feel it should be big news as most diners will never know especially if an establishment is not “above board” on the issue like detailed in San Diego.




On Tuesday, January 24, participating McDonald’s restaurants in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties will celebrate the creation of the iconic breakfast item, the Egg McMuffin, with a $2 offer available all day. The Egg McMuffin was invented more than 40 years ago by the late Central Coast franchisee owner Herb Peterson.

“My dad made the first Egg McMuffin sandwiches with freshly cracked eggs in the early 1970s and that’s the exact same way we make every order today, all-day long,” said Herb’s son David Peterson, local owner-operator and president of the Central Coast Owners Association. “The Egg McMuffin revolutionized the breakfast industry and we are proud to honor and celebrate this tasty innovation that is enjoyed around the world and started right here in our own backyard. As a kid, I remember watching my dad inventing it in the kitchen and coming home from the blacksmith’s with the first ‘egg ring’ that makes the fresh cracked eggs cook perfectly round for the sandwich. He was, just as we are today, proud to serve it each morning to customers but today, we are cracking eggs throughout the day as the Egg McMuffin is available on the All Day Breakfast menu.”

In 1968, Herb Peterson, at the age of 53, embarked on a new career opening his first McDonald’s restaurant in Santa Barbara. At the time, no other quick service restaurant offered breakfast. He saw that customers wanted a breakfast option they could eat on the go, and he was determined to provide it. Modeled after Peterson’s personal breakfast favorite, Eggs Benedict, he asked a local blacksmith to make an iron ‘egg ring’ to keep eggs round and tidy as they were cooked for a hand-held sandwich. Convinced his creation would be a game-changer, he presented his breakfast product idea to McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc to rave reviews in 1971. The following year, the Egg McMuffin became the first McDonald’s breakfast item.



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:

  • Cachuma Lake Café, Cachuma Lake marina
  • Ca’ Dario Trattoria and Pizzeria, 250 Storke Rd., Goleta
  • Cajun Kitchen, 6025 Calle Real, Goleta (formerly Rusty’s Pizza)
  • Chicken in a Barrel BBQ, 310 S. Fairview Ave.
  • Cito Street Café, 305 W. Montecito St.
  • Dickey’s, Santa Barbara
  • Dunkin’ Donuts, 3 more South Coast locations
  • Grocery Outlet, 2840 De la Vina St. (formerly Ralphs)
  • Guicho’s Eatery, 901 Linden Ave., Carpinteria (formerly The Beach Bowl)
  • Hana Kitchen, 503 State St. (formerly Mac’s Fish & Chip Shop)
  • Handlebar Coffee Roasters, 2720 De la Vina St. (formerly Sleep Shoppe)
  • HiWI Tropical Fusion, 6555 Pardall Rd., Isla Vista
  • Kyle’s Kitchen, 7060 Hollister Ave., Goleta (Hollister Village Plaza)
  • La Entrada de Santa Barbara, 30 State St.
  • Luna Grill, 3925 State St. (formerly Carl’s Jr.)
  • Magic Castle, 30 Los Patos Wy. (formerly Café del Sol)
  • Mestizo by Los Agaves, 119 State St. (formerly Nuance)
  • Meun Fan Thai Café, 5664 Calle Real, Goleta (formerly Int’L Cafe)
  • Oliver’s, 1198 Coast Village Rd. (formerly Peabody’s)
  • Renaud’s Patisserie & Bistro, corner of Carpinteria Ave. and Holly Ave., Carpinteria
  • Rusty’s Pizza, 2315 Lillie Ave., Summerland (Stacky’s Seaside)
  • Rusty’s Pizza, 4880 Hollister Ave., Goleta (moving from 149 S. Turnpike Rd.)
  • Sharkey’s Woodfired Mexican Grill, 7000 Hollister Ave., Goleta (Hollister Village Plaza)
  • Which Wich, 5 South Coast locations
  • Unnamed Asian Fusion, 5892 Hollister Ave. (formerly The Natural Café)
  • Unnamed BBQ, 4444 Hollister Ave., Noleta (formerly Creekside)
  • Unnamed Sushi, 134 East Canon Perdido St. (formerly Sojourner)
  • Unnamed Taco, 134 East Canon Perdido St. (formerly Sojourner)
  • Unnamed, 1134 Chapala St. (formerly The Hungry Cat)


Readers sent me messages about Paloma Restaurant and Tequila Bar at 5764 Calle Real in Goleta. I tried calling Paloma during business hours and the phone just rings.

Reader Annie: “I have heard that Paloma’s closed on Saturday and was sold to Los Arroyos. Any updates?”

Reader Peter H.: “Unfounded ‘rumor’ that Paloma on Calle Real has either been sold or closed.”

Reader Heidi: “Hello, I heard from a friend that Paloma (old Rudy’s) on Calle Real was sold and closed at the end of the year. (allegedly) Do you know anything about that?”

Other readers say that Paloma is just closed temporarily for kitchen remodeling/cleaning. So we have wildly different explanations of what is going on.