San Diego-based Luna Grill, with 40 locations offering fast-casual Mediterranean cuisine, opens Friday September 8 at 3925 State Street, next to Blaze Pizza. Both Luna Grill and Blaze Pizza occupy the former home of Carl’s Jr. Luna Grill has a menu that focuses on grilled chicken kabobs, and also offers beef, veggie, fish and lamb options. You choose a grilled protein and whether you want it served as a wrap, salad or signature plate. Your meal includes choice of sides such as hummus, falafel, spinach pie, spicy feta dip or fries. Meats at Luna Grill come from animals raised without growth hormones or antibiotics and the company avoids genetically modified or artificial ingredients. The average meal costs about $12. Visit



The Brewhouse at 229 West Montecito Street has been closed since late April due to a fire. Reader Steve H. tells me that Brewhouse reopened on Tuesday (soft opening) though the official reopening is still this Friday.



Reader Mary and others tell me that Cody’s Cafe at 4898 Hollister Avenue in Goleta has a huge sign outside that reads “Open Daily 6 a.m. – 9 p.m.” Previously the sign said they were serving dinner Tuesday – Saturday only. In June Cody’s dropped dinner entirely and it has been slowly making a comeback due to popular demand.



The Brewhouse at 229 West Montecito Street has been closed since late April due to a fire. Co-owner Pete Johnson tells me that his restaurant and bar will be reopening this Friday, September 1st. They will have a grand reopening party all weekend long, featuring food and drink specials, Brewhouse brews and your favorite Brewhouse bands.

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Reader Ted tells me that Mundos at 901 North Milpas Street (the building with a cow on the roof) is now open. The restaurant offers “Latin American soul food” and is open for lunch and dinner.



David Singh, owner of Mesa Pizza Company at 315 Meigs Road, is opening a pizza parlor at 6576 Trigo Road in Isla Vista (next to 805 Kabob) called “Good Earth Pizza.” I originally wrote about this in 2010 (yes, 7 years ago) and thought that plans had fallen through but apparently they have not. It appears that construction was recently started and the back of the business, which used to have rental hot tubs years ago, is currently being demolished and transformed into a courtyard for pizza patrons. My guess is that the business is at least another year from opening making this the longest-running “coming soon” restaurant story I have ever followed (the previous record was 5 years, held by both Sublime at 901 North Milpas Street and Oliver’s at 1198 Coast Village). In my original story Singh told me it will have everything Mesa Pizza has on its menu, but with an environmental and health-conscious twist. Brown dough will be standard, white dough will be available upon request.



I was in Isla Visa recently and encountered a restaurant that had slipped under my radar. Wake Cup at 901 Embarcadero del Mar apparently opened as a Taiwanese-styled boba tea house in January 2016 then transformed into a Taiwanese restaurant along the way, while retaining a selection of teas. Wake Cup is owned and operated by UCSB alumni and current students. The menu includes teas, milk teas, bowls (beef, pork, and chicken), kebabs, golden buns, fried chicken wings, popcorn chicken, Taiwanese sausage, and fried squid balls. Call 869-1586.

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In May 2016 readers Christie, Bob & Annie told me that long-time Isla Vista restaurant The Cantina at 966 Embarcadero Del Mar has a sign up for a Public Notice of Application For Ownership Change. It said that it will be replaced by a Chinese eatery called Dumpling King and the transition was supposed to take about a month. 15 months later reader Steve H. says that Dumpling King has arrived.  As I understand it The Cantina had been there for a decades, and before that, it was the home of Grandma Gurdy’s. “You know it’s authentic when there’s 3 Chinese chefs behind the counter who speak mandarin and wrap dumplings in front of you,” says reader Tiffany. The menu includes three types of dumplings: shrimp with pork and chives, beef with celery, and fish. The cost is $9.99 and includes 15 dumplings.



This just in from Warren Butler, partner at High Sierra Grill, 521 Firestone Road in Goleta:

Hello John,

Just wanted to give you an update on my progress on the High Sierra Grill & Bar. As you noted in January, I joined The High Sierra as The Managing Partner. After 8 months of successfully improving the overall operations of the restaurant, I have been given the option of  purchasing the restaurant and I plan on changing the concept to an aviation-theme restaurant & bar. I am looking to name the restaurant “The FlightLine Restaurant & Bar.” In addition to having great food, beverages, and service the restaurant would showcase the history of The Santa Barbara Airport.  I am now gathering with folks that will help make that vision a reality. Anyone with any SB Airport pictures or relics from the past may contact me at

Warren Butler



I just returned from eastern Oregon where I gathered with friends to watch the total eclipse. Here is a photo taken during totality at 10:19 a.m. The bright object in the sky is the eclipsed sun.



Here is a list of area eateries that have opened in the last year:

  • August 2017: Starbucks, UCen at UCSB; Urkeb, 413 State St.
  • July 2017: Cajun Kitchen, 6025 Calle Real, Goleta; Rincon Brewery, 6583 Pardall Rd., Isla Vista; Rusty’s Pizza, 4880 Hollister Ave., Goleta; Shalhoob Patio, 220 Gray Ave.; Sharky’s Woodfired Mexican Grill, 7060 Hollister Ave., Goleta
  • June 2017: Goa Taco, 718 State St.; La Hacienda, 298 Pine Ave., Goleta; Los Arroyos, 5764 Calle Real, Goleta
  • May 2017: Bear and Star, 2860 Grand Ave., Los Olivos; Santo Mezcal, 119 State St.; Sun Sushi, 3631 State St.
  • April 2017: Big Eye Raw Bar, 38 W. Victoria St.; Foxtail Kitchen and Bar, 14 E. Cota St.; Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, 2840 De la Vina St.; Kyle’s Kitchen, 791 Chapala St.; Meun Fan Thai Café, 5664 Calle Real, Goleta
  • March 2017: Gimeal Café, 5892 Hollister Ave., Goleta; Petros Kafe, 487 Atterdag Rd., Solvang
  • February 2017: Lao Wang, 6530 Pardall Rd., Isla Vista; The Little Door, 129 E. Anapamu St.; The Patio Café, 3007 De la Vina St.; Tangonadas, 1014 State St.;
  • January 2017: Bar 29, 1134 Chapala St.; HiWi Tropical Fusion, 6555 Pardall Rd., Isla Vista
  • December 2016: 18 East, 18 E. Cota St. (now closed); Blaze Pizza, 3925 State St.; Mesa Burger, 315 Meigs Rd.; Somerset,7 E. Anapamu St.
  • November 2016: Nikka Ramen, 5701 Calle Real, Goleta; Red Kettle Coffee, 2275 Ortega Hill Rd., Summerland
  • October 2016: The Honey B, 602 Anacapa St.; Phoevermore, 1017 Casitas Pass Rd., Carpinteria
  • September 2016: Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, 7060 Hollister Ave., Goleta; Loquita, 202 State St.; Pickles & Swiss, 7060 Hollister Ave., Goleta; PokeMee, 7000 Hollister Ave., Goleta
  • August 2016: Pieology, 7000 Hollister Ave., Goleta; Pizza Man Dan’s, 699 Linden Ave., Carpinteria; Sprouts Farmers Market, 175 N. Fairview Ave., Goleta; Vons, 2010 Cliff Dr.
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Finch & Fork and Kimpton Canary has named Patrick Bryant as the new Director of Food and Beverage. In his role, Bryant will oversee all food and beverage operations for Canary’s 97 rooms, over 7,300 sq. ft. of meeting and event spaces, and its restaurant, Finch & Fork. Bryant will maintain Finch & Fork’s reputation for hosting dining events with high-caliber culinary and bar experiences. Bryant touts over 20 years of industry experience working in high-end, and high-volume, restaurants and hotels across the country. He joins Finch & Fork and Kimpton Canary most recently from “Vegas Top 50” restaurant Vintner Grill, where he served as Director of Special Events & Catering, overseeing multiple event spaces and raising annual revenues by 30%.



Reader Doug E. tells me that Scarlett Begonia at 11 West Victoria Street has dropped their dinner hours, according to their website They continue to offer breakfast and lunch from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Call 770-2143

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Restaurant Connection will begin offering breakfast for delivery starting Monday August 21. For years they have only delivered for lunch and dinner but now are starting to also deliver for breakfast. Breakfast delivery menus can be seen on their website

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Readers Jebediah, Primetime and Wade tell me that a local eatery closed and that another will takes its place. Here are the details from Wade:

“John, while walking my dog this morning up and down State Street I noticed that Barbarians Pizza located at 511 State Street was closed.  The application for ‘New Ownership’ indicates ‘Lao Ma Tou‘.  I guess too much competition with Patxi’s Pizza and Uncle Rocco’s NY Pizza all within the same vicinity.”

Barbarians opened in January 2014.



Rebuilding is planned after an early morning August 16th fire damaged Sandbar Mexican Restaurant and Tequila Bar at 514 State Street.  Smoke was seen coming from the roof near the back of Sandbar from a fire that started in a wall/attic area behind the main kitchen grill. Firefighters arrived at about 1 a.m. Though the kitchen suffered smoke and water damage, the bar and dining area are fine. I have not received word yet when they will reopen.

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Santo Mezcal at 119 State Street (adjacent to the Hotel Indigo) is raising the bar, and launching Happy Hour, from 2-5 p.m., every Monday through Friday. Santo Mezcal is the latest concept from restaurateur Carlos Luna and the team behind the Los Agaves Restaurants. Happy Hour at Santo Mezcal features an all-new menu with small bites inspired by Chef Ricardo Garcia’s modern take on Mexican cuisine, as well as specials on craft cocktails, sangria, wine and beer. Highlights from the menu include Sopecitos Yucatecos, Tostaditas Ahi Tuna, and a Crab Quesadilla. Guests can also try an all new selection of tacos than those on their lunch and dinner menus, like Tacos Ensenada (shrimp or fish tempura topped with chipotle cabbage), Tacos Culichi (shrimp machaca topped with avocado and chipotle aioli). On the beverage side, Happy Hour fans can enjoy the same popular cocktails from Santo Mezcal’s regular menu for $7 during Happy Hour, in addition to a wide selection of beer for $4, wine for $5 and sparkling sangrias for $4.



This just in from Sorriso Italiano owner Antonio Gerli at 901 Embarcadero del Mar in Isla Vista:

“I’d like to inform you that we remodeled the interior of our restaurant and we added something new: the possibility to build your own pasta and #beyourownchef,” says Gerli. “Since we added this new feature to our menu we increased our sales of 60%. All the ingredients and the toppings are always super fresh. I think that the secret of this success is because the customers can create their pasta with their own taste. View the new menu at”

During the summer (when the UCSB is closed) business hours are Monday closed, Tuesday-Sunday 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 5-9 p.m.

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Reader Christine sent a tip letting me know that the Facebook page for a Solvang eatery has announced its closure. “It is with the heaviest hearts and most disappointments that we are announcing the closure of Bacon & Brine,” says owner Chef Pink. “We can not express enough gratitude for those who’ve helped along the way and the support of this community that we’ve experienced.” Crystal “Chef Pink” DeLongpré and her wife and business partner, Courtney Rae DeLongpré, opened Bacon & Brine at 1622 Copenhagen Drive in Solvang in June 2014.



Dana Cisneros, assistant to the General Manager at Cody’s Café, informed me that the restaurant is serving dinner once again. An alarm went off in my inbox in June from nearly a dozen readers who were mourning the loss of nightly dinner service at the popular restaurant at 4898 Hollister Avenue in Goleta. “We also no longer serve hard alcohol but we do have an excellent selection of beer and wine as well as we serve margaritas and bloody marys.,” says Cisneros. “We serve those drinks with a sake based tequila and vodka. Sabé Blanco is a blend of sake and tequila which is classified as a specialty wine and makes delicious cocktails.” Hours are: Sunday-Monday 6 a.m.-3 p.m. and Tuesday-Saturday: 6 a.m.-9 p.m. Thanks to reader Mel for the tip.



Owner Tyler Duncan tells me that he is still working through the permitting process for a Summerland location of Rusty’s Pizza and that construction will start early next year. In 2015 reader Foodie Dan sent a tip letting me know that a sign mentioning Rusty’s Pizza had appeared at 2315 Lillie Avenue in Summerland, the longtime home of Stacky’s Seaside, which has since closed.

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Readers DeeDee and Antonio tell me that the first Starbucks on the UCSB campus has opened at the UCen in the former home of UCSB-owned Nicoletti’s. A year and a half ago, when I announced the pending arrival of Starbucks at UCSB, it was scheduled to open in the fall of 2016. Another Starbucks is located less than a block away from campus at 888 Embarcadero del Norte.

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Reader Sande tells me that Papa John’s Pizza at 5756 Calle Real in Goleta, which closed last month, will reopen August 14th under new ownership.



Reader Mary tells me that Naughty Oak Brewing Company Brewery & Taproom at 165 South Broadway Street in Orcutt has opened a second location at 3569 Sagunto Street in Santa Ynez.



Reader Annie asked me if Papa John’s Pizza at 5756 Calle Real in Goleta is closed for good or just temporarily. I had no idea that anything unusual was going on in that part of town so I phoned them during regularly scheduled business hours (no answer) and searched for them at (they are no longer listed). Until I hear otherwise I am going to make the call that they are gone. Papa John’s Goleta opened in July 2014.

Update: Papa John’s will be reopening August 14th



Readers Ellen, Harry and Brendan passed the word that Rebar Coffee at 214 State Street has closed. Rebar opened in August 2015.  This address has had numerous businesses come and go in recent years including Entrada Market, American Ale 02, Yankee Noodle, Tri Tip Company, and Union Ale Brewing Co.



Reader Angel let me know that Santa Barbara City College School of Extended Learning offers various cooking classes. Many classes are held Saturdays and range from one to three days. SBCC’s fall quarter runs August 21-December 9, with new classes starting each week. Here are a few examples of what’s to come (a full list is available at

  • Tandoori Chicken Tikka with Tikka Masala: Make tandoori chicken in minutes without all that expensive equipment. Discover the secrets and simple steps needed to ensure that your chicken bursts with flavor on your own grill. Tuesday, August 22.
  • Sushi: Make it Yourself: Course teaches the basic techniques of making traditional Japanese sushi, including California roll, hand roll and creative rolls. Students also learn how to make miso soup and vegetable dishes. Saturday, September 9.
  • Making Classic Cocktails at Home – Easily and Affordably: Make and taste classic cocktails as well as paired appetizers in this hands-on course designed to demystify cocktails and mixology. Thursdays October 12-26.


Urkeb (Urban Kebap) is the name of a new fast casual restaurant that has opened at 413 State Street (formerly The Mex Authentic) serving Germany’s most popular street food, the DÖNER KEBAP. Urkeb is brought to you by Marco Coccia & Marcello Bisignani, from southern Germany. Their philosophy, that Bisignani refers to as “fresh, lecker, German,” is to offer different choices of meals consisting of fresh, healthy and high quality ingredients which every guest can combine to be lecker (“yummi”).

I am told that The German Kebap has its own story behind it: The vertical grilled meat was brought from Turkish immigrants to Germany in the ‘70. In Germany, the idea was born to put the grilled meat together with fresh cut veggies and a garlic yogurt sauce into freshly baked bread. Bisignani tells me that over the last few decades, it has become the most popular street food in Germany, where it then spread all over Europe and even was exported back to Turkey. “Most of the young people in Germany eat tons of Döner Kebaps day after day,” says Bisignani. “2 million Döner are sold every single day only in Germany, where you can get one at every time of the day, at every corner.”

At Urkeb, you create your own original Döner Kebap made to order. First you choose between a sandwich (Döner Kebap), a tortilla wrap (Döner Wrap) or a bowl (Döner Bowl). Next you choose beef, lamb, chicken (the meat is directly sliced off the vertical rotisserie), or vegetarian (homemade grilled veggie patties). You then have a selection of six different sauces (yogurt house with or without garlic, avocado ranch, smoked onion, parsley vinaigrette, hot habanero) – all of them made in house. You can choose one sauce or combine of flavors. Finally, you choose from a daily fresh cut variety of veggies (e.g. lettuce, tomato, cucumber, jalapeño, corn, red cabbage, onion, peppers). Add extra feta cheese or grilled vegetables to give it a special kick and you’re ready to enjoy.

Besides the main, Urkeb offers a small variety of lecker sides and desserts e.g. “Fernweh” (Hummus, a crispy chick pea puree with sesame paste), “Kopfkino” (Tzazik, a fresh yogurt refined with cucumber and garlic) and “Luftschloss” (yogurt, dates, honey, orange filet and sunflower seeds). Hours are 11:00am to 10:00pm, seven days a week. If you want to learn more about the Döner Kebap and Urkeb drop by and experience them, or visit Follow Urkeb on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Guten Appetit!



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:

  • Basil’s Santa Barbara, 608 Anacapa St. (formerly Arch Rock Fish)
  • Blue Water Grill, 15 E. Cabrillo Blvd. (formerly Rusty’s Pizza)
  • Cachuma Lake Café, Cachuma Lake marina
  • Cafe Ana, 1201 Anacapa St. (formerly Coffee Cat)
  • Ca’ Dario Trattoria and Pizzeria, 250 Storke Rd., Goleta
  • Chicken in a Barrel BBQ, 310 S. Fairview Ave.
  • Choppa Ice Cream, 7060 Hollister Ave., Goleta (formerly Zizzo’s)
  • Cito Street Café, 305 W. Montecito St.
  • Craft Ramen Bar, 436 State St. (formerly Bucatini)
  • Dave’s Dogs, 149 S. Turnpike Rd., Goleta (formerly Rusty’s Pizza)
  • Finney’s Crafthouse & Kitchen, 35 State St. (inside Hotel Californian)
  • Guicho’s Eatery, 901 Linden Ave., Carpinteria (formerly The Beach Bowl)
  • Handlebar Coffee Roasters, 2720 De la Vina St. (formerly Sleep Shoppe)
  • Islands Restaurant, 3825 State St. (formerly Marmalade Café)
  • 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)
  • Miso Hungry, 134 East Canon Perdido St. (formerly Sojourner)
  • Mundos, 901 Milpas St. (formerly Sublime)
  • Night Lizard Brewing Company, 607 State St. (next to Radio Shack)
  • Oliver’s, 1198 Coast Village Rd. (formerly Peabody’s)
  • PokeCeviche, 901 Embarcadero del Mar Isla Vista (formerly Jimmy Johns)
  • PokeCeviche, 313 Paseo Nuevo
  • Poki Rito, 6530 Seville Rd. (formerly Shave It Nation)
  • Renaud’s Patisserie & Bistro, Carpinteria Ave. at Holly, Carpinteria
  • Rudy’s Express, 138 E. Canon Perdido St. (formerly Julienne)
  • Rusty’s Pizza, 2315 Lillie Ave., Summerland (formerly Stacky’s Seaside)
  • Spyglass Bistro and Bar, 6878 Hollister Ave., Goleta (inside Hilton Garden Inn)
  • Starbucks Drive-Thru, empty lot at Turnpike Ave. and Calle Real
  • Sunny Korean Restaurant, 532 State St. (formerly Zia Café)
  • Worker Bee Café, 5599 Hollister Ave., Goleta (Sage & Onion)
  • Unnamed Taco, 134 East Canon Perdido St. (formerly Sojourner)


Reader Jennie let me know that the signs are up at Urkeb 413 State Street (formerly the Mex Authentic and Pace) so I stopped by and spoke with the manager who said they opened last Thursday. I am told that the restaurant serves German kebaps.