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Joe's Cafe
536 State St, Santa Barbara
Phone: (805) 966-4638


Reviews by the General Public

Brisket and Pot Roast, 11/25/2013
Reviewer: Jeffrey Taylor from Santa Barbara, CA
Absolutely love it! Portions are huge and it is very much like I used to get 'back east'. I usually sit at the bar, where they have the best bartenders in Santa Barbara and not only because of their highly touted mixed drinks...but because Steve and Frankie and Jerry and Matt are such great people to talk with.


Best breackfast in town, 8/16/2013
Reviewer: Art from Santa Barbara, CA
After reading last review I had to respond. Just had breakfast there this morning, great coffee, same as d'angelos, Lucky's, and tre Luna. I am a sucker for the smoked salmon (Cambridge House) and poached eggs, best deal in town. my friend from Kentucky raved about his chicken fried steak. The last guy should just stick to the cocktails


Worst breakfast I have ever had, 8/12/2013
Reviewer: Doug from Lompoc, CA
My first time. Seated promptly. Waited about 5 minutes for drink order. Drink served within another 5 minutes. Waited about 10 minutes for the food order. Order taken and then the real wait started. 30 minutes later food arrived; the food better be awesome. The food was terrible. My "chicken-fried steak" was not chicken-fried. It was a piece of meat maybe dusted with flour (probably not, definitely not tenderized), grilled, put under about a 2 inch biscuit (very dry), and barely covered in gravy. The over easy eggs were over medium. The steak was warm and everything else was lukewarm.


Poor Service
Reviewer: Alyssa from Santa Barbara, CA
I love Joe's for it's location and atmosphere. I usually go for breakfast and order the "All American". Food is fine, it's a simple breakfast. I tend to go on the weekends and on many occasions have poor service. My last visit, October 2012, left us waiting for almost 10 minutes before I had to get up and ask who are server was as no one came over to greet us. This was not the first time. I won't say that all of the servers there are like this. As a former server, I think the most important thing one should do is greet/acknowledge your customers asap. There never has been an apology or explanation for the wait. I find this incredibly rude, escpecially when they know your sitting there waiting. I guess I am not the first to write of the bad service, as I found many reviews that would agree with mine. I hope something will change as I do like Joe's Cafe, just not the servers who leave you waiting and waiting.


Come for the drinks!!
Reviewer: Marie from Santa Barbara, CA
I'm a local, and we all know you come to Joe's before the clubs! They have the stiffest drinks in town. This place is the pregame before going out! The food is ok, came a couple times for dinner. I had the regular hamburger and fries, nothing special. Just beware of thur-sat 9-closing crowd, it takes about 5-15min to get a drink with all the college students around.


Another bad review!
Reviewer: Charlotte from Goleta
So here we go again, another bad review for Joe's, a place I vowed I'd never return! Sunday staff as far as I'm concerned flat out suck!! ( except Denise, who comes in later in the day). 2:30 p.m. My family and I waited for a table in an almost empty restaurant and no hostess?? Finally we just seated ourselves. Magically our hostess/manager shows up at her station. She kept looking right through us..as if we were invisible! So did all the other employees! No matter how much eye contact or waving, it was just useless!! Why on Earth would the damn manager ignore us?? Was it because we broke the rules and sat ourselves? After many failed attempts to flag down a server, which was about 10 mins. When finally the worst waitress ever appears! (the one who forgets everything, will not write anything down, brings your appetizer with your meal, leaves your drinks at the bar, for you to just stare at them or get up yourself and fetch them, and charges you for things that you did not order! Yes! That waitress!! Because of this we only ordered a cocktail (which I had to get myself, as our server was MIA!). Paid the bartender and left...we got our French Dip at Harry's! What's the deal with this place anyway!


Meatloaf really bad
Reviewer: J from Santa Barbara, CA
It was a slow night on a Monday. The service was okay, I guess.. But the meatloaf was not what I thought I ordered. When I asked the waiter where the gravy was he said it wasn't that kind of meatloaf. Then after tasting it, I realized it was the not very tastey kind!


Old school cafe
Reviewer: Glenn from Buellton
This place is like a mini Harry's in terms of decor(or Harry's is a larger version of this place). The food was slated for comfort/diner style. Probably the same stuff they have been serving for a long time(est 1928). They do have a bar which some people go for exclusively. The front booths really need shades for the setting sun. A place to go for down home food/drinks with down home waiters/waittresses. Plan to wait a bit for your food, this is a place where chatting with friends is the priority.


Back in time
Reviewer: Wendy from Santa Barbara, CA
We have no connection with the owner or anybody that works there, so this is an honest review. My husband and I love Joe's, especially for breakfast.The ham is amazing, and I don't normally order meats for breakfast. It feels like you step back in time with generous servings, waitstaff that are more experienced and caring, good daily specials, tall-backed booths, good full bar, large range of food items, and amazing fries! No restaurant is perfect all the time, but this is a place where we feel like the management cares about the details and tries to keep the old concept alive regarding "caring about the customer." We are sorry there are bad reviews because we've been there about 10 times in the last 6 months and have been very happy every time.


Pleasantly surprised...
Reviewer: Sophie S. from Santa Barbara, CA
I read the reviews online before going to Joe's for a date night (we had a gift certificate) and was a little worried that we might have a bumpy night of poor service & mediocre food. We were pleasantly surprised when we called ahead for a booth - the people watching is great - and there was a booth waiting for us with a reserved sign on it! The service was prompt - not sparkling - but we got what we needed. The food was wonderful for comfort food. We had the French dip, french fries, ribs and mashed potatoes & veggies. The veggies were luke warm but everything else was fantastic. We even had enough to take home for lunch the next day - for the both of us. That was 4 meals & a cocktail for under $50. The only low-point was the maitai that I ordered was TERRIBLE. Maybe I'm not a maitai lover... but I couldn't even finish it. My husband was happy to gulp it down - "can't waste good booze", he said! All in all, a very good experience for a good price. We would go back.


Food was terrible
Reviewer: Jennifer S from Santa Barbara, CA
Food seem to have been frozen and heated up for us and the service was awful... the guy serving the water looked like a homeless person. I have no good things to say about this place. I don't recommend it.


please replace the sunday afternoon staff
Reviewer: jaime robledo from Santa Barbara, CA
My wife and I love to visit Santa Barbara; we stopped in for lunch on a Sunday afternoon.(12/5/2010) We should have walked out immediately and seriously regret not doing so. The hostess (maybe manager) ignored us when we first entered. When she finally sat us at a booth she did not smile, greet us, or say a word, she only stood by the table until we sat and handed us our menus. One waitress made our experience worse by scolding a poor busboy in a condesending way. (He was the only person there with a friendly smile). Our waitress was probably the nicest one, but even her smile seemed forced. She walked by looked at my empty glass, a quick glance at me and kept walking. My wife had to flag her down when she walked by again to ask for a refill. As we waited for our food I continued to observe the hostess/manager as she walked about with this grumpy looking sour puss of a face. I wanted to see how she interacted with staff and new customers. I only saw her smile once for a split second when she made eye contact with an old man at the bar then instantly returned back to that grumpy face (it was such a fake smile). I ordered a sirloin steak sandwich with blue cheese crumbles spread on top. The steak was exactly as I ordered, seared branded and cooked medium rare. I have to admit the food was good, but the service was terrible. The main reason we would not return or recommend this place to anyone is definitely due to the poor service, and unfriendly hostess/manager. I almost forgot as we were waiting there a man and his son or grandson entered and were seated. He seemed to be a regular as the staff new him by name. After about fifteen minutes they got up waved to the bartender and left. The old waitress with the ponytail and the hostess seemed bothered and exchanged a few words; apparently they did not know why he was dissatisfied and left. I suspect it may have been for the same reasons I had an urge to leave after about 10 minutes in.


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