Subscribe to The Restaurant Guy email newsletter. Receive updates about Santa Barbara restaurant news and events. Unsubscribe at anytime.
Pressed Juicery at 1024 Coast Village Road Ste. C in Montecito, which is a walk-up window for vegan juices on the mountain side of the Montecito Country Mart, has shortened its name to “Pressed” due to copyright issues, I am told.
I am also told that a funny thing has happened as a result of the name change: customers bringing clothes to be pressed at Montecito Cleaners next door, are dropping them off at the juicery’s walk-up window because of the close proximity of the business signs.
Kin Bakeshop, which was supposed to have a soft opened during the summer in the new restaurant extension of the Turnpike Center in Noleta, has posted a sign that reads:
“Closed until the end of September to prepare for our grand opening, train additional team members, and maintenance. We truly appreciate your understanding an patience. – Kin”
This just in from reader Brendan:
“Social Eats has opened in Isla Vista in the former South Coast Deli location. The place was pretty hoppin’ last Friday night. There are different food categories (burgers, noodles, sushi rolls) that are sort of branded to look as if they were separate businesses (with separate names like “Pop’s Burgers” and “Street Noods”), but they’re all on the same menu and ordered at the same counter, so it’s pretty much just a normal eatery with an eclectic menu.”
I stopped by 5690 Calle Real in Goleta (formerly Outback Steakhouse) to see the status of a future eatery that official Calle Real Center documents once referred to as “Brewhaus.” The former Outback space was split up last year and is now about two-thirds the size that it once was, with Lighthouse Coffee coming soon to the other third. The inside is an empty shell ready for action, while the rear of the property has active construction going on. Workers told me they are installing a grease trap that will be shared by a “microbrewery” that is coming to the space and Lighthouse Coffee.
Reader Steve C. tells me that Mokutan restaurant, which opened at 716 State Street in August 2022, has closed.
After decades in business the first and last South Coast Silvergreens restaurant, established in 1995 and located at 900 Embarcadero del Mar in Isla Vista, closed in September 2020. Silvergeens was a sister restaurant to the popular Kyle’s Kitchen and one of the first salad-only eateries. Earlier this month I was visiting GraphicInk in Goleta to have a sign made for the Restaurant Kid’s 9th birthday party and noticed something peculiar in the corner: a refrigerator labeled “Silvergreens.” At first I thought that it might be leftover equipment from a closed restaurant then an employee told me that it is actually part of a new service by Silvergreens. Inside were salads with names of customers who would soon be enjoying them for lunch.
I did some research and found that the iconic local Silvergreens brand is indeed making a comeback. “Silvergreens Salad House” is distributing glass door refrigerators to businesses across the South Coast. Each week companies and employees order meals online and early the next week Silvergreens stocks your office fridge with fresh salads, wraps and sides. Small refrigerators hold 49 items and while the large one has a capacity of 100.
At the heart of it is an optional subscription program that takes Silvergreens to another level. Silvergreens membership program is currently only available to local Santa Barbara area businesses. The non-subscription option has no membership fees and lets you stock your refrigerators with 3 weeks worth of food for $3-$10 per item with a $400 minimum order. The subscription system has a fee of $59/week and lets you order products in batches of four for 40 dollars. Everything is delivered to your workplace.
“Silvergreens delivers straight to your work and stores your salads and sides in a refrigerator, allowing you and your team to access meals all week,” says their website silvergreens.com. “At only $10 per salad/wrap, you can easily save budget on your team’s meals, while also eliminating waste. When you pair healthy and delicious meals together, it creates a happier, more productive team. Silvergreens uses Pop Bowls, patented new-age salad bowls that expand on the bottom so that you can freshly toss your salad without making a mess.”
Last April I wrote that a Restoration Hardware (“RH”) showroom along with a restaurant is coming to the Old Firehouse in the Montecito Upper Village at 1486 East Valley Road. I stopped by and saw that no construction has started but there is a sign posted that says the space will include a 740 sqft cafe and a 612 sqft dining patio.
Last August I broke the news that Santa Barbara Sunshine Cafe at 3514 State Street will be opening a second location at 5711 Calle Real in Goleta, the former home of Chicken in a Barrel BBQ (2018-2020), Petrini’s (2011-2016), and Luigi’s Pizza & Pasta (?-2010). I stopped by and took a sneak peek and noticed that construction has started on the floor which is typically where most major renovations begin. The cement has some channels carved in it for new pipes but no wall work or framing has begun. Expect an opening next spring or summer.
Outback Steakhouse at 5690 Calle Real in Goleta closed their doors in November 2017 and the building remained in suspended animation until September 2021 when renovations began. The former space from Down Under was divided into two addresses with left side occupying 1/3rd and the right space taking the rest. Both interiors were completed but remained empty shells until 2023 when construction began on the smaller spot to become the future home of the popular Lighthouse Coffee chain. Work continues at a good clip and interior framing is underway. Expect to see a grand opening announced here early next year.
Santa Barbara Fish Market is coming to University Plaza next to the DMV in Goleta. The new location will be 7127 Hollister Avenue Ste. 18, the former home of La Bella Rosa Bakery (2016-2019), Cafe Zoma (2010-2011), and Mojo Coffee (2006-2010). I saw the interior and it is nearly complete. Reader Linda fills in some details:
“Today my husband and I saw the door open at the new location for the Santa Barbara Fish Market that is at the Pacific Oaks Plaza on Hollister, and talked to a gentleman named, Paul, who is going to be the chef there. They are hoping to open in 3-4 weeks, and will not only have fresh seafood like the downtown location, but also a full kitchen and restaurant with outdoor seating, featuring grab and go items, both hot and cold, prepared meals, sauces, an oyster bar, seafood platters, and seafood tacos. We have been so excited for this location that is so close and convenient to finally open, and even more so now!”
Augie’s, which opened in October 2022 in the former home of Panera Bread, Left At Albuquerque, and Ma Dolce Vita, has some things going on says reader SBone: “I was just informed Augie’s at 700 state street , will be closing for a ‘few months’ after eating there today Sunday the 24th of September, last day. Staff was just informed this week of the closure.” I reached out to Augie’s on September 24th and received this response: “Hi there, we are closing for an estimated 4-12 weeks for a ReMenu. Today is our last day.”
No, the Elephant Bar is not triumphantly returning to 521 Firestone Road, nor are its successor restaurants High Sierra and Flightline. On September 12th I stopped by to see if there was any activity at the property that has the unusual status of having the City of Santa Barbara as the landlord. The only thing I saw hard at work was entropy, meaning the weeds are taller than my last visit and general deterioration continues throughout the property. The inside looks unchanged from closing day in 2019.
While stopping by the future home of Alma Fonda Fina restaurant in the Vons Shopping Center on September 10th I noticed that a new sign was up for Pavilions, which is replacing Vons. Pavilions is the “upscale” sister chain to Vons. I spoke to an employee who said that the transition is now complete, with new floors and a new deli area installed, and that the only thing remaining to do is some construction in the back near the refrigerators and a little more exterior work. Having been raised nearby it was quite strange to see the Vons sign gone, which had been there since 1968.
Alma Fonda Fina restaurant is coming to 1024 Coast Village Road, the former home of Little Alex’s which is moving to Five Points Shopping Center. On September 10th I stopped by to see if any progress was visible and I noticed that papered windows made Sneak Peeks impossible. So I asked employees at nearby businesses what they have seen and I was informed that construction was relentless during the summer, “24/7” I am told, until a stop-work order was placed on the front door of the business. I hear there has been no activity since then.
On September 10th I visited the former longtime home of Fresco Café at 3987-B State Street in Five Points Shopping Center, that will one day house Little Alex’s restaurant, and saw what appears to be in the early stages of construction with cement floors in the entry way cut open for plumbing work. I was unable to see the progress in the main dining room. Expect an opening early next year.
In April 2022 I broke the news that Montecito Wine Bistro at 516 San Ysidro Road Montecito was in talks to be acquired and eventually a sign appeared indicating that the next tenant will be East Valley Kitchen. I stopped by on September 10th and the windows were still papered-over making Sneak Peeks impossible so I asked an employee at a neighboring business what they have seen. I was told that there has been no construction at all this year in the spot, also known as the former home of Café del Sol, and that the only activity occurred a month ago when some people stopped by the building to remove some tables.
This just in from reader Darell
I stopped by the Uptown Lounge [at 3126 State Street] yesterday and it looked ready for business all but the windows covered up. There was a worker there cleaning and I asked him if they were going to reopen and he said “yes that the owners are planning to reopen I think they are going to change the name and get new furniture and re-paint.” I was happy to hear that!! Doesn’t sound like they will be closing their doors.”
The Ellwood is coming to 5905 Sandspit Road Goleta, formerly Beachside Bar-Café. Late last year construction had just started when winter storms battered the facility, leaving it full of sea water which was obviously a big setback. I stopped by recently and noticed that construction has resumed though a tremendous amount of work remains. I would estimate an opening of next summer at the earliest, assuming winter doesn’t wreak havoc again.
In April 2022 I broke the news that Shalhoob’s had signed a lease to take over 5112 Hollister Avenue in Noleta, the former home of Woody’s BBQ. A large sign for Shalhoob’s soon appeared on the exterior. People emailed me recently with concerns because the Shalhoob’s sign was taken down. I called the flagship restaurant in the Funk Zone and was told that plans to open the restaurant in Noleta are still on track. The garage door-style walls (that open) are complete but the wood framing structure is mostly unchanged from earlier this year. The cement floor had been torn up the last time I looked but is now complete. There is a stack of architectural drawings on a table that leave little doubt that Shalhoob’s is on their way.
In July 2021 I wrote that and unnamed cantina will be coming to Turnpike Center and that it will be a business will be run by Chris Chiarappa, the visionary and inspiration for Mesa Burger, and other local eateries. I have stopped by periodically and not seen much progress until this week when I saw that a tremendous amount of work has been done, with most of the framing in place. I estimate an end of year opening or perhaps early next.
In August 2022 I broke the news that a restaurant named Silvers Omakase is coming to 224 Helena Avenue, the former home of Seven Bar & Kitchen. It will be a sushi shop run by Michelin-honored chef Lennon Silvers Lee who used to helm Sushi Bar Montecito. Earlier this year I peeked in the window and no construction had started. I looked again recently and construction is now underway. I estimate it will open sometime early next year, assuming of course that construction is ongoing.
Anything further about the new restaurant coming, Teddy’s on State ? I remember you had an update earlier this year stating it was still coming, but curious if they have an estimated opening date.
I stopped by Teddy’s on State, which is coming 3102 State Street, the former home of Yanni’s Greek Deli and Mackenzie Market, to see if there has been any progress since I was there last March. It is still filled with stacks of items but the selection of things seems to have changed. No renovation seems to have been started. Last March I called sister business Teddy’s by the Sea restaurant in Carpinteria and was told that it is still on track to open eventually.
I just received this message from Hollister Brewery Company in Camino Real Marketplace to share with you:
Hello Hollister and Goleta community:
As of September 18th, Hollister Brewing Co. will stop operating at this location. We have enjoyed and appreciated all of the business over the years and truly enjoyed being a part of the community.
Hollister Brewing will continue at another location in the future. We are identifying potential sites currently and will keep everyone posted on the progress.
In the meantime, we are planning on producing our beers at another location to distribute throughout the local market, so please keep an eye out for your favorite Hollister beers at your nearest retailer.
With that being said, we would encourage you to come in for a couple more beers or food at this location prior to the 18th and be at our team farewell at the Camino Real address. Sunday the 17th will be the final night of operation.
Once again, thank you for all of the great years here and we look forward to many more. Hope to see you all soon!
On September 16, from 2-5pm Lotusland is celebrating 30 years as a public garden with a special event known as “Lotusfest.” Sip and savor some of the best beer, wine, and food the Central Coast has to offer while enjoying live music on the Lotusland’s Great Lawn from The Kicks Reggae. You can also spend the afternoon wandering the world famous garden. Guests will receive a commemorative tasting glass to take home.
General Admission: $150 members or $185 non-members
Designated Driver: $100 members & non-members
VIP Patron Ticket: $300 members & non-members
VIP Parking Add-On: $35
Participating vendors include Summerland Winery, Potek Winery & Municipal Winemakers, Tilden Cocktails, Tercero Wines, Figueroa Mountain Brewing, Kimsey Vineyard, Island Brewing Co., Whitcraft Winery, Jaffurs Wine Cellars, Casita de Bravo, Santa Barbara Winery & Lafond, Jardesca, Jonata & The Hilt Estate, Casa Dumetz Wines, T.W. Hollister & Co., Brass Bear Brewing & Bistro, Silver Wines, Third Window Brewing, Tatomer, Beckman Vineyards Beckman Vineyards, Dusty Nabor Wines, Finch & Fork Restaurant, Piazza Family Wines, Donnachadh Family Wines, Jessica Foster Confections, Storm Wines, Zaca Mesa Winery & Vineyards, Get Shucked Santa Barbara, Sanguis Winery, Fess Parker Winery, Drink Ysidro, Pacific Pickle Works, The Lark, La Paloma Café, il Fustino, Juice Ranch, Folded Hills, Loquita, Tamar, and more.
Ganna Walska Lotusland, also known as Lotusland, is a non-profit botanical garden located in Montecito. The gardens were created over four decades by opera singer Madame Ganna Walska, who owned the property as a private residence from 1941 until her death.
Growing up not far from the estate, The Restaurant Guy was fortunate to meet Madame Ganna Walska during her later years while helping out a grade school friend who was one of her regular gardeners. I remember she was very clear and detailed about what work she wanted done that day, even though she was in her 90s at the time. Lotusland was opened to the public in 1993.
Readers Warren and Tom let me know that Uptown Lounge at 3126 State Street has apparently closed. I haven’t received an official word but reader Tom says the business has been closed during usually-open hours and reader Warren says a local musician has posted the following message on Facebook:
My 29 month run of playing at the Uptown Lounge every Friday has come to an end. I was informed today that the venue has gone out of business and has closed its doors for good.
A Santa Barbara tradition is back, as they say. You probably remember Pizza Mizza, formerly located at La Cumbre Plaza until it closed on October 16, 2018. Well, after a 5 year vacation, they have re-opened in a new downtown location next to the turtle pond in La Arcada Plaza, 1114 State Street. “We have built a beautiful arcade to host birthday parties, family events or to simply have some fun,” says the business. “Same great food that you loved and remembered. Join us for delicious pizza, pasta, salads and sandwiches. Enjoy our craft beer and drink selections. Bring the whole family and enjoy our kid friendly environment and arcade.” Call (805) 564 3900 or visit pizzamizza.com.
Owner Shideler Bennett tells me that her new dessert destination Crumbl Cookies, coming to 5660 Calle Real in Goleta, will have a grand opening on Friday, September 15th. “Crumbl Cookies is all about creating moments of happiness through our freshly baked, gourmet cookies,” says Bennett. “Our unique rotating menu ensures that there’s always something new to discover.” Crumbl Cookies is a franchise chain of bakeries that specializes in baking a variety of cookies and serving ice cream. Based in Utah, it was started in 2017 and now has over 600 stores across the United States. Visit crumblcookies.com
This just in from reader Steve H.:
23-25 E. Canon Perdido, next to the Lobero, former home of the ill-fated Fresco, will become a tasting room for two Santa Barbara County wineries, Lieu Dit and Tyler.
Photo by reader Steve H.
The food court at Costco in Goleta has introduced self-serve ordering, a feature available at numerous locations throughout the country. The walk-up window is now for cash only. All credit card orders must be made at a kiosk. After you complete your kiosk order and are given an order number, you need you get in line for the kiosk order pickup window because our Costco does not have an order number display or announcement system.
Reader Andre C. directed me to a Reddit page where a person claims that their mom was visiting a salon next door to Del Pueblo Cafe in Magnolia Shopping Center and was told that the eatery is closing because of a rent increase. I lived a block away from Del Pueblo Cafe when it opened in 1997 and it has been on The Restaurant Guy’s go-to list since that time. Not willing to accept as fact words from an anonymous son who heard from their anonymous mom who heard from an anonymous salon owner, I reached out to the restaurant directly and received this reply:
The closing of Del Pueblo is not definite. What I can say now is that we are in negotiations with a possible new owner.
Thanks for checking in.
A Santa Barbara-based food delivery and pick up service, Double Down Delivery, is now servicing the area from Carpinteria to Goleta. It is a female-owned and family operated business run by Annette Rodriguez who has also worked as a nurse for almost two decades. “When I identified that nearly all food delivery companies are taking almost all profits from restaurants, making it very hard to sustain their business, I set out to change this and make delivery reasonable again here in my hometown,” says Rodriguez. “I worked very hard with a team to find a formula that would allow restaurants to keep their profits and provide delivery at a higher level of service, involvement and caring. We save our restaurants money by charging less than half the 25-30% fees competitors impose.” Visit DoubleDownDelivery.com or download their App to order locally. Rodriguez tells me she is in the process of opening a dessert destination called The Cookie Plug at 918 State Street, the former home of The Good Cup, offering fresh cookies baked daily.
This just in from reader Steve W.: “Hi John, Just passing along what I heard last time I was in Wylde Works. The Mead and Kombucha salon at 609 State Street is to open a coffee shop at its existing location. It is to be open daily at 7 a.m.”
Santa Barbara Fish Market is coming to University Plaza next to the DMV in Goleta. The new location will be 7127 Hollister Avenue Ste. 18, the former home of La Bella Rosa Bakery (2016-2019), Cafe Zoma (2010-2011), and Mojo Coffee (2006-2010). Here is a sneak peek at the current state of the interior. Opening is scheduled for the fall. Not sure if that will happen but a lot of progress has been made.
Reader Andre tells me that Pueblo Pollo at 2984 State Street has closed. “Their sign is still up on the exterior, however the inside the store looked bare and their menu boards were torn off.” Pueblo Pollo replaced El Pollo Loco at the corner of upper State Street and Calle Laureles in October 2021.
The Jewish Federation of Santa Barbara is gearing up for a grand opening of Etty’s Jewish Delicatessen and Bakery this January at 524 Chapala Street. “It is often said that the heart of the home is the kitchen,” says the organization. “Investing in the Jewish Federation Kitchen is investing in the heart of our organization. Feeding those in need of nourishment, being a place to grab a healthy meal while meeting new friends, is at the core of our mission. Helping Federation elevate its kitchen to professional standards will allow us to expand our menu offerings to provide a wide array of Jewish Food Experiences to the public. Our vision is a kosher-style Jewish Deli that will provide a sorely missing element in Santa Barbara’s food scene.” Thanks to reader SBres for the tip.
Nick the Greek restaurant, offering “authentic Greek street food” is coming to 508 State Street, the former home of Natural Cafe. Opening is scheduled for early next year. The eatery is mostly located in Northern California with additional outlets in Southern California, Arizona, Kansas, Missouri, Nevada, Texas, and Utah. Franchisee Anton Van Happen said he is developing locations in areas between Santa Barbara and Los Angeles, opening two locations so far in Ventura and Westwood Village. Visit nickthegreek.com. Thanks to reader GarlicFries for the tip.
Photo by The Restaurant Guy
Here is a message to you from Renato Moiso, former longtime owner of Via Maestra and founder of food supply business All Italia Imports on Calle Cesar Chavez:
Good morning, John,
I hope you are well. Staying busy here after having sold Via Maestra almost exactly two years ago. Wow, time does fly!
I thought of sharing this news with you and perhaps the community would enjoy reading about our story as well.
It was back in 1993 when my wife, Lisa, and I started our wholesale company here in Santa Barbara, from a corner of our one-bedroom apartment. This year, “All Italia Imports” is celebrating its 30th anniversary, I can’t believe it has been 30 years that we have been proudly serving the best chefs in the tri-counties, consistently supporting them with great products and service.
It was a humble start, we had a desk, a fax machine, and an electric typewriter.
Those were the days of green cans of “Parmesan” and “Pompei” olive oil and I recall spending my days explaining what Parmigiano Reggiano or Aceto Balsamico or Prosciutto di Parma or Extra Virgin Olive Oil were, showing videos, providing samples, and seeing amazing reactions when chefs tried these products.
It has been a lot of hard work, starting an import/distribution company from scratch is certainly not a walk on the beach, but with Lisa’s dedication and help from our loyal employees, everything became possible.
Among the many memories in the growth of All Italia Imports, I specifically recall Lisa nursing our babies, now 28 and 25, while sitting at her desk printing invoices…
Persistency, consistency, reliability and integrity, along with the desire to give back to the community, are a few of the key factors that kept us going strong for all these years.
We truly appreciate how our presence and service have been valued by the very hard-working people in the Santa Barbara kitchens, they are truly the heroes.
We have seen so much happening in this town, met so many amazing chefs, developed strong relationships and also witnessed many restaurants coming and going…
Our local restaurateurs fully understand the importance of supporting local businesses and we have been honored to be embraced and supported by our customers.
Grazie Santa Barbara for your support!
Reader Primetime let me know that OPPI’Z Bistro and Natural Pizza at 1026 State Street, which opened in July 2019 (replacing Palazzio), has closed permanently. Reader John P. then forwarded a message to you from owner Guido Oppizzi:
As I am sure you are all quite aware, the last months have been extremely challenging for the restaurant business. For my part, I have made every effort to try and make OPPI’Z a success story. However, due to the Pandemic, skyrocketing inflation, abysmal Winter season, and all the other adverse situations we have encountered, I am unable to make OPPI’Z as successful as I had wished. Therefore, it is with great regret I must inform all of you that OPPI’Z will be closed permanently.
Since we opened our doors on July 19, 2019, it has been a pleasure to serve the beautiful Santa Barbara community and its visitors from around the world. I will miss chatting with you and our most loyal customers with who we have built up authentic relationships over the years. Obviously, I would be remiss if I did not mention all of the dogs who brightened each of my days with their joyful greetings. You will be missed too!
I would, thus, like to say: A big Thank You to all of you for giving me the honor to serve you these past four years.
With much appreciation and gratitude,
Photo by The Restaurant Guy
Here is a press release from Finch & Fork restaurant at the Canary Hotel:
What’s going on Labor Day, you ask? A lot of fun, that’s what, at the Kimpton Canary, which has a full Labor Day Weekender menu of delicious and fun rooftop events, from a Saturday night rooftop soiree to a Sunday wine tasting with live music, to a sunny Labor Day rooftop BBQ offering everything from lobster rolls to the best Hebrew National Hot Dog you’ve ever had – all created by Finch & Fork Executive Chef Nathan Lingle.
Saturday September 2: Labor Day Rooftop Party featuring Santa Barbara favorites Valmar Records and popular local band Uncle Uncle. 6pm – 10pm. Tickets $10 available via Eventbrite in advance, or $15 at the door. To book, click here
• Drinks and the following bites available to order at the bar:
• Shaved Ribeye Cheese Steak, Amoroso’s Bun, Peppers, Onion, American Cheese $19
• Holy Cow Grilled Cheese, Sour Dough, Pickled Red Onion, Apricot Jam $15
Sunday September 3rd – Sip N Swirl on the Kimpton Canary rooftop featuring Fess Parker Winery. 6pm-8pm. Tickets $25 available via Eventbrite. To book, click here
Ticket price includes charcuterie & cheese board, wine tasting with members of the Fess Parker family and live music with Lindsey Marie
Monday (Labor Day!) September 4th – “Sun’s Out Buns Out” Rooftop BBQ Featuring Live music. 12pm-4pm. Ticket Price: Free entrance to the rooftop with food & drinks to purchase.
Reserve your spot via Eventbrite by clicking here
• Classic Maine Lobster Roll $22
• Alle-Pia Fennel Sausage And Peppers $14
• The Hot Dog, Hebrew National Hot Dog, Brioche Bun, Ketchup And Mustard $10
• Jack Fruit BBQ Roll, Carrot Slaw $14
*All Served With House-Made Potato Chips