Reader Primetime fired the first shot by texting me that Trattoria Mollie in Montecito is looking to open a location on State Street. Reader Peter added more detail: “I noticed that the space occupied by Trattoria Mollie has come up for lease in our local Multiple Listing Service. The space, 1250 Coast Village Road, Suites E and F is described as 2,950 square feet and is said to be currently occupied by a restaurant. The asking rent is $6.50 per square foot. While I suppose she could still extend her lease, the listing suggests that Mollie may no longer exist in the near future.” Reader Meg offers yet more detail: “Rumor has it that Mollie’s son, from Trattoria Mollie on Coast Village Road, is opening a restaurant at the former Tupelo Junction Cafe location, 1218 State Street next to the Granada Theater.” Lastly reader Bruce sent me of a confirmation photo of an ABC application at 1218 State Street that says that the next tenant will be named Mollie’s, brought to you by Trattoria Mollie, Inc.
Reader Chad says that he was on the bus recently and I saw a “closing May 23rd” sign on the Subway at 1936 State Street next to the 7-Eleven at Mission Street. I called the restaurant and confirmed the news. This Subway location opened November 2015. The 11 other South Coast Subway locations are open for business as usual.
Reader Primetime was in the Casitas Shopping Center in Carpinteria and spotted a sign at 1054 Casitas Pass Road, next to Little Caesar’s and CVS, that says a Jersey Mike’s Subs is coming soon.
The Santa Barbara Museum of Art’s Wildwood Museum Café which opened at 1130 State Street in March serves its last meal this Saturday. Here is a message from owner Justin West:
I hope you are well. I just wanted to stay ahead of my own rumor mill and let you know that I have decided to vacate the Museum Cafe already.
We were given a 90 day free rent period to test the waters over there and although we tried and wanted to make it work, it just doesn’t seem like it’s going to. Our last day at the Museum is this Saturday, May 19. Gotta come see us on Haley Street!
Here is a list of area eateries that have closed in the last year:
- May 2018: Empress Palace, 2251 Las Positas Rd.; Peet’s Coffee, 1131 State St.; Wildwood Café, 1130 State St.
- April 2018: None that I know of
- March 2018: Max’s, 3514 State St. (changing to Santa Barbara Sunshine Café); The Nugget Santa Barbara, 21 W. Victoria St.; Vineyard House Restaurant, 3631 Sagunto St., Santa Ynez
- February 2018: None that I know of
- January 2018: 805 Kabob, 6578 Trigo Rd., Isla Vista; East Beach Grill, 1118 E. Cabrillo Blvd.; Fire & Ice Museum Café, 1130 State St.; Nectar, 20 E. Cota St.; Our Daily Bread, 2700 De la Vina St.; Pascucci Goleta, 6920 Marketplace Dr., Goleta (changing to Vicentas); Yen Ching Restaurant, 2840 De la Vina St. (now New Si Chuan Garden)
- December 2017: C’est Cheese Cafe (not the store), 825 Santa Barbara St.; Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, 7060 Hollister Ave., Goleta
- November 2017: Cantwell’s Summerland Market, 2580 Lillie Ave., Summerland; Eladio’s, 1 State St.; Outback Steakhouse, 5690 Calle Real, Goleta; The Nugget, 5096 Carpinteria Ave, Carpinteria; Tupelo Junction Café, 1218 State St.
- October 2017: Miso Hungry, 3613 State St. (changing to Vegan Greengo; Miso Hungry moved to 134 E. Canon Perdido St.); Somerset, 7 E. Anapamu St. (now Smithy); Taqueria La Colmena, 217 N. Milpas St. (now Tacos Pipeye)
- September 2017: Oveja Blanca Restaurante, 30 E. Ortega St. (neighboring Black Sheep expanded into this space)
- August 2017: Barbarians Pizza, 511 State St. (now Lao Ma Tou); The Cantina, 966 Embarcadero Del Mar, Isla Vista (now Dumpling King); Downey’s, 1305 State St. (now Roost); Papa Johns Pizza, 5756 Calle Real, Goleta
- July 2017: Giovanni’s, 6583 Pardall Rd., Isla Vista (now Rincon Brewery); Rebar Coffee, 214 State St. (changing to Corazon); Sage and Onion Café, 5599 Hollister Ave., Goleta (now Worker Bee Café)
- June 2017: Burger Bus, mobile; Rusty’s Pizza, 149 S. Turnpike Rd., Goleta (now Dave’s Dogs; Rusty’s Pizza moved to 4880 Hollister Ave., Goleta)
- May 2017: The Mex Authentic, 413 State St. (now Urkeb); Stacky’s Seaside, 2315 Lillie Ave., Summerland (changing to Rusty’s Pizza); Zizzo’s Coffeehouse and Brew Pub, 7060 Hollister Ave., Goleta (now Choppa Ice Cream)
Last week I reported that the restaurant at historical Mattei’s Tavern at 2350 Railway Avenue in Los Olivos was planning to close June 5th. This week I am sad to report that there was a kitchen fire at Mattei’s Tavern on May 11th. At 8:07 p.m. Santa Barbara County firefighters arrived with a full structure fire response and found a fire burning in a wall behind the BBQ pit in the kitchen area. Firefighters extinguished the fire, keeping it contained to that area so it didn’t extend further into the restaurant. An investigator was on the scene to determine the cause of the fire.
I finally found contact info for the new Roost restaurant at 1305 State Street. Hours are Monday – Saturday 5:30 p.m. to Close. Visit roostsb.com or call 845-6337
Sad news from reader Rondi: “For John Dickson, The Restaurant Guy in the Independent: We went to Empress Palace [at 2251 Las Positas Road] Wednesday for lunch and there was a ‘closed’ sign on the front door. Upon further inspection, there was an eviction notice posted from the SB Superior Court. What a shock! They have been around for years. Will miss their walnut shrimp dish.” I tried calling to confirm but their phone number is disconnected. Their web site empresspalace1.com says Empress Palace is open for business as usual.
This just in from reader Maureen: “The Peetniks in town, myself included, are going to be really bummed when Peet’s Coffee downtown [at 1131 State Street] closes next Friday, which an employee told me yesterday was going to happen. The employee didn’t know the reason for the closure but is hoping to transfer to uptown Peet’s, which is apparently going to stay open. ” I called and confirmed the news. The location at 3905 State Street will be open for business as usual. Peet’s downtown opened in November 2008.
Sources tell me that Gene Montesano, owner of Tre Lune Ristorante & Bar at 1151 Coast Village Road in Montecito (as well as Joe’s Cafe, Lucky’s, and D’Angelo Bakery) has signed a lease to bring a Tre Lune location to 1 State Street, the former home of Eladio’s.
Reader Anita says she spotted a message on Instagram that said Fala Bar vegan restaurant at 7751 1/2 Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood will be opening a second location in Santa Barbara. The exact address has yet to be revealed. Here is a description of Fala Bar found on falabar.com:
“Founded in 2014, Fala Bar takes an innovative approach to healthy cuisine, offering inspired, fine-casual vegan food, made fresh daily from organic or local produce. We infuse each bite with pure, wholesome and sustainable ingredients made with love. By working with ingredients we believe in and vendors we trust, we are able to offer our customers food that is in line with our personal values and nutritional standards. At Fala Bar, we are disrupting the stereotypes associated with vegan food by making plant-based food that both vegans and carnivores enjoy. While we the founders of Fala Bar are not vegan, we believe that everyone can benefit from a diet that includes meat-free meals. Our menu features healthy versions of comfort foods that are satisfying, flavorful and creative. We use no artificial flavors, soy or processed ingredients. Delicious tasting food that’s healthy for you and the environment. It’s pretty simple.”
Reader Annie spotted an ABC liquor license application on posted at Handlebar Coffee at 2720 De la Vina Street.
A new Starbucks opens May 14th inside Albertsons Market at 7127 Hollister Avenue next to Costco. I’m told that you might get a free drink before opening day if you happen to stop by while workers are training.
This just in from reader Primetime: “Verizon has now closed at 636 State Street. For years it was the famous Italian and Greek Deli with the oil soaked delicious torpedo subs. The deli closed in 2007.” Perhaps this space has food in its future?
Last fall we reported that Mattei’s Tavern Restaurant, built in 1886 as a stage coach stop by Felix Mattei, has been purchased by Brian and Shamra Strange, with the restaurant leased by Chef Maili Halme which opened in December. Last week Halme posted this on Instagram:
“My 50th birthday is in June. These past six months at the restaurant have been the ultimate birthday celebration. Friends and family from all over the country have come to visit me and every night has felt like a party. My last day at the restaurant will be June 3 and we will open early at noon for our traditional Fried Chicken Sunday Dinner. We will also be open at 11 a.m. on Mother’s Day. Please be sure to use any gift certificates you may have purchased or received before June 3. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to fulfill my dream and I look forward to returning to other pursuits. The future of the restaurant is in the hands of the Strange family and they have asked the community to stay tuned for their upcoming plans.”
This just in from reader Cris: “Hey John, A couple day ago I was listening to KJEE, and I swear I heard John Palminteri announce that the now-closed Pascucci in Goleta is going to turned into a new restaurant by the owners of Los Agaves.” Soon thereafter reader David sent me a photo of the exterior. Because I live in the area, I walked over and saw a huge new sign that reads VICENTAS atop the building at 6920 Marketplace Drive, the former home of Pascucci Goleta, Holdren’s Grill, Holdren’s Steaks & Seafood, Zaffiro, Pascucci Goleta (the first time), and Chevy’s Fresh Mex Restaurant.
Reader Tony and other informative folks tell me that Roost restaurant has opened at 1305 State Street, the former long-time home of Downey’s. I stopped by a few times during the lunch hour and at 8 p.m. last Saturday and each time there was nobody around, with no hours posted on the door, so your guess is as good as mine as to what is the best day and time to check them out. Fortunately reader Tony took a photo of the menu during one of their brief appearances which shows it includes Starters: Pimiento Cheese ($6), Lemon Chicken Soup ($7), Bruschetta ($8); Salads: Roost ($16), Pacific Ahi ($16); Hand Held: Roast Chicken Sandwich ($15), Porchetta ($16), Wagyu Sirloin ($16); Entrees: Mary’s Half Chicken ($21), Porchetta ($21), Wagyo Sirloin ($24), Stuffed Pasilla Chiles ($21); and a variety of sides dishes.
On Saturday May 12th from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. there will be a lounge furniture and décor sale at 18 East Cota Street, the former home of Globe.
Reader “Goleta Welcome Matt” tells me that The Brewhouse at 229 West Montecito Street is having specials all month long to celebrate their 20th anniversary.
This just in from manager Errol Williams of the Palace Grill at 8 East Cota Street: “Hello John, We are celebrating our 33rd anniversary with a special prix fix 3-course menu for $33.00, starting now through the end of May. The menu feature many of our classic Creole dishes such as Jambalaya, Craw fish Etouffee, Crawfish Popcorn and of course our Louisiana Bread pudding soufflé.” Call 963-5000.
On May 6th from 1-3 p.m. Brasil Arts Café at 1230 State Street celebrates their 5th anniversary in business. Join them for an afternoon of family, music, food, and fun. Entertainment provided by local musicians including Miguelito, Randy Tico, Alex Mendelez and Mitchell Long. Capoeira Performance by Capoeira Sul da Bahia. Enjoy $12 all-you can-eat Feijoada and $5 caipirinhas. Kids eat free. Call 845-7656 to reserve a table.
Here is a list of area eateries that have opened in the last year:
- April 2018: Finney’s Crafthouse & Kitchen, 35 State St.; Frankland’s Crab & Co., 1295 Coast Village Rd., Montecito; New Si Chuan Garden, 2840 De la Vina St.
- March 2018: Bluewater Grill , 15 E. Cabrillo Blvd.; Choppa Ice Cream, 7060 Hollister Ave., Goleta; Tacos Pipeye, 217 N. Milpas St; Wildwood Café, 1130 State St.
- February 2018: Bibi Ji, 734 State St.; Grilled Cheese Truck, 956 Embarcadero Del Norte, Isla Vista; Islands, 3825 State St.; PokeCeviche, 313 Paseo Nuevo;
- January 2018: Ca’ Dario Cucina Italiana, 250 Storke Rd., Goleta; Taco Tuyo, 724 E. Haley St.
- December 2017: Smithy Kitchen + Bar, 7 E. Anapamu St.
- November 2017: Ca’Dario Pizzeria Veloce, 38 W. Victoria St.; Hilton Garden Inn, 6878 Hollister Ave., Goleta; Miso Hungry, 134 E. Canon Perdido St.; The Deck, 6601 Hollister Ave., Goleta
- October 2017: Cristino’s Bakery, 170 Aero Camino, Goleta; Kyle’s Kitchen, 7060 Hollister Ave., Goleta; Lao Ma Tou, 511 State St.; Mosto Crudo, 7 W. Haley St.; Oat Bakery, 5 W. Haley St.; PokeCeviche, 901 Embarcadero del Mar, Isla Vista; Poki Rito, 6530 Seville Rd., Isla Vista
- September 2017: Basil’s, 608 Anacapa St.; Blackbird, 36 State St.; Craft Raman, 436 State St.; Dave’s Dogs, 149 S. Turnpike Rd., Goleta; Goat Tree, 36 State St.; Guichos Eatery, 901 Linden Ave., Carpinteria; Handlebar Coffee, 2720 De la Vina St.; Luna Grill, 3925 State St.; Oat Bakery, 5 W. Haley St.; Oliver’s, 1198 Coast Village Rd., Montecito; Rudy’s, 138 E. Canon Perdido St.; Sunny Korean Restaurant, 532 State St.; Worker Bee Café, 5599 Hollister Ave., Goleta
- August 2017: Dumpling King, 966 Embarcadero Del Mar, Isla Vista; Mundos, 901 N. Milpas St.; 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.; Creekside Restaurant and Bar, 4444 Hollister Ave., Goleta; 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
Join the Summer Solstice Celebration at Pascucci, 729 State Street, on Wednesday, May 9, 2018 for the 18th annual Celebrity Dine-out fundraiser event. Laura Knight, owner of Pascucci (and Solstice Board Member), once again turns over her fine establishment to Solstice volunteers for an entire evening – with the exceptions of the kitchen (wisely!), which is staffed by the pros. Fun loving and costume clad, Solstice volunteers act as hosts, servers, bartenders and drink runners. ALL sales from the evening (food, drink, tips) go directly to support this year’s Summer Solstice Parade held on June 23rd and the Festival at Alameda Park, June 22-24. The first 50 people who arrive at Pascucci, between 5 and 6 pm, for dinner, will receive a gift certificate, limited to 2 per table, to be used at another time. The theme for the evening, and for the Parade, is “Heroes.” Guests are encouraged to come in costume. For more information about the Summer Solstice Celebration and to get involved as a vendor, volunteer or parade ensemble visit solsticeparade.com
I ran into a couple of friendly folks recently that had each closed down local restaurants in the recent past.
- Donna Mudge ran Sojourner Cafe at 134 East Canon Perdido Street for decades. While dining at Cold Spring Tavern recently I ran into Mudge and discovered that she became their manager about a year or two ago. Fans of the Soj should definitely head for the hills to say Hi.
- While shopping at Home Depot last week I bumped into Grant McNaughton in the gardening section with his son. The always-colorful “Mac” is famous for running Mac’s Fish & Chip Shop at 503 State Street from 2010 – 2016. Mac is now an 8th grade algebra teacher at Marymount School of Santa Barbara.
Reader Steve H. says that The Four Seasons Biltmore, and its restaurants, will officially reopen on June 1st. The world famous Montecito resort was damaged by the January debris flows exactly one day after reopening from a month-long closure and cleanup of ash from the Thomas Fire. Word on the street is that all employees have been fully paid throughout the fire and flood closures. Thank you for your amazing generosity Ty Warner!
This just in from reader Mary: “The Arcada Bistro space was recently leased by Brendan Searls, formerly with Dargans and Brendans Irish Pub, and currently with Viva Modern Mexican. He’ll be opening an upscale Italian concept of his Pizza Mizza eatery, called ‘Mizza.’ Coming Soon signs are posted in the windows.”
A tipster let me now that a sign has appeared for Old Town Coffee at 5877 Hollister Avenue in Goleta. Future details will be posted at otcoffeeshop.com.
I am hearing that Carpinteria’s KFC-Chuys-Cabo’s-Cielo-Nugget building at 5096 Carpinteria Avenue will next be the home of upper end seafood. This news has not been confirmed but I do my best to keep you on the cutting edge of restaurant rumors.
Outback Steakhouse at 5690 Calle Real in Goleta closed their doors last November after many years in business. Word on the street is that The Towbes Group, the owners of the property, will soon announce a new tenant.
The Bear and Star, serving “Refined Ranch Cuisine” inspired by the Parker family at the eponymous Fess Parker Inn, 2860 Grand Avenue in Los Olivos, has announced the celebration of their one year anniversary with a birthday BBQ bash on May 3. The First Birthday BBQ is the kick-off for the restaurant’s popular Thursday night Backyard BBQ series. After the May 3rd festivities, Backyard BBQ continues every Thursday night through the fall season with à la carte dishes priced from $5 – $14, a no host-bar and live music.