Restaurant Guide

Santa Barbara Restaurants

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Readers JK and John Paul let me know that Pepe’s Mexican Restaurant at 254 Orange Avenue, an icon in Goleta since 1958 that closed after a kitchen fire in December 2020, reopened today to nearly a full house during their very first lunch. The eatery used the unexpected closing as an opportunity to do an extensive two-year remodel, including putting on a new roof. Hours are Monday-Saturday 11 a.m.-9 p.m., and Sunday 9 a.m.-9.p.m. I am told there have been a few changes to the menu but it remains mostly the same. Call (805) 967-0313 or visit

View the new menu

The remodeled Pepe’s in Goleta. Photos by The Restaurant Guy

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Acme Hospitality has relaunched Tyger Tyger, the Funk Zone’s Asian-inspired cafe, at 121 E. Yanonali Street. The original Tyger Tyger opened in 2018 but the pandemic forced the restaurant to close, and the concept was placed on hold.

The eatery became a test kitchen to give Acme Hospitality chefs a place to experiment with new menus, concepts and pop-ups. Consulting chef Jasmine Shimoda (formerly of Los Angeles vegan restaurant Jewel and Santa Barbara’s Loquita) and Chef Trevor Laymance (farm-to-table fine dining chef hailing from Ojai) put their heads together to develop a new plant-forward menu offering vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and omnivore options. Tyger Tyger 2.0 offers breakfast and lunch daily and dinner service Thursday-Saturday.

The building on Yanonali was built in 1945 by the Castagnola family as the original “net barn” where fishing nets were stored and repaired and has served the community as an auto repair shop, bakery and catering kitchen/café

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In June 2020 the South Coast said goodbye to local German dining icon Dutch Garden at 4203 State Street after 75 years in business, the most recent 40 years under the same ownership. Last week new owners Charlie Fredericks and brothers Matt and Daniel English reopened their labor of love.

“Thank you, Santa Barbara, for your business,” said Fredericks, part of a local family working hard to keep the Dutch Garden alive. “This swell of support for this restaurant is humbling. It’s incredible to be a part of this. I’d like to give heartfelt thanks to all the people who helped us, from my landlord, to the construction people, to the County of Santa Barbara who came in and got us pushed through. Every single person along the way has helped us so much.”

Patron Matthew Fineberg from Get Beyond (restaurant management software among other things, email, stopped by on opening day before the eatery opened and says the line stretched from the front door, up the street, and across the parking lot. “The thing that is amazing is about this is that Dutch Garden is a pillar of Santa Barbara,” says Fineberg. “It’s one of these institutions that anyone who’s lived here for any period of time knows about it. I feel that they are not just going to be successful, that they are going to thrive.” Given that Fredericks says the restaurant served 125 schnitzels on opening day, they are certainly off to a great start.

Dutch Garden is open for lunch Wednesday-Sunday 11 a.m.-3 p.m. for the first two or three weeks and the menu is nearly identical to the way previous owner Ken Luetjen did it. Then they will roll out dinner, and later, weekend brunch on the spacious patio.

Photos by The Restaurant Guy

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Santa Ynez Valley icon, Mattei’s Tavern’s restaurant and bar, reopened last week. Helmed by Executive Chef Rhoda Magbitang, the ranch-inspired Californian restaurant features local ingredients from nearby farmers, ranchers and fishermen. “I’m thrilled to be part of a restaurant and property with such a rich history, and in a destination that is quickly becoming known for its talented culinary players,” said Magbitang. “The Santa Ynez Valley has given me the opportunity to work with some of the most outstanding and dynamic ingredients, farmers and ranchers.”

Menu highlights include starters such as sweetbreads with sunchokes, roasted grapes, mizuna, oxtail jus and Santa Barbara abalone with king oyster mushrooms, white miso butter, sea beans. Salads showcase seasonal flavors, with favorites including a warm bean salad with haricot vert, braised heirloom beans, ricotta salata and trufflebert hazelnuts and sprouting broccoli with snow peas, watercress, red chili flakes and poppy seeds. More substantial entrees from the grill include a whole local fish with Tehachapi heritage grains salad, roasted cauliflower and caramelized zucchini yogurt served on a charred wood cutting board.

Mattei’s Tavern is open for dinner on Wednesday-Thursday from 5-9 p.m., and Friday-Saturday 5-9:30 p.m. The bar and lounge are open on Wednesday-Thursday from 5-10 p.m., Friday-Saturday 5-11 p.m. Call (805) 695-4783.

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Reader Don S. let me know that a sign for a new Mexican eatery named Azul Cocina (not to be confused with popular dining destination La Playa Azul) has appeared at 7 East Anapamu Street, the former home of Arts & Letters Café which closed in April 2015 and was followed briefly by La Cocina, Smithy, and Somerset restaurants. Their website says they plan to open next month.

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Starting very recently, pop-up ads for Cafe Stella are appearing on many of the websites I visit. I thought they had closed some time ago and were being replaced by a beer pub. Why are these ads showing up now?
– Artemisia

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Michelin Guide added AMA Sushi at the Rosewood Miramar Beach to their respected culinary resource along with the following description: “It’s worth going all in on the omakase here to sample the chef’s artistry, which begins with a trinity of bites from soba noodles and fried eggplant to sesame tofu.” Last year the guide added Sushi|Bar in Montecito, then operated by head sushi chef Lennon Silvers-Lee, who left soon after to open her own restaurant named Silvers Omakase. It is currently under construction at 224 Helena Avenue, the former home of Seven Bar & Kitchen.

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Reader Foodie Mike noticed that Dutch Garden has posted an announcement on Instagram that they open November 16. Hours will be Wedneday-Sunday 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

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This just in from Reader Daktari:

“To follow up on your story of 9/15 about Saigon leaving Five Points Shopping Center, I am happy to report that Saigon did indeed move in with Sachi Ramen at 721 Chapala Street. When you go there, Saigon’s name is on the front sign under Sachi s, and when you go in, they hand you both menus, and the Saigon menu is the same as ever.”

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Jersey Mike’s Subs, with more than 2,300 locations nationwide, opens tomorrow, November 16, at 199 South Turnpike Road next to Lighthouse Coffee and Vons. Franchise owner Stephen Youlios and Kyanna Isaacson are holding a grand opening and fundraiser until Sunday, November 20, to support San Marcos High School. “We’re very excited to open our third location in the Santa Barbara area,” said Isaacson.  “We cherish our relationships with our local schools.  This newest store gives us an even greater ability to provide our schools with the resources they need.” Guests can place orders in-store or for pickup through the website or through the Jersey Mike’s app. Additionally, delivery is available in most areas through the Jersey Mike’s app or through third-party delivery partners. Curbside pickup is available for orders placed in Jersey Mike’s app. Hours are 10 a.m.-9 p.m., seven days a week. Call (805) 259-3482 or visit

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Oat Bakery, which opened at 5 West Haley Street five years ago, opens a new location at 231 South Magnolia Avenue in Goleta tomorrow, November 16, in the former home of Goodland Kitchen and Market. Old Town Goleta’s newest eatery boasts a front-of-house seating area and 1700 square foot kitchen. Oat will now be able to fulfill larger wholesale orders, including partnerships with several Southern California companies such as Moon Juice and Flamingo Estate. Along with their complete original bread menu, Oat’s new Goleta location offers “by-the-slice” toast options topped with whipped butter, Comté cheese, and more, as well as Scandinavian breakfast and lunch options. The new bakery also has a front-of-house fridge with grab-and-go items, a coffee bar, and space for customers to sit and enjoy their bakery goods. Hours are Wednesday-Saturday 8 a.m.-4 p.m.. Starting in January, 2023 Oat’s Goleta location will also be open Sundays 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Visit

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L’antica Pizzeria da Michele has opened at 1032 State Street, the former home of Embermill, Aldo’s, and the Copper Coffee Pot, the latter occupying the address from 1927 to 1982.

Italian entrepreneur, restauranter, and owner Francesco Zimone—who opened the first U.S. outpost of the 152-year-old Naples brand in Hollywood in 2019— is dedicated to sourcing and highlighting Santa Barbara-based vintners, locally-grown produce, and fresh seafood.

“We are thrilled to expand our Naples footprint with the opening of our second California location in Santa Barbara – a city we are proud to embrace as our new home,” says Zimone. “Our cozy new location is equally on par with the authentic flavors diners could expect whilst eating in Italy, without having to leave this beautiful beach town. I for one, have fallen in love with the Mediterranean-style architecture of the city, and hope that our Naples style dining will add to Santa Barbara’s already rich and diverse dining community. With a dream to continue to share the treasured 152-year-old Italian recipes and sense of genuine hospitality and place, we look forward to welcoming the Santa Barbara community with open arms this season.”

Head Pizzaiolo Michele Rubini includes the original recipe for the Naples original Neapolitan pizza, along with a selection of house made pastas, salads, barley-fed steaks, an on-site salumeria, and a more laidback and casual lunch menu featuring paninis, pastas, salads, and more. Menu highlights include Gnocco Fritto (deep-fried pizza dough and stuffed with burrata, prosciutto and arugula $19), Diavola Pizza (imported tomatoes, fior di latte, pecorino, spicy salame, & calabrian chili $28), Spaghetti Nerano (housemade spaghetti, fresh zucchini, parmigiana, pecorino and basil $25), and Maccheroncini Carbonara (macherroncini, guanciale, egg & pecorino $28).

The new downtown dining destination has a 60-seat tree-covered courtyard with views of State Street, indoor dining, and bar seating for an additional 40 guests, as well as sidewalk-adjacent seating accommodating 20 guests. Hours are Tuesday- Saturday 11 a.m.-4 p.m. (counter service lunch), 4-6 p.m. (take-out only), and 6-9 p.m. (full-service dinner). Call (805) 770 8055 or visit

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Last January reader Richard let us know that the Carpinteria planning commission had posted documents that said a new coffee shop named Brass Bird was coming to 4835 Carpinteria Avenue in Carpinteria, the former home of Omni Catering (which owns Brass Bird and moved their catering operations to Milpas Street) and Taqueria El Tapatio. Fast forward to November, and reader Johnny gives us an update:

“Hi John, Just wanted to let you know that brass bird coffee in Carpinteria opened last week and it is one of the nicest coffee places in the area.”

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Each November my inbox is swamped with the same question: Which restaurants serve a traditional turkey dinner on Thanksgiving Day? For the 16th year in a row, I made a hundred phone calls to find the answers, which I serve below.

Make your reservations early because many places will sell out; some are booked out three months in advance. And the competition isn’t just from your immediate neighbors: Based on the analytics of who is reading my online posting of this list, it appears that slightly more than half of the people exploring the idea of a Santa Barbara Thanksgiving feast are from outside of the county.

View the list for 2022: Restaurants serving Thanksgiving in Santa Barbara

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Reader Primetime let me know that the Ritz-Carlton Bacara Resort was sold for $529 million to Brookfield Properties of New York.  This is the largest non-oil sale in Santa Barbara County history. The official buying entity is Ruby SB Hotel LLC and the City of Goleta earned a $583,855.90 transfer tax on the sale.  I am told that a restaurant refresh is in the works.

The transaction follows several others involving Brookfield Properties in recent months. In May, the company announced its purchase of the Watermark Portfolio, a hospitality portfolio which included 1,080 rooms in Southern California. In total, the $3.8 billion deal included 25 properties totaling over 8,100 rooms in 14 states. The Southern California properties that were part of the transaction include the Bacara, the 350-room Westin Pasadena, and the 372-room Marriott La Jolla. Prior to that, the company also purchased the DreamWorks property, a 14.7-acre headquarters campus in Glendale.

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IHOP has completed its move from 4765 Calle Real in Goleta (which will soon be a Chick-Fil-A) to 7127 Hollister Avenue Ste. 30 next to Costco and the DMV, where Itsuki Restaurant was located from October 2012 until September 2021.  Before Itsuki it was the home of Baja Fresh where, back in my single days, and because I live around nearby, I ordered chicken tacos for lunch nearly 7 days a week for years. But I digress.

“We are happy to be near the University and to serve customers in this area,” says General Manager Miguel Velasquez. There are only a couple of other breakfast spots in this area so IHOP is a welcome addition. The restaurant appears to be a little smaller than the space they previously occupied but I am told there are plans to expand. In the addition to the patio at the east end of the building, the eatery is planning to a create outdoor seating in a nook on the west side of the facility. Alcoholic beverages will be available later in the month.

In 1958 Jerry Lapin, Al Lapin, and Albert Kallis founded IHOP at 4301 West Riverside Drive in Burbank, and now there are nearly 2,000 locations in all 50 states and around the world. The new Goleta IHOP is open daily from 6 a.m.-10 p.m. Call (805) 562-0056 or visit

GIFT TO THE GOODLAND: The first-ever Goleta IHOP has opened near Costco in University Plaza. Photos by The Restaurant Guy

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I was biking with my son in Isla Vista for a special Halloween party for kids and noticed that Buddha Bowls at 901 Embarcadero Del Mar is now known as “Dank Bowl Kitchen.” Buddha Bowls opened in December 2013. Apparently owner Daniel Dunietz kept facing customer confusion because Buddha Bowls is a name used for vegetarian dishes and suggests the cuisine is inspired by Eastern traditions. The eatery offers neither. Dunietz says he originally chose the name “Buddha Bowls” because in Chicago, where he is from, the term is interchangeable with weed. He switched to Dank Bowl Kitchen because dank is a slang term describing something as “excellent,” especially marijuana, and it leaves the other connotations behind.

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This just in from reader Terry: “I was in SCOOP on Coast Village Road last Saturday. I asked the nice guy behind the counter packing my ice cream if they were going to have the peppermint in December. He told me they are closing by December to reorganize, remodel, etc. He is looking for a job! I have noticed they have not been as busy as the previous owners were. Too bad.”

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Reader “I Miss Rex of SB” reports that they stopped by Mony’s at 217 Anacapa Street and noted that it is now offering dinner 4:30-8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday. Call (805) 895-2978 or visit

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Little Dom’s Seafood at 686 Linden Avenue in Carpinteria is bringing back its annual Deep-Fried Thanksgiving Turkey. Available for pre-order now, Little Dom’s Seafood’s co-owner and executive chef, Brandon Boudet offers his popular deep-fried turkeys and holiday side dishes for take-out. In addition, Pastry Chef Ann Kirk will be offering a spread of desserts to complete the Thanksgiving feast. The 12–14-pound turkey feeds 6-8 people and costs $100. Sides (6-8 people) cost $48 each and include Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Applewood Bacon, Homemade Fennel Sausage & Mushroom Stuffing, Shaved Raw Brussels with Parmesan, and more. Desserts (6-8 People) include Pumpkin Cheesecake with Bourbon Caramel & Toasted Pecans $48, Apple Crisp with Oat Streusel Topping $42, and Sweet Cream Gelato (1 pint) $12. Orders can be placed by calling (805) 749-7400 and they will be ready for pickup on Thanksgiving morning.

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The original Natural Café, located at 508 State Street, will close at the end of March 2023. Nick Welsh at the Santa Barbara Independent reports that owner Kelly Brown, owner of the Natural Café, says the issue of homeless people has veered from being merely difficult to one of “straight up criminality” and that the problem of rats nests under parklets has become intolerable. The other locations will be open for business as usual.

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On June 22, 2020, I sadly broke the news that the South Coast was about to say goodbye to local dining icon Dutch Garden at 4203 State Street and three days later the eatery closed after 75 years in business, the most recent 40 years under the same ownership. Since that time the business was sold and proprietors Charlie Fredericks and brothers Matt and Daniel English have been working hard to bring it back. That’s no easy task when you have to bring infrastructure, that is four decades behind the times, up to code because Santa Barbara County rules dictate that grandfathering ends when a business changes hands.

Fast forward to October 2022 and I am happy to report that final inspection is scheduled for this week. I am told that if Dutch Garden passes the test they hope to open by the end of the month, with a possible target date of October 28th. They have resubmitted for final inspection five different times so of course the opening date might again be pushed back. No grand opening is planned. “We’re just going to flip the ‘closed’ sign over quietly one of these days,” says partner Matt English. “It should be about a week. We’ll let it virally spread. People are jonesing. We can’t wait.”

English tells me that they have been working hard to bring the place back much like it was before with a few modern additions. He showed me the dining room and at first glance the interior looks the same as it always has. “We had to redo everything including plumbing and electrical,” said English. “This is a new wall but we saved the old trim, touched it up, and put it back. We saved the tchotchkes and put new curtains up like the old ones. This is a dream come true. I am just excited and grateful that we have made it through. We have had a lot of support behind us.”

I am told Dutch Garden will have the same menu with a pickle plate and a charcuterie plate added. They will be only opening up for lunch 11 a.m.-3 p.m. for the first two or three weeks because they want to execute their operation really well. Lunch will be nearly identical to the way previous owner Ken Luetjen did it, but they will “play around” with the dinner menu a bit though it will still include German classics. Initially they are not going to offer to-go with GrubHub or UberEats so that they can focus on the diners who are coming in and make their experience the best they can. When dinner service becomes available it will likely start at 5 p.m. A limited menu will be available for the in-between hours and brunch is being considered.

Photo by The Restaurant Guy

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Finch & Fork will be hosting Thanksgiving dinner in their recently redesigned space within the Kimpton Canary Hotel, featuring a fall menu. Meals will take place on Thanksgiving day, Thursday, November 24, with seatings between 3:30 pm and 7:30 pm, at 31 West Carrillo Street. The menu pulls inspiration from traditional Thanksgiving dishes and costs $110 per person. The Finch & Fork team adds suggested wine pairings to each of their dishes for an additional $55.

Menu items range from elevated Thanksgiving classics like the Diestel Turkey breast with confit thigh meat, chestnut stuffing, orange cranberry relish, sage gravy, and rosemary green beans. Also included are a classic Pumpkin Pie with cinnamon chantilly, graham cracker crumble, and salted carame. Other holiday dishes available are Ora King Salmon with Gigante beans, piquillo peppers, kale, garlic confit, lemon, and roasted hazelnuts and the Pineapple passionfruit sorbet with coconut sorbet and merengue.

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Last August 1st I broke the news that a sushi restaurant is coming to 224 Helena Avenue, the former home of Seven Bar & Kitchen, and speculated that the most likely tenant will be Silvers Omakase, a sushi shop run by Michelin star chef Lennon Silvers Lee who used to helm Sushi Bar Montecito. Reader George H. tells me that a liquor license application has appeared on the building confirming that Silvers Omakase is on the way to the Funk Zone.

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In April 2021 I wrote that IHOP at 4765 Calle Real in Goleta will be closing its doors and reopening in the University Plaza shopping center, home to Albertsons and the DMV. IHOP replaces Itsuki restaurant which closed last September and Chick-Fil-A will replace IHOP on Calle Real. I stopped by the new IHOP today and noticed that it looked ready to go, including napkins and condiments on the tables. A large “IHOP RESTAURANT” sign had yet to be installed on the building and the area near the cash register still needs some finishing touches. A large “We’re Hiring” sign is displayed in the parking lot.

Photos by The Restaurant Guy

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Reader Brendan says that Thai Bistro has opened at 3130 State Street, the former home of Tap Thai Cuisine, Brummis, El Caballo, and Golden China. I am told that they serve really delicious Thai food, including street food items you find in Thailand. You may have to wait a while to get your food, upwards of 15 minutes. Try the Duck Rolls with dipping sauce and also the Cashew Nut. “Come to our restaurant for a taste of Thailand that you won’t find anywhere else,” says their website “Our authentic dishes are made with fresh, quality ingredients and cooked to perfection. Experience the exotic flavors of Thailand today. Our chefs have years of experience and know how to make the perfect dish to tantalize your taste buds. Come in and see what you’ve been missing.” Hours are Monday – Saturday: 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and 5-9 p.m, Sunday: Closed. Call (805) 682-1114

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The Lompoc Certified Farmers Market, a staple that’s been in Rocket Town for decades, announced its permanent closure on Facebook. “We would like to express our deep gratitude to everyone who made the Lompoc certified farmers market the wonderful staple it was for so many years,” said the organization. “Thank you for your years of dedication to local food and farmers in the Lompoc Valley and Santa Barbara County. We are grateful for your commitment.”

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Kyle’s Kitchen has announced the opening of its new Taproom, a local craft beer and wine bar, conveniently located inside its 7000 Hollister Avenue location in Goleta, in the former Protein Grill space.

Kyle’s Taproom features 10 craft beers on tap, in addition to a selection of local wine, hard kombucha, mocktails, and more. Local brew standouts include Topa Topa, Figueroa Mountain, Made West, and Captain Fatty’s. A “shareables” menu will reportedly be introduced soon, offering small bites like house-made Fried Pickles and Grilled Buffalo Chicken Skewers. In addition to being able to order food from the full Kyle’s Kitchen menu while at the Taproom, guests will also be able to order drinks from the Taproom from their phone anywhere they sit at Kyle’s Kitchen, including the large pet-friendly patio. Kyle’s is offering a new Order & Pay at Your Table service.

“We’re excited to welcome the community to our new Taproom at Hollister,” said Jay Ferro, founder of Kyle’s Kitchen. “Just like all of the Kyle’s Kitchen locations, the Taproom will be family-friendly and made for good times with friends.”

Highlights at the newly reimagined space include shuffleboard, giant Connect 4, and ring toss games for both kids and adults. Big screen TVs are displayed throughout the Taproom and restaurant and will show all the big sporting events such as the NFL, MLB, and the upcoming World Cup soccer tournament. Soon, Kyle’s Taproom will be introducing fun weekly happenings like Trivia Nights, Family Bingo, and more.

As part of the “Kyle’s” brand, the Taproom will also donate a portion of its proceeds to the Kyle’s Kitchen Special Needs Giving Back program, in which Kyle has already donated over $250,000 to date. The one-of-a-kind program helps people with special needs and disabilities reach their potential.

Hours are from 11 a.m. – 9 p.m., seven days a week. Happy Hour is set for 3-5 p.m. daily, as well as all day on Saturdays. During Happy Hour craft beers are $4, wines by the glass are $5, and all shareables are $3 off.


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This just in from reader Gary H.:

Hi John,
Saint Barbara Greek Orthodox Church, organizer of the late, great, much lamented annual Greek Festival in Oak Park, is holding its Greek Gyro Grab N’ Go event on Halloween Weekend. Anyone missing those amazing gyros can indulge to their heart’s content! Here’s the link:


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Panera Bread, Left At Albuquerque, and Ma Dolce Vita were all once located at 700 State Street. The property has been vacant since July 2015 until this week which saw the opening of Augie’s Tequila, says reader Brendan. The business is owned by Chiarappa who is involved with other local businesses such as Corner Tap, Lighthouse Coffee, Mesa Burger, and other culinary enterprises.

Earlier this year Augie’s announced the addition of Chef de Cuisine Eduardo Gonzalez. “You’ll find an amazing selection of agave spirits, modern takes on great cocktails, superb service, and a fun vibe,” says Berkeley Johnson, Augie’s visionary. “We knew we needed a chef that could absolutely wow our guests with fabulous flavors and presentation. We are so grateful to have found Santa Barbara native Eduardo Gonzalez.”

Chef Gonzalez’s passion for food was born from his maternal grandfather, a chef/owner in Guadalajara, Jalisco. “His stories put the love for cooking in me, and my experience as a restaurant owner, and a culinary team leader at local Santa Barbara 5-star properties such as Hillstone Group, Four Seasons, and Caruso’s have fueled my passion and love for cooking, ” says Gonzalez. “I love the Augie’s project because I can show the fabulous flavors of Mexico with a great service experience.” Call (805) 664-0516 or visit

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Hollister Brewing Company Update

Hello Restaurant Guy

Hollister Brewing Company as of this afternoon (October 8, 2022) has a piece of butcher paper taped to the front door and on that paper is hastily scribbled in red marker, “Closed.” It is unclear if this is a permanent status. Thought you’d want to know.


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Last June I announced that Fresco Cafe is leaving their longtime home in Five Points Shopping Center for a new place next to the Lobero Theatre at 23 East Canon Perdido Street, the former home of Sevtap Winery. The popular eatery opened September 29th in the El Centro building. Fresco’s catering service has been put on hold until early November during the transition to their new facilities.

The old kitchen was much larger and they are downsizing, so Fresco is in the process to adjusting to that. They still offer pastries and other baked goods and the number of offerings in-store has been reduced. The catering menu for pastries is very similar to what it used to be. Prices have been “revised a little bit” but they are having specials every day and all the favorites on the menu have returned including what might be my #1 sandwich on the South Coast: The Hot Mushroom Combo. New sandwiches include Pulled Pork, Banh Mi, and Eggplant Parmesan. On Fridays they now offer a Lobster Roll, which is de-shelled, steamed, big-chunk lobster, mayo, celery, lemon juice, on a brioche bun. Daily specials include two soup specials, a salad special, fish specials, entrée specials, calzone specials, and pizza specials.

Instead of parking out front, as was the case at Five Points, there is a parking garage behind the restaurant, adjacent to the Fiesta Five Theatre. For the shortest walk to the restaurant park on the lower level and walk to the stairs in the southeast corner instead of heading to State Street. Hours are Monday – Wednesday 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Thursday – Saturday 11 a.m.-8 p.m.

Photos by The Restaurant Guy

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The 19th annual Santa Barbara Harbor & Seafood Festival is almost here again after a two-year hiatus due to the Covid pandemic. On Saturday, October 15, 2022, the public will once again have the chance to celebrate Santa Barbara Channel’s bounty and the fishermen who harvest it.  This free event runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., luring seafood lovers to Santa Barbara Harbor for one of our community’s most well-attended events. According to the festival’s organizers, it is timed to celebrate the opening of lobster season and showcases fresh, regional seafood in addition to live music, maritime education, free boat rides, children’s activities, vessel tours, and more.

This year, the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum (SBMM) has announced that it will participate in the Harbor & Seafood Festival by reducing its admission fees to $2 per person. In addition to its usual exhibits and educational activities, SBMM is partnering with Get Hooked for the Festival to host a ceviche stand on the Museum’s front patio. Be sure to stop by and try some ceviche, fresh from the Santa Barbara Channel.

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“Say goodbye to a Carpinteria icon,” says reader Deni. “Beach liquor closed their doors October 3rd. They lost their lease. The landlord is going to build something else in its place (super sad!)”

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This just in from reader Dianne: “My coworker told me that Cafe 154 (Sansum Building on Foothill) has closed, with a ‘Permanently Closed’ sign up!” I called their phone number and it is disconnected and I noticed that their web page has been taken down.

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Reader Doyle tells me that Zookers at 5404 Carpinteria Avenue has posted an ad on Craigslist that says they are opening a new meat and seafood shop in Carpinteria. They are reportedly looking to hire a Butcher and Counter Service Person for the new venue.

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“There are still great humans out there,” says reader DeeDee. “My friend and I got together recently at Farmer Boy for breakfast. We got to talking to two nice older gentlemen next to us about Arizona and their memories of Sedona. They left after their breakfast and when we went to pay our bill, we found out that these gentlemen had paid for our breakfast! How sweet is that? We don’t even know their names! 2022 has been a rough year with Dad passing and Mom being so sick so these gentlemen have no idea what a blessing they are.  Where ever you are; thank you and God bless you. Kindness is powerful.”

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Checo’s Mexican restaurant, which I first reported about last February, has opened at 6578 Trigo Road in Isla Vista, in the former home Mojo (which moved to 6530 Seville Road), 805 Kabob, Lovin Oven Mediterranean Bakery & Cafe, Cafe Int’L, and 913 other establishments since USCB opened its current campus in 1949. “This is a Central Mexican restaurant,” says chef and partner Sergio “Checo” Ortega. “We’re from Central West. I’m from Michoacán which defines the influence. Everything is made from scratch. We make our own tortillas. Every salsa is from scratch. Rice, every meat, this is what Mexican food is to me. We have another restaurant in Santa Ana called Checo’s Bar & Grill.” Checo’s has a tortilla machine in the back where you feed in the dough so they are always serving fresh tortillas. Hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Call (805) 869-2209.

CHECK IT OUT: L-R: Augie Hemminger (team member), Sergio Ortega (chef/partner), Michael Graycisn (manager) at the Checo’s Mexican restaurant in Isla Vista serving Central Mexican food made from scratch. Photo by The Restaurant Guy

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The Manor Bar, Rosewood Miramar Beach’s hideout for handcrafted cocktails, presents the Co-Author Cocktail Series celebrating women in literature. The guest series at 1759 Jameson Lane in Montecito will feature spirits professionals including Christina Veira of Bar Mordecai (ROKU Industry Icon in 2022’s inaugural 50Best North America, appearing September 30, 6 – 10 p.m.), Alba Huerta of Julep (2022 James Beard award winner for Outstanding Bar Program, appearing October 7, 6 – 10 p.m.), and Julie Reiner of Clover Club (Helen David Lifetime Achievement Award at Tales of the Cocktail 2022, appearing January 16, 6 – 10 p.m.). Each guest will share a selection of cocktails from their respective establishments, along with original drinks developed in collaboration with Rosewood Miramar Beach’s director of bars, Nils Schabert.

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Join La Paloma Cafe on September 29th at 6:30 p.m. for a guided beer pairing with Figueroa Mountain. Tickets include a five-course meal designed by Executive Chef Jeremy Tummel and has been paired with Fig Mountain Brewmaster, Kevin Ashford’s favorite beers. The two will guide guests through the menu for an informative experience. This event will take place at Figueroa Mountain in the Funk Zone. Tickets are available at

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