Restaurant Guide

Santa Barbara Restaurants

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Food for Thought

John Bennett, from the family behind Brophy Bros., On The Alley, Benchmark Eatery, and Farmer Boy, offers some thoughts on the local restaurant workforce and how it has been affected by the pandemic:

To Those We Wish To Serve

Santa Barbara’s restaurant industry, having suffered an almost fatal blow from the pandemic quarantine, is now dealing with lingering side effects. Even as restaurant sales are rebounding from the pandemic-hammered levels of a year ago, Santa Barbara full- service restaurants are struggling to ramp back up because they can’t recruit enough employees. Even with 1.8 million restaurant workers displaced by the crisis since February 2020, the local full-service restaurant industry’s labor crunch is in full force.

I assure you that full-service restaurant operators understand that service will be more important than ever as guests unleash their pent-up demand for enhanced restaurant experiences. They’re going to want to be waited on, pampered, and served an experience they could never recreate at home. And it will be up to restaurants to deliver, because even as that pent-up demand fuels dine-in traffic, customers will remain aware of the convenience we delivered during the pandemic. They’ll know how to dial up delivery, order-ahead, pickup, shop curbside, and all those channels that kept them afloat during COVID. They will not be happy when they return to dine-in if the experience is not as satisfying. The loss of an experienced workforce is, therefore, a side-effect of the pandemic.

Many in the community may be wondering, “What happened to all the wonderful servers we came to know and look forward to seeing again? Where did they go?”

1. While restaurants were furloughing their whole workforces, employers in other industries kept hiring. Businesses like supermarkets, e-retailers and fulfillment warehouses scarfed up the former busboys, servers and kitchen workers, who welcomed the relative safety those fields afforded.
2. Rival industries tried to lock in their employees by raising pay. Target, for instance, temporarily raised its standard pay to $15 an hour, and Amazon increased its starting wage to the same amount.
3. Because restaurant workers are more exposed to the COVID-19 virus, hospitality occupations became less and less attractive.
4. Women, the very backbone of the restaurant business, fell out of the workforce due to child-care issues and school not being in full swing.
5. The extension of the enhanced unemployment benefits of $300 until September 6th enabled restaurant employees to wait a little longer before jumping back in.
6. College being held remote and not on campus removed most of the UCSB students from our labor force.

Restaurant work has been the mainstay employment for Americans in transition since the end of World War II. They have been attracted to the flexible hours, high hourly tipped income, the entertainment atmosphere and the magic that comes with being of service. They will return but unfortunately, it’s not likely until after the summer. We hope the guests are aware of this struggle and show some empathy for the workforce carrying the load.

John Bennett

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Gelson’s Celebrating the Grand Reopening of Santa Barbara Store

Evolving with the communities it serves, Gelson’s announced that it will be celebrating the grand reopening of its Santa Barbara location through May 23rd. The store is located at 3305 State St in Loreto Plaza.

The beautifully remodeled and expanded store offers larger wine, floral and food preparation areas augmenting the already existing gourmet grocery store with high-quality foods, a Wolfgang Puck Express, Renaud’s bakery, a gourmet cheese selection, and fresh sushi prepared each day.

Each week throughout the grand reopening, Gelson’s will be offering savings on a new selection of impeccable quality products. These specials will vary from week to week and include USA Raised Fresh Pork Baby Back Ribs, Wild Caught King Salmon Filet, Impossible Burger, Certified Angus Beef Tri Tip Roast and a selection of wines like La Marca Prosecco, Edna Valley Chardonnay and Daou Cabernet Sauvignon, often offering a savings of 40% or more.

Celebrating 70 years, Gelson’s currently operates 27 full-service specialty grocery stores in Southern California. Each Gelson’s Market features the full amenities of a traditional supermarket, with the local flavor of a neighborhood market. Their high standards – for quality, value and freshness; unsurpassed service; and attention to detail – define the ultimate grocery shopping experience. Gelson’s in-house experts know Southern California’s lifestyle and are driven to find only the best foods and exclusive values for their customers. Gelson’s is particularly known for flavorful, hand-selected produce, the best and freshest cuts of meat and seafood, and Chef-prepared signature recipes. This experience is rounded out by professionally designed floral arrangements, and a convenient selection of the highest quality grocery items.

Photo by The Restaurant Guy

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NoTown Tavern opens in Noleta

Last March readers Steve H. and Brian told me that Monty’s Sports Bar, the dive bar at 5114 Hollister Avenue, in the Magnolia Center just east of Goleta (a region affectionately known as Noleta), had permanently closed and that a replacement was coming: NoTown Tavern. Steve H. wants to let you know that NoTown Tavern is now open for business. Their original plan was to partner with Woody’s BBQ to offer food but I don’t know if that is still happening. I have also heard that NoTown Tavern will be making superb cocktails with Goleta Red Distilling Company’s Goodland Gin.

Photos by reader Steve H.

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The Crystal Ball Knows All

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:

  • Alessia Patisserie & Cafe, 134 E. Canon Perdido St. (formerly Miso Hungry  and Sojourner Cafe)
  • Backstage Kitchen & Bar, 409 State St. (formerly Q’s Billiards)
  • Cajé, 811 State St. (formerly Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf)
  • Carp Kitchen and Grocery, 4945 Carpinteria Ave. Ste. A, Carpinteria
  • Corazón Guisados, 214 State St. (formerly Ca’Dario Pizzeria)
  • Costa Kitchen & Bar at Mar Monte Hotel, 1111 E. Cabrillo Blvd.
  • Dutch Garden, 4203 State St. (reopening in 2021)
  • Everytable, 1001 State St. (formerly Saks 5th Avenue)
  • Fatte’s Pizza, 2840 De la Vina St. (formerly Santa Barbara Wood-Fired Pizza)
  • IHOP, University Plaza, Goleta
  • Juice N Things, 4991 Carpinteria Ave., Carpinteria (formerly Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf)
  • Kitchen 530, 530 State St. (formerly Samy’s Camera)
  • La Sirena, 1118 E. Cabrillo Blvd. (formerly East Beach Grill)
  • Mangione’s Italian Ice, 1222 State St. (formerly Spoon)
  • SB Biergarten, 11 Anacapa St.
  • Starbucks, 3052 De la Vina St. (formerly Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf)
  • Unnamed, 129 E. Anapamu St. (formerly The Little Door)
  • Unnamed, 700 State St. (formerly Left At Albuquerque)

La Sirena restaurant is coming to the Cabrillo Pavilion. Courtesy photo.

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Wingman Rodeo takes flight

The Restaurant Gal and I enjoyed a couple of orders of wings (Thai Peanut and Lemon Pepper Rub) at 5892 Hollister Avenue, the new home of Wingman Rodeo which opened recently in Old Town Goleta. The space formerly housed Gimeal Cafe and The Natural Cafe. In March 2020 the first local Wingman Rodeo location started serving food during evenings at 730 North Milpas Street which is the home of The Shop Kitchen during the day.

The wings are sold in packs of 5, 7, 10, 15 and 20, priced at $1.50 per wing. The wing menu includes Pineapple Bourbon, Cali BBQ, Thai Peanut, Rodeo Parmesan, Korean BBQ, Buffalo, Strawberry Árbol, Atomic Buffalo, Lemon Pepper Rub, Chipotle Lime Rub and Sichuan Tingly Rub. Available dips are Blue Cheese, Ranch, Honey Mustard, and Rodeo Parmesan, priced at $1 each. A variety of sandwiches, burritos, salads, and sides are also available.

The restaurant will soon be adding counter seating and high tables to the right side of the interior that will have the look and feel of a bar and will serve draft beer. The left side will continue to have regular tables and benches offering a steady flow of fresh-cooked wings. Owner Dudley Michael tells me that locations in Ventura and Santa Maria are planned. The new Goodland Wingman Rodeo is open daily from 11 a.m.-10 p.m.

This is the third wing-themed eatery to open on the South Coast in the last year. Wingstop opened next to La Cumbre Plaza at 3849 State Street last February while Wing Drop opened behind 436 State Street last June. Albertsons also offers surprisingly good wings if you are lucky enough to walk in when a fresh batch arrives.

Photos by The Restaurant Guy

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Cafe Stella reopens

Le Cafe Stella at 3302 McCaw Avenue resumes dinner service on April 28th. Reservations are available via OpenTable and their website. “Our commitment to quality service returns with the an updated concept, slight modifications have been made to our menus, and at this time only limited seating is available for dinner service,” says owner Philippe Rousseau. “In line with local and state regulations, and with our guests’ safety in mind, indoor and patio dining tables are appropriately socially distanced. We can’t wait to welcome you back with an upgraded concept focusing on traditional French cuisine.”

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Starbucks coming to De la Vina

Reader Oxmyx inquired about new fencing around the building at 3052 De la Vina Street, the former home of Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf that closed last July. Fortunately reader Leon quickly followed up with an answer: a new Starbucks is on the way. He sent me a quote from the Santa Barbara Architectural Board of Review Consent Agenda that says “Proposal for exterior alterations including new exterior paint and material changes, landscape alterations, ADA upgrades, outdoor seating, and exterior lighting to rebrand the existing 1,740 square foot (gross) building into a Starbucks.”

Starbucks is replacing Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf near upper State, seen here in 2005. Photo by The Restaurant Guy.

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South Coast Deli closes in Isla Vista

Reader Josh inquired about the status of the South Coast Deli at 6521 Pardall Road in Isla Vista that opened in October 2011. This is the same building that is famous for being the original location of Kinko’s and (arguably) The Habit Burger Grill. I called a representative and was told that the I.V. eatery closed permanently a couple of months ago. The total number of outlets for the local chain remain at four however with the opening of their new San Roque restaurant at 3534 State Street earlier this month.

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Grand opening on De la Vina?

This just in from reader Aug:

Whats going on at the old Cajun Kitchen on De la Vina street? They had bunch of balloons out front like a grand opening was happening.

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Restaurant Closings

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

    • February 2021: Hibachi Steak House & Sushi Bar, 500 State St.; Malibu Farm at Miramar, 1759 S. Jameson Ln., Montecito (now The Revere Room); South Coast Deli, 6521 Pardall Rd., Isla Vista
    • January 2021: Beachside Bar Café, 5905 Sandspit Rd., Goleta; Noemi Pizza Romana, 3534 State St. (now South Coast Deli); Panera Bread, 3851 State St.; Yanni’s at Mackenzie Market, 3102 State St.
    • December 2020: Chocolats du CaliBressan, 1114 State St.; Dunkin Donuts, 3771 State St.; Jeannine’s Bakery, 15 E. Figueroa St.
    • November 2020: Neighbor Tim’s BBQ, Food Truck
    • October 2020: Olio Crudo Bar, 11 W. Victoria St. (now Olio Bottega)
    • September 2020: Lucky Dragon, 6831 Hollister Ave., Goleta; Paradise Café, 702 Anacapa St. (now La Paloma Café); Silvergreens, 900 Embarcadero del Mar, Isla Vista (now Kyle’s Kitchen)
    • August 2020: Ana’s Taco Bar, 505 State St. (now Crazy Jim’s); Fosters Freeze, 5205 Carpinteria Ave., Carpinteria (changing to The Good Plow); The Middle Child, 18 E. Cota St. (now Venus in Furs); Onus Donuts, 413 State St. (now JJ’s Diner); PokeCeviche, 313 Paseo Nuevo; Wetzel’s Pretzels, 723 State St. (now Tondi Gelato)
    • July 2020: C’est Cheese, 825 Santa Barbara St. (now Cheese Shop Santa Barbara); Coffee Bean, 3052 De la Vina St.
    • June 2020: Dutch Garden, 4203 State St. (reopening in 2021); Mosto Crudo, 7 W. Haley St. (now Aperitivo); Romanti-Ezer, 701 Chapala St.; Rose Cafe, 424 E. Haley St.; Subway, 1021A State St.; Subway, 5146 Hollister Ave., Goleta; Zizzo’s Coffeehouse & Brew Pub, 370 Storke Rd., Goleta (now The Point Coffee)
    • May 2020: Coffee Bean, 811 State St. (changing to Cajé); Coffee Bean, 4961 Carpinteria Ave., Carpinteria (changing to Juice N Things); Crushcakes & Cafe, 4945 Carpinteria Ave., Carpinteria (changing to Carp Kitchen and Grocery); eBar Coffee at Nordstrom, 17 W. Canon Perdido St.; Enterprise Fish Company, 225 State St.; Lemon & Coriander, 231 Magnolia Ave., Goleta; Marketplace Cafe at Nordstrom, 17 W. Canon Perdido St.; PizzaRev, 12 W. De la Guerra St.
    • April 2020: Cafe Ana, 1201 Anacapa St. (now Secret Bao); Cajun Kitchen, 1925 De la Vina St.; Chuck’s Waterfront Grill, 113 Harbor Wy., Ste. 180 (now Chomp on the Rocks); Endless Summer Bar Cafe, 113 Harbor Wy., Ste. 180 (now The Salty Beach Bar); Treehouse Restaurant, 3860 State St.
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La Sirena owner named in legal complaint

Reader SB4Ever emailed me wondering if the extended delay of the opening of the La Sirena restaurant at the Cabrillo Pavilion, in the space formerly occupied by the East Beach Grill, is in anyway related to a lawsuit filed last month against the eatery’s owner Doug Cavanaugh. The city’s Parks & Recreation Department says the building is ready; it’s just waiting for the pandemic to be over.

In January 2019 the Santa Barbara City Council approved a 10-year contract with Cavanaugh’s company The Beachcomber at Crystal Cove in Orange County which will pay Santa Barbara over $216,000 per year in base rent with an allowance for future increases.

The complaint, filed in federal court in the Central District of California, alleges that defendants Cavanaugh and Ralph Kosmides, owners and former officers of Ruby’s Diner, Inc., drove the chain into bankruptcy in August 2018 after improperly taking assets from Ruby’s Diner to develop two highly successful restaurants in Crystal Cove State Park: The Beachcomber and The Shake Shack.

The La Sirena restaurant is coming to the Cabrillo Pavilion. Courtesy photo.

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Question of the Day

Hi John.
I’m hoping for some reinforcement on a trivia question that was started by my brother. He asked what restaurant was in the [La Cumbre Plaza] space where Red Robin was before it was Red Robin. The best answer I came up with was it was the Ben Hur Restaurant. I got this from Antonio Gardella’s Rundown of Eateries list. Can you back this up at all?

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Restaurant Openings

Here is a list of area eateries that have opened in the last 12 months:

  • April 2021: The Point Coffee, 370 Storke Rd., Goleta; The Revere Room at Miramar, 1759 S. Jameson Ln., Montecito; South Coast Deli, 3534 State St.;
  • March 2021: 4 Eggs & Pizza,1221 State St. Ste. 10; Palihouse Cafe and Bar, 915 Garden St.; Sear Steakhouse, 478 4th Place, Solvang; Secret Bao, 1201 Anacapa St.; Tondi Gelato, 723 State St.
  • February 2021: Wingstop, 3849 State St.
  • January 2021: Barb’s Pies, 18 E. Cota St.
  • November 2020: Cafe Lido at Mar Monte Hotel, 1111 E. Cabrillo Blvd.; Caje Coffee Roasters, 1316 State St.; Hustle & Grind Coffee Company, 11 W. De la Guerra St.; La Paloma Café, 702 Anacapa St.; Yona Redz Queso Tacos, 532 State St.
  • October 2020: Cheese Shop Santa Barbara, 827 Santa Barbara St.; Chomp on the Rocks, 113 Harbor Wy., Ste. 180; Kyle’s Kitchen, 900 Embarcadero del Mar, Isla Vista; Olio Bottega, 11 W. Victoria St.
  • September 2020: Salty at the Beach, 113 Harbor Wy., Ste. 180; Sprouts Farmers Market, 29 S. Milpas St.
  • August 2020: Aperitivo, 7 W. Haley St.; Bristol Farms, 3855 State St.; Crazy Jim’s Tacos y Mas, 505 State St.;  Dean Coffee Shop, 6100-1 Hollister Ave., Goleta; Insomnia Cookies, 430 State St.; Revolver Pizza, 1429 San Andres; Thai Kitchen, 4317 State St., Ste. D
  • July 2020: Mercado El Rey, 305 W. Montecito St.; Little Dom’s Seafood, 686 Linden Ave., Carpinteria; Lost & Found, 905 Linden Ave., Carpinteria; Mesa Burger, 1209 Coast Village Rd., Montecito; Red Pepper, 282 Orange Ave., Goleta
  • June 2020: Wing Drop Food Truck, behind 436 State St or locate on Instagram; Oakberry Acai Bowls, 819-B State St. (in Paseo Nuevo); Coast & Olive at Montecito Inn, 1295 Coast Village Rd., Montecito; Noemi Pizza Romana, 3534 State St. (now South Coast Deli)
  • May 2020: Rusty’s Pizza, 2315 Lillie Ave., Summerland
  • April 2020: Taqueria Santa Barbara, 1213 State St., Ste. A; Ca’Dario, 1187 Coast Village Rd., Montecito
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Earth Day dinner

The Lark and Santa Barbara Wine Collective celebrate the bounty of the Central Coast this Earth Day with a 4-course paired dinner event featuring Angela Osborne on April 22, 2021 at 7 p.m. Angela is the owner and winemaker at A Tribute to Grace Wine Company and will be on hand to offer insight into her techniques, values, and love of our region. All wines are single-vineyard sourced to maintain authenticity and remain 100% Grenache. I am told that biodynamic principles and an intelligent choice of terroir make Angela’s varietal wholly unique. Dinner will be held on the patio of the Santa Barbara Wine Collective at 131 Anacapa Street Ste. C and includes preserved California artichokes & dungeness crab, smoked maitake mushroom tartine on brioche, slow-cooked Superior Farms lamb ribs, and a California cheese board.

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The Point drive-thru coffee opens in Goleta

A drive-thru coffee pop-up named The Point has opened at 370 Storke Road in Goleta, formerly Zizzo’s Coffeehouse & Brew Pub and the Storke Road Drive Inn. “State-of-the-Art on-demand machines create the freshest cup possible and allow customers to select from five different roasts and three different sizes,” is how the business is described at “Beans are instantly pressed during each brew process to deliver our customers with the freshest and most flavorful cup of coffee.”

The coffee shop was added so that the owner John Price does not lose the drive-thru permit which would happen if the building is unoccupied for more than a year. The permit is not needed for the gas station but I am told is valuable to have for future use since they are no longer given out in Goleta. The property will become a Fuel Depot. The Point coffee is brought to you by The Point Market which has 6 other area locations including Coast Village Chevron, Downtown Fuel Depot, Mesa Fuel Depot, Las Positas Fuel Depot, Turnpike Shell, and Walnut Shell. The Point Market will open at the Storke Road property once the new Fuel Depot is built.

Photo by The Restaurant Guy

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Restaurant fund awards $500,000 to 71 local eateries

The Elaine F. Stepanek Foundation Restaurant Fund in partnership with the Santa Barbara Foundation announced $500,000 in grants to 71 restaurants located in the City of Santa Barbara and the Santa Ynez Valley (including Los Alamos). This new grant program was launched in early February with eligible restaurants able to receive grants of up to $10,000.

Santa Barbara County tourism has taken a large hit due to rolling spikes in COVID-19 cases, that included several restaurant closures. Restaurants have been able to expand into the streets and sidewalks to allow for outdoor dining. As restaurants have attempted to be creative in their approach to remain open, still restaurant employees suffered economically.

“The grant we received from the Elaine F. Stepanek Foundation Restaurant Fund has been invaluable in allowing us to reopen after a prolonged shutdown,” said Kelly Kastanos-Rogers, Co-Owner of Louie’s California Bistro in downtown Santa Barbara and grant recipient. “We were able to stock our shelves with the seafood and produce to prepare for opening, and we were able to provide our employees with the first paycheck many of them have had in months. We will be forever grateful.”

The Elaine F. Stepanek Foundation Restaurant Fund is a committee advised fund at the Santa Barbara Foundation, which is working to provide additional relief to the community at large. The grant program application period opened on February 4, and closed on February 22.

“The Santa Barbara Foundation is working hard to connect resources and ease the short and long-term effects of COVID-19,” said Jessica Sanchez, Director of Donor Relations at the Santa Barbara Foundation. “This committee advised fund is creating immediate impact and we are grateful to support our community-at-large in this way.”

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The Revere Room Debuts at Rosewood Miramar Beach

Here is a press release from the Rosewood Miramar Beach:

Rosewood Miramar Beach proudly unveils The Revere Room, a chic, all-day eatery helmed by the resort’s Executive Chef Massimo Falsini. Named in a subtle nod to one of Southern California’s most prolific architects Paul Revere Williams, whose work influenced several of Rosewood Miramar Beach’s most distinguished design details, the restaurant is a celebration of the best of the American Riviera. With a heavy emphasis on hyper-locality and infused with the magic of Miramar Beach, The Revere Room brings a distinctive, delicious, and highly-sustainable dining experience to Montecito, poised to become a favorite of resort guests and local residents alike.

“Santa Barbara’s agricultural landscape is one of the most diverse in the country, with a plethora of garden-fresh and nutritious produce, from bountiful citrus to avocados decadent from the rays of the Southern California sun,” said Executive Chef Massimo Falsini, Rosewood Miramar Beach. “The Revere Room will create a new dining experience for our guests that not only provides the quintessential coastal setting, but truly honors the flavors and products of the destination, too.”

Inspired by the land, ocean and air, The Revere Room’s seasonally driven menu incorporates ingredients sourced primarily from regional farmers, fisherman and ranchers, as well as the resort’s own Chef’s garden, to showcase the best of the Santa Barbara regional bounty. Dishes are intended to be shared, encouraging diners to experience a range of ingredient-forward recipes around the table with friends and family. With a focus on fresh flavors and mix of conventional and contemporary cooking techniques, highlights of the lunch and dinner menus include:

Buddha Bowl with buckwheat groats, avocado, cabbage, cannellini beans, sprouts, seeds and galangal dressing; Santa Barbara Harbor Catch Stew featuring corn, andouille sausage and old bay; and Duck Bánh Mì paired with pain au lait, hoisin, quick pickles, mint and cilantro

A selection of fresh-pressed juices made with local fruits, vegetables and spices is available during breakfast and lunch, while a full bar offers innovative twists on classic cocktails such as the Revere Old Fashioned, as well as inspired originals including the Helical. The Revere Room also offers a robust and thoughtfully curated wine list highlighting an impressive range of local, national and international vineyards and estates.

To further express Rosewood’s guiding A Sense of Place® philosophy, wherein local sensibilities and signatures of the destination are weaved into each element of the Rosewood experience, this newest culinary haven honors one of the area’s preeminent icons, trailblazing architect Paul Revere Williams. Situated within the resort’s Manor House, alongside Williams-inspired design details, the space is equal parts elegant and inviting. Upon entering from the outside via one of two dining patios dressed in sophisticated Janus et Cie furniture, guests are greeted by an exquisite main dining room, where a classical design ethos meets transitional elements. Dark-stained chevron oak flooring runs throughout the interior, contrasting the tones of ivory and cream found on the timeless furniture and sleek décor. Within the main dining room, a back bar serves as a focal point of the space, where visitors can pull up a seat and gather for cocktails and conversation. The walls of the South and East Dining Rooms are thoughtfully wrapped in hand-painted Gracie wallpaper, with scenic chinoiserie depicting a garden setting on an antiqued blue background, while magnificent French wood divided light doors open up onto an expansive patio, inviting the outdoors in.

An impressive collection of artwork is showcased throughout the restaurant, including a Portrait Imaginaire by Pablo Picasso, one of the iconic 29 portraits the painter created in gouache with brilliant colors. Additionally, The Revere Room holds two oil paintings from Bruce Cohen, a native of Southern California known for engaging his viewers with intriguing interiors through a crisp and realistic painting style. An original color lithograph from Georges Braque titled Résurrection de l’Oiseau is also on display showcasing objects that are fragmented and reconstructed into geometric forms among bright playful colors.

“Since we opened our doors, the resort has become renowned as a destination of choice for an exceptional dining experience. The launch of The Revere Room is a testament to our dedication to facilitating even more magical moments for both guests and neighbors, all while honoring our beautiful home here in Montecito and the vibrant character of Southern California at large,” said Rick Fidel, resort manager at Rosewood Miramar Beach. “We’re thrilled to welcome the community to enjoy it with us at long last.”

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Rumor Mill

Reader Elizabeth heard a rumor from a long time Winchester area resident that the eternally popular Woody’s BBQ at 5112 Hollister Avenue in Goleta wants to open a location across town at 10 Winchester Canyon Road, the former home of Timbers restaurant. Reader Bill recently told us that the building is being tented so something appears to be happening even if smoked, savory ribs are not on the horizon. As always, this rumor might be completely false or a brilliant forecast of future events. Your call.

Photos by The Restaurant Guy

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South Coast Deli opens uptown

Santa Barbara’s popular South Coast Deli opened April 12 at 3534 State Street, near Ontare, the former home of Noemi Pizza Romana, Pizza Guru, and Little Alex’s. In addition to the new San Roque location other area outlets include 10 East Carrillo Street, 1436 Chapala Street, and 185 South Patterson Avenue in Goleta. In addition to making some of the best sammies and salads in the Santa Barbara area, South Coast Deli says they are committed to do the right thing with respect to the environment. All their single use products are made from sustainable, renewable, and compostable materials such as switchgrass, bagasse, and PLA, a plant-based polymer. Paper products such as napkins, paper towels, letterhead, and business cards, are made from 100% recycled materials. South Coast Deli also participates in city and county programs, where available, in order to divert waste from landfills back into the soil. Call (805) 770-2434.

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Fire at Sushi Tyme

On April 8 at about 3 a.m. the Santa Barbara Police Department Combined Communications Center received a report of a fire alarm ringing inside a structure in the 800 Block of State Street, the home of Sushi Tyme restaurant. Santa Barbara City Fire Department responded one engine company to investigate.

The first arriving engine company found a commercial structure charged with smoke inside and water flowing from the front door. A file assignment for a structure fire response was ordered and two additional fire engines, one truck company and a Battalion Chief responded to assist. Firefighters forced entry to the business and made an aggressive interior attack. Fire sprinklers contained the fire to the kitchen area.

Santa Barbara Police provided traffic control and closed down State Street for the incident and no injuries were reported. The Fire Investigator determined the fire to be accidental in nature and damages were estimated at approximately $40,000 dollars. The business will be closed until repairs can be made.

The Santa Barbara City Fire Department wants the public to know that fire sprinklers save lives and property. The occupancy was unoccupied at the time of the fire. Fire sprinklers prevented the fire from spreading.

Photos courtesy of Peter Hartmann / Noozhawk

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Juice N Things coming to Carp

Reader Primetime sends us the word that a sign for the all-organic Juice N Things has been posted at 4991 Carpinteria Avenue in Carpinteria, the former home of Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf which closed in May 2020. That same month Coffee Bean closed at 811 State Street (soon to be Cajé coffee house) then shut down their 3052 De la Vina Street location last July. Sometimes reliable Google says that the principal owner of Juice N Things is Laura Samperio of Oxnard. Business hours will be 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Call (805) 750-0618.

Photo by reader Primetime

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Wingman Rodeo coming to Old Town Goleta

Reader Ted says that 5892 Hollister Avenue in Old Town Goleta, formerly Gimeal Cafe and The Natural Cafe, is going to be a Wingman Rodeo according to a sign on the window. I’m told that they are applying for permission to put their sign on the building and Ted says it looks like they’ve painted and are ready to open any day. In March 2020 a Wingman Rodeo location started serving food during evenings at 730 North Milpas Street which, to the best of my knowledge, is the home of The Shop Kitchen during the day.

Photo by reader Ted

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Fatte’s Pizza coming to De la Vina

Last week reader Brendan told us that at Santa Barbara Wood Fire Pizza, 2840 De la Vina Street, all the kitchen equipment has been shoved to one side and you can see unclaimed mail on the floor. Reader Steve H. now says that the eatery (next to Grocery Outlet) will be replaced by Fatte’s Pizza. They hope to be open by May 1st. Steve H. adds that the wood-burning oven is gone. In February 2011 the business changed from long-time occupant Pizza Hut to Nicky D’s Wood-Fired Pizza. In June 2018 it was rechristened as Lilsey’s Wood-Fired Pizza before becoming Santa Barbara Wood-Fired Pizza in February 2020.

Photo by reader Steve H.

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Hopping across Goleta

Edhat reports that IHOP at 4765 Calle Real in Goleta Calle Real will be closing its doors and reopening in the University Plaza shopping center, home to Albertsons and the DMV. There are a few empty spaces most of which seem too small for the popular eatery IMHO. There is one unoccupied spot however that is huge, and it used to house Pacific Sales and Rite-Aid, but it doesn’t have any windows on three sides and there are just a few small windows in the front that are higher than the The Restaurant Guy is tall (6′ 1″).

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Cajé coming to downtown

Word on the street is that Cajé coffee house, already available locally at 416 East Haley Street, 1316 State Street, and 948 Embarcadero del Norte in Isla Vista, is coming to 811 State Street Ste. 1, the former home of Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf which closed three area locations last year.

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Cuisine concerns

This just in from reader Brendan:

“I noticed worrisome signs at two restaurants in the De La Vina shopping center (home to Bargain Market, Jensen’s Guitar, etc.). New Si Chuan Garden has been dark for several days, and a note on the door from the gas company indicated the “new occupant” should sign up for gas service. Not a good sign. Meanwhile, next door at Santa Barbara Wood Fire Pizza, all the kitchen equipment has been shoved to one side and you can see unclaimed mail on the floor. Also not a good sign. Fingers crossed that these closures are temporary but I don’t have a good feeling. . .”

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The space formerly known as…

I am told that 370 Storke Road in Goleta, previously known as Zizzo’s Coffeehouse & Brew Pub and the Storke Road Drive Inn, will become a pop-up coffee shop for a couple of months so that the property does not forfeit its drive-through permit. Zizzo’s closed last June. Word on the street is that after the temporary java spot has its run the building will be torn down and the property will become a gas station, possibly a Fuel Depot, while retaining the car wash in the back.

729 State Street, the longtime home of Pascucci before the eatery moved to 509 State Street, is now the home of the Santa Barbara Urban Flea Market which is open daily 11 am to 7 pm and closed Tuesday and Wednesdays.

Reader Bill let it be known that the building at 10 Winchester Canyon Road in Goleta, where the Timbers restaurant used to be, is now being tented. “Why” is a question that has yet to be answered.

409 State Street, once under the banner for M8RX Nightclub & Lounge, Q’s Billiards and several other brands, might be the future home of Backstage Kitchen & Bar.

Reader Primetime tells me that some form of construction has started at 801 State Street, once known as Hoffmann Brat Haus, Snack Shack, Piranha Restaurant & Sushi Bar, and Rocks, though no sign is up indicating who’s coming in.

Reader Primetime also sent me an update for 4945 Carpinteria Avenue Ste. A in Carpinteria, formerly known as Crushcakes. I am told that an ABC permit application has been posted indicating that the next tenant will be Carp Kitchen and Grocery LLC.

Carp Kitchen and Grocery is coming to 4945 Carpinteria Avenue. Photo by Primetime.

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Rosewood Miramar Beach to open The Revere Room

This month Rosewood Miramar Beach, will introduce The Revere Room, a new all-day eatery helmed by the resort’s Executive Chef Massimo Falsini.  The restaurant will celebrate the best of the American Riviera with a heavy emphasis on locality, sourcing primarily from nearby farms and purveyors and bringing to life a sustainable concept set against the backdrop of Miramar Beach.

Named in a subtle nod to one of Los Angeles’ most prolific architects Paul Revere Williams, whose work influenced several of the resort’s most design details, The Revere Room will bring to Montecito an elegant dining experience, ideal for all occasions. The seasonally-driven menu incorporates the ingredients from local farmers, fisherman and ranchers, as well as the resort’s own garden, to offer an array of health-conscious cuisine. Highlights range from plant-based bowls to regenerative elixirs.

Classical design meets transitional elements in the restaurant’s  dining room. Wrapped in hand-painted Gracie wallpaper, the space invites the outside in, with scenic chinoiserie depicting a garden setting on an antiqued blue background. Dark-stained chevron wood floors contrast tones of ivory and cream throughout, and French wood divided light doors open up onto an patio, creating a unique indoor-outdoor setting with views of California’s coastline.

Courtesy photo

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If you’re ever in…

The Restaurant Guy is on a vacation touring the sites of New Mexico (Carlsbad Cavern, White Sands) and Arizona (Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest). If you’re ever standing on a corner in Winslow Arizona be sure to try the nearby Turquoise Room restaurant. We had a great dinner there last night.

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Secret Bao opens on Anacapa

Modern Asian Cuisine eatery Secret Bao, brought to you by the former Executive chef of Loquita, Peter Lee and former Executive Sous chef of Loquita, Felicia Medina, has opened at 1201 Anacapa Street, in the former home of Coffee Cat and Café Ana. The menu includes Baos (Korean Fried Chicken, Maitake, Shrimp, Pork Belly), Snacks (Sour Cream & Onion Prawn Chips, Gyoza, Baby Bok Choy, Kalbi Meatballs), Rice (Bibimbap, Bacon Kimchi Fried Rice, Miso Black Cod, Katsu), and Noods (Japchae, Udon Carbonara, Curry Yakisoba). Call (805) 259-3226.

Courtesy photo

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Palihouse Cafe and Bar opens in the Presidio Neighborhood

Reader Steve H. is spreading the word that the former Spanish Garden Inn at 915 Garden Street has reopened as Palihouse Hotel, Café and Bar, described as an elegant coastal hideaway in the heart of Santa Barbara’s downtown Historic Presidio Neighborhood. The café is quietly open to the public from 8am to 3pm daily. I am told that there’s a nice garden patio in the interior courtyard with a gurgling fountain. The menu includes Morning Pastry, Banana Bread, Fruit Plate, Buttermilk Waffle, American Breakfast, Chilaquiles, Breakfast Burrito, Avocado, Smoked Mussels, Hummus & Pita, Cheese & Charcuterie Board, Palicobb Salad, Greek Salad, Cucumber Salad, Paliclub Sandwich, Fisher Sandwich, Chicken Quinoa Bowl, House Burger, Fettuccine, and desserts. Call (805) 564-4700.

Photos by Steve H.

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Sevtap opens next to the Lobero

Reader Brendan says the Sevtap Winery opened March 12th in the remodeled El Centro building next to the Lobero which was formerly office space at 23 East Canon Perdido Street. For the first week they are only serving Wine, Bread, Cheese and Charcuterie platters. Call (805) 284-1270.

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Tondi Gelato opens in Paseo Nuevo

Reader Brendan tells me that local wedding and events caterer Tondi Gelato has opened at 723 State Street, the former home of Wetzel’s Pretzels in Paseo Nuevo. Tondi Gelato’s website describes their business: “We make all-natural Italian gelato on-site, entirely from scratch, using our own recipes and traditional methods. Many dairy, non dairy and vegan options.” Call (805) 921-9250.

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4 Eggs & Pizza opens in Victoria Court

4 Eggs & Pizza has opened at 1221 State Street Suite 10, in the former home of Scarlett Begonia which moved to 21 West Victoria Street, a building that once occupied Locavore Kitchen, The Nugget, Arlington Tavern, Hobnob Tavern, Epiphany Restaurant & Bar, Blue Shark Bistro, Soho, and Mandalay.

The eatery offers international breakfast and lunch cuisine including Turkish, Korean, Tunisian, UK, Vietnamese breakfast and Mexican, French and American. They also sell sourdough pizza for lunch and dinner.

The breakfast menu includes Soufflé Eggs, Scrambled Eggs, Hard Boiled Eggs, Poached Eggs, Classic Omlette, Country Omlette, and Steamed Eggs. The lunch and dinner menu offer Pho, Banh Mi, Salads, and a variety of pizzas including BBQ Chicken, Garlic Chicken Alfredo, Combo, Bacon Chicken Ranch, Buffalo Chicken, Five Meat, Three Meat, Ham & Pineapple, Pesto Chicken, Spinach Alfredo, Veggie, and Cheese. Call (805) 770-5996.

Courtesy photo

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Paseo Andalucia?

Casa Blanca restaurant in the Andalucia building at 330 State Street closed as the pandemic began to unfold in early 2020. It briefly became the home of Yona Redz Queso Tacos which later moved to to 532 State Street. Reader WeMissRexofSB tells me that plans have been submitted to the Historic Landmarks Commission to turn the north half of the building into a multi-use facility including bowling lanes,  indoor/outdoor dining, a bakery, a coffee shop, and a bar.

Concept drawing courtesy of DMHA Architecture & Interior

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Question of the Day

What restaurant would readers recommend for Tex-Mex food? I am tending toward Rose’s. Any other current recommendations in this pandemic time?

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Malibu Farm closes at the Miramar

Word on the street is that Malibu Farm, which opened with the Rosewood Miramar Beach resort at 1759 South Jameson Lane in Montecito in April 2019, has closed.

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The Nook changing ownership


“Our owner jumped the gun and looks like sale isn’t going through. Thanks! “

Original post: Here is a message to you from owner chef Norbert Schulz of The Nook which opened at 120 Santa Barbara Street in the Funk Zone in May 2016:

To our beloved Santa Barbara community, it is time that we announce with heavy hearts that our little Nook has sold.

We are heading into our last two weeks of ownership before we transition to the next chapter, as we cannot predict the future, what we do know is that the new owner will be keeping the doors open and running the restaurant as is until transitioning into their own vision.

On that note, we would love to see all of our regulars within the next two weeks, to bid fair well, and recount the treasured memories we’ve made in the last 4.5 years! We also want to thank this amazing community for all of the support we’ve received through natural disasters, and pandemics, without all of you, we wouldn’t be here! So come on down, say hello, say goodbye, cheers a beer, and wish us well into our next endeavor!

Our chef’s daughter will be opening her own business Alessia Patisserie & Cafe [at 134 East Canon Perdido Street, formerly Sojourner Cafe] and we are so thrilled for her! You may be able to catch chef eating a croissant or poking around in the kitchen at the patisserie!

This is a “we’ll see you later” not a goodbye!


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Reader Primetime exercised his right to reveal that yoga classes by Divinitree are taking place inside El Paseo Restaurant which has been closed since the pandemic outbreak in early 2020.

Photo by Primetime

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Notown Tavern coming to Goleta

Readers Steve H. and Brian tell me that Monty’s Sports Bar, the dive bar at 5114 Hollister Avenue, in the Magnolia Center, is permanently closed. There’s a sign up for its replacement: No Town Tavern which is not open yet.

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