Coast Range & Vaquero Bar, a Central Coast steakhouse and seafood restaurant including a full cocktail bar as well as deli counter, café and pastry program, has continued its phased opening with the public debut of the Coast Range dining room. The new multi-concept hospitality venture, which inhabits the former, Mandarin Touch restaurant and bar space in historic downtown Solvang, initially greeted guests with the April 2021 opening of the Vaquero Bar and patio dining portion of the project.
Coast Range & Vaquero Bar celebrates the best that the Central Coast has to offer including steaks from storied ranches, seafood directly from coastal wharves, craft cocktails, and a wine program showcasing the region’s, and the world’s, finest producers. The restaurant concept also includes proprietary product from the owner’s Santa Ynez ranch, Coast Range Ranch.
The opening of the Coast Range dining room marks the pivotal continuation of the multi-part project. The Coast Range dining room’s opening will be followed by the late-fall 2021 launch of the daytime café.
Award-winning chefs and industry veterans Anthony Carron, Lincoln Carson, and Steven Fretz join forces with sommelier and winemaker, Rajat Parr, to bring their collective experience to the new all-day dining concept in the heart of Solvang.
More than just business partners, the Coast Range founders are longtime friends who first worked together over a decade ago, and now call the Santa Ynez Valley home. Carron was the executive chef for Michael Mina for many years, then went on to found 800 Degrees Woodfired Kitchen and Top Round, two Los Angeles-based casual dining brands with global reach. Fretz, also a co-founder of Top Round, opened Church Key in Los Angeles and has led some of the top kitchens in the country, working with chefs such as Michael Mina, David Burke, and Curtis Stone. Carson, a celebrated pastry chef and 2020 finalist for a James Beard Award, was previously chef/owner of Bon Temps in downtown Los Angeles, which received local and national acclaim including recognition as a “best new restaurant” from Los Angeles Magazine, Los Angeles Times, TimeOut LA, Esquire, and Food & Wine. Fall of this year will see the opening of Carson’s new Mes Amis, a California-style brasserie located in the Thompson Hollywood hotel.
Vaquero Bar, which opened earlier this year, serves guests a full cocktail menu, local wine and craft beer from behind a hand-built, 16-seat bar. The 500-square foot Vaquero Bar space boasts large windows and a new entryway, both of which open to patios, effectively bringing the indoor energy to the outdoor areas. Coast Range & Vaquero Bar’s expansive patio spaces total 1,000 square feet, with seating for up to 36 patrons.
Coast Range is located at 1635 Mission Drive, Solvang, CA 93463, directly across from Solvang Park .
Chefs, L to R: Anthony Carron, Steven Fretz, Lincoln Carson // Coast Range dining room interior. Courtesy photos
Here is a message to you from the California Avocado Festival in Carpinteria:
Dear Carpinteria Community,
It is with heavy hearts that the California Avocado Festival announces that our event currently scheduled for Saturday, October 2, 2021, is postponed until 2022. We are committed to providing a family friendly free festival to the public and we were faced with challenges again this year that did not make it feasible or safe to move forward. This decision was made due to capacity concerns, the changing nature of COVID-19, and to minimize the potential risk to members of our community as well as the several thousand out of town visitors that attend the event each year.
We will continue with our pop-up shop at Farmer’s Market and smaller events and acknowledgements in other locations which will be announced soon. We look forward to seeing you all next year and invite you to join us on our march to our 40 year event.
California Avocado Festival Board of Directors
Kyle’s Protein Grill, brought to you by the creators of Kyle’s Kitchen, has reopened in Goleta after a pandemic hiatus. The eatery is located next door to Kyle’s Kitchen at 7000 Hollister Avenue. “Our inspiration behind Kyle’s Protein Grill was to offer our customers a crave-worthy, balanced meal that’s made-to-order exactly how you want, and also works well on the go,” says owner, Jay Ferro. “This new concept is a great option that allows guests so many ways to mix up a healthy meal, that’s fast, easy and fun.”
As the name suggests, premium clean proteins are the focus of the menu at Kyle’s Protein Grill: Organic Free-Range Grilled Chicken, Grilled Steak, Kyle’s Fried Chicken and Plant-Based Meatballs. These proteins can be combined with sides and sauces to be served as ‘Protein Plates’ or ‘Protein Bowls’. The customizable menu allows guests to build their meal with one or two proteins, a choice of two sides, and a variety of sauces to top it all off. For the sides, guests can order options like Organic Brown Rice, Seasonal Veggies, Kale Caesar Salad, Grilled Summer Corn, Thai Peanut Slaw, and Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes.
Kyle’s Protein Grill 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 $200,000 to date. Hours from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 5-8 p.m, Monday-Saturday, and the eatery is closed on Sunday.
Last April 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. Follow-up rumors suggested that the new home of IHOP might be Itsuki restaurant in the plaza, but Itsuki was still alive and well – that is until now. Reader Roger tells me (and I confirmed) that there is a new sign on the door at Itsuki that reads:
“To our valued customers, Itsuki Japanese Restaurant permanently closed. We would like to thank all of our loyal customers who have supported us throughout the years. We are sorry to say that we must close out doors.”
Itsuki restaurant moved to the plaza at 7127 Hollister Avenue from its long-time home at 4020 Calle Real in October, 2012, replacing Baja Fresh. Reader Phil sent me a copy of a Radius brochure that confirms Itsuki will indeed be replaced by IHOP. A glance at Google maps suggests the new University Plaza space is about half the size of the location on Calle Real that it is replacing.
SAYONARA: Itsuki restaurant in the University Plaza in Goleta (next to Albertsons) has closed and will be replaced by IHOP. Photo by The Restaurant Guy. Diagram by Radius Group.
Last May I broke the news about an unknown coffee shop that is coming to 5915 Calle Real Ste. A in the former home of Pizza Hut which is across the parking lot from Zodo’s Bowling. The only clue that the new tenant is going to be a coffee shop is the coffee-themed painting on the window. Reader Brianna thinks the new java joint will be Dune Coffee (formerly The French Press):
“Believe this is going to be a Dune Coffee, based on the logo which was on the window at one point. The same logo is now on some of Dune’s to-go coffee tumblers.”
Photo by The Restaurant Guy, May 2021
This just in from Cava restaurant on Coast Village Road:
Thank you for all of your efforts in supporting the SB Restaurant scene!
Cava Restaurant & Bar will be officially closing its doors next week on Wednesday, September 15th. It has been a tremendous run these past 25 years and our family is beyond grateful to our wonderful community for all of the unwavering support.
We have experienced some challenging years of late on Coast Village Road, starting with the Thomas Fire, the subsequent debris flow event and on through to the pandemic. We are very proud of our team for staying the course through such trying times. It is gratifying to end Cava’s long run on a positive note, with heads held high, as we do right by employees, customers and vendors alike– we realize this is incredibly rare in our industry and we feel fortunate to be doing so.
We will certainly miss operating in this beautiful location but we are also very excited for what the future brings… We hope our loyal patrons will continue to enjoy the same delicious Mexican cuisine and signature Margaritas at our sibling restaurants: Carlitos Café y Cantina (EST. 1978), across from the historic Arlington Theater on State Street and Dos Carlitos Restaurant & Tequila Bar (EST. 2009), in beautiful Santa Ynez Valley. You will undoubtedly see many of the familiar smiling faces from Cava’s beloved staff at one of our other locations.
Please swing by for one last “¡Salud!” this coming week as we plan on finishing strong each day (11AM – 9PM) through Wednesday, September 15th.
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!
All the best,
Carlos López-Hollis Owner
Here is a message for you from reader sbmizzou:
I honestly don’t know if it has been like this for years, but driving by the old Outback Steakhouse, I noticed that it has a “leased” sign on it. It might have been like this for years and I either never noticed or heck, it wouldn’t surprise me if I reported it years ago. I searched the archives and nothing came back about it being leased.
I believe the leased sign is new!
This just in from reader Brendan:
An alcohol license sign is up on the window of the recently closed Starbucks at the corner of State and De La Guerra. The eye-catching business name is “Belching Dragon Tavern”, and the business type is listed as “general eating place”.
Last April I broke the news that Woody’s BBQ at 5112 Hollister Avenue in Goleta (Magnolia Center) is planning to open a restaurant across town at 10 Winchester Canyon Road, the former home of Timbers restaurant. The new dining destination will be called Timbers Roadhouse and will have a different menu, focusing on BBQ and steaks.
Now reader Elise says she was dining at Woody’s on September 6th and was told by staff that the iconic eatery is closing down in about two weeks. I called the restaurant and they confirmed the news and said that the landlord would not renew their lease after 37 years. It is times like this when I really miss Santa Barbara’s BBQ expert John Dell, widely known as “Rex of SB,” who passed away last December. Undoubtedly he would have had a lot to say.
Woody’s BBQ wins the “Best BBQ” award literally every year in The Santa Barbara Independent. Who will take the crown in 2021?
I am looking to book a dinner for 75 people. Do you have recommendations of where in Santa Barbara I could find restaurants that can hold this many people?
The Foley Entertainment Group, which formed just last July, has announced the purchase of Hotel Californian in the Funk Zone. Included in the transaction is the hotel’s signature restaurant, Blackbird – an 88-seat, indoor/outdoor restaurant known for Executive Chef Travis Watson’s culinary offerings and a dedicated space that will serve as the future home of a Foley Food & Wine Society tasting bar. The Foley Food & Wine Society tasting bar will be opening in Fall 2021.
“We are thrilled to welcome Hotel Californian to the Foley Entertainment Group family,” said Foley Entertainment Group co-CEO Randy Morton. “Hotel Californian has embraced the incredible opportunity of being part of the renaissance of Lower State Street and the growth of Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone. We look forward to innovative collaborations with the Foley Food & Wine Society and other FEG entities to enhance the guest experience even further.”
Chef Peter Cham has joined the Gleason Family Vineyards Santa Ynez Valley portfolio (Roblar Winery and Vineyards, Refugio Ranch Vineyards, Royal Oaks Wines) as executive chef and head of culinary operations. As part of the Roblar Winery and Vineyards array of hospitality experiences including private events, Chef Cham is crafting seasonal Bites Menus utilizing fresh produce and herbs grown just steps away from the estate’s tasting room and vineyards, on the property’s organic Roblar Farm.
On the seasonally-shifting Roblar Farm Bites Menu, winery guests encounter refined California cuisine in the form of plates like smoked salmon deviled eggs with pickled shallots, crispy capers, chives, and Espelette peppers; wood-fired wild mushroom pizza with confit garlic and kale pesto; or charred Roblar Farm broccoli with bagna càuda, grilled lemon, parmesan, and Aleppo pepper. The Bites Menus are available Friday through Sunday to enjoy with Roblar’s variety of wines. Also new are the winery’s recently launched “Birds ‘n’ Bubbles” which, every Thursday, features Chef Cham’s famous fried chicken alongside Roblar sparkling Blanc de Blanc, and weekly Sunday brunch, served 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.
Chef Cham’s culinary career was founded on his passion for family, food, and the intersection of the two: shared experiences best enjoyed alongside memorable meals. Each of his roles leading up to his newest, with Gleason Family Vineyards, has aligned with his pursuit of setting a local and sustainable table.
A Santa Barbara native raised in a Cambodian household that embraced food as a way to unite family, Chef Cham’s early interest in cooking sprouted by his grandmother’s side in the kitchen. In 2006, Chef Cham headed to San Francisco to study and explore the culinary arts, landing work at Radius Restaurant & Café, a food business in tune with his own kitchen ethos. Three years into his time with Radius, Cham became Executive Chef. In an effort to gain further knowledge of the industry and to bolster his skillset, he also spent time as stagiaire at other legendary and Michelin starred San Francisco establishments such as Coi Restaurant, Quince, and Fifth Floor.
Chef Cham relocated to Cambridge, Massachusetts in 2013, taking up work at West Bridge under Chef Matthew Gaudet, named a Best New Chef by Food & Wine that same year. Chef Cham weathered a few New England winters as he honed his culinary technique and style, creating simple, modern takes on classic flavor combinations. When California and its bounty of local produce and provisions called once again, Chef Cham returned to Santa Barbara as Head Chef at the well-regarded, now-shuttered seafood house, The Hungry Cat, where he continued to reinforce relationships with local farmers and fishermen.
In 2016, Chef Cham moved to Finch & Fork restaurant at Santa Barbara’s Kimpton® Canary Hotel, where he started as Executive Sous Chef, an integral role in the development of the restaurant’s concept. He eventually became Executive Chef of the popular Kimpton property.
Chef Peter Cham has joined the Gleason Family Vineyards Santa Ynez Valley portfolio. Courtesy photo.
I am craving two things from Mom’s Italian restaurant that was on E. Cota Street in Santa Barbara? the pickled onions she served on the salads. Plus her minestrone soup; it got better everyday. Does anyone have these recipes and is willing to share them?
There are so many restaurants that I went to when I lived there that have closed and unfortunately I don’t have the recipes. For example, Casa Blanca, on lower State St. (the warm sauce that they put on top of their tostadas), Boston Clam Chowder from The Fish Enterprise, and Jimmy’s Oriented Garden’s egg rolls.
Thank you to those that are willing to share,
La Paloma Cafe, which opened at 702 Anacapa Street last November in the former longtime home of Paradise Cafe, has announced that they are now open on Mondays. “Join us on our sunny patios and enjoy oak-grilled, ranchero inspired favorites from Chef Jeremy Tummel,” the eatery says. Signature dishes at La Paloma include Burnt Ends Bowl (brisket and tri tip, red rice, pinquinto beans, cheddar cheese, cilantro slaw) and Huevos Rancheros (house-made chorizo, pinquinto beans, golden soft tortilla, red chili salsa, fried eggs, smoked queso fresco).
The Enterprise Fish Company building at 225 State Street sold twice in the past 2 years and was last sold for $3.5 million or about $6 per square foot. I have received word that the next tenant is not a restaurant but instead the building will become the corporate headquarters for Silver Air. Silver Air manages a comprehensive fleet of luxury aircraft from light to long-range heavy jets and a global network operating around the clock, 24-hours-a-day. Silver Air hopes to open by the end of the year or early next.
Photo by The Restaurant Guy
While taking The Restaurant Kid for an emergency scoop of chocolate ice cream at Baskin-Robbins on upper State Street I noticed that its neighbor, Vegan GreenGO, was closed during business hours. I’m sad to report that the eatery, which opened at 3613 State Street in May 2018, then survived the arrest of its founder Tyler David Beerman in 2019 for activities unrelated to the restaurant, has closed. I reached out to current management who gave me this message for you:
“Thank you for your patronage. After much thoughtful consideration, we regretfully announce the closing of Vegan GreenGO on Friday August 27th, 2021. We are very grateful for anyone who has supported us over the last 3 years – customers and current/past employees. It has been an absolute pleasure to serve you with some of Santa Barbara’s best vegan food. If you have an outstanding balance on your gift card(s) following the closing of the restaurant, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. All the best, Vegan GreenGO Team.”
Photo by The Restaurant Guy
As we reported earlier this year Montecito Vons is scheduled to be remodeled this fall and will remain open during construction. Reader Darvin tells me the reason behind the remodel: it is being rebranded as Pavilions. Pavilions is a grocery store banner used by Vons, a supermarket division of Albertsons. Although similar to Vons stores, Pavilions markets are more upscale and feature a larger selection of organic food, wine, and other specialty foods. Vons shares the popular Signature brand with Pavilions.
This leaves just two local Vons stores: 2010 Cliff Drive and 163 South Turnpike Road in Goleta. Vons at 3855 State Street closed in September 2018, Vons at 850 Linden Avenue in Carpinteria closed in June 2015, Vons at 165 North Fairview Avenue in Goleta closed in April 2015, and Vons at 34 West Victoria Street closed in August 2009.
Vons opened at 1040 Coast Village Road in Montecito in 1968 after the company bought land from a local family that used the funds from the sale to turn the rest of the property into what is now known as Montecito Country Mart. Montecito Vons is the only grocery store that The Restaurant Guy has a memory of growing up as we moved nearby a few months after its grand opening.
The 2021 Buellton Wine & Chili Festival returns on Sunday, September 12 from 12-4:30pm. Back with a new venue, and over 30 wineries and craft breweries and spirit companies to sample from, this festival will be packed with family friendly fun, great food and Santa Barbara wines. Attendees are invited to sample from various wineries, distilleries and craft breweries. Local businesses and residents participate in the annual Chili Cook Off to see who has the best chili or salsa in the Valley.
The event will take place at a new venue this year, River View Park in Buellton, just down the street from Flying Flags where the festival has taken place in the past. The new venue offers several new amenities for guests that will enhance the festival experience including mountain views, shaded picnic areas, playgrounds, and more. Families will enjoy live music performances by the Dusty Jugs and the VineYard Byrds and shopping from various local vendors, plus lawn games such as cornhole and for the adults, mega sized beer pong.
The Hot Chili Ticket ($55) is for all guests 21+ and includes a souvenir wine glass, unlimited wine, craft beer and chili tasting. For guests under 21 years old, the Mild Chili Ticket is $20 and includes unlimited samples of chili and salsa but no alcohol.
There are options for safe transportation to the Buellton Wine and Chili Festival for those staying elsewhere on the central coast and locals like the Brew Bus. The Brew bus will be doing pickups in Santa Barbara, Goleta, Santa Maria and Lompoc. The Santa Barbara pickup will be at Figueroa Mountain Brewing at 10:30 a.m. M Special Brewing Co. in Goleta at 11 a.m.; Figueroa Mountain Brewing in Santa Maria at 10:30 a.m. and Solvang Brewing Co. in Lompoc at 11:15 a.m. No walk-up tickets will be sold at bus departure, ticket must be purchased in advance.
For event information and to purchase tickets visit www.BuelltonWineandChiliFestival.com
ParadICE celebrates their 3 year anniversary Sunday, September 5st at their shop in Paseo Nuevo with live hula dancing from 2-4pm, by Hula Anyone. Three years ago, two Santa Barbara locals, and long time friends Lee Jacobs and Marek Nold brought a taste of Hawaii to the mainland. After years of perfecting their authentic shave ice, they opened their store in the Paseo Nuevo Mall in September of 2018 with the help of friends and family.
ParadICE serves authentic Hawaiian shave ice as well as various flavors of ice cream. Their shave ice flavors are made in-house with real fruit, organic sugar and purified water. Customers have the option to add a scoop of ice cream to the bottom as well as toppings on top. The shop shares space with Hustle & Grind Coffee Company, which was launched by Jacobs and Nold in October of 2020. Hustle & Grind caters to the morning hours, while ParadICE serves up the treats in the afternoon. H&G offers a classic Italian coffee menu with specialty coffee drinks, using locally roasted coffee, and also serve a variety of delicious toasts. Make sure to try their Maple Sea Salt Latte and the popular OG Avocado toast.
During ParadICE’s anniversary on Sunday September 5th, 2021, from 2-4pm, Angelita Eller and Hula Anyone will be performing hula and teaching those interested. Hula Anyone is dedicated to the preservation of Hawaiian hula and Tahitian dance traditions by providing a nurturing platform to learn traditional dance forms. “Hula Anyone is a source of positive energy. We had them at our 1st anniversary and stoked to have them back for the celebration!” says Co-Founder Lee Jacobs.
“It has been a crazy 3 year ride with many hurdles for all local businesses in our area but we have a fantastic community who appreciates authenticity and loves to show their local businesses support.” Says Co-Founder Marek Nold.
ParadICE and Hustle & Grind is currently open 7 days a week Monday-Thursday 7:30-8 p.m. and Saturday-Sunday 7:30 a.m.-9 p.m., located in the Paseo Nuevo mall, near the Paseo Nuevo Cinemas. Visit paradiceshaveice.com
Assemblyman Steve Bennett has selected Draughtsmen Aleworks as the 2021 Small Business of the Year for the 37th Assembly District. Draughtsmen Aleworks opened its first taproom in Goleta, CA in 2015, focusing on craft beer. Since then, not only has the brewery expanded locations to Santa Barbara and continued to grow its beer selections, but its products have also increased to offer innovative cider and hopped tea brews. Most recently, Draughtsmen Aleworks ventured into wine making, becoming one of the first breweries to cater to both beer and wine fans. Since the beginning, building community has been a top priority for Draughtsmen Aleworks. Its five founders have sought to engage and partner with community efforts to advance the well being and advocacy of educational opportunities, environmental, and social justice. This is reflected through their ongoing “good karma tap,” where a percentage of the sales goes to a nonprofit dedicated to these causes.
Draughtsmen Aleworks locations in Goleta (top) and Santa Barbara. Photos by The Restaurant Guy
In August 2020 I wrote that Fosters Freeze at 5205 Carpinteria Avenue in Carpinteria had closed and that Katherine & Jason Lesh, who own the Farm Cart on Carpinteria Avenue, have rented the space and will be turning it into a farm to table restaurant named The Good Plow.
Katherine Lesh’s family has been farming organically in Santa Barbara County since 1973, as Shepherd Farms. “I was raised in my father’s fields, at his Farmer’s Market stands, and at the Farm Cart, which my parents passed on to me in 2012,” says Lesh who recently raised $50,262 with a Kickstarter campaign to help bring the eatery to life. Each Kickstarter donation acts as a gift certificate.
“A new hip, fully transparent farm to table restaurant, retail store, and ice cream window,” is how the new dining destination describes itself. “From the cooking oils we fry in, to our scratch-made dressings, to our house pressed tortillas, and dipped ice cream cones, everything is made fresh with certified organic ingredients. With that said, there are two ingredients on our mostly vegan menu that are not certified: line-caught, local fish and grass fed San Julian beef.”
Hours are Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday 11:30 a.m.-8 p.m., Friday-Saturday 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. The Good Plow is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Online ordering will be available in September. Visit thegoodplow.com
THE GOOD CHEF: Chef Pedro at the ice cream window of The Good Plow restaurant that just opened in Carpinteria. Courtesy photos.
Reader Oxmyx let me know that the Michelin Guide, which first included South Coast restaurants in 2019, added three for 2021:
Bibi Ji: “This trendy Indian dining room makes quite a splash. Harnessing the best of land and sea, these dishes are born for sharing. Behold such inventive bites as crispy cauliflower tossed with chili-garlic sauce and finished with sesame. Barra kebab highlights intensely spiced tandoor lamb chops with mint chutney.”
Caruso’s: “The Rosewood Miramar Beach is its home and contemporary Californian food with Italian leanings is the team’s dictum. The seasonal prix-fixe takes center stage. A chilled minted pea soup with pickled fennel makes for a rich kick off, and may be tailed by gnocchetti Sardi mingled with dulse, uni, and and caviar for zest and decadence.”
Loquita: “Servers know the menu by heart, so follow their lead and start with tapas like crusty pan con tomate, before digging into hearty chorizo y pollo paella. An homage to the El Bullí olive is a contemporary signature, while carpaccio garnished with pickled mustard seeds and aged sherry vinegar is forever popular.”
Everytable restaurant which is coming soon to 1001 State Street, the former home of Saks Fifth Avenue, J.C. Penny, Wells Fargo Bank, and Crocker Bank, appears to have completed construction. The eatery will be sharing space with Amazon which occupies most of the building. Last February, Amazon announced plans to try to attract a restaurant to occupy the 1,400-square-foot space near the front entrance. The majority of the building houses software engineers who develop content and programming for Amazon’s popular Alexa product.
Everytable is a Vernon, California-based fast-food chain founded in 2015 with locations in Baldwin Hills, Compton, Hollywood, Hoover, Long Beach, and Watts. The Santa Barbara restaurant appears to be the first outside of Los Angeles County which will probably be cheered by the other locations because of the eatery’s business model. The chain changes its prices based on the average income in the neighborhood where it’s located. Customers in low-income neighborhoods pay less than those in high-income neighborhoods, and sales in wealthier areas partially subsidize operations in lower-income areas.
The chain sources its meats, fruits, and vegetables from local purveyors and makes the dishes from scratch every morning. The food is stacked on refrigerated shelves so that customers can grab it and go. If they want to stay and eat, there are a few tables and microwaves. Any leftover meals are given to homeless shelters every day.
On top of their grab-and-go locations, Everytable offers one-time online purchases and subscriptions. The Everytable subscription allows customers to pick a range of items from the rotating menu each week. Meals are professionally cooked and delivered to your door. All you need to do is heat and eat. Numerous investors including Kimbal Musk, Elon Musk’s brother, are backing the healthy fast-food chain.
Photos by The Restaurant Guy
In June I wrote that Wingstop, which opened next to La Cumbre Plaza in February, will be opening a second area location at 888 Embarcadero Del Norte Ste. C in the former home of Subway and, decades ago, Taco Bell. Isla Vista Subway closed earlier this year. I stopped by recently to check out the progress of construction and received the very unofficial word from crews working the site that Wingstop hopes to open in September which in my opinion would be a miracle. From what I could tell a lot of work remains as the place was completed gutted and is being rebuilt inside. A tractor in the back of the property recently dug a hole the size of a Jacuzzi that I suspect will be a grease trap. Environmental regulations mandate that a grease trap be installed in food establishments to prevent greases from causing sanitary sewer backups or overflows. Wingstop is now hiring for all positions for their upcoming Isla Vista eatery.
Photos by The Restaurant Guy
This just in from the Centennial Beer Hall at 5871 Hollister Avenue in Goleta (formerly Mercury Lounge and Gus’s Cocktails):
“Get ready everyone, we are opening this week! Come out and see us and the brand new bar Wednesday-Sundays! This dream would have never become a reality without the love & support of everyone involved and we cannot wait to share this space with all of you 🙂 Hours: W 3-9, Th 3-9, F 12-11, Sat 12-11, Sun 12-9. This spot has been a staple of Old Town Goleta for over 60 years and we are stoked to carry that torch and continue to serve the community with an extensive selection of craft beer, local wines and much more.”
Event co-chairs Karen Johnson and Peter Wright invite the community to the 2021 Santa Ynez Valley Summer Classic on August 28 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. outdoors on the beautiful, shaded grounds of St. Mark’s Church, located at 2901 Nojoqui Avenue in Los Olivos. Funds raised at this annual event support and expand community service projects benefitting the Santa Ynez Valley and the larger Santa Barbara County region.
The Summer Classic will include top-flight local wines, ales, and ciders, and a stellar meal created by Chef Jake O. Francis and the Valley Piggery team. This year’s wine sponsors include Fiddlehead Cellars, Stars and Dust, and Fess Parker. Accompanied by live music from the band CINCOPATE, the silent auction starts at 5:30 p.m. It includes beautiful finds from top area merchants, art, recreation, food, and wine, representing our finest vintners and vineyards. One special package, “Women Who Crush,” combines the talents of our creative women vintners. Art and art classes by Chris Chapman and John Iwerks offer the talents of highly regarded and sought-after regional artists.
Noted auctioneer Ken Hollister will wield the gavel for the live auction that includes outstanding wines, art, estate jewelry, and unique experiences, including “Ken Brown’s University of Zaca Mesa” a magnificent salute in multiple magnums to famed vintner, the late Jim Clendenen. These wines were donated by those in his close circle, including Au Bon Climat, Lindquist Family Wines, Ken Brown Wines, Ojai Valley Wines, and others. Live auction bidders will also have a chance to secure seats at the first-ever “Community Kitchen Cabaret” combining the work of gifted area chefs and talented singers in a one-of-a-kind, not-to-be-missed culinary and entertainment extravaganza in the autumn. Also, a successful live bidder will be able to invite 20 guests on a coastal sightseeing trip on the largest motor yacht in Santa Barbara Harbor, the 90-foot Torqua, while enjoying hors d’oeuvres and fine wines.
Reservations are required and may be made by visiting https://smitv.info/summerclassic or by calling 805-325-9280. The suggested donation is $100 per person (down from $150 in previous years), but everyone can choose a reservation donation of any amount that will work for them. The idea is to enable all friends and neighbors to come together for this exceptional evening of caring for our Santa Ynez Valley community in these uncertain times.
VALLEY VINO: The Santa Ynez Valley Summer Classic benefit set outdoors for Saturday, August 28, 2021, features alfresco dining, top-flight wines, silent and live auctions with tempting lifestyle packages, experiences, and entertainment (pictures from previous years attached). Reservations required. Reserve your seat now at https://smitv.info/summerclassic or 805-325-9280. Courtesy photos
Reader Kim says that she heard Via Maestra 42 at 3343 State Street had sold after 21 years to its original manager. Ownership has confirmed this with the follow message for you:
My wife, Lisa, and I can’t thank the Santa Barbara community enough for the incredible, consistent support we have received since we opened Via Maestra 42 doors in December 2000, not to mention their overwhelming help during the peak of the pandemic.
Via Maestra has been my life for the last 21 years. After an incredible time of hard work, matched with unsurpassable fun and satisfaction, an opportunity to pass the baton came along. Nicole and her husband Georges are officially the new owners of Via Maestra 42.
Nicole is back! After working as manager when we first opened, Nicole moved on, got married, and had three kids. I am certain customers will be happy to see her smile again and perhaps run into her three fantastic sons.
I really believe Nicole and Georges’s enthusiasm, outgoing personality, creativity and experience are the perfect fit for Via Maestra 42, together with our loyal, top notch staff they will continue to provide the same standards, high quality products and serve the same tasty dishes people have been enjoying. For the Italian speaking folks, they will also be able to practice with Georges!
I have been dedicated to insuring a great, positive, memorable experience to all the beautiful people walking through the front door for so long. We have seen babies becoming adults, we catered their parties through the whole circle of life, we have listen to them, what a privilege it has been for us!
I will truly miss being part of the day to day life of the restaurant, the Via Maestra family, the staff. I love my customers and I will miss them enormously, especially all the ones who have made Via Maestra 42 their home away from home. I gave it all for them and the rewards have been overwhelming. I thank God for this amazing opportunity and privilege I was given.
This is a very emotional time for me but Nicole and Georges have my trust, I am confident they will only do good things and will take good care of my baby. They will lead Via Maestra 42 forward with the same level of warmth and service we have been known for. I will stand by their side in the passing of the baton to insure Via Maestra 42’s success and community involvement will continue.
I know I will not be able to stay away from their food. This time I’ll be the guy sitting down though, eating at the corner table.
Viva Via Maestra!
Reader Eric let me know that Santa Barbara Wine Therapy at 732 State Street has paper over the front windows. The business is under the same ownership as nearby Cruisery which continues to be open. Reader Adrian then forwarded me this message that Wine Therapy published:
Wine Therapy Is Moving: Thank You! Thank You! We couldn’t have made it this long without the support of the most AMAZING customers in the WORLD and I want to personally say Thank You. We gutted it out as long as we could and unfortunately our landlord thinks he should get every penny from when we were closed by the government during much of 2020. I disagree, so we will be moving Wine Therapy to 12 West Haley (behind the Cruisery). Of course we will still the be best dog friendly bar in SB. The move will allow us to create some efficiencies with the Cruisery but maintain the Wine Therapy brand separate from the Cruisery and Unbearable.
Reader Mike tells me that a second Goleta location for Jersey Mike’s Subs is coming to 145 North Fairview Avenue next to Santa Barbara Chicken Ranch and I confirmed that the eatery is on their way. Started at the Jersey Shore in 1956, Jersey Mike’s serves authentic East Coast-style subs on fresh baked bread – the same recipe it started with over 65 years ago. The company’s mission is to bring its customers high quality, fresh-made subs and to give back to the communities in which it operates. The Jersey Mike’s franchise has 1,910 locations open and about 124 more in development across the United States. South Coast locations include 3325 State Street, 7034 Marketplace Drive in Goleta, and 1054 Casitas Pass Road in Carpinteria. A downtown location at 1213 State Street closed in 2019.
Photo by The Restaurant Guy
Little Dom’s Seafood at 686 Linden Avenue in Carpinteria is the newest concept from Executive Chef Brandon Boudet and restaurateur Warner Ebbink. The two long-time business partners adopted the Carpinteria-area as a second home last July and together, aspire to showcase locally-sourced seafood and farm fresh ingredients at the restaurant. Little Dom’s Seafood’s Italian menu has a heavy seafood focus, showcasing local fish, such as Sea Bass and Halibut, in classics like Piccata and Marsala, as well as local shellfish, like Santa Barbara Uni, for crudos and pastas. Additional menu highlights include wood oven-fired pizzas and Italian-American classics, as well as a Grab & Go menu.
My most recent dinner at Little Dom’s Seafood in Carpinteria included Fish Picata (halibut), Wood Oven Roasted Fish (salmon), Pizza Margherita (white anchovies, mushrooms), and Santa Barbara Live Uni. Photos by The Restaurant Guy
S.Y. Kitchen at 1110 Faraday Street in Santa Ynez is now home to a newly reconfigured back courtyard. Construction began last April with a floor-to-ceiling overhaul of the additional outdoor dining area. Concrete bricks have replaced the formerly unpaved gravel flooring, while wood beams and bamboo stalks form a shady spot for lunch and early dinner guests. Open for restaurant guest dining, the courtyard is also available for private events. In September 2020, S.Y. Kitchen opened its sister eatery Nella Kitchen & Bar.
Centennial Beer Hall is coming to 5871 Hollister Avenue in Goleta, the former home of Mercury Lounge and Gus’ Cocktails. “This spot has been a staple of Old Town Goleta for over 60 years and we are stoked to carry that torch and continue to serve the community with an extensive selection of craft beer, local wines and much more,” says the venue on Instagram. “We will be opening in a couple short weeks and are in search of a few amazing individuals to round out our bar staff. If developing your knowledge of and appreciation for craft beer and other great beverages while creating a fun and memorable experience for your guests sounds like your idea of a good time, please reach out and apply @centennialbeerhall”
The Buellton Planning Commission is studying a proposal for the development of a In-N-Out Burger at 515 McMurray Road, the home of the closed Parks Plaza Theatre. The five-screen theater was built in the early 1990s near the Santa Ynez Valley Marriott and McDonald’s. The eatery would have 36 patio dining seats and 74 indoor seats. A Buellton In-N-Out Burger location would be the third in Santa Barbara County joining those in Goleta and Santa Maria. It would be the first new In-N-Out Burger in either Santa Barbara or San Luis Obispo counties in more than a decade. In-N-Out Burger opened in 1948 and has more than 330 restaurants in seven states: California, Colorado, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Texas, and Oregon.
The Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort at 1054 Alisal Road in Solvang has announced a guest chef lineup during August, September, October, and November for their “California Ranch Cookout” series. The resort confirmed several upcoming 2021 dates: Ray Garcia on August 24, Iron Chef Cat Cora on September 26, Sam Jones on October 7, and concluding the year with Tiffani Thiessen on November 13. Exclusively available to hotel guests and members of the ranch, these California Ranch Cookouts are a one-night-only dinner prepared by the guest chef alongside Director of Culinary Operations Chef Anthony Endy. The Cookouts feature curated menus to highlight the unique talent of each visiting chef. Recent menus have featured everything from fresh California fare to unique vegetarian cuisine, as well as The Alisal’s signature BBQ cooking, to create a memorable outdoor dining experience.
L to R: Ray Garcia, Sam Jones, Tiffani Thiessen, Cat Cora. Courtesy photos.
Reader Eric let me know that Mr B Restaurant & Cafe is coming to La Cumbre Plaza at 140 South Hope Avenue in the former home of Pizza Mizza which closed in October 2018. I have confirmed that the business is on the way and will provide details as they become available. A peek inside reveals that it is a virtual time capsule of how Pizza Mizza looked on closing day minus the seats and artwork, suggesting that opening day for Mr B is a long way off unless they intend to reuse the furnishings which still look terrific.
Photos by The Restaurant Guy
Golden Line Coffee Bar at 618 Anacapa Street has expanded hours and is now be open on Fridays. Their new operating hours are Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Golden Line Coffee Bar is a pop-up Coffee and Tea Bar located inside Villa Wine Bar in downtown Santa Barbara whose goal is “to provide modern, quality coffees, teas, and pastries; work toward supply chain equity and environmental sustainability; and provide a unique & inspiring place for our community.”
Featured drinks for the summer are: Iced Strawberry Matcha, with house-made organic strawberry syrup and matcha by kettl; Cocoa-Infused Cold Brew Coffee, made with sustainably sourced Guittard Cocoa; and Iced Vanilla Latte, with house-made syrup made with sustainably sourced vanilla beans from Madagascar and Papua New Guinea.
Golden Line Coffee Bar has also been building out their tea selections and have added some teas from local importer Far West Tea Traders to complement offerings from kettl. I am told that the most popular so far are the Meishan Jin Xuan, aka “Milk Oolong”, and the Brandy Oolong, aka “Plum Honey.” Both of these can be hot or iced.
In March 2020 we broke the news that the Riviera Bar is coming to 20 West Figueroa Street, the former home of the iconic dive bar, The Sportsman. The wait is now over and Riviera Bar is open daily from 4:30 p.m. to close. The new local watering hole offers cocktails, wine, California beers, snacks, salads and plates. Riviera Bar is run by veterans from the iconic (and departed) Paradise Cafe including Kevin Boss, Karen Collyer, Jim Mishler, and Oliver Davis.
After an eight year run Goodland Market and Kitchen at 231 South Magnolia Avenue in Goleta closed in November 2019. Reader Annie tells me that Goodland Dining has opened its doors at that address under new management, offering breakfast, lunch and dinner. The menu is 100% Mexican Food creating by Chef Luis Sánchez who has for more than 20 years of experience in the food industry. “In our menu you can find delicious diners and pastries and for breakfast our delicious and incomparable Chilaquiles and Chile Verde plates,” says Sánchez. “We also offer commercial Kitchen space for those who want to start theirs own food business. Goodland Dining offers inside & outside sitting with a beautiful mountain view and yes, you can bring your pet! We are a dog friendly restaurant.” Goodland Dining also offers catering services for special events or business meetings. The menu is available online at goodlanddining.com or call (805) 845-4300 to place your order.
The Courthouse Tavern, coming to 129 East Anapamu Street (formerly The Little Door, Piano Riviera Lounge, The French Table, and Elements Restaurant & Bar), was originally scheduled to open June 15th and it now appears that the business will launch on August 4th. “We will be opening for Fiesta next week and then opening gradually the following week for lunch then breakfast then dinner,” says owner Warren Butler. “Looking forward to hosting friends and visitors in a friendly neighborhood restaurant and bar atmosphere.” Courthouse Tavern will be serving American cuisine and will have Happy Hour all day with drink specials and small plates. The eatery will also be available for private parties and catering.
Readers Steve H. and Brendan let me know that Fatte’s Pizza has opened at 2840 De la Vina Street in the former home of Lilsey’s Wood-Fired Pizza, Nicky D’s Wood-fired Pizza, and Pizza Hut. The sign is not yet up on the building and employees have not yet been hired so owner Obniel Ariza is running the operation solo. Ariza also operates a Fatte’s Pizza in Santa Maria. “Purchase any size pizza and get a second one of equal value free,” says Ariza about his favorite aspect of the business. He tells me that there are 21 different ingredients that you can choose to add to a build-your-own pizza.
The combo menu, also known as “Fatte’s Favorites,” includes Sticky Fingers (pepperoni, ham, bacon, onions, Italian sausage, mushrooms, black olives, and green peppers), Deluxe Hawaiian (ham, pineapple, bacon, onions, and extra cheese), Veggie (mushrooms, green peppers, olives, onions, tomatoes, and artichoke hearts), Chicken Combo (chicken, garlic, olive, onions, tomatoes, available with garlic sauce or red sauce), Chorizo Combo (chorizo, jalapeños, onions, tomatoes, and bacon), Meat Medley (pepperoni, Italian sausage, ham, linguica, ground beef, and bacon), and Fatte’s Special (pepperoni, Italian sausage, ham, linguica, onions, mushrooms, garlic, pineapple, olives, and green peppers). Prices for the combo pizzas range from $22.99 to $41.99.
The Family Deal includes two large 2-topping pizzas, one 2-liter soda, garlic bread, and one order of buffalo wings, or medium antipasto salad for $40.47 while the Party Pack includes four large pizzas with two toppings and two 2-liter sodas for $55.98.
Currently hours are noon-10 p.m. and starting August 1st they will expand to 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Call (805) 563-0082 or visit fattessantabarbara.com.
Photo of Fatte’s Pizza owner Obniel Ariza by reader Steve H.