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Celebrate Fourth of July weekend at Finch & Fork, 31 West Carrillo Street, with their lunch and dinner bar specials lasting from July 4th – July 6th. Pair your favorite brew with your choice of a Smash Burger, Santa Barbara Smokehouse Burger, Patty Melt, Finch Burger or Pepper J Burger for $20. Located at the Kimpton Canary Santa Barbara, tickets cost$20 for the Burger and Brew special. For reservations visit

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This just in from reader KP:

Hi John,

Chef Budi Kazali, former owner / chef of Ballard Inn and The Gathering Table, and his amazing, eclectic cuisine has been greatly missed in the SYV (and by many folks from afar) these past few year. So, we were delighted to hear that he’s behind whatever is coming to the location in Solvang that was formerly Succulent Cafe for many years then Campo Del Sol, briefly. Any word on what’s in the works and can you confirm that BK will be delighting us all sometime soon?

Kitchen Patrol

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Do you know anything about the people selling tacos around town that are basically setups on the sidewalk with big bright lights?

Are they authorized or in a grey area? Are they related or separate? I counted 4 the other day on lower Westside area, one by rifero’s on Mission Street, 1 on San Andres, 1 on San Pascual, 1 on Montecito street.
– John P.S.

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Jonesy’s Fried Chicken has opened at 282 Orange Avenue in Goleta, the former home of Red Pepper restaurant.

“There is a big gap between some of these sit-down restaurants that are doing a $28 fried chicken and KFC chicken and that’s where we want to come in,” says owner and long time local chef Kyle Jones, who also runs Craft Wood Fired Catering. “It’s kind of casual dining with an intelligent twist. Our motto is ‘under-promise and over-deliver.’  When you get here I want you to understand the attention to detail and what we are working with. The Mary’s air-chilled organic chicken, the high quality and highly refined peanut oil we are using for the fryers, and stuff like that. We’re not breaking the bank on the price point but we are making sure that the quality is there and the attention to detail is there.”

The Shared Plates menu includes JFC Buttermilk Fried Wings $16, Buffalo Wings $16, Hand-made Buttermilk Biscuits $10, Fried Mac-n-Cheese Balls $14, Pimento Cheese & Crackers $14, and Angry Bird Fries $12. The Chicken Plates menu includes Three Mary’s Tenders (with two sides) $17, Five Mary’s Tenders (with three sides) $24, and Big Bird Tray $48. The Sandwiches menu includes JFC Original $14, Buffalo Bird $16, Korean Nashville Hot $16, Nashville Hot Cod $17, and Georgia Peach $17.

Hours are 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday. Call (805) 770-2428 or visit

View the menu

Owner Kyle Jones. Photo by The Restaurant Guy

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Reader Olivia tells me that Brandon Boudet, owner of Little Dom’s in Carpinteria is opening a new restaurant in Montecito (technically Santa Barbara) on Coast Village Road in the former home of Oliver’s and Peabody’s. I contacted the eatery and received this response: “Thank you for reaching out and for your interest in the team’s newest concept in Montecito! We are excited to share details once the team is ready to share more and will be sure to include you on all announcement coming soon!”

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More than a dozen readers have told me that Coast & Olive restaurant in the Montecito Inn on Coast Village Road has closed. Earlier this week the Inn announced on social media that they’ve formed a partnership with Good Lion Hospitality to bring a new lounge to the site.

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Reader John P.S. sends an update about SB Munchiez:

“Have not confirmed but friend says SB Munchiez on Hollister closed. Now listed on delivery apps as ‘Munchiez SB’ and the website works. However, the address on their website is now listed as 3007 De la Vina Street, which is the address of Patio Cafe, but maybe they are sharing space as Patio Café closes at 2 p.m.. Munchiez says that they open at 5 p.m.. Also, they have a new phone number that is not in the Santa Barbara area code but instead in Anaheim: 657-213-4433”

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The city of Santa Barbara is getting a new deli and catering business, Mo’s To-Go. Developed by non-profit, Momentum Work, Inc., the small business believes their success “relies on embracing a diversity of skills and experience.” Mo’s To-Go cooks up a simple menu with all items made from scratch, while providing its neurodivergent staff with a set of professional culinary and customer service skills.  Momentum Work, Inc. has provided employment services to residents of the Tri-Counties for 56 years following the state’s Employment First Policy, which means real jobs for individuals with disabilities and the dignity that arises from earning a living wage in the general workforce.

“While working at Mo’s, I hope to further refine my skills as a chef, and at the same time, gain a more in depth understanding of how to help neurodivergent individuals succeed in the workplace”, shares team member, Eric Johnson. “I feel a profound sense of belonging here that I have yet to feel at any other job.”

Learn more about Mo’s To-Go and place your order online for a Thursday or Friday delivery at

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This just in from reader Meredith:

Seven Bar & Kitchen just quietly updated their Instagram and website last week. looking like they are close to opening at the new location at 235 W Montecito Street!!! Yayyyy!

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Hey John!

Uptown is doing a Fathers Day Brunch Sunday June 16th 10-1pm. The buffet will have Chef Martin’s famous quiches, cured salmon station as well as the classic accompaniments of maple glazed bacon, french toast, salad pastries and much much more! Pricing is $45 for adults and $15 for kids 12 and under.

Reservations can be made online or call 805-869-4014.


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Here is an update from the Funk Zone:

Hi John,

I’m excited to share that Test Pilot, the tropical and nautical-inspired cocktail bar in Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone, from the husband and wife team behind Good Lion Hospitality (The Good Lion, Shaker Mill), will host an exciting bar takeover with the highly acclaimed San Francisco bar Smuggler’s Cove on Saturday, June 23rd from 5pm – 12am. Smuggler’s Cove is an award-winning bar including 2017 Tales of the Cocktail Spirits Award, the 2017 James Beard Foundation Book Award, and has been named one of the World’s 50 Best Bars. Test Pilot is thrilled to welcome the Smuggler’s Cove team into the bar to serve some of their favorite drinks.

Smuggler’s Cove owners, Martin and Rebecca Cate, will be at the bar takeover and selling merchandise, including their award-winning book “Smuggler’s Cove.” Joining them from San Francisco are bartenders Timmy and Gabe, who will showcase their expertise and create delightful drinks from the Smuggler’s Cove Menu. Test Pilot recommends guests make reservations, by emailing

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I just returned from two weeks in the Philippines, on the island of Leyte, where I watched my adopted daughter Pauline graduate from high school as the class valedictorian. In my inbox when I got home was some sad news that Derf’s restaurant, at 2000 De la Vina Street, is going out of business. Reader Primetime spotted a Facebook message from Derf’s employee Brenda Roman who wrote: “To our beloved Santa Barbara community, Derf’s Cafe will be closing its doors after 47 years.” The iconic eatery is holding a farewell on Tuesday, June 4th at 5 p.m. The owner reportedly says he can no longer afford to stay in business due to skyrocketing rent.

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Barbareño restaurant at 205 West Canon Perdido Street, which has historically been closed on Tuesdays, has updated their hours. “We’re happy to share that we will now be open for dinner service on Tuesdays!,” says owner and General Manager Jesse Gaddy. “Join us from 5-9 pm for all your Barbareño favorites.”

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Every dad and grad will have a complimentary beer from Santa Barbara’s own Validation Ale with dinner at The Lark restaurant, 131 Anacapa Street. Chef Jason Paluska’s Father’s Day Dinner Specials include West Coast Oysters on the Half Shell with Old Bay cocktail sauce, lime-shallot mignonette & saltines; Creekstone 21 Day Dry-Aged Ribeye Platter with smoked baked potato, roasted summer peppers, red wine salt & beef tallow jus; and a decadent dessert just for Dad – The Elvis Ice Cream Sundae with malted banana ice cream, candied bacon, peanut butter mousse & honey. This is available for dinner only.

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Reader Primetime says that the Cold Spring Tavern won’t be serving dinner this summer:

Changes are coming up above Santa Barbara for the iconic Cold Spring Tavern. The Tavern says – -new summer hours!! We will be extending our restaurant lunch hours Friday and Saturday until 5:00. Due to staffing challenges, we will not be open for dinner this summer.

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Here is an update from reader Primetime:

At just 200 square feet, Sushi Go Go in the Santa Barbara Harbor has one of the smallest restaurants sites in Santa Barbara. It was closed for six months for remodeling and has just reopened. It can get busy, fast, with a line out the door from the tiny lobby.

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Reader Derek let me know that a car plowed into a western Goleta 7-Eleven and added the commentary: “I remember when it happened TWICE in the same year to a 7-11 on Upper State! Maybe 15 years ago. Finally the 7-11 abandoned that location. Think it is a pool supply place now.”


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Her is an inquiry from reader M.D:

Heard a rumor that McConnell’s Ice Cream is opening in Five Points next to Little Alex’s. Any truth to this? Thank you.

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Here is a press release from Carpinteria for you:

We’re pleased to announce that Little Dom’s Seafood, a top locally-sourced seafood destination in Carpinteria, will bring back its annual Summer BBQ Series on Saturday, June 8 from 12pm – 4pm

Throughout the series, Little Dom’s Seafood’s co-owner, executive chef and grill expert, Brandon Boudet, pays homage to the regional culinary tradition of Santa Maria-style barbecue with a menu of locally sourced seafood, meat, and veggie dishes, including:

  • BBQ Oysters ($5 each)
  • 1/2 Grilled Artichoke ($7)
  • Roasted Corn w/ Basil and Parmesan ($7)
  • Calabrese Chicken Wings ($14)
  • Tri Tip Sandwich w/ shredded cabbage, pickled green tomato & Saba BBQ Sauce ($17)
  • Maine Lobster Roll w/ Butter on Brioche & Salsa Verde($27)

Taking place in our breezy outdoor parking lot lined with picnic tables, this series gives guests the opportunity to enjoy the restaurant’s special BBQ menu alongside a selection of beer, wine, and cocktails for a quintessential California BBQ experience, all summer long.

Little Dom’s Seafood’s Summer BBQ Series will take place the second Saturday of each month from Saturday, June 8through Labor Day weekend (June 8, July 13, August 10, and September 14).

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Reader IMissRexOfSB says that realtor Caitlin Hensel has posted news that two restaurants are coming to The Post, a re-imagined business complex next to the bird refuge. They are Jemma di Mare (Italian American Seafood) and a new restaurant from the founders of Loreto (modern Mexican).

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This just in from 18 West Figueroa Street:

Hi John, this is Filippo, the owner at Norton’s Pastrami & Deli. This year we’re celebrating 20 years in business. As an appreciation to our amazing Santa Barbara community we will offer 20% OFF on all sandwiches on Saturday June 1st 2024 (online for pickup and in-store orders only).

Filippo – Norton’s Deli


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Here is some Isla Vista news from reader Brendan:

Isla Vista stalwart Rosarito closed a few months ago, and now a sign is up for something called “Teddy Rice”.  It looks like they’re redoing the interior.


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Reader Primetime tells me that one of the oldest restaurants in Santa Barbara, Arnoldi’s Café, which was founded by Giuseppe and Ilda Arnold in 1937, at 421 East Cota Street, has closed after the death of co-owner David Peri. The closure might be temporary.

In 1940, Giuseppe (Joe) quarried local stone and built the present restaurant at 600 Olive Street. Since then, Arnoldi’s, with the bocce ball courts in the garden, has been entertaining Santa Barbarans and visitors from all over the world.

Arnoldi’s has hosted orchestras and dancers since the 1940’s. The mural depicts Logo di Como. Bucky, the Tule Elk, overlooking the bar joined Arnoldi’s following Joe’s 1958 hunting trip to Colorado. The owners of Arnoldi’s Café, Jim and Dede Nonn, Dave and Kitty Peri, and Carol Smagala, were able to preserve the valued traditions of Arnoldi’s Café for decades.

Here is a message to you from the beloved eatery:

It is with great sadness that we announce the temporary closure of Arnoldi’s Cafe as we have known it the last 22 years. The current business owners will be stepping away from the business and have so much gratitude for being a part of the historical and legendary institution that has brought so many people memories since the 1940s.

Being a part of the history and the tradition of the cafe including countless plates of pasta coming out of the kitchen, the chatter of teams on the bocce court, and  special moments – rehearsal dinners,  graduations, weddings,  birthdays or just a Friday night dinner – has meant so much to us. We want to thank our incredible staff,  our valued customers and the community of Santa Barbara. We are confident the tradition will continue forward but for the time being while we transition to new beginnings, the cafe will be closed.

Photo by The Restaurant Guy

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Reader Jennifer M. let me know that Trattoria Vittoria, which opened at 30 East Victoria Street in March 2007, is closing. A sign on the window reads:

Trattoria Vittoria Closed. Last days Fri/Sat. Unfortunately, we are closing down and unable to open tonight. We will be open Friday and Saturday, 5/17 and 5/18, from 5:00-10:00pm for our last dinner services with a limited menu. Reservations are available on OpenTable. We hope you will join us to say goodbye!

Photo by Jennifer M.

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Reader Brendan tells me that that Jamba Juice on the UCSB campus next to the bookstore closed a few months ago.

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Even though their grand opening was just last August, I received news from reader Brendan that things didn’t go well at Social Eats:

I noticed Social Eats at 6521 Pardall Road in Isla Vista seemed to be closed every time I passed by recently. Apparently it closed some time ago after just a few months in business:

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Cuyama Buckhorn at 4923 Primero Street in New Cuyama is having a wine dinner series in June, August, and October. Visit

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Here is a press-release from Fess Parker Winery and Vineyard:

Saturday, June 15 ~ 6:00pm
Join us on June 15th for an exclusive dinner in the winery fireplace room with Nik and Ashley Ramirez from Na Na Thai and special guest Third Window Brewing. We will have a fabulous multi course dinner of Na Na Thai cuisine paired with Fess Parker wines. As a special treat, one course will be paired with a Pilsner from Third Window Brewing made with Fess Parker Home Ranch barley.

Nik and Ashley Ramirez lived in Bangkok, Thailand for 4 years and had both their children while living in the bustling city. The name, Na Na Thai, comes from the street they lived on – Sukhimvit Soi 4, also known as Soi Na Na. All the while, they were captivated by the intense flavors of the city’s street food. In June of 2022, they began a series of weekly Na Na Thai pop-ups at Bar Le Côte in Los Olivos. Now, with a permanent outpost in Buellton, Nik and Ashley finally get to work together again.

Only 40 seats are available for this dinner. We hope to see you there. $150 per Wine Club Member, $180 PER PERSON

Buy tickets here

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For details and reservations visit

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STICA, the newest Santa Ynez Valley dining concept from the team behind S.Y. Kitchen and Nella Kitchen & Bar, and part of Toscana Restaurant Group, is slated to open in the town of Santa Ynez, California, summer of 2024.

Located at 3563 Numancia Street, just steps from sibling, S.Y. Kitchen, STICA will serve as a grab-and-go, counter-service eatery and market meant as a laid-back, casual meal option or for stocking up on wine country snacks. The space will offer freshly-prepared salads to-go, as well as pre-made sandwiches, fresh pastas and sauces, and other assorted market goods. STICA will also feature Roman pinsas, which will be offered by the slice or as a create-your-own pinsa board, available warmed at the shop, or prepared to be heated at home. STICA will also stock boutique wines from Italy, the U.S., and around the globe, with a focus on hard-to-find labels and everyday wines with lower price-points.

“With STICA, we wanted to take a step back from S.Y. Kitchen’s slightly more-formal setting. The eatery will feature fun, unfussy offerings, a nonchalant attitude with a little bit of an urban edge,” said owner/partner, Chef Luca Crestanelli, also owner/partner and executive chef of now-11-year-old S.Y. Kitchen and Nella Kitchen & Bar, which opened in 2020 in the nearby Santa Barbara wine country town of Los Olivos.

STICA joins the Toscana Restaurant Group family which now includes S.Y. Kitchen, Nella Kitchen and Bar, Nerano in Beverly Hills, Bar Toscana and Toscana in Brentwood, the latter of which celebrated its 35th anniversary in April 2024.

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Here is a press-release from Acme Hospitality, owners of The Lark, La Paloma Cafe, and other local eateries:

Acme Hospitality, renowned for its distinctive restaurants and hotels across California, proudly unveils its latest endeavor, La Vaquera. Positioned as an elevated dining destination, La Vaquera is poised to anchor the innovative River Street Marketplace, scheduled to debut in summer of 2024.

Nestled in the heart of San Juan Capistrano within the historic Los Rios District, La Vaquera pays homage to the region’s rich heritage, drawing inspiration from the original Californio ranchero lifestyle. Its meticulously curated menu reflects the essence of San Juan Capistrano, capturing its local terrain and the diverse tapestry of individuals who have called it home throughout the ages.

Serving as the cornerstone of River Street Marketplace, developed by Almquist and envisioned as a lifestyle hub nestled within the district’s storied past, La Vaquera promises an unforgettable dining experience. Designed by Doug Washington Design, acclaimed for crafting stunning interiors for some of Acme Hospitality’s other establishments, the restaurant offers seating for 125 patrons, including seating on the beautifully landscaped outdoor patio.

At the culinary helm is Executive Chef Aaron Zimmer, whose innovative vision brings to life an approachable Californio ranchero menu. Infused with the flavors of the region, the menu showcases wood-fired delights and a steakhouse-inspired array of dishes, complemented by an array of comforting sides, offering guests a casual yet refined dining experience. Drawing from the talent pool of Acme Hospitality’s acclaimed establishments such as Loquita and The Lark in Santa Barbara, the opening team ensures seamless service from kitchen to table.

Echoing the spirit of the adventurous cowgirl, La Vaquera embodies authenticity and originality, celebrating the essence of Californio ranchero cuisine. Embracing locally-sourced ingredients and highlighting the bounty of the region, the restaurant invites guests on a culinary journey steeped in tradition and innovation. Menu specialties include Masami Ranch American Wagyu New York Strip with housemade Barbacoa sauce; Yellowfin Tuna Aguachile with strawberry and mezcal; Grilled Spanish Octopus with scarlet runner beans and charred spring onion; and Roasted Heirloom Beets with whipped queso fresco, citrus and epazote. Creative cocktails and a curated wine list featuring the finest in California and New World selections will be offered to pair with the creative cuisine.

Designer Doug Washington shares his inspiration, remarking, “La Vaquera serves as a beacon within the new River Street Marketplace, offering guests a sanctuary where they can savor moments of connection amidst the vibrant atmosphere. Our aim was to create an oasis where patrons can unwind and indulge, whether seeking a casual bite or a memorable dining experience on the patio.”

“La Vaquera celebrates the rich diversity of the farms and ranches of Orange County while honoring the time-tested culinary traditions of the original California rancheros. La Vaquera is a place for everyone to gather around the table in a lively and convivial atmosphere with gracious service and delicious food and cocktails,” comments Sherry Villanueva, Founder and Managing Partner for Acme Hospitality.

Follow La Vaquera on Instagram for the latest updates and more information.

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The Santa Barbara Zoo has announced the return of Zoo Brew, the annual fundraiser that caters to beer and zoo lovers alike. Zoo Brew will take place on Saturday, June 1 from 4-7 p.m., with a VIP hour from 3-4 p.m. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased online at Guests are in for a “wild” day of sipping on a whole herd of beverages and interacting with the local brewers who crafted them, all while taking in the Zoo’s hilltop ocean view. VIP ticket holders will also enjoy early entry, and appetizers. This year’s event features 20+ beverage makers from California, including beer, cider, hard seltzer, wine, and more. Pub food, non-alcoholic beverages, and merchandise are also available for purchase. General admission tickets are $75 per person and include unlimited beer tastings and one Zoo Brew 2024 commemorative tasting cup. VIP tickets are $110. All proceeds benefit the animals at the Santa Barbara Zoo. For ages 21+ only.

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On Wednesday, May 22, Peasants Deli in Solvang with collaborate with Bettina Pizzeria of Montecito on a special sandwich pop-up. From 11 a.m. until sold out, Peasants Deli at 473 Atterdag Road will feature two special items plus a limited deli menu. Expect meatball sandwiches (Bettina’s meatballs on the deli’s sesame French rolls), and muffulettas on Bettina’s focaccia, stuffed with the Peasants Deli’s sliced meats and fixings. A muffuletta consists of a halved muffuletta loaf with deli meats (usually salami, ham, and mortadella) and olive spread.

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In April I broke the news that Cagami Ramen, a popular restaurant in Camarillo that serves authentic Japanese Ramen Noodle, is planning to open a location in Goleta. Sources recently told me the exact address but I have been asked to hold off announcing the location for the next month but I can say it is very near Smart & Final. Their food is authentic, homemade, and made in the Hatka style. It will be open 7 days a week from 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. Visit

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Reader Peter B. sent me this message about a new Summerland food option opening just to the left side of The Nugget. “Construction and landscaping have been going on for several weeks as the new ‘White Caps’ dining area is preparing to open.  Don’t know how soon. It’s looking very nice.  Probably will do away with their parklet once it opens.” Reader IMissRexOfSB adds that dining will be offered using a food truck with seafood, wine, and more.

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Here is a message from Pascucci at 509 State Street:

Hi John,
Looking forward to the upcoming Mother’s Day weekend, to celebrate our amazing Moms, Pascucci will be offering our fresh tangerine mimosas again this year for $5 all day on Mother’s Day!

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Order mom a slice of love this Mother’s Day. Surprise her with a Rusty’s Heart-Shaped Pizza (created from a large pizza). “Available May 10th – 12th for $29.95, it’s the perfect blend of flavor and affection,” says the legendary local eatery. “She’ll feel the love in each and every savory bite.” Order online at or call 805-564-1111.

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San Ysidro Ranch’s Mother’s Day Champagne Brunch will be hosted at their acclaimed Stonehouse Restaurant. “Artfully prepared by Executive Chef Matt Johnson, Chef de Cuisine Cory Hannon, and Pastry Chef Yannick Dumonceau, this three-course brunch will be complemented by the ranch’s revered five-star service and lavish ambiance,” says the iconic resort. “This time of the year, fragrant lavender, rose, citrus and rosemary gardens bloom under canopies of sycamore and eucalyptus with sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean and Channel Islands.”

On May 12th, from 10 a.m-2 p.m., toast to Mom with bottomless Champagne, mimosas, Ty Bellinis, or fresh juices while enjoying a basket of house-made baked goods. Starters include Citrus Cured Arctic Char, King Crab and Spinach Agnolotti, Spring Asparagus Salad, and Farmer’s Market Carrot Soup. Entrée selections include Snake River Farms Wagyu New York, Crispy Confit Duck Leg, Citrus-Cured Ora King Salmon Benedict, and Alaskan Halibut. The meal concludes with a dessert buffet. Cost: $205/per person. Reservations can be made by calling (805) 565-1720.

View the menu

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This just in from Crista Fleming, owner of Scarlett Begonia restaurant at 21 West Victoria Street:

Hi John,

Here is Scarlett Begonia’s Mother’s Day brunch information!

Treat the mom in your life to a beautiful 3-course brunch at Scarlett Begonia. Start with a pastry basket including a Yukon gold cinnamon roll, maple bacon and buttermilk biscuit, jam and butter. Followed by the second course where you can select from shrimp cocktail with house made cocktail sauce, avocado toast, organic deviled eggs, a kale Caesar salad and more. Finally, conclude your meal by selecting your third and main course ranging from a lemon ricotta pancakes to steak and eggs. $95 per person $45 for kids under 12yrs

Book at:

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Hi John –

Enjoy your newsletter. Is there any arcade business or eating establishment that has pinball machines in SB/Goleta area? The former Zodo’s does not and I can’ find any places in a quick search but I thought I’d ask you. Oddly my hometown of Monterey Peninsula with a smaller population has a few businesses with pinball but I don’t see any here.

Thanks for your feedback!


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