Here is a hot tip from reader Steve H.:

It looks like Lighthouse Coffee from the Mesa is taking over the former Breakfast at 711 Chapala. New sign painted on wall.

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This just in from owner Laura Knight:

Hi John,

Thank you for all you do. You are our biggest source for  keeping our community updated on the latest restaurant news.

I’m excited to let you know, that Pascucci  has just opened tonight (with a very soft opening) in our new location, after 26 years in Paseo Nuevo (21  in our old space , and 5 years in a small space behind Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf ). We are now 2 blocks closer to the beach located at 509 State Street, right a cross from Holdren’s and Natural Café,  in the former home of Cadiz. Its a great space, in a very vibrant block, it has a lot of similarities to our old space, brick walls, a sheltered recessed patio, a beautiful long marble bar and arches.

We are paring our menu down a little, and STARTING NEXT WEEK we will be staying open later with a small late night menu, with a few new fun items not on our regular menu, and, a local favorite, McConnell’s ice cream!

We are participating in Santa Barbara Restaurant Week again this year,  and will be offering a pre-fixe 3 course  menu for $25 per person! Hope to see you soon at the new location!

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Reader Larry let me know that Lilsey’s Wood-Fired Pizza at 2840 De la Vina Street recently changed ownership and is now known as Santa Barbara Wood-Fired Pizza. I called the eatery and they said the menu has not changed. From 2011 – 2018 the restaurant was known as Nicky D’s Wood-Fired Pizza.



This just in from local wine icon Bob Wesley:

Dear readers,

While I normally scoff at the use of stock photos like the glossy, staged one above, I’m breaking my own rule today. I’d send some images of the the interior of the store, but it’s in a transitional phase and not especially snapshot-worthy right now. It’s like me without my morning coffee and hair mousse. Well, maybe not that bad…

Yes, I’m extremely pleased to announce that the wine shop formerly known as Savoy is undergoing a stunning renaissance that would make Michelangelo jealous, though he’s not involved in the interior painting. His rates were too high, so we hired a local fella named Mark and his crew to refresh the walls and ceiling, all in anticipation of the arrival on the Santa Barbara scene of Meritage Wine Market!

It rhymes with heritage…

I’ll once again be at the vino-slinging helm, operating the establishment under the ownership of two locally-connected wine industry veterans: Dustin Cano and Dave Wiegel, proprietors of the longstanding and highly regarded Meritage Wine Market in Encinitas, down San Diego way. Who wouldn’t want an additional store up the coast in beautiful Santa Barbara? I’m just glad to be part of the team!

Their fervor and experience will result in a vinous emporium filled with an enticing array, one that runs the gamut from superb values to collectible extravagances. Of course, there’ll be an abundance of wondrous selections from our own backyard.

We plan on unlocking the doors on March 3rd, with a grand opening scheduled for March 7th. Dave and Dustin will be here to greet all of the thirsty Santa Barbarians who make the trek over to the shop, and please stay tuned for a surprise or two that will certainly dazzle the palate as we march towards the big day.

We’ll be in touch periodically as the launch date gets closer. Thank you for your exceptional past support and we look forward to seeing you again shortly!

Bob Wesley, Dustin Cano and Dave Wiegel
Meritage Wine Market
18 West Anapamu Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101



Attention foodies, get your forks ready for Santa Barbara Restaurant Week. This tasty two-week event provides an excellent opportunity for locals and visitors to celebrate Santa Barbara’s flourishing culinary scene.  Santa Barbara Restaurant Week, presented by Jordano’s Foodservice & Pacific Beverage Co., runs from February 21 – March 6, 2020.

Dine at the area’s best establishments for a great price. Relax in exquisite accommodations by the ocean or in the glistening hills of the American Riviera, and take a trip to wine country right in downtown Santa Barbara.

Enjoy three-course prix fixe dinner menu options for $25, $35 and $45.

Proceeds from the event will be donated to ProStart, a two-year culinary arts and hospitality management program supported and managed by the California Restaurant Association Foundation (CRAF). 140 public high schools in California (including our own San Marcos High School) use this curriculum and it reaches over 13,500 students every year. ProStart truly changes lives through hands-on restaurant experience.

It All Started in New York Back in 1992. The brainchild of Restaurant Week was first started by Tim Zagat and Joe Baum in NYC. Initially, they were only offering it as a lunch option during the National Democratic Convention. It was such a success in the first year that it became a 4-week foodie phenomenon. Today, there are Restaurant Weeks all around the world. Having over 450 restaurants in Santa Barbara, there was no reason not to bring this opportunity to our beautiful city.

Visit for a complete list of participating vendors.

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Tuesday nights are for the locals at Lama Dog and The Nook. Now happening every week beginning at 6:00 pm, locals can take advantage of 15% off draft beer and wine on tap at Lama Dog, as well as 15% off the entire Nook menu. Lama Dog offers 20 revolving craft beers and wine on tap while The Nook, located within Lama Dog, offers  favorites like burgers, tacos, sandwiches, and small snacks. Lama Dog is located at 116 Santa Barbara Street, in the Funk Zone and is open Sunday – Thursday, 11:30 am – 10:00 pm, and Friday and Saturday, 11:30 am – midnight. Visit

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On February 27th, Rosewood Miramar Beach will present its inaugural Vintner Dinner in partnership with Guigal Winery hailing from the legendary Rhône region of France.  Patrick Will of Vintus Wines will represent Philippe and Eve Guigal, the family’s third generation of winemakers, to carry on founder Etienne’s enduring legacy.  Together with Executive Chef Massimo Falsini and Wine Director Daniel Fish, Patrick will pour a selection of white, rosé and rare red wines from the famed Guigal Estate, served in the resort’s elegant Founder’s Dining Room.  The evening will begin with a welcome reception on the private outdoor terrace followed by a sumptuous six-course dinner menu designed to delight the senses and complement the distinct tasting notes of each vintage.  The event will mark the first of six Vintner Dinners offered throughout the year, with each showcasing a prestigious winemaker or vineyard.  $240 per person excluding taxes and fees. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit Advance ticket purchase required.



Reader Mary reports on good authority that Scarlett Begonia in Victoria Court is moving to 21 West Victoria Street (next to the New Vic theater), which is the former home of Locavore Kitchen,  The Nugget, Arlington Tavern, Hobnob Tavern, and Epiphany Restaurant & Bar. I spoke with Scarlett Begonia and they said they will remain open in their Victoria Court location until the move occurs, which is planned for May.



This just in from local icon Chef Michael Hutchings:

Hi John,

I thought this might be of interest to you and your readers. Many thanks. This blog is for all those who have worked with or for me over the last forty years in Santa Barbara.

I have had the pleasure of living and working in Santa Barbara since July of 1981. During that time I have managed kitchens at the Olive Mill Bistro (1981-1994), my restaurant Michael’s Waterside (1984-1993), The Santa Barbara Polo Club (1992-1995), the Burnham Wood Golf Club (2001-2003) and Michael’s Catering (2003-2020).

I cannot begin to calculate how many people I have cooked for, most likely in the hundreds of thousands. From countless restaurant meals to cocktail receptions, gala dinners, private cooking classes, charitable donations, the numbers are immense.

One important, that is, very important part of my success I have enjoyed in Santa Barbara, is the thousands of servers, buses, cashiers, hostesses, dishwashers, cooks, and chefs who have worked beside me over these forty-some years. Besides the millions in payroll, there remains a legacy of people imbued with the vision of quality cuisine and service.

I want to extend my deepest thanks to those who have labored with me serving the citizens in Santa Barbara. I am retiring now and moving to Charleston, South Carolina. No doubt I will still be cooking, learning and enjoying a profession that has been very engaging for some fifty years.

A heartfelt thanks to all those who have been part of the journey.

Merci, Chef Michael Hutchings



Reader Annie says she drove by Sunshine Cafe at 3514 State Street early evening last week and all was dark and asked if they have discontinued providing dinner service. I checked their web site and confirmed that they serve breakfast and lunch, and are open daily 7:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.