The Visitors Guide, home to The Restaurant Guy blog,  turns 25 years old in 2020. To mark the silver anniversary of the guide, which debuted in 1995, before Google or Yelp were born,  I  released a new website today. The blog is mostly the same (if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it) except that it is now optimized for mobile. There is some funkiness in the desktop version of the reader comments but that will eventually clear up.

Participating restaurants are now featured on the Dining Guide home page and every page in the Dining Guide. The featured eateries also appear on the Dining menu throughout the site (thousands of pages). If you own or manage a food-related business and want it to be featured in the new Santa Barbara Restaurant Guide let me know.



After a holiday transition to new ownership, the Paradise Cafe at 702 Anacapa Street reopened. Reader Primetime has sent me a copy of their new menu.



This just in from Neighbor Tim’s BBQ:


Beginning of the 2020 new year, Neighbor Tim’s BBQ, has launched a daily evening BBQ service we have appropriately named Smoked Meats for Supper.

Smoked Meats for Supper is designed for those that crave genuine Texas style BBQ and traditional BBQ sides.  These guests can now get their smoked Texas brisket, Carolina pulled pork, and dry rubbed baby back ribs with Mac-n-Cheese fix by  ordering online  Tuesday – Sunday from 5:00pm – 8:00pm for delivery or pick up.

We do not have a conventional store front with seating due to the many and obvious high financial hurdles so next best thing is to offer an online order only program with delivery through Grubhub & Santa Barbara local business Restaurant Connection.

In addition, with ordering online you can select Order – Pick Up  to choose your pick up day & time and we’ll have it ready at our commissary near the Santa Barbara Airport.

Here is the link with full details for anyone that is craving Neighbor Tim’s Smoked Meats & Traditional Sides:

Keep Eating!

Neighbor Tim

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Nearly a decade after opening the first of what quickly became three locations, the Ventura County-based Brendan’s Irish Pub & Restaurant chain greeted 2020 by closing its final two final locations in Camarillo and Newbury Park. The restaurant was owned by software entrepreneur Jonathan Siegel and named for then-partner Brendan Searls who departed years ago. Locally, Searls opened Mizza Artisan Pizza & Italian Cuisine in 2018 and Eleven14 Craft House and Kitchen last September. Both are in La Arcada at 1114 State Street and open for business as usual. Thanks to reader Primetime for the tip.

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Readers Primetime and C.H. tells me that Wine Cask/Intermezzo at 813 Anacapa Street has a new owner, John O’Neill, who started Elements Restaurant & Bar.

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This just in from reader Yann:

“Restaurant Guy, Please tell us what happened to Tamira! All I got from their neighbors is that it was a very sudden closure. I will miss them so much. Remy and his crew cooked up hands down the best Indian food in town, no matter what the reader’s popularity poll said. I hope everyone at Tamira is OK, and that their business will be reborn if it is their wish…”

Yelp is also reporting the closure of the restaurant which was located at 1027 State Street. Tamira opened in October 2013.

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Reader Peter tells me that Due Lune at 1 State Street (gotta love that address) has closed. They opened in August 2018. The Italian eatery was the sister restaurant to Tres Lune in Montecito and was brought to you by the Montesano Group which also includes Lucky’s Steakhouse, Joe’s Café, and D’Angelo Bakery.



Reader Josh let me know that Sup & Jus at 7060 Hollister Avenue in Goleta, which is the sister restaurant to Kyle’s Kitchen, has closed after a year in business. Here is a message from management:

“Coming Soon: The Kyle’s team is hard at work finalizing its new concept, slated to open later this month. Until then, we are sorry to report that Sup & Jus will no longer be.  The new concept will take the best parts of Sup & Jus (including great soups), and add an exciting twist. Stay tuned!  Follow Kyle’s Instagram and make sure to subscribe to our email newsletter.  We will share updates all month long! We are so excited for this new chapter, and think you will be too! – The Kyle’s Kitchen Team”

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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:

  • Bristol Farms, 3855 State St. (formerly Vons at La Cumbre Plaza)
  • Ca’ Dario, 1187 Coast Village Rd., Montecito (formerly Giovanni’s)
  • Dave’s Drip House (ice cream), 193 S. Turnpike Rd. (near Vons)
  • Dean Coffee, 6100-1 Hollister Ave., Goleta (next to Direct Relief)
  • Joie Di Vino, 532 State St. (formerly Zia Café)
  • La Sirena, 1118 E. Cabrillo Blvd., (formerly East Beach Grill)
  • Leadbetter, 23 E. Cabrillo Blvd (formerly Wheel Fun and L.T. Cinnamon)
  • Little Dom’s Seafood, 686 Linden Ave., Carpinteria (formerly Sly’s)
  • Mangione’s Italian Ice, 1222 State St. (formerly Spoon)
  • Mesa Brew, 1905 Cliff Dr. (formerly Giovanni’s Pizza)
  • Mesa Burger, 1209 Coast Village Rd., Montecito (formerly Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf)
  • M. Special, 634 State St. (formerly Tonic)
  • Red Pepper Chinese, 282 Orange Ave., Goleta (rumors suggest that it might be reopening)
  • Rincon Brewery, 205 Santa Barbara St. #B (formerly Laplace Wine Bar & Shop)
  • Rusty’s Pizza, 2315 Lillie Ave., Summerland (formerly Stacky’s Seaside)
  • Sprouts, 29 S. Milpas St. (formerly Trader Joe’s which moved up the street)
  • Taqueria Santa Barbara, 1213 State St. (formerly Jersey Mike’s)
  • 7-Eleven, 700 State St. (formerly Panera Bread and Left at Albuquerque)
  • Unnamed, 129 E. Anapamu St. (formerly The Little Door)
  • Unnamed French Bakery, 34 E. Canon Perdido St. (formerly Miso Hungry  and Sojourner Cafe)


My foodie duties for the year wouldn’t be complete without summarizing activity at food & drink destinations on the South Coast. In 2019 there were 47 openings and 35 closings. The most openings were in April and September (tied with 6) while the most closings were in October (7).

OPENINGS: American (8), Chinese (6), Mexican (6), Japanese (5), Coffee (4), Bakery (2), Californian (2), Dessert (2), Indian (2), Italian (2), BBQ (1), Burger (1), Caribbean (1), Cuban (1), Deli (1), Hot Dog (1), Korean (1), Peruvian (1), and Vegetarian (1).

CLOSINGS: American (8), Chinese (5), Pizza (5), Mexican (4), Coffee (2), Deli (2), Bakery (1), BBQ (1), Dessert (1), French (1), German (1), Italian (1), Japanese (1), Steakhouse (1), and Thai (1).

FLASH IN THE PAN: Eateries that both opened and closed in 2019: Alito’s, 509 State Street (4 months) and Soul Cal Smokehouse, 38 West Victoria Street (10 months)

ON THE MOVE: Yume Sushi moved from 428 Chapala Street to 1134 Chapala Street and Ike’s Love & Sandwiches switched addresses from 6530 Seville Road in Isla Vista to 1936 State Street.

FALLEN ICONS: We lost three long-time restaurants (20+ years in business): Ming Dynasty, 290 Storke Rd., Goleta; Senor Frogs, 892 Linden Ave., Carpinteria; and Red Pepper Restaurant, 282 Orange Ave., Goleta. Rumors abound that Red Pepper might reopen.

ALWAYS REMEMBERED: The Palace Grill‘s popular General Manager and always-smiling face at the front door Errol E. Williams died at age 67 in June after a very brief battle with cancer, Williams had been with the eatery for decades. The beloved and talented chef James Sly had a stroke in August and passed away at age 67. Sly, a Santa Barbara icon, operated with his wife Annie, Sly’s restaurant in Carpinteria from 2008 to 2018. Before that Sly was a chef at the El Encanto and the founding chef at Lucky’s in Montecito.

MOST READ STORIES: Based on the analytics from The Restaurant Guy blog at, here are the top-ten most read stories of the year:

  1. Impossible Burger Debuts At Islands Restaurant
  2. La Cocina Mexican Restaurant Opens Downtown
  3. Vicenta’s Closes
  4. Bough-Ing Out?
  5. The ’80s Called. They Want Their Restaurants Back
  6. Pizza Mizza Is Now Mizza Pizza
  7. Two New Mesa Burgers?
  8. The Space Formerly Known As Outback Update
  9. Soul Cal Smokehouse Closes
  10. Flor De Maiz Brings Oaxacan Cuisine To The Waterfront

MOST TALKED ABOUT STORIES: Based on the number of comments in The Restaurant Guy blog, the top-five most talked about stories in 2019 were:

  1. Bough-Ing Out?” – A reader said that their reservations were canceled suddenly, just hours before dinner, at The Silver Bough restaurant inside the Montecito Inn which was the highest price restaurant in town at $550 per person.
  2. Soul Cal Smokehouse Closes” – Chef Justin West’s BBQ spot in the SB Public Market ended a 10 month run.
  3. Joie Di Vino Coming To State” – A single sentence about a alcohol permit application sign appearing at 532 State Street (formerly Zia Café) resulted in a cascade of comments, mostly about the name of the incoming business.
  4. Vicenta’s Closes” – Discussions focused on this location in Camino Real Marketplace being cursed and popular sister restaurant Los Agaves.
  5. Downsizing In Montecito” – The Montecito Inn again struck a nerve as Chefs Phillip Frankland Lee and Margarita Kallas-Lee closed The Monarch and The Silver Bough and retained Sushi|Bar.