Sear Steakhouse will open its doors March 10, bringing proprietary farm-sourced dining to the center of downtown Solvang. The new full-service restaurant and bar, transformed from the existing K’Syrah Catering and Events Solvang space, represents the third Santa Ynez Valley hospitality business for owners Demetri and Karen Loizides, the duo behind aforementioned K’Syrah Catering & Events, and the fabled Maverick Saloon. Sear Steakhouse marks the second Santa Barbara wine country business for partner and General Manager, Alberto Battaglini, who also co-owns and operates Santa Ynez coffee shop, Pony Espresso.
Sear Steakhouse will source ingredients for its food and drinks menus from the restaurant team’s own-farmed, organic agricultural properties, Sear Farm and Roblar Farm, both minutes away from the restaurant’s location. Farmed by hand and purposefully-populated with 100+ varieties of vegetables, fruits, and herbs meant specifically for their restaurant and catering businesses, Sear Farm sits on the Loizides’ Santa Ynez Valley land, where the family has resided since 2011. Stocking the protein portions of the Sear Steakhouse menus will be a single-sourced Colorado farm, USDA Prime and Choice beef from neighboring ranches, and the freshest seafood from local waters.
Classic steakhouse dishes done with fresh-from-the-farm flair will take shape in appetizers such as seared tenderloin with ginger garlic ponzu and microgreens, or sushi-grade, beet-cured salmon, with ensuing seasonal soups and hand-harvested salad renditions. The “meat” of the menu will feature familiar cuts of beef like filet mignon, New York, ribeye, or bone-in tomahawk. Comforting yet decadent entrée complements will include indulgences like lobster tail or truffle butter, and localized treats such as sautéed wild mushrooms.
Helming the Sear Steakhouse kitchen is Vancouver, Washington native, Executive Chef Erik Dandee. Chef Erik brings to the table nearly two decades of restaurant experience, coincidentally kick-started as a dishwasher at a family-owned steakhouse. Chef Erik attended culinary school at Vancouver’s International Air and Hospitality Academy, and Scottsdale Culinary Institute, which led to restaurant careers in various locales, among them Portland and Palm Springs, at hospitality greats like the now-shuttered Wolfgang Puck Kitchen + Bar, and at Birba, the onsite restaurant at the boutique Alcazar Hotel. In early 2019, Chef Erik competed on Food Network Canada’s Fire Masters which is appropriately, a grilling talent competition show.
Sear Steakhouse will accommodate approximately 150 diners once indoor dining rejoins the current outdoor dining. Upon opening, two outdoor areas, covered front and back patios, will seat guests with all COVID-19 safety and sanitation measures in place. A private, hidden dining room will accommodate up to 14 guests, and will feature a specific tasting menu. Once events are able to resume, the restaurant and bar will be available for private parties and catering, in part or in whole, with dedicated event and tasting menus.
Sear Steakhouse is located at 478 4th Place at the corner of Copenhagen Drive. The restaurant’s initial opening hours will be Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, 5-9 pm; Friday and Saturday, 4- 10 pm; Sunday, 4-9 pm. Call (805) 245-9564 or visit searsteakhouse.com.
Lompoc Valley’s Restaurant Week has begun and runs through Sunday, February 28. The area is once again showing off some tempting eats and drinks during the annual event hosted by The Lompoc Valley Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau. Local restaurants are more than a little anxious to get back to some semi-normal celebration of food and drink.
“This year, more than ever, we are looking forward to Restaurant Week and supporting our local restaurants and wineries,” says Amber Wilson, President and CEO of the Lompoc Valley Chamber of Commerce. “We are hopeful the community will come out in full force and get a taste of what Lompoc has to offer.”
Lompoc Valley Restaurant Week is an opportunity to support local business by trying new restaurants and wineries throughout the Lompoc Valley. Dining patrons can enjoy a prix-fixe meal, a two-for-one dining option, or a pairing at participating restaurants and tasting rooms for only $20.21 (plus tax and tip).
Gift certificates collected from participating restaurants & wineries will be raffled off to diners who ordered a Restaurant Week Special! To enter, diners can save their receipt from each Restaurant Week menu item and email, mail, or drop a copy through the mail slot at the Chamber office by March 5, 2021.
To see participating businesses and view Restaurant Week special menus, visit https://bit.ly/3i9pp8i, call (805) 736-467
Reader Richard let me know that employees with Hibachi Steak House & Sushi Bar at 500 State Street have said that the restaurant will be closing its doors next week. I called the eatery and a representative tells me it is not 100% certain but it is likely that operations will cease shortly. The family owned restaurant served Santa Barbara for decades as Something’s Fishy and changed the name to Hibachi Steak House & Sushi Bar in February 2017. Before it moved to State Street the business was located inside Santa Barbara’s Piccadilly Square which was replaced by Paseo Nuevo in 1990.
Photos by The Restaurant Guy
There has been a mystery surrounding Dunkin’ Donuts on upper State Street that has finally been solved. The 4-year-old business announced a temporary closure around the time “COVID-19” became a household word yet never reopened when similar businesses did. Dunkin’ Donuts’ corporate website had continued to list the closure as temporary. This changed last week when our local outlet finally disappeared from the Dunkin’ database and a for-lease sign was posted on the property.
Panera Bread, Left At Albuquerque, and Ma Dolce Vita were all once located at 700 State Street. The property has been vacant since July 2015 and now reader Richard tells me that local entrepreneur Chris Chiarappa has applied for a liquor license and eating place permit for that address. In recent years Chiarappa has opened Corner Tap, Lighthouse Coffee, Mesa Burger, and M. Kitchen. A shared commercial kitchen on State Street and possibly an ice cream spot on the Mesa are also part of Chiarappa’s future plans.
Photos by The Restaurant Guy
Reader Annie read a post from commercial real estate agent Caitlin McCahill Hensel that says: “Not so fun fact: 1 in 6 retail storefronts are available on State Street. Even Starbucks is giving up its space on De La Guerra St.” The business is located at 800 State Street which was once the long-time home of Weston’s Camera.
Photo by The Restaurant Guy
In October 2017 I wrote that Copenhagen Sausage Garden of Solvang is opening a business location in the Funk Zone. The Copenhagen Sausage Garden is an outdoor beer garden located in the heart of Solvang and offers the famous danish Rød Pølse along with 11 family-made sausages from around the world. They also offer veggie sausages and 12 beers on tap.
More than four years later I am happy to tell you that the new business is finally showing signs of life and will be called “SB Biergarten.” It will be located on a new a rooftop patio being built at 11 Anacapa Street.
Reader Steve H. let me know that Wingstop has opened in La Cumbre Plaza at 3849 State Street, next to next to Chipotle. Wingstop began as a small buffalo-style chicken wing restaurant in Garland, Texas, in 1994, Wingstop has expanded to more than 1,500 restaurants open across the United States, Mexico, Colombia, Panama, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, UK and the United Arab Emirates. Reader Cris let me know that a sign for the fast-growing eatery has appeared in La Cumbre Plaza between See’s Candies and Chipotle.
“Our proprietary recipes, outstanding food and superior customer service created a demand that could only be satisfied by more locations,” says a message on the company’s website. “We’re not in the wing business. We’re in the flavor business. Wingstop is the destination when you crave fresh never faked wings, hand-cut seasoned fries and any of our famous sides. For people who demand flavor in everything they do, there’s only Wingstop – because it’s more than a meal, it’s a flavor experience.”
Tre Lune on Coast Village Road in Montecito is offering a special 4-course menu this Valentine’s Day featuring Burrata Caprese, Fresh burrata cheese, heirloom tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, basil; Ravioli All ‘Aragosta, a fresh, made-from-scratch lobster ravioli in a creamy saffron sauce, Filetto Alle Erbe, an 8 oz. prime beef tenderloin grilled with fresh herbs and served with vegetables, Vesuvia Al Ciocoolato, decadent warm chocolate cake with a mixed berries compote, all paired with Beau Joie Brut Champagne. The cost is $250 per couple; $175 per couple without Champagne. Open Daily 12p.m.-9p.m.
D’Angelo Bakery in downtown Santa Barbara, open 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., is offering a very special treat this Valentine’s Day – chocolate dipped strawberries. A 6-pack is $25. Pre-orders encouraged, but not essential
Jills Place usually is closed on Sunday’s but is open this VDay 4:30-8:30. Taking reservations 805 963-0378
Jill’s Place Restaurant
We wanted to let you know that we are taking pre-orders now for Valentines treats from Crushcakes! We are making special Valentines Cake Pops, Cookies, Cakes and Cupcakes. Our custom orders fill up by Friday so get yours in asap! Our Crushcakes in Goleta and Santa Barbara will be open all weekend but we do often sell out so call in soon!! xoxoxoxoxo
Shannon M. Gaston
The Elaine F. Stepanek Foundation Restaurant Fund announced a new grant program today to provide relief for small, independently-owned, dine-in restaurants during the ongoing pandemic. Small businesses in the City of Santa Barbara and the Santa Ynez Valley (including Los Alamos) are eligible to apply for grants up to $10,000.
“Our local restaurants are a vibrant and important part of our community,” said Dan Gainey, President of the Elaine F. Stepanek Foundation. “With this fund, we hope to give some of our small, independently owned restaurants which have been severely impacted by COVID-19 some financial assistance to support their basic needs in the short term when there are gaps in federal, state and local funding related to pandemic relief. We strongly believe that providing support to these businesses will benefit the entire community.”
The Elaine F. Stepanek Foundation Restaurant Fund is a committee advised fund at the Santa Barbara Foundation, which is working to provide additional relief to the community at large. The grant program application period opens on Thursday, February 4, and will close on Monday, February 22.
View the guidelines to learn more about the program and apply: https://www.sbfoundation.org/covid-19-business-community-resources/restaurant-grant-program/
Ca’ Dario restaurants are offering a 4 course $80 prix fixe menu at their 3 restaurant locations (also available for takeout/delivery). For details and a menu visit cadariorestaurants.com.
Ca’ Dario’s Lobster Ravioli. Courtesy photo.
La Paloma Cafe resumes outdoor dining for dinner on Thursday, February 11. You can also enjoy your favorite ranchero creations for lunch. Lunch is takeaway only with access to our patio for self-seating and includes pozole, fresh salads, and slow-cooked sides. Or experience brand new offerings like the Burnt Ends Brisket & Tri-Tip Bowl, BBQ Pork Burrito, and JT’s Chicken Caesar Wrap.
Rosewood Miramar Beach is celebrating love on the American Riviera with several Valentine’s Day offerings this year. Reconnect over an intimate six-course prix-fixe dinner for two at Caruso’s. For Valentine’s Day, the beachside oceanfront restaurant will offer fine wine, candlelight and captivating views. Enjoy chef Massimo Falsini’s six course menu ($325 for two adults) or his special Plant Based Menu ($250 for two adults).
You know Valentine’s Day is near when round pizzas suddenly become scarce. Rusty’s Pizza has announced that they will be delivering the love with their Heart Shaped Pizzas Feb., 11th – 14th. This Santa Barbara favorite is outlined with pepperoni and a choice of 2 toppings. Make it even more special by adding a couple of bottles of Pol Clement French sparkling white wine. Pick-up & Delivery available all day Feb. 11th – 13th. Limited pick-up at some locations Feb.14th 4p.m. – 8 p.m. Call to order – 805-564-1111.
This just in from Toma Restaurant on Cabrillo Boulevard:
I wanted to let you know that we will be opening Toma Restaurant back up on Wednesday, Feb. 10. We have built a new roof over our existing parklet and have seating along the sidewalk. We will be offering our same menu for outdoor dinning and take out as well.
Thanks again and I look forward to seeing you at the restaurant soon!
From reader JRS:
2/3/2021 BIG CHANGE…Every week we get takeout from CHINA KING in Goleta. This week we sadly found that there has been a change of management. The receipt now says “Northern Brothers”. Unfortunately, the N. Brothers do not give you white rice with your entree dish and also do not include the typical freeby egg rolls either. We were told that “Jennifer” was taking time off (?retiring?) and we wish her well and will miss- her along with the rice and egg rolls!
Proprietor Shayre Olive-Jones, owner of Valentino’s Take ‘N Bake Pizza on Hollister Avenue in Noleta, tells me that the restaurant will be open open from 11 to 7 on February 14 Valentine’s Day and plans to celebrate the occasion with their famous heart shaped pink pizzas that are a family tradition for many. Make sure you order early.
Photo by The Restaurant Guy
Eagle-eyed reader Geren spotted Deli Boy peeking out from behind an empty sign on upper State Street, the former home of Noemi Pizza Romana (June 2020-January 2021) and Pizza Guru (July 2006-October 2019). Deli Boy is the mascot for the popular South Coast Deli which has locations at on Carrillo Street, Chapala Street, South Patterson Avenue in Goleta, and Pardall Road in Isla Vista.
Photo by reader Geren
Within hours of California Gov. Gavin Newsom lifting the stay-at-home order, Tre Lune Ristorante on Coast Village Road in Montecito led the revival of outdoor dining on Coast Village Road with the introduction of a greatly-enhanced parklet and sidewalk tables that span the block from the eatery to American-made clothing store Civilianaire.
“We’re excited and full speed ahead with regular operations,” says General Manager Leslee Garafalo. “We just recently built our deck so we were fully prepared for this reopening. We have the canopy and guests are enjoying being outdoors. Even when it was raining, when we first opened up last Wednesday, there was a major downpour and people were so excited to be out that day.” In addition to the new canopy, Tre Lune’s parklet now has lighting, a wood floor, and decorative stone walls to protect diners from cars on Coast Village Road.
“The menu is the same and we have specials every day,” adds Garafalo. “Our chef creates specials for lunch and dinner, we usually have a fresh fish of the day, a special soup, a couple of different proteins, and a special dessert. Everything is homemade and our bread that we serve on our tables, or to-go, is from D’Angelo Bakery. We have bread sticks that we make in-house. People love the bread sticks with homemade pesto spinach dip.”
If people are traveling through town and have nowhere to eat they can take advantage of Tre Lune’s new car hop service where meals are served in your auto on trays. A server walks up to your car window to take the order or diners can call in a request.
Tre Lune is open every day from noon to 9 p.m. and breakfast is served Friday-Sunday starting at 8 a.m. The eatery offers takeout, delivery through Restaurant Connection, and will soon introduce in-house delivery within a two-mile radius.
Photo by The Restaurant Guy
Rumor has it that Chris Chiarappa from Mesa Burger on Meigs Road plans to open an ice cream shop across the street next to the Cliff Room. Chiarappa has been busy during the pandemic. In the last year he opened M Kitchen inside the new M Special brewery downtown as well as plans to introduce a new 11,500 square foot community kitchen named Kitchen 530 on State Street, in the former home of Samy’s Camera.
All five Los Agaves locations, along with sister restaurants Santo Mezcal and Flor De Maiz have reopened for outdoor dining, following the official green light from the State, County and City of Santa Barbara. “We are so grateful for the community’s continued support during this next phase, as we follow all guidelines to ensure the health and safety of our customers and team,” says owner Carlos Luna. “We hope to see you soon!” All locations will continue to offer takeout and delivery service as well.
Last November I wrote that Cajé Coffee Roasters, which opened its first South Coast location in Isla Vista in January 2009, then added a Santa Barbara outlet on Haley Street in May 2019, had opened its third area store across from the Arlington Theater on State Street, the former home of Petros and Cafe Buenos Aires. Cajé offered coffee, lattes, bagels, smoothie and acai bowls. Word on the street was that they closed soon thereafter but now reader MVB tells me that the java joint is back open and that the Petros food part of the business is coming soon.
Owner Jill Shalhoob tells me that Jill’s Place on Santa Barbara Street is re-opening Friday February 5th with outdoor dining and takeout. Ordering is available online or by calling. The restaurant is open Monday-Friday for lunch 11am-3pm, Happy Hour from 4:30-6pm, and dinner from 5pm onward. Jill’s Place offers a great Saturday brunch across from Farmers Market 8am-3pm followed by dinner from 5pm. The eatery is closed on Sundays.
Photos by The Restaurant Guy
Reader Brendan sent me this message about Yanni’s at Mackenzie Market on upper State Street:
“I was saddened to learn today that MacKenzie Market has closed, including the Greek deli inside, after decades serving up delicious gyros and tri-tip sandwiches. Pretty sure the closure is permanent. I had noticed it appeared closed for the past week or two and then a few days ago I walked up to look. Peering inside I could see all the furniture inside had been removed and — what really chilled me — the ever-present barbecue grill out front was gone. By chance the owner happened to come up just then, apparently to pick up mail or continue cleaning up. I asked if he’d thrown in the towel. ‘Had to,’ he said. Broke my heart. Only silver lining is another fellow there with him said he may try to open a catering operation or food truck in the future. Hopefully that comes through.”
Photos by The Restaurant Guy
California Gov. Gavin Newsom lifted the stay-at-home order on Monday, which allow California restaurants to again offer outdoor dining services. Four-week ICU capacity projections for our region are above 15%, the threshold that allows Santa Barbara County to end the stay-at-home order. Without delay, local business owners are preparing to reopen outdoor restaurant dining across the South Coast which became legal again as of 8 a.m. Tuesday, January 26th. The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department issued a local health officer order outlining the county-specific restrictions.
Photo by The Restaurant Guy last summer
Last August I wrote that a “Public Notice of Application for Ownership Change” sign was posted on East Cota Street, the former home of The Middle Child, that indicated a new bar/restaurant named “Venus in Furs” was on the way from the owners of The Good Lion and Barbareño.
Reader Christine tells that Venus in Furs is now open featuring Barb’s Pies from Barbareño. A menu is available online. “Merging our sourdough baking expertise with our passion for pizza, Barb’s Pies offers extra-large oval masterpieces made with the finest local ingredients,” says head chef Julian Martinez. “Some may call this pizza blasphemy, but we just call it our own special style. Our guiding light, Barbareño, has bestowed upon us the strongest moral code–prompting us to source our produce, cheeses, charcuterie, and even flour from local farmers and artisans. That, combined with a 48-hour fermented sourdough and the power of a 650 degree deck oven brings about a beautiful rustic hybrid that gives a true taste of Santa Barbara by way of the pizza pie.”
Chad’s Cafe on West Cabrillo Boulevard (formerly named Sambo’s) has launched a new to-go menu. The list features Killer Burritos (all served with scrambled eggs, homemade pinto beans, a blend of Monterey Jack and Medium Cheddar Cheese), Breakfast Sandwiches (with a butter toasted Brioche Bun that is grilled and topped with scrambled eggs , and a single slice of cheddar cheese), the Classic Breakfast (all served with choice of Home Potatoes, French Fries or Fruit), Pancakes (add Strawberries, Blueberries, Bananas, Chocolate Chips), Lunch (Turkey Sandwich, Santa Barbara Burger, Club Sandwich, Chicken Tenders, Quesadilla), and an over-21 drink menu.
Owner Ruben Perez tells me that The Black Sheep restaurant on East Ortega Street started serving to-go food again on January 21st. Hours are 5-8 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday
After a four-year run Dunkin’ Donuts closed last December on upper State Street which is also the former home of Taco Bell and Char West. Reader Annie tells me that green fencing has gone up around the property and that there are lots of work trucks onsite.
Reader Ashrith tells me that Corazón Guisados restaurant, offering homemade Guisados, Tamales and Churros, is coming to East Victoria Street, the former home of Ca’Dario Pizzeria. This will be owner Ramon Velazquez’s third local eatery. He operates Corazon Cocina locations in the Santa Barbara Public Market and on State Street in the Funk Zone.
Reader Cris let me know that Beachside Bar-Cafe on Sandspit Road in Goleta is closing for good. The restaurant opened in 1985 by proprietor Dave Hardy. Here is a message to you from the business:
It is with a heavy heart that we announce that after 36 years Beachside Bar-Cafe is closing its doors permanently.
We want to thank our local community for your support and patronage through these ever changing times. It is because of YOU that we had so much success in the 36 long years of business. We share an ethereal love for our customers and have memories that we will cherish forever.
We will continue to be open for takeout roughly until the end of January/till inventories last. That being said, we have made most of our wine list, by the bottle available to you at a huge discount price of 50% off! Come out and enjoy our delicious food and drinks one more time!
From the bottom of our hearts we are forever grateful for your support through the years. Thank you.
Have you heard of any restaurants doing Valentine’s Day take-out specials or partnerships? Thanks for all you do! – Ellen
Word on the street is that Diana Pereira from Impact Hub and Chris Chiarappa of Mesa Burger are launching a new venture this fall called Kitchen 530. The 11,500 square foot community kitchen, will be located at on State Street in the former home of Samy’s Camera, and will feature a top of the line commercial kitchen for use by local food entrepreneurs and Santa Barbara chefs, along with a unique restaurant and retail experience. Kitchen 530 will offer 10 hot kitchens, 10 cold kitchens/prep stations, 2 baking stations, a show kitchen, a retail market and public restaurant that encompasses a morning coffee shop and evening full bar.
Secret Bao is a popup restaurant from the former Executive chef of Loquita, Peter Lee and former Executive Sous chef of Loquita, Felicia Medina. Last June I reported that the duo were in a lease agreement to take over the old Roost space but pulled out due to the ongoing pandemic and consequently switched to doing popups at Handlebar Coffee. Now I am told that the restaurant has found a permanent home on Anacapa Street, in the former home of Coffee Cat and Café Ana which closed last March after a year and a half in business.
Owner Gene Montesano has posted signs at Tre Lune Ristorante-Bar and D’Angelo Bakery, calling the shutdown unfair and challenging the justification for banning outdoor dining. A message outside Tre Lune reads: “We need to work. This shutdown is not fair. Safe outside dining does not spread COVID-19.” Signs posted at D’Angelo Bakery read: “Outdoor dining six feet apart wearing masks and gloves does not spread COVID-19. It is unfair to shutdown outside dining especially with no scientific evidence. Support small businesses. Bigger is not always better.”
This just in from Thario’s Kitchen in Carpinteria:
“Hello Santa Barbara, My wife (Thais) and I (Mario) own Thario’s Kitchen. We’re a Italian European restaurant. Serve Pizza,Pasta and Salads. Serve lunch and dinner. Open from Wed to Sun. 12 to 8pm. Pick up and delivery thru Grubhub and DoorDash. Home made food. Our Lasagna is the big seller. The best in Santa Barbara County from what our customers are saying. Our pizzas are amazing too and are becoming very popular now.”
Inspired by a luxurious sailing vessel, the Miramar Beach Bar on South Jameson Lane in Montecito features highly varnished wood, copper and stainless-steel detailing. The day-to-night beachfront destination presents a memorable venue for guests to socialize over music and activities including shuffleboard. Miramar Beach Bar is now open for walk-up service for locals and guests alike, who would like to purchase made-to-order cocktails to-go. A full bar is available, in addition to a limited menu of the bar’s most popular cocktails, wines and beers. The Miramar Food Truck, conveniently parked adjacent to the Beach Bar, will continue to serve existing to-go offerings, including casual comfort foods (burgers, tacos, salads and more) as well as pre-bottled libations to-go. Miramar Beach Bar is open for to-go cocktails daily from 12pm – 6pm.
La Paloma Café opened for dinner service last November on Anacapa Street, the former home of the Paradise Café and La Paloma. Now you can enjoy your favorite ranchero creations for both lunch and dinner. Lunch includes pozole, fresh salads, and our famous slow-cooked sides. Or experience brand new classics like the Burnt Ends Brisket & Tri-Tip Bowl, BBQ Pork Burrito, and JT’s Chicken Caesar Gringo.
The original La Paloma was a traditional Mexican restaurant that was operated by the property owners from 1940-1983 at which time the space was leased to the Paradise Café which carried the torch for the next 37 years. Acme Hospitality, owners of many popular area eateries including Helena Avenue Bakery, The Lark, Loquita, and Lucky Penny, bought the business in 2019 and originally planned to continue the Paradise Café brand but the closures caused by COVID-19 created an opportunity to do something new while resurrecting a storied local business name.