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Santa Barbara Restaurants

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Goleta Coffee Company to close after 25 years

From Valerie Cantella for Goleta Coffee Company at 177 South Turnpike Road:

Goleta Coffee Company celebrates 25 years;
Loca Vivant Kitchen transitions to a new model

After 25 years as the neighborhood coffee shop where locals gather for delicious coffee, tasty food, and conversation with friends, Goleta Coffee Company will celebrate its last day in business on Tuesday, February 15. They will host a party that day to celebrate the end of an era for Goleta Coffee Company and the new direction for Loca Vivant Kitchen (LVK).

“Although the shopping center management has chosen a new coffee shop to operate in the Turnpike Center, we are optimistic and excited about the future for Loca Vivant Kitchen,” said co-owner Stacy Rebich Hespanha. “We value our customers and are looking forward to serving them through Loca Vivant Kitchen as a wholesale vegan-friendly, gluten-free bakery, offering locally-grown, prepared foods.”

Loca Vivant is a blend of “locavore” and “bon vivant,” and the company promotes living well by eating local. Its mission is to create a community around food through local and seasonal sourcing, clean and nutritious ingredients, and advancing the well-being of people working in all aspects of the local food industry. When fully launched, the business will be an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT), meaning the majority of the profits will be distributed annually to employees, and a smaller portion will be reinvested in the business and mission.

During the transition period, menu items will be available by pre-order for delivery or pickup from locations in Santa Barbara and Goleta. Once the wholesale kitchen is fully operational, LVK will offer its baked goods and menu items through collaboration with local small business retailers.

On February 15, its final day in operation at 177 S. Turnpike, Goleta Coffee Company will be open from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Regular menu items will be available from 7 a.m.-3 p.m. A special happy hour and “show the love to your local coffee shop & its employees” celebration is scheduled from 3-7 p.m. All proceeds from the day will go toward the cost of covering severance pay for the employees. Many decor items will also be available, with suggested donations going to the employee severance fund.

“We value our staff and believe offering severance pay, although untraditional in this industry, is the right thing to do,” said Rebich Hespanha. “We hope you’ll support our staff and celebrate our last day through this effort.”

Goleta Coffee Company will take pre-orders at discounted prices for its coffee beans through February 6. The pre-orders will be available for pick-up at the cafe at 177 S. Turnpike Avenue between February 8-15.

Follow @goletacoffeeco on Instagram or visit the website at to stay apprised of Loca Vivant’s offerings as they develop in the coming months.

Photo by reader Primetime

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Harbor Snack Shack takes a long awaited break

Instead of watching the COVID-forced slow down in passersby at their Harbor Snack Shack, the owners are taking a break this month, says reader Primetime. Richard and Dolly Lawrence have locked up their small site near the harbor boat launching ramp and will come back in February. The sign on the windows says they have not gone on a vacation in 20 years. “Vacation till the end of the month,” the sign reads. “Due to the recent outbreak of the virus in Santa Barbara, we decided to go on our first vacation in 20 years from the store. It has been a privilege to serve you during that time we look forward to our return. Thank you, Dick and Dolly, info: calls (805) 680-1900.” Fans of their famous hot dogs, myself included, will be counting the days until they return!

See story and video from reader Primetime

Photos by Primetime

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CVR Jeannine’s set to reopen

Reader Primetime let me know that Jeannine’s Bakery at 1253 Coast Village Road in Montecito is set to reopen January 20th after having been closed since the beginning of the year for repairs and renovations.

Photos by Primetime taken January 16th.

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Texas Tacos opens

Texas Tacos has opened at 910 Embarcadero del Norte in Isla Vista, sharing space with Dublin’s Sports Grill. The eatery offers Texas-style breakfast tacos from their mobile trailer Sunday-Thursday 7am-3pm and is closed Friday-Saturday.

The restaurant was founded by Elvis Idunate who was born and raised in Austin, Texas. Idunate attended SBCC and UCSB and after living in Isla Vista for a couple of years he noticed that there aren’t enough breakfast options in the area for students. “Students need a fast, cheap, and consistently delicious breakfast option they can go to multiple times a week without hurting their budgets,” says Idunate. “Texas Tacos are repeatedly enjoyable every day given the option to ‘build your own taco.’ Toppings  include bacon, egg, hash brown style potatoes, creamy potatoes, chorizo, beans, and cheese, wrapped fresh homemade flour or corn tortilla and finished with either of two salsas: jalapeno avocado creamy salsa or a peanut oil-based salsa packed with Anejo chiles and spices for a smokey flavor. The tacos will stay warm for at least 25-30 minutes.”

Photo by The Restaurant Guy

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IV Blaze Pizza closes

It looks like I’ll need to come up with new plans for March 14th. This is known as Pi Day and, before Covid hit, Blaze Pizza at 6546 Pardall Road in Isla Vista would celebrate March 14th by selling pizzas for $3.14. A line of of hungry students would wrap around the block all day. Unfortunately this outlet for the Blaze Pizza chain closed last month. The eatery opened in March 2014. The Blaze Pizza location at 3925 State Street (Five Points Shopping Center) is still open for business as usual.

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El Patio Evening opens

Reader Lisete tells me that El Patio Evening has opened at 3007 De la Vina Street, sharing space with The Patio Cafe during evenings. El Patio Evening offers a selection of Argentinean and European dishes and is open Thursdays 6-11pm, Fridays 6pm-midnight, and Saturdays 5pm-midnight. Call (805) 451-8978.

View the menu

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Hummus Republic coming soon

Reader Don let me know that a new restaurant named Hummus Republic, a “modern Mediterranean kitchen” chain founded in 2013, is on its way to 6546 Pardall Road in Isla Vista, the former home of Blaze Pizza that closed last month. “Hummus Republic is a growing fast-casual modern Mediterranean food franchise specializing in healthier, faster, fresher, lighter and tastier customizable bowls, wraps and pitas,” is how the eatery describes their offerings. “Our food is always made fresh and served quickly using organic, sustainable, and locally grown ingredients whenever possible.” They have nine locations in California (Burbank, Chino Hills, El Segundo, Fresno, Newark, Santa Monica, Temecula, Valencia, Visalia), in addition to a few in Massachusetts and New Jersey. Visit

View the menu

Photos by The Restaurant Guy

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Calvary Cafe coming to the Funk Zone

A full service restaurant tentatively called Calvary Cafe is coming to 1 North Calle Cesar Chavez Ste. 21, the home of Calvary Chapel. Initially it will be open on Sundays during the day and Wednesday nights for events related to the church. Eventually the plan is to be open during the week at lunch hour and serve all the businesses in the surrounding area.The restaurant will include a patio with a large deck, tables, chairs, umbrellas, and heaters. Construction is in the early stages and the eatery should open later this year.

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Peasants Deli & Market opening January 27th

Chef Michael Cherney and his wife, Sarah Cherney, owners of Solvang, California restaurant, Peasants Feast have expansion plans in place for the growing hospitality group with the Thursday, January 27, 2022 grand opening of Peasants Deli & Market (, also in downtown Solvang. The new space is located at 473 Atterdag Road, across the lane from the duo’s first restaurant, Peasants Feast.

Peasants Deli & Market will offer classic and not-so-classic deli sandwiches filled with artisanal cured and smoked meats, served on specially-commissioned sesame French rolls from Santa Ynez Valley bakery, Bob’s Well Bread. A focal point of Peasants Deli, featured front and center, will be a sizable leg of 5J Jamón Ibérico Bellota Cinco Jotas, a rarely-found Spanish import, considered the finest cured ham in the world. Chef Cherney’s renowned and Instagram-famous pastrami smoked salmon will be on the menu, as well as house-roasted Kobe roast beef sandwiches; an “Italian” sandwich version, “The Godfather,” with Alle-Pia coppa, Barolo and Sopressa salami, and La Quercia prosciutto; house-roasted turkey breast; veggie options; and, eventually, Cherney’s house-made porchetta sandwich, all finished with house dressings and condiments. Chef Cherney is also considering the menu addition of his award-winning, house cured and smoked, thick cut, maple glazed bacon.

In addition to the sandwich menu and the Jamón Ibérico, Peasants Deli & Market will hand-slice other assorted meats which will be available “à la carte.” Shelving will line one wall of Peasants Deli & Market, displaying rows of provisions available for purchase. Olive oil and fig balsamic vinegar, made for Peasants Deliby local crafter Global Gardens; jars of “peasants pickles;” handmade, fresh pasta; and, various dressings and condiments used at the deli including their proprietary Italian dressing, and their Sunrise Organic Farms Bulgarian carrot pepper hot sauce. Also available in the market section of the deli will be Conservas Ortiz tuna belly, boquerones like those found on Peasants Feast’s now-famous Copenhagen Caesar salad, and Spanish mussels in escabeche from La Brújula, with rotating pâté eventually joining the line-up (e.g., rabbit, duck, etc.).

Peasants Deli & Market will also offer beer and wine for takeaway, or to enjoy at one of their very limited seating options. New Peasants Deli & Market initiatives and updates will be announced on the team’s social media accounts: @peasantsdeli and @peasantsfeast.

Initial opening hours for the deli counter will be Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM (or until sold out), with market hours to extend a bit later. The Peasants Deli & Market phone number will be 805.691.9649.

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Happy Hour returns to Cafe Stella

This just in from owner Philippe Rousseau at Cafe Stella, 3302 McCaw Avenue:

Hi John,
Cafe Stella update: By popular demand, we are bringing back our Happy Hour! Come enjoy a great selection of cocktails, beer, wine, and nibbles. Join us from 4 to 6 pm, Tuesday thru Saturday. We also updated our regular menu. Check us out online at

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Brass Bird Coffee coming to Carp

Reader Richard says the Carpinteria planning commission has posted documents that say a new coffee shop named Brass Bird is coming to 4835 Carpinteria Avenue in Carpinteria, the former home of Omni Catering and Taqueria El Tapatio. Apparently the new java joint will run by Omni Catering which recently moved from the property to Milpas Street. City plans suggest they are adding a new patio and that it’s going to serve specialty coffee and freshly prepared food. The website, currently under construction, will be

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Wingman Rodeo closes, being replaced by New Mexican seafood

This just in from reader Jonathan C.:

Hey John, longtime follower. Tried to go to Wingman Rodeo in Goleta on Hollister and it was cleared out with a New Mexican seafood place opening up in the future. Didn’t last long in that spot – they opened just in May 2021. New restaurant owner was moving things in/out.

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Funk Zone update

Reader Steve C. tells me that entrepreneurs Ted Ellis and Greer Ellis are opening a restaurant named “We Want The Funk” at 210 Gray Avenue in the Funk Zone. This is a particularly funky part of the Funk Zone, just down the street from Rincon Brewery. Sources tell me that this has been in the planning stages since last May. Ellis has worked with The Lark, Oku, Leadbetter, and consulted with Ca’Del Grevino Winery as Vice President of Operations. Prior to that Ted Ellis’ position at the Bacara Resort & Spa was Director of Restaurants & Beverage. Reader IMissRex says that Validation Ale brewery is coming to 102 E. Yanonali in the Funk Zone while Reader Bobop says that San Diego-based Rare Society steakhouse will be opening in the Funk Zone at 214 State Street, the former home of Corazón Cocina that closed last month.

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Lighthouse Coffee coming to Turnpike Center

Last July I wrote that six new restaurants are coming to the Turnpike Center in Goleta. Businesses include Dave’s Drip House ice cream shop (run by the founder of Dave’s Dogs), Kin Bakeshop, Jersey Mikes, and a yet to be announced business will be run by Chris Chiarappa, the visionary and inspiration for Mesa Burger, and other local eateries. Reader Rambo says Chiarappa’s venture will be another Lighthouse Coffee which has locations at 1819 Cliff Drive and 711 Chapala Street.

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Trader Joe’s hunting for a second location in Goleta

About a decade ago I was told by staff at Camino Real Marketplace that, at one time, Trader Joe’s wanted to open a second location in Goleta where Best Buy is now. Apparently they wanted the Marketplace to split the location into two suites and take just one of them, but along came Best Buy who took the whole thing (and even expanded the space), ending TJ’s western Goleta dream. Big box retail spaces are rare on the South Coast so the Marketplace is not in a rush to chop theirs up.

Fast forward to 2022 and I have received confirmation from Trader Joe’s that they have been looking again in Goleta though a couple of locations they have considered have “issues.” Trader Joe’s has scouted University Plaza near Albertsons where Pacific Sales was and also looked the empty space at 6996 Marketplace Drive, the former home of Pier 1 Imports.

Reader Eric says that a gym is going into the spot by Albertsons and that the Pier 1 space is less than 10k square feet, and TJ’s are typically around 15k, so I would guess that space would be too small.

TRADING PLACES: Trader Joe’s is considering opening a second location in Goleta and has looked at University Plaza (above) and Camino Real Marketplace (below) though reader Eric says both are unlikely. Photos by The Restaurant Guy

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Embermill closes, plans to relocate

Embermill restaurant at 1031 State Street, that opened in August 2019, served its last Caribbean Creole meals Sunday night, January 16th. The eatery is run by Harold Welch who is originally from Barbados, came to Santa Barbara decades ago, and is the former chef at Citronelle, La Cumbre Country Club, and other restaurants.

Welch tells me that the landlord increased rent by $6,000 per month in January (to a total of $14,000 per month) which forced him to close. “I love the community and I am not going anywhere,” says Welch. “By the end of spring I should have a new location. It will be in a local community. I am working on something as we speak. It will not be on State. I need some time to regroup, get permits, and am working with the potential new landlords. I am excited about it and am looking to do long term.”

ON THE MOVE: Chef Harold Welch of Embermill restaurant is moving his eatery to a new location this spring. Photos by The Restaurant Guy

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Broad Street Oyster Co. opens downtown

Reader Gem tells me that Broad Street Oyster Company, which launched its first location in Malibu in 2019, has opened at 418 State Street, the former home of Cubaneo. The restaurant is in the Kim’s Service Dept. building and shares space with Shaker Mill and Modern Times. All seats in the building are for all customers so there are no food and drink boundaries. Broad Street had previously tested the local waters as a pop-up inside Municipal Winemakers in the Funk Zone. Watch reader Primetime’s story about the opening.

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Goleta Coffee Company to close

Readers Rach, Peter, and Annie let me know that the Goleta Coffee Company at 177 South Turnpike Road will be closing February 16th after 25 years in business. Ownership of the java joint changed hands in September 2019. Rumor has it that another coffee shop is opening up across the parking lot where a food court was recently built, and is slowly populating with tenants, though none have started serving customers.

1/17/22 message in comments from reader Stacy: “Goleta Coffee Co is indeed closing on February 15, but Loca Vivant Kitchen will continue in a new wholesale location. We will still be making all of our gluten-free and vegan baked goods and breads, and we will continue to offer healthy prepared foods made from locally-sourced seasonal ingredients. There will be pick-up and delivery options during the couple of months that it takes for our transition to wholesale, and then we will be collaborating small business retail partners to offer our items in many more places around town. We will be hosting a party on our last day in business (Feb 15) and will be using all proceeds from that day toward severance pay for all of our amazing employees. Please stop by and pay us a visit on Feb 15, and as many times as you can between now and then!”

GOCO GOING: Goleta Coffee Company next to Turnpike Vons is closing after 25 years in business. Photo by reader Primetime

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The Crystal Ball Knows All

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:

  • Alma Fonda Fina, 1024 Coast Village Rd. (formerly Little Alex’s)
  • Augie’s Tequila Bar,, 700 State St. (formerly Left At Albuquerque)
  • Beans BBQ, 1230 State St. (formerly Saigon)
  • Bedda Mia, 1218 State St. (formerly Mollie’s)
  • Belching Dragon Tavern, 800 State St. (formerly Starbucks and Weston’s Camera)
  • Brass Bird Coffee, 4835 Carpinteria Ave., Carpinteria (formerly Omni Catering)
  • Calvary Café, 1 N. Calle Cesar Chavez Ste. 21
  • Del Corazón, 214 State St. (formerly Ca’Dario Pizzeria)
  • Drift hotel and restaurant, 524 State St. (formerly Scientology)
  • Dutch Garden, 4203 State St. (reopening)
  • Everytable, 1001 State St. (formerly Saks 5th Avenue)
  • Goodland BBQ, 5725 Hollister Ave. (formerly Alphie’s)
  • Handlebar Coffee, 836 East Anapamu St.
  • Hibachi Steak House (reopening), 500 State St.
  • Hook & Press Donuts, 15 East Figueroa St. (formerly Jeannine’s Bakery)
  • IHOP, 7127 Hollister Ave, Goleta (formerly Itsuki)
  • Jersey Mike’s Subs, Turnpike Center
  • Kin Bakeshop, Turnpike Center
  • The Kitchen, 530 State St. (formerly Samy’s Camera)
  • Little Heart Cafecito, 38 W. Victoria St. (SB Public Market)
  • Local, 1187 Coast Village Rd. (formerly Khao Kaeng)
  • Mangione’s Italian Ice, 1222 State St. (formerly Spoon)
  • Mattei’s Tavern, 2350 Railway Ave., Los Olivos (reopening)
  • Mokutan, 716 State St. (formerly Choppa Poke)
  • Pavilions, 1040 Coast Village Rd., Montecito (changing from Vons)
  • Pepe’s Mexican Restaurant, 254 Orange Ave., Goleta (reopening)
  • Rare Society, 214 State St. (formerly Corazón Cocina)
  • Red Pepper, 2840 De la Vina St. (formerly New Si Chuan Garden)
  • SeaLegs, 5905 Sandspit Rd., Goleta (formerly Beachside Bar-Café)
  • Starbucks, 3052 De la Vina St. (formerly Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf)
  • Lighthouse Coffee, Turnpike Center
  • We Want The Funk, 210 Gray Ave.
  • Unnamed, 5690 Calle Real, Goleta (formerly Outback Steakhouse)
  • Unnamed New Mexican seafood, 5892 Hollister Ave., Goleta (formerly Wingman Rodeo)
  • , 5690 Calle Real, Goleta (formerly Outback Steakhouse)
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Mesa Cafe ditches dinner

New Years news from reader Gary: “I saw a notice posted on the door of the Mesa Cafe [at 1972 Cliff Drive] that they’re no longer offering dinner service due to ‘Covid related issues.’ Only open for breakfast and lunch.”

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Lilac Construction

This just in from reader Steve H.: “Hey John, Lilac Patissérie Is temporarily closed. Construction for expansion. Expected reopening mid-February.”

Photo by reader Jennifer.

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Santa Barbara Public Market sold

The Santa Barbara Public Market which opened at 38 West Victoria Street in April 2014 has been sold in a deal that includes adjacent real estate. The $10 million property was purchased by Montecito residents Alistair Winn, and his wife Ann, and Travis Twining, and his wife Amanda. Original owner Marge Cafarelli created this premier local food hall where people of all walks of life could enjoy a variety of cultures and cuisine. No major changes are anticipated.

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Thomas W. Dickson 1929-2022

My father, Tom Dickson, the most prolific Restaurant Guy reader there ever was, passed away on Monday, January 3rd. He had been relatively healthy physically and mentally at age 92 and his passing was unexpected, yet it wasn’t. Fortunately all his children and grandchildren enjoyed the recent holidays with him. I never once missed spending Christmas Day with him since I was born and last month was no exception.

If you could describe this kind and gentle man in a word it would be “inquisitive.” If you met him he would want to learn about your life and would take great joy in asking a seemingly endless stream of questions. After a conversation with my dad you might feel like you had just dictated your autobiography.

His final chapter was at his home in Montecito where he died of heart failure with his wife of 63 years, Patricia, at his side. He was a great husband and father, had a good, long life, and he will be missed. Thank you to the Montecito Fire Department and Paramedic Squad 91 who did their very best to save him.

A photo of The Restaurant Guy and his father, Tom Dickson, that the elder Dickson kept framed in his bedroom.

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Broad Street Oyster Company coming to downtown

Reader Steve C. tells me that Broad Street Oyster Company at 23359 Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu is opening a new location at 418 State Street, the former home of Cubaneo. Their website describes the business as follows: “Founded by Christopher Tompkins as a seafood centric mobile raw bar. Broad Street Oyster Co. planted permanent roots in Malibu during the summer of 2019, the grown-up version of a pop-up, and the ultimate LA seafood destination. A little bit coastal and a whole lot of a party, Christopher Tompkins’s restaurant is tucked into a Malibu strip mall and is the perfect setting to grab a beer or some natural wine to accompany California’s favorite lobster roll.” Word on the street is that they will open Thursday, January 13th.

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Goodland BBQ coming to Goleta

Last year Goleta lost a Woody’s BBQ after decades in business. Reader Kay Lee tells me that a new BBQ restaurant is on its way to Goleta: Goodland BBQ.  The eatery will be replacing Alphie’s at 5725 Hollister Avenue which closed last year after 4 decades in business. Meat offerings include Brisket, Tri-Tip, Chicken, Pulled Pork, Beef Ribs, Pork Ribs, Hot links, and Pork Belly.
They offer 1, 2 and 3 meat combos ($13.95-$22.95), 5 sandwiches (Tri-Tip $9, Pulled Pork $11, Brisket $15, Burnt Ends $12, and Tri-Tip Dip $11), Babyback Ribs ($17-$25), and Beef Ribs (market rate). A variety of sides and a kids menu is also available. Visit

Photo by The Restaurant Guy

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Stearns Wharf 150th Anniversary Specials

Stearns Wharf is more than a nice place to watch boats or fish, it’s a structure that changed the face of Santa Barbara-literally. 150 years ago, Santa Barbara, being surrounded by mountains, was an isolated pueblo. There were no roads into town, there was no railroad. When John Peck Stearns built the wharf in 1872 he not only opened the door to large-scale commerce and trade; he introduced Santa Barbara to the rest of the world.

Since that time, Stearns Wharf has evolved along with the city. It was a vital conduit for a growing fishing fleet. It was the birthplace of commercial diving. It served as a focal point to bring the community together.

In honor of this iconic structure’s 150th anniversary, Stearns Wharf merchants will hold Wharf Wednesdays on the first Wednesday of each month. There will be anniversary specials, a bit of history and lots of fun, family-friendly activities. The commemoration will culminate with a special celebration, complete with fireworks, in October.

Wharf Wednesday specials include:

 Char West Buy an entrée, and get any small fountain drink for $1.50
Conway Deep Sea Tasting Room Any 5 bottles of Deep Sea wine for $150;    Buy 4 and get 1 free
Devil and the Deep Blue Sea Buy one Ceramic  Tile and get the second Tile for $1.50
Great Pacific Ice Cream Co Buy a single scoop cone or bowl, and get the second single scoop cone or bowl for  $1.50
Moby Dick Restaurant Buy one Happy Hour dish, get one 50% off.  Certain restrictions apply.
Mother Stearns Candy Company All Truffles $1.50
Nature’s Own Buy a Pink Murex Shell for $1.50
Stearns Wharf Bait & Tackle Rent 1 pole and get a second pole for $1.50,
Plus an extra cup of bait.

Stearns Wharf Fun Facts:

Before the wharf was built, lumber was thrown overboard and the buyers had to pick up their share off of the beach. Up until the wharf was built, buildings in town were almost exclusively made from brick and adobe. For a brief while, Stearns tried using Eucalyptus instead of Douglas Fir for pile replacement. The trial failed miserably. The wharf has had three major fires, been damaged by boats and even lost a 100-foot section to a water spout. Stearns Wharf is 2,300 feet long and has an area of 3.8 acres and is supported by 2,307 piles.

Photo by Chris Bell

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Bedda Mia to replace Mollie’s

Last month Elaine Andersen Morello, owner of Olio e Limon Ristorante and other local eateries, told me that they were hired to operate a new restaurant at 1218 State Street, the former home of Mollie’s. Morello asked me to share more news with you:

“Here’s a bit more info as we get closer to pre-opening: Again, Elaine & Alberto Morello are employee operators of the new restaurant, not the owners like we are of the Olios. The new restaurant is called Bedda Mia. Although we’ve always had touches of Sicily throughout our menus and specials at the Olios, the cuisine at Bedda Mia is strictly Sicilian, with an emphasis on seafood and fresh produce-based dishes and Sicilian wines. Bedda Mia is Sicilian dialect for Bella Mia and is used by Sicilians as a term of endearment towards, say, a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend, … but also in reference to Sicily itself. Bedda Mia the restaurant is an ode to our beloved Sicilia. Estimated opening: January 2022.”

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Padaro Beach Grill reopens

Padaro Beach Grill at 3765 Santa Claus Lane in Carpinteria has reopened after a small kitchen fire on December 12th.

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Saigon closes on State at Victoria, Beans BBQ to replace it

Last November I wrote that Beans BBQ, a quality catering company, is going to open a brick and mortar at 1230 State Street (near the Granada) in February. At the time I thought it would be located between Saigon and Brasil Arts Cafe. Now reader Evan tells me that Saigon on State Street has closed and that they are encouraging you to visit their 3987 State Street location in Five Points. He says that it happened very suddenly. Reader Brendan adds that a small card on the door indicates Beans BBQ will be moving into the Saigon space. Visit

Photos by reader Jennifer

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JJ’s Diner closes

Reader Eric sent word that  JJ’s Diner at 413 State Street has paper on its windows and a “permanently closed” sign on the door. They were a classic American breakfast diner open for breakfast and lunch daily. JJ’s Diner opened in November 2020 in the former home of Onus Donuts, Urkeb, The Mex Authentic, Pace, Momma Donna’s, Billies, and Lettuce B. Frank.

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2021 Year in Review

My foodie duties for the year wouldn’t be complete without summarizing activity at food & drink destinations on the South Coast. Undoubtedly this was a difficult year for local restaurants because of policies enacted in response to the COVID-19 epidemic. Many eateries had to switch from indoor dining to to-go only with just a few days notice.

A RECORD YEAR: In 2021 there were 30 openings and 26 closings. The most openings were in October (7) while the most closings were in May and January (5). 2021 was a record year, by a large margin, for fewest openings (30) in the 15 years that I have been keeping dining statistics. The previous fewest openings was 38 which occurred in 2020 and 2007.  2021 was also a record year for fewest closings (26). 2021 broke the fewest closings record set in 2009 when just 30 eateries said goodbye to the South Coast.

OPENINGS: 4 Eggs & Pizza, Alessia Patisserie & Cafe, Barb’s Pies, Caje, Carp Kitchen and Grocery, Costa Kitchen & Bar at Mar Monte Hotel, Courthouse Tavern, Dune Coffee Roasters, Fatte’s Pizza, Goodland Dining, Jeannine’s Bakery, Jersey Mike’s Subs, Kyle’s Chicken House, Mr B Restaurant & Cafe, Old Town Coffee, Pueblo Pollo, Rascal’s, Red Pepper, Reunion Kitchen, SB Biergarten, Secret Bao, South Coast Deli, Tap Thai, The Good Plow, Timbers Roadhouse, Tondi Gelato, Wingman Rodeo, Wingstop, Wingstop, and Zio and Sweet Italian Desserts.

CLOSINGS: Alphies Restaurant, Barb’s Pies, Beachside Bar Cafe, Cava Restaurant & Bar, Corazon Cocina, Crazy Jim’s Tacos y Mas, Domino’s, Dumpling King, El Pollo Loco, Good Cup, Itsuki Restaurant, Little Alex’s, Malibu Farm at Miramar, Mollie’s, New Si Chuan Garden, Noemi Pizza Romana, Panera Bread, South Coast Deli, Starbucks, Subway, Taqueria El Pastorcito, The Palms, Tyger Tyger, Vegan GreenGO, Woody’s BBQ, and Yanni’s at Mackenzie Market.

FALLEN ICONS: We lost 7 restaurants that have been serving locals for more than 25 years: The Palms (109 years), Alphie’s (41 years), Woody’s BBQ (39 years), Beachside Bar-Cafe (36 years), Little Alex’s (32 years), Yanni’s Greek Deli (31 years), Cava (25 years).

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

#1: “Timbers Roadhouse and Whiskey Joe’s open in Goleta” in October
#2: “The Palms update” in May
#3: “Cava in Montecito closing after 25 years in business” in September
#4: “Courthouse Tavern opening in June” in May
#5: “Timbers Roadhouse coming to Goleta” in June
#6: “New Jeannine’s Bakery on the waterfront opens Friday” in July
#7: “Jeannine’s Bakery opening at the foot of Stearns Wharf” in June
#8: “SB Biergarten coming to the Funk Zone” in February
#9: “Noemi Pizza Romana closes permanently” in January
#10: “Little Alex’s to close after 32 years in business” in October

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Red Pepper opens in Isla Vista

Dumpling King, which opened in August 2017 at 966 Embarcadero Del Mar Ste. C in Isla Vista, has closed and Red Pepper Chinese Food Express has replaced it. This is the second location for Red Pepper in recent years which opened/reopened at 282 Orange Avenue in Goleta in July 2020, and has plans to debut an outlet on De la Vina. Hours in Isla Vista are 11 a.m.-9 p.m. daily though the eatery is closed for the holidays until January 2nd.

Photo by The Restaurant Guy

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Chase chosen

Reader Primetime says that The Chase Restaurant on State Street has been chosen as one of the 10 most festively decorated restaurants in the U.S. and Canada for celebrating the holidays. The list has been released by Opentable.

Photo by Primetime

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Glass Shattered

Reader Primetime says that cash was taken as four businesses are broken into in the middle of the night in Goleta, Santa Barbara and Carpinteria. Restaurants affected include Los Arroyos, Pizza online, and two Rusty’s pizza sites. This follows break-ins earlier this month at Blaze Pizza (State Street) and Winchell’s Donuts (Milpas Street).

Photo by Primetime

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Question of the Day

Do you know what is going on with Coffee Bean in Goleta? They recently changed the hours and said they would close at 4pm. So a few days later we showed up around 2:50pm but they were already closed, even though workers were still inside. Three people tried to get in shortly after us but the door was locked. I think now they are closing at 3pm. Do you know if it’s a staffing shortage or new holiday hours? We’re hoping they stay in business and want to support them but it’s hard when they keep closing!

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Corazon Cocina at The Project has permanently closed.

Corazon Cocina at 214 State Street in the Funk Zone, which opened in July 2019, has announced their closure:

“With great pleasure we want to thank everyone for the amazing support we have received in the past two years. We hope to have brightened some of your darkest days with delicious food during the pandemic. Covid has won this one! We’re saying adios to this location but please continue to visit our sibling restaurants @corazoncocinasb for amazing tacos and ceviches, @littleheartcafecitosb for coffee & breakfast tacos (coming soon) and @delcorazonsb for tacos de guisados, tamales and churros (coming soon) Please continue to support @captainfattys at the Funk Zone.”


Photos by The Restaurant Guy

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Dune Coffee Roasters opens on Calle Real

Last May I broke the news that Dune Coffee Roasters 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. I am glad to report they have finally opened. Dune has additional locations at  1101 State Street, 528 Anacapa Street, and 250 Storke Road Ste. 1-A in Goleta.

“We’re really happy to be in this part of town,” says owner Todd Stewart. “We saw a need over here. A lot of our friends that are young parents drive there kids to school out here. A lot of people are moving to this neighborhood as well. It definitely seemed like Goleta needed something on this side of the freeway. We’re happy to make it work.” Dune Coffee is freshly roasted in downtown Santa Barbara. They accept orders online through Square, the same way as their other locations, and the menu is the same.

Hours are 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily with the exception being a wave of holidays coming our way. Dune will be closed Christmas Eve, Christmas, the day after Christmas, New Years Eve, and New Years Day. In January the hours will be extended. Call (805) 869-2748

DUNE DUDES: A full crew at Dune Coffee Roasters have opened their 4th area location on Calle Real. Photo by The Restaurant Guy

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Habit founders sell last spots

“After nearly a half-century of proudly preparing patties that became a nationwide success story, Habit Burger Grill founder Brent Reichard and his co-owning brother, Bruce Reichard, are selling the last eight of their restaurants to Yum! Brands, which owns every other Habit in the country. The Reichards had hung onto the Santa Barbara County locations when they sold the rest of the chain in 2007, but the sale of these Habits will pave the way for their retirement. The sale, which will officially shift operations on March 1, 2022, included the original Habit Burger in Old Town Goleta.”

– Matt Kettmann
Santa Barbara Independent

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Olio to manage new eatery at former home of Mollie’s

Last month readers Primetime and Cris told me that Mollie’s at 1218 State Street has closed permanently. The eatery became nationally famous in the early 2000’s after a fan named Oprah fell in love with their meatballs. The restaurant had moved from its longtime home on Coast Village Road to State Street in June 2018. They are not officially announcing it just yet, and don’t have a firm opening date, but Elaine Andersen Morello, owner of Olio e Limon Ristorante and other local gems, tells me that they were hired us to operate a new restaurant at the now former Mollie’s location.  Morello tells me they she will still own and operate the Olio restaurants as usual and are not the owners of the new eatery, only employee operators.  The unnamed new business owner is not affiliated with Mollie’s.

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Tyger Tyger closes

Reader Richard tells me that Tyger Tyger restaurant, which started offering Thai and Vietnamese cuisine in October 2018 has closed. I added this sentence so that people who only read headlines will think I have a little more to say about it. Unfortunately I don’t. Have a nice day.

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