140717-benchmark-logo“A simple and honest product with a genuine commitment to service,” is the business mantra of a new downtown dining destination.

Reader Steve tells me that the Bennett family, who operate a variety of local restaurants including Brophy Bros. at the harbor, is having a soft opening today for Benchmark Eatery at 1201 State Street, the former home of State & A and Maggie’s. Benchmark Eatery offers a variety of choices on the menu including burgers, flatbread pizzas and vegetarian options.

“I am going to return the space to a casual eatery with high quality, value driven food and generous drinks,” says owner John Bennett. “Our menu will focus on casual American fare with local relevance. Our price point will be similar to Brophy’s allowing everyone to join in on the experience. I am confident we will be introducing something new to the area ultimately bringing more traffic to surrounding businesses.”

In addition to Benchmark Eatery, The Bennett family operates On the Alley at the harbor, the Cliff Room on the Mesa, Arch Rock Fish downtown and is remodeling Farmer Boy restaurant uptown. They plan to open a second location for On the Alley in Goleta in or around Camino Real Marketplace, and will be launching a new restaurant in 2015 inside Santa Barbara Inn, 901 E. Cabrillo Boulevard, which is currently being remodeled.


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  1. Jules ponzini says:

    Can’t wait to be able to go to st street without going to the down and dirty area I worked in for years lol

  2. Gerald Bostock says:

    This makes me happy!

  3. Gerald Bostock says:

    Yes, I realize how simplistic and puerile my first post was. I’m very relieved that the previous restaurant and owners are gone. I’m VERY sad that the patio cannot be uncovered and opened more due to architectural/structural issues. I’m eager to see the menu and hear first reports. The main draw of State and A, for me, was the location, the comfort level, the patio and the music! I knew what I was getting there, so I never had complaints about their food. A full bar, a burger and popular apps that went well with drinks were my expectations and I was satisfied. I don’t want to be uncivil, but I think I’m most glad that the previous place is gone.
    I don’t fully understand why there are complaints about the name. I like that logo, though I have to think on exactly why, and think that it adds to the name. Thank you Bennetts!
    I look forward to the refurbished Farmer Boy even more than Benchmark. Just a nostalgia and personal taste thing.

  4. ahs says:

    We happened there last night around 8:30pm, not knowing it was a soft opening. We sat inside near bar. Service was awesome, and so was the vibe. Food was delicious. The best part was seeing Rueben in management there. We always loved him at the Tee-Off. Keep it up Bennets!

  5. Tom says:

    Had lunch at the newly opening Benchmark Eatery, and it was excellent in every way.
    It is a wonder4ful addition to the restaurant choices in the heart of town. Congratulations to the Bennetts and good dining ahead for SB.

  6. Laurie says:

    Had lunch there today with my monthly lunch bunch gal pals. We all were very impressed with the changes to the patio, where we ate, and overall experience. The warm fried garbanzos they serve as snack were addictively good. We shared 3 items – the Antipaso salad with kale, chard, prosciutto, salami, butter beans and roasted tomatoes; the vegetable sopes with black beans, asparagus and other yummy stuff (3 to a serving); and the carnitas tacos on home made tortillas with pickled red onion (also 3 to an order). Everything was pretty on the plate and delicious, and food came out quickly. Service was good, too. You can tell someone has done their homework here. The place was packed by the time we left – I think locals are really wanting a comfortable place where you can get good food and service at a great price point. Many happy families were there, too. Eric, not sure of his role, came to each table and asked how we liked the food. They have hit it out of the park with this place, and are certain to be successful for years to come.

  7. Fay says:

    Went for lunch Sunday, sat at the bar, which is quite comfortable with open views. Deep fried chick-peas were brought out with our beverages – delicious. Shared the fennel sausage pizza and an order of fried pickles; pizza was very good, with good crust, and the pickles were good too, but they need to use a thicker slice of pickle, the batter was light enough, but they just need a tad more pickle.

    The menu is true to the Bennet style – simple, and unchanging; from $ to $$$, and the wine list has some decent offerings. Can’t wait to go back and try the wings and a burger!

  8. Fay says:

    Didn’t see Rueben, that would have been the icing on the cake, but did get to say hello to alot of wonderful staff.

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