The first two tenants at The Waterline, a commercial mixed-use project at 116-122 Santa Barbara Street in the Funk Zone, have opened for business. Nook by Master Chef Norbert Schulz, and Lama Dog Tap Room and Bottle Shop started serving customers earlier this week. It’s been 35 years since Master Chef Norbert Schulz and his long-time business partner, Brigitte Guehr, first opened a restaurant in Santa Barbara and Nook, is their latest creation. Housed in a blue shipping container, Nook has an order window and a pickup window and buzzers to let you know when your food is ready. The menu includes Blackened Rockfish Soft Tacos $14, Maine Lobster & Shrimp Albondigas Sandwich $16, Pretzel & Beer-Battered Fried Shrimp $13, House-Made Bratwurst $12, Chicken Sausage $12, Duck Foie Gras Burger $18, Nook Burger $14, Waterline Seafood Burger $15, Purple Potato Waffle & Fried Chicken $14, Dungeness Crab Cakes $14, Grilled Iron Steak Sandwich $17, Grilled Salmon Salad $16, Lobster Mac ‘N Cheese $16, and Tempura Soft Shell Crab Sandwich $18. Nook is open daily 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Nook shares space with Lama Dog Tap Room and Bottle Shop. Alex Hart, the Lama’s “beermonger,” tells me that the business has a bunch of beers on tap and that they have an exponentially greater number of bottles that are available for consumption onsite or to-go. Small and large format bottles are available. Owner Pete Burnham began his career by spending countless hours climbing barrel stacks, analyzing fermentations, and bottling cases of wine. He was just like any other “cellar rat”, doing grunt work at one of the many wineries in the Santa Ynez Valley in order to gain experience and start making a name for himself in this tight-knit winemaking community. Soon thereafter, he landed an assistant winemaking job at Carr Winery and was given the opportunity to make his own wine on the side using Carr’s land and equipment. He became intrigued by the ever-growing craft beer culture that had started exploding around 2010. At the time, he says he was shocked to realize that Santa Barbara didn’t have any truly good, diverse beer concepts and he soon after made it his mission to fill that void. His answer: Lama Dog Tap Room & Bottle Shop, named for Pete’s lovable and enormous Tibetan Mastiff, Lama (named for fellow Tibetan, the Dalai Lama). Lama Dog is open Sunday-Wednesday 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Thursday-Saturday 11 a.m.-midnight.