Reader Primetime spotted a new sign on the window at Downey’s restaurant, 1305 State Street. It reads:

“We believe this may come as a surprise and disappointment to many of our loyal guests but, later this summer, after thirty-five years of serving you with Santa Barbara’s finest cuisine, Liz and I will be retiring from Downey’s and moving on to our next life adventure. There will be a new restaurateur taking over 1305 State Street and we are confident that they will offer you a very pleasant dining option in the heart of the downtown theater district.

Liz and I would like to thank you, our guests, for supporting our efforts through those years, We hope you have enjoyed our hospitality as much as we have enjoyed sharing it. It really has been a very rewarding experience for us, from shopping at the Farmers’ Market, to preparing food, to tasting wines, to serving you, to…. well, maybe not to doing the dishes! But you get the idea.

We will miss so may of our regular guests and that will be one of the harder aspects for us. Downey’s has been a huge part of our life for so many years. But it really is time for us to relax and enjoy our life together, First thing will be a nice, long vacation to adjust to the “no-restaurant” lifestyle. It’s been a long time since we have had such a chance!

If you have an opportunity to join us for one last duck with baby turnips or maybe a slice of raspberry millefeuille, then we would love to see you. Our last day is not yet determined but we anticipate closing around the end of August.

Warm Regards and Cheers!
John & Liz”

Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to DOWNEY’S TO CLOSE

  1. Dugan says:

    Nothing really new : restaurant has been for sale for a while.
    All the unnecessary annoyances from various health “related” administrations no doubt unnecessarily delayed the sale.
    Good luck to John and Liz

  2. Joey Jo-Jo Junior Shabadoo says:

    Congrats, as mentioned it’s been for sale fora significant time, but now the ink is drying. Sad one of the few remaining grass roots SB establishments will be no longer. End of an era. John and Liz are the real deal. New adventures, retirement, whatever, hope you enjoy it! 35 years of high end dining in possibly the most strangely worst food towns in California, these two gave many in the industry hope that the food culture here isn’t as bad as it actually is. The new dining reality is we welcome our LA overlords.

    • Ted says:

      I’d welcome our new LA overlords if they brought:
      1) Great (or even decent) Korean BBQ
      2) Animal (the restaurant)
      3) A great Thai restaurant like Jittlada
      4) Hell, a decent BBQ spot
      5) More food trucks

    • Nancy Freeman says:


      BEEN HERE 8 Years from Boston area. Have tried many many restaurants in this town…have yet to have a decent meal with exception of Four Seasons….hardly a place for twice a week eating out.
      Well, I might consider it if it were a little closer……

      • Valerie says:

        How sad that you have not had the pleasure of tasting John Downey’s Squab and Berry Sauce, or Ramone’s Market Tostada at Corazon, or Norbert’s Foie Gras burger at the Nook.
        Santa Barbara has first class chefs in private restaurants that far surpass any chef at any hotel in town.

        • Marcus Garvey says:

          You should go back to eating beans in Boston. For a city it’s size Boston is a food desert. For a small town Santa Barbara has great restaurants, fresh organic food, amazing wine and great culinary scene in general.

  3. Terry Hoffman says:

    Hello. Terry Hoffman here. Sad for me , happy for both of you. We live in Thousand Oaks and Downey’s has been one of our very favorite restaurants for many years. I will call to make reservations so we can join you to wish you well and have one more amazing meal before you close the restaurant .
    All the best to you,
    Terry & Irwin Hoffman

  4. Gerald Bostock says:

    Good for them!

    I must soon make a reservation for a goodbye. Haven’t been there in decades, but they were possibly my first high-class, gourmet experience, in the early 80’s.

    The Downeys certainly deserve their retirement.

  5. Valerie says:

    For years the Squab in Berry sauce has been my favorite dish in town, coupled with the Irish soda bread. I will greatly miss Downy’s. Happy retirement to John and Liz who have gracefully created some of my favorite dining experiences.

  6. Earl and Linda Nepple says:

    So sorry to hear you are closing! We live in Wisconsin and have been to your restaurant many times over the years. Certainly the best restaurant and people in Santa Barbara. Linda and I both hope you have a healthy and great retirement! None of us really believes we are going to die and time always runs out for everything…….
    All our best!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *