The mystery of why Tupelo Junction Cafe closed on State Street in early November is a little less mysterious. It appears the whole thing was planned. Though the restaurant shut its doors suddenly with no explanation, reader Peter came across a big clue in the Newport Beach, California blog savenewport.com: “Tupelo Junction Opens in the Old ‘The Porch’ Location. For those who frequent Santa Barbara, you have doubtlessly tried the famous Tupelo Junction Cafe there.  Known for its kitchen and their dog-friendly environment, the prime location in Santa Barbara closed exactly one week ago today, presumably so that the owner could focus on her shop in Newport, as she is a Corona del Mar resident. The menu will be virtually identical to the old Santa Barbara Tupelo Junction with the exception of the Happy Hour menu, which is a new addition to the Newport location.”

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  1. Michael says:

    – “The whole thing was planned”

    Real nice of the owner(s) to “plan” to let their employees know they were going to be losing their jobs, as the note above says, “without notice”. It would have been nice for these young employees, many of whom are students on strict budgets to “plan” to find work several weeks in advance and transition into a new job instead of being out of work entirely, worry about paying rent and everything else expensive in SB. It’s also the worst possible time of the year to do this – immediately before the holidays when everybody has more expenses. I’ve spoken with two former Tupelo employees who verified this.

    Stay classy Tupelo Junction owners (you know who you are, shame on you) and good riddance. I’ll be sure to visit your new restaurant when in Newport beach, NOT!

  2. Kerry White says:

    thats shady

  3. Jonathan Lewis says:

    Hell, if you really want to hand it to them, write a bunch of bad reviews on their yelp in Newport Beach about how shady they are! Enough of them will get them down to a 2 star rating, and then they’re THAT business. Newport is a small town, and it will hurt! Stay together SB, stay strong!

    • christine! says:

      Jonathan- you are recommending people INTERNET BULLY a restaurant? To what good? Sure it can be said closing before the holidays isn’t convenient for the staff- but no restaurant job is secure, lets be honest. To suggest that lying and writing a bad review is the way to justify hurt feelings of staff is WRONG. Disgusting is as disgusting does!

      • Lily says:

        He doesn’t have to lie about anything. Just say what happened and people can make their own decision whether they want to support a business that have no regards for their employees.

        • christine! says:

          So now its come to people need PERMISSION to close their business and move it to their hometown/where they live? I am as bummed as they next person about the restaurant closing, but there is no law that says you can’t. Its not rocket science, its waitressing or bussing or short order cooking. Craigslist is full of jobs currently- no guarantees in life!

          • Former Employee name withheld says:

            I can’t afford to go home to Colorado for the holidays with my family now because I lost my job when Tupelo Junction closed. It’s their business and they can run it how they please, however it put me and others in a hard situation. There is more to the story then meets the eye.

          • Lily says:

            There is a difference between legality and decency. For example, its not illegal to be a condescending passive aggressive ahole, but it doesn’t mean one should be a condescending passive aggressive ahole. Just like how there is no law against anyone saying Tupelo Junction is being an inconsiderate jerk. I agree with you that this kind of job is very easy to get and the disruption is not going to be major.

          • Former employee says:

            I worked at tupelo staff was great, owner? Sorry excuse for a human being. by the time i finally had enough and quit owner owed me 70 hours worth of pay which she denied and refused to give me. Fortunately i had proof because i was warned coming into the restaurant that this might happen therefore i kept all my clock out stubs. She offered to pay me only cash if i stayed but no amount of money is worth being treated the way she treats her staff under the guise of a good employer. Ultimately she paid me less than owed after blocking all my calls and hiding out of town. She would also deliberately write the wrong issuing dates on checks so that no one could cash them before long holiday weekends when banks were closed. Glad i left when i did because not long after my friends and old co workers lost their jobs in the middle of the night with only a text. “Installing a fridge tomorrow restaurants closed for the day” and then the truth “Had to close the doors good luck to you all” one of them had been working for her for over 17 years and had 4 small children. All i can say to her new employees is i hope she has changed for your sake and keep your clock out stubs.

  4. christine! says:

    Inconsiderate jerk? Its their business!

    If I listed every restaurant/ Chef boss/ Hostess/ bus boy/ wine expert I have worked with who was a inconsiderate jerk- I’d need a pillow to sit on I’d be at my desk so long! The Canadian chef who came to work at San Ysidro Ranch- I could tell you stories for DAYS!

    If this place is to be SOOOOOOO MISSSSSSSSSED- or better said the employees are gonna retaliate because their feelings are hurt- I say talk to the leasing agent and open as Tupela Junctions- VOILA!

    • Lily says:

      It was just an example to illustrate that you don’t have to do something illegal to earn the annoyance of people, but you seem to missed the point in your rush to type in all capitals and exclamation marks.

  5. Hefe says:

    Certainly a balance between disclosing the intention to close a business and the potential loss of staff and revenue associated and giving a shorter notice to ensure continuity up until the closing date.

  6. Julie Hodges says:

    There is a saying “Personality goes a long”. There’s another saying “You can tell a business true color by how they treat their employees”.

  7. Gabriella says:

    Toilet Paper Junction skipped out of town and has been ducking bills. They owe quite a few local businesses in Santa Barbara on past due bills. Hope they crash and burn in NP.

  8. Richard says:

    I must confess I started my college journey at UCSB, but finished at UCI, where I met my wife. Later, my wife and I enjoyed Tupelo Junction in Santa Barbara when we visited our daughter while she was a student at UCSB. Now we enjoy Tupelo Junction with our daughter in Newport Beach, since we all live nearby. But the pettiness shown at this website because the owners relocated from your community only serves to underscore the wisdom of our decisions to to not live in Santa Barbara. Like an ice queen, pretty but too cold and in the end intolerably bitter.

    We will look forward to warming the local denizens of your community to enjoy the great meals being served up by Tupelo Junction. Just don’t reveal you’re visiting from the Town with No Pity.

    • Bob says:

      Richard, the problem isn’t that Tupelo Junction relocated. That problem is the WAY they left town. Tupelo Junction took off without giving employees any advance notice and didn’t pay their bills and have outstanding local debts. Add to that, they told locals that they planned to stay, then 2 days later closed permanently without so much as a note on the door explaining what is going on.

  9. Ashley says:

    The owner is a brilliant, amazing, successful person who takes very good care of her employees. I was fortunate enough to help her open the restaurant many years ago and remained a valued and well-taken care of employee for years. The speculation war is unnecessary. No one knows the actual story of why the doors suddenly closed. Yes, it is unfortunate for the sudden loss of work for the employees. But let’s please not make assumptions as we are not privy to the actual circumstances.

    • Bob says:

      Nobody cares why Tupelo closed. The issue is HOW they closed: dumping employees with no notice (even though they had been planning to move to Newport for months) and not paying bills before they left. That is not speculation, it is how your “amazing/successful/brilliant” friend Amy treated others and it created a lot of stress in our community. Good riddance.

  10. Stormy D. says:

    Yes! Good riddance….not that it mattered! My boyfriend & I stopped going over a year ago due to the way the female employees dressed. The last thing I want to see while dining with my beau are another woman’s breasts in his face! I thought we had accidentally walked into a Hooters!! T I’m not a prude but that was disrespectful to me as a customer. If I want to see that many breasts I’d go to a strip club or Kentucky fried chicken!