On November 2016 I broke the news that Bluewater Grill is coming to Santa Barbara at 15 East Cabrillo Boulevard. Now I’m happy to report that the sustainable seafood eatery has arrived, with an official opening day of Monday, March 12th though you might be able to get in as early as this weekend.
Bluewater Grill will serve lunch, dinner and small plates daily on two floors of a rebuilt landmark lighthouse structure at the foot of Stearn’s Wharf previously occupied by Rusty’s Pizza (now at 111 State Street) and the Castagnola Lobster House. Features of the elaborately reconstructed building include an oyster bar, dining counter overlooking an open kitchen and an upstairs dining patio and inside/outside bar offering spectacular beach views, Santa Barbara County wine flights and locally caught seafood purchased directly from local commercial fisherman.
Leaders in sustainability, owners Richard Staunton, James Ulcickas and a group of local investors will source much of their seafood and shellfish from area fisherman as part of a long-term commitment to sustainability certification by the Monterey Bay Aquarium and other organizations. Staunton and Ulcickas regularly fish the Channel Islands from the restaurant’s Pilikia swordfish harpoon boat to humanely catch pristine-quality swordfish.
“We’ve been working to bring our message of seafood sustainability to Santa Barbara for more than a decade, and are delighted this day is almost here,” said Ulcickas. “Since all of us in the Bluewater family are fans of the sea, it is in our best interests to preserve the wonders of fresh seafood, both simply grilled and in expert chef’s creations, for future generations.”
Bluewater Grill Santa Barbara is supporting Round it Up America, a nonprofit organization that encourages restaurant patrons across the country to “round-up” their purchases to the newest dollar to support local causes including Thomas Fire and Flood relief. “All of us in the Bluewater family look forward to doing what we can in 2018 to come alongside residents, firefighters and others in our local community impacted by the disasters,” said Ulcickas.
Chanel Ducharme, former chef de cuisine at the Hungry Cat in Santa Barbara, is executive chef, and Colin Lohenry, part of the team at the original Bluewater Grill in Newport Beach’s Cannery Village, is Bluewater Grill Santa Barbara general manager. The restaurant blends an upscale coastal casual theme with subtle references to the founders’ ties to the Central Coast. The restaurant will regularly reprint its lunch and dinner menus to be able showcase up to 40 varieties of fresh seafood annually, and offers a kid’s menu certified by the National Restaurant Association’s Kids LiveWell program and a weekday small plates menu of $4, $6 and $8 drink and appetizer specials.
An expected highlight is a year-long calendar of seasonal seafood specials and monthly Chef’s Tasting events pairing seafood with hand-selected wines, sakes or specialty draught beers. Hosted the second Tuesday of every month, the events have become a popular monthly diversion for local seafood aficionados in other Bluewater neighborhoods.
In addition to the original location in Newport’s Cannery Village, there are Bluewater Grills at King Harbor in Redondo Beach, in the Camelback neighborhood of central Phoenix and in Temecula Wine Country in Southern California’s Inland Empire. As part of the company’s commitment to one-of-a-kind settings, Bluewater Avalon and Bluewater Boathouse Seafood Grill serve locally caught seafood from two of Southern California’s most picturesque locations: over the water on Avalon Bay on Santa Catalina Island, and in the former Hotel del Coronado boathouse on Coronado Island in San Diego, respectively. Bluewater founders opened a seventh restaurant in Carlsbad Village and on the Santa Barbara beachfront in November 2017 and March 2018, respectively.
Bluewater Grill Santa Barbara will open at 11am daily for lunch and dinner, and close at 10pm Sunday through Thursday, and 11pm on Friday and Saturday. For information on menus, seasonal specials, tastings, events and promotions, follow the restaurant on Facebook, twitter or Instagram, or visit bluewatergrill.com. Bluewater restaurant also has its own Facebook page for restaurant-specific menu offers, recipes, events and local happenings.