Chef Justin West, the culinary talent behind award-winning Julienne and Wildwood Kitchen, is opening a new barbecue restaurant named Soul Cal Smokehouse in the Santa Barbara Public Market, 38 West Victoria Street, in early January. “We are really excited to be up at the Public Market and to be in such great company with the other operators in there,” says West. “Interested persons should follow us on Instragram @soulcalsmokehouse to stay in-the-know about the specifics on timing.”

Whaddya say reader Rex of SB?

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  1. Christine says:

    Awesome! Should be a much better location than the ghost town he was previously in. 🙂

  2. E says:

    Wishing them the best of luck. SBPM has proven to be a tricky place to open a new restaurant concept.

    Corazon and Empty Bowl seem to have been the most successful despite long wait times and prices 15-20% above their comps downtown. Both have relatively large seating areas and have done a good job of marketing their offerings as being fresh/authentic/high quality, and I think that has made the difference between them and less successful places like Big Eye and Belcampo (which is probably the closest analogue to Soul Cal).

    One tip I would offer is to get a secure and convenient online ordering system up and running. The South Coast nearby on Micheltorena seems to do about half their business from preorders.

  3. Hefe says:

    Likely the lease terms are much better for those spots than when first opened.

  4. Rex Of SB says:

    Yay, count me in! I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they’ll have brisket, but even f they don’t it’s okay. It’ll be nice to have a BBQ place downtown.

  5. I wouldn’t be disappointed if Brunoise popped up once in a while.

  6. Local Resident says:

    Haven’t we all had enough smoke already?

  7. Barbara in SB says:

    Haven’t we all breathed enough smoke from wildfires? Do they plan to smoke with wood? Smoking with wood these days makes about as much sense as climate change denial, and the particulates in wood smoke are a known carcinogen. No thanks.

    • debbie says:

      Well, I guess, the real question is :


      Have some awesome smoked Meats ( and all other delicious foods) while you are still alive, I say!!!!!


    • Christine says:

      Interesting point. Do you eat bacon? Meat cooked over a propane gas stove? Drink alcohol? They are all carcinogenic. Sometimes I think just living a regular life is carcinogenic. If smoke is bothersome to you by all means avoid it. I’m sure you avoid Barbareno and backyard BBQs and any place cooking with an open grill. Right?

      • Joey Jo-Jo Junior Shabadoo says:

        She posts these same anti-wood rants on assorted local websites. There’s currently one on Edhat regarding the Solvang Xmas tree burn.

      • Ellen says:

        The problem is, these restaurants don’t just pollute the air their customers and employees breathe, they pollute the air of the surrounding neighborhood too. Wood-burning restaurants are becoming a growing public health problem that is becoming increasingly difficult to avoid.

        • Christine says:

          Seriously? So, you’re anti-gas stations too, right? Airports? Bashing ONE small-town restaurant seems very out of line-go after true polluters.

  8. Gary S says:

    Ellen has a good pt. The stink of corporate american fat “food” places wreaks the neighborhood up. Also, that market is doing pretty horribly–who’s keeping it afloat? tourists, clueless? There’s been such turnover in there it’s not even funny. Another SB pomp and circumstance–lots of PR and all hat and no cattle.

  9. Justin says:

    Soul Cal Smokehouse will use a Southern Pride SRG-400 smoker. It’s an indoor appliance. It can use gas, wood, or a combo of both. It is designed to minimize pollutants emitted into the air. They had one at Wildwood.

  10. E says:

    Scoped out their location on Friday. Someone there was testing their new oven by making cheddar biscuits, and he was nice enough to give us a sample. They were pretty phenomenal. Maybe Soul Cal should consider adding them as a daily/weekly special!