Reader Christine passed the word that High Sierra Grill & Bar at 521 Firestone Road in Goleta (once the home of Elephant Bar) has close its doors. The owner was unable to successfully negotiate with the City of Santa Barbara, which owns the property, to transfer the lease to manager Warren Butler who was in the process of transforming the eatery into a new dining concept named Flightline.

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  1. Yvonne says:

    I’m a Goleta resident who is frustrated with the City of SB over this. I’m the Programs Chair for the Science & Engineering council. We hold monthly meetings at the Flightline and would like it to stay open. Warren has been a good manager and is responsive to our needs. Our attendees are happy with the food. I am unclear on why the City of SB is being so obstructionist about the change.

    I like the airplane memorabilia theme. In fact, we have a speaker planned for January who will talk about the logistics of organizing air shows.

  2. John says:

    Honestly, that location is the killer for ANY restaurant being successful there. People just do not go out of their way in this area to dine. Look at the past 10 + years there.

  3. Ed says:

    The e-bar was profitable. In fact the 2nd best restaurant in their chain. But SB decided to raise their rent by 3x. Then for over 18 months got zero revenue. Whoever is making these decisions should be fired. Now it will be empty again.. Makes me glad I’m in Goleta.

    • Bill says:

      I hear the city is charging $30,000.00 per month rent that is a lot of burgers to sell before paying for lights,gas and water then add in food and employees I don;t see how anyone gets by in this day and age.

  4. Vern Hall says:

    The High Sierra was a fun place with a wonderful atmosphere. It was a really great place to go, meet friends, and listen to great local bands like Do No Harm and Out Of The Blue. How unfortunate we longer have that available. It’s too bad our local politicians don’t understand business. Santa Barbara is such an unfriendly business community with all its rules and regulations. So now it sits empty like the old Outback. Thank you Michael Towbes. Your organization must be a huge influence on our politicians.

    • JPR says:

      What exactly does Michael Towbes have to do with this or Outback? Outback was expensive mediocre food. E-Bar was great until the owners (with their drinking problems) ran it into the ground. High Sierra had terrible food and Flightline wasn’t much better.

  5. VT says:

    John you are wrong. I’ve lived in Goleta for 36 years and the E-Bar was a great location for Goleta locals. Its closure, like Sizzlers, was really unfortunate. Flight Line seemed like it was starting to take hold. Their happy hour was great and the patio has always been one of a kind. I agree with Ed, someone should be accountable for being so anti business. Is Towbes Group involved with this property? (and Outback?) The once philanthropic company seems to be gouging residential renters and businesses.

  6. Hefe says:

    So the city doesn’t want ACI jet involved because they would have a competitive advantage near the airport? They are worried about them bidding in 2021? Does someone in our city government have an interest in these 2 other providers? Just feels of corruption to me.

    • Petey says:

      Read the article, the City’s concern is that Butler/Flightline will default on the loan from ACI, then ACI will control the lease and the options without having to bid – if the are awarded a station. It is a very clever and sophisticated transaction. I think the city believes it will not be a restaurant for very long…. ACI’s investment is a good one – with a eye on a long term plum….

      • Rex Of SB says:

        Given Warren Butler’s propensity for taking over popular restaurant sites and turning them into “events centers” (think Sizzler property on Hollister), this is very sound thinking by the city. Once these places become “events centers,” they’re never heard of again.