Scratch restaurants appear to be scaling back their plans at the Montecito Inn.
First, a press release from Scratch restaurants:
Scratch Restaurants, founded by husband and wife chef duo, Phillip Frankland Lee and Margarita Kallas-Lee, will begin swiftly expanding in 2020 by opening additional outposts of Sushi|Bar, their omakase speakeasy that serves up a whimsy of its namesake fare in 17 courses. Lee’s playful reverie on new wave nigiri and other delicacies from land and sea first opened in Encino in 2017, with a second location opening at the Montecito Inn earlier this year. A second room, where a chef’s counter places patrons right in front of the action, recently opened in Encino due to popularity following a positive Los Angeles Times review, and is currently ranked the #3 best sushi spot in Los Angeles by Time Out Los Angeles and repeatedly included on Eater LA’s “21 Essential Los Angeles Sushi Restaurants.” With the additional room in Encino, there are currently five seatings a night offered every Friday – Sunday, and three seatings every Monday – Thursday.
With the immediate focus shifting to opening new Sushi|Bar locations, Scratch Restaurants has sold the spaces currently housing The Monarch and The Silver Bough located in Montecito Inn, both of which are now closed. Sushi|Bar in Montecito will continue to be led by head sushi chef Lennon Lee and open every Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday with seatings available at 6pm, and 8pm; Friday and Saturday evenings with seatings available at 5pm, 7pm, and 9pm; and closed on Monday and Tuesday.
Over the next year, Scratch Restaurants plans to open additional locations throughout California, focusing on Los Angeles, Orange County and San Francisco. Conceived as Lee’s love letter to sushi, he will remain in charge of Sushi|Bar’s menu creation, with pastry chef Margarita Kallas-Lee overseeing the dessert program, and food and beverage director Gavin Humes curating the selection of drink pairings and Japanese beverages, including sake, beer and Japanese whiskey.
Second, a story from eater.com, courtesy of reader Dugan:
Top Chef’s Phillip Frankland Lee Lets Go of His Santa Barbara Empire – Only Sushi Bar remains up at the Montecito Inn
Former Top Chef contestant Phillip Frankland Lee is stepping away (mostly) from his Santa Barbara restaurant dreams, pulling out from all but one space at the Montecito Inn. After a protracted build-out and plans for an ultra-luxury tasting menu restaurant eager for a Michelin star, Lee is now heading back to Encino to regroup.
The new plan for Lee’s Scratch Bar restaurant group, reps tell Eater, is to center around his busy 17-course omakase Sushi Bar concept, expanding it up and down the California coast. There are no firm plans for new addresses just yet, but they are targeting “Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Francisco.” An existing Sushi Bar will remain on property at the Montecito Inn in Santa Barbara County, to be run by on-site chef Lennon Lee.
Meanwhile, both the Monarch and Silver Bough have been sold off up at the Montecito Inn. The latter was formed as a $500 per-person tasting menu that pulled luxury ingredients from the vast Central Coast, with hopes to pull in three Michelin stars and make Santa Barbara a culinary destination all its own. Ultimately the restaurant lasted well under a year, having first closed “temporarily” back in September. Lee and co-owner and wife Margarita Kallas-Lee still have their Encino restaurant empire, including the busy Sushi Bar and Scratch Bar.
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