Following up on a rumor I published on November 11th, Acme Hospitality has announced it is taking the reins at Santa Barbara’s popular downtown dining destination, the Paradise Café.  While the team at Acme will be taking over operations for the restaurant after the first of the year, Paradise owner Randy Rowse will continue to be deeply involved and the current staff will be asked to stay.

The Acme team promises to continue to deliver all of the old favorites from the Paradise while making necessary updates to the menu, cocktail/wine program and the physical space. During the transition, Paradise Café anticipates a brief closure from January 1-5, 2020.

Chef Weston Richards, previously from Les Marchands, will be leading the kitchen to create a locally sourced, seasonal, scratch-made menu. The wine program will feature small production Santa Barbara County favorites with a few selections from abroad thrown in.  Changes will be rolled out slowly over time with feedback from regular guests and staff as a guide.

“As a long time Santa Barbara resident and a frequent guest of the Paradise over the last 20 years, I am thrilled at the opportunity to steward this iconic restaurant in to the future,” said Sherry Villanueva, Acme’s co-founder and leader. “Having the business pass on to a local was important to all of us. Our plan is to keep as many of the popular elements as we can while breathing new life in to the café.”

This is a special moment for the restaurant community of Santa Barbara, bringing together two trusted restaurateurs in a historic, beautiful space to continue the legacy of the Paradise Café for many years to come.

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  1. Bob says:

    Really hope they don’t change any of La Paloma interior!

    • Jan Timbrook says:

      And they’d better preserve the Leo Carrillo mural outside, too. I still miss La Paloma — our regular Friday lunch spot for many years. Jennie Luera’s cheese enchiladas and the “free Mexican dessert” of capirotada. Yum!

  2. peter says:

    This place has been begging for an update. I love the Paradise, but it is time for it to be updated a bit…..but don’t change the burger! On the other hand, the Margarita is barely drinkable. Go get some lessons from the Honor Bar on how to it right.

  3. Mikey says:

    so in other words…the end of the Paradise cafe. Anyone think this new place will last a year ? “seasonal scratch made” from a “chef” of a restaurant I have never heard of is double speak for “double the price, lower the quality”. Why can’t restaurants figure it out that they are in business a long time because we like what they have and have had the entire time they have been open.

    • debbie says:

      I thought the exact same thing, but was in denial for a bit.
      R.I.P Paradise!
      If it doesn’t work out they’ll just change the “concept”. They will last…one way or another…deep pockets is all you need in this town!

  4. Gary Sudder says:

    Americans (restauranters) never learn, it was part of their “charm.”
    Gore Vidal.

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