A heartfelt thank you from Enterprise Fish Company

Local icon Enterprise Fish Company closed for good in June. Here is a message to you from the restaurant:

To the Santa Barbara Community,

As many here in Santa Barbara know, my partners and I have closed the Enterprise Fish Company restaurant after 43 wonderful years. In the mid 1970’s, Randy LaFerr and I graduated from UCSB and wanted to open a restaurant that grilled fresh seafood over charcoal with seating around an exhibition kitchen. We found the right site at 225 State Street, in a property built around 1925 with an iconic brick facade and smoke stack, previously home to a commercial laundry. We decided to call the restaurant Enterprise Fish Company to honor the legacy of that business.

When we started the restaurant in August of 1977, we and the staff we hired were mostly in our twenties, so there was a tremendous sense of camaraderie. The energy of the staff was felt by the customers, and the Enterprise quickly became one of the top places to eat in Santa Barbara. It was bright, rustic, comfortable, and fun. Standing in the restaurant on a busy night and feeling that energy took my breath away!

What makes one business successful while others struggle? For us, it was the people who worked there. They made the restaurant what it was, showing great spirit and pride until we had to close this year with the pandemic.

I took my last walk around the Enterprise a few days ago, and I thought about the last 43 years. The building is so full of memories. I would like to thank all of the thousands of people who have worked there over the decades. I am tremendously grateful to the customers, both locals and tourists, who came in night after night for our lobster special, happy hour, birthday dinners , or just a regular meal with loved ones. We love being part of the Santa Barbara community because it is a community that is grounded, giving, generous and supportive. I knew that I wanted to find a way to stay in this beautiful city and eventually raise a family here. Thanks to the Enterprise Fish Company, I was able to do that! I will be forever grateful.

Michael Bank

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8 Responses to A heartfelt thank you from Enterprise Fish Company

  1. BRS says:

    Hi John, Those boys didn’t found, start, create the Enterprise. Ray Klein started it, I knew Ray because I helped his mother with some issues and I was there at the grand opening, where my then girlfriend was the first hostess. Eventually he sold it to the boys who already worked there. https://rayklein.wordpress.com/

    Thanks John,


  2. El Guapo says:

    I’ve seen a ton of restaurants come and go during the 25 years I’ve lived here, this one ranks right up there at the top as one that hurts really bad. So many great meals & memories here.

  3. Judy's Older Brother says:

    I guess I have been going to Enterprise for 43 years. Back when there were stoplights on the 101, and a Chevron station next door. Last meal out with one Grandmother was there. Lunch specials, family gatherings, Lobster Night, the regulars and Jonathan Winters were there.

    Always a great staff and food.

    They will be missed.

  4. Hefe says:

    Quite the discrepancy regarding the founding of the Enterprise. Reading between the lines might Klein have been financing behind the venture and “those boys” on-site operations? Or some combination.

    I’m actually very curious .

  5. Richard says:

    Well, another legacy bites the dust. Great remembrances for me here in my college days at UCSB in the late 70s. Nothing like sitting at the the oyster bar with a day off classes on a late Friday afternoon after fishing for calico bass up at Naples Reef with a cold Bass Ale on tap and “strawberry blond” Julie G behind the oyster bar, shukin’ ’em up ‘par excellence’, dozen after dozen for us. Ahh, memories….

  6. Gary Sudder says:

    How are all the employees going to fare? Sure the partners/owners are fine. What about all the employees? They have few if any employment rights as in every other country. More PR and marketing empties.

  7. Annie Clare says:

    Is all I want to know is where will I get my lobster bisque fix now? Enterprise has been a regular part of our rotation for years. Wonder if they’d be willing to share a recipe?

  8. John says:

    Enterprise Fish was my wife Jenny’s & my favorite happy hour in town. Before we got married 15 years ago & were still working & living in our separate homes, she in SB & I in LA, I would often take off work early on a Friday & take the Amtrak to SB, walk over to Enterprise Fish to start the weekend with Jenny who had gotten to the restaurant early to secure a table. I would call her from around Summerland & she would put an order in with our favorite server Rachel so when I walked into the restaurant with my overnight bag & briefcase Jenny would wave to me & I’d join her for a dozen oysters & a martini that were waiting on the table.

    Like thousands of others, many great memories.