Paradise Cafe closes for good, new concept coming

Last November Acme Hospitality announced it is taking the reins at Santa Barbara’s popular downtown dining destination Paradise Café at 702 Anacapa Street. After a brief closure the restaurant reopened under new management in January. Then COVID-19 hit. Though restaurants across the South Coast have started making a comeback, many did not including historic eateries like Rose Cafe on Haley Street and Enterprise Fish Company. Sadly Paradise Cafe has joined the list of fallen icons and sent this announcement:

“After 37 years, the Paradise Cafe is closing its doors for good. It enjoyed a long and well-deserved run as a neighborhood watering hole, a place for celebrations, date night headquarters, and as the best patio in downtown. It’s no wonder that the community fell in love with this iconic corner of Anacapa and Ortega. We are grateful to you, Santa Barbara, for your support over the years. As difficult as change may be—especially in 2020—history is in the remaking. Stay tuned for an exciting new concept coming soon.”


PARADISE LOST: The popular Paradise Cafe has ended its long run which started in 1983. Remodeling work is now underway on the property for a new concept that will replace it (photo by reader Primetime).

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19 Responses to Paradise Cafe closes for good, new concept coming

  1. Patty says:

    RIP to the best burger in town. It definitely fell a few notches under the new owner, and I guess COVID took care of the rest. Oh well.

  2. Richard says:

    Another icon down the drain. Speaking of down the drain, I had my first argument with my wife-to-be standing on top of the manhole cover at the intersection in front of the Paradise – on Halloween night 1987, no less. So many fantastic memories and lots of laughs and shenanigans with Kevin, Randy, Steve, Sarah, Ruth, and too many other great staff and management to mention. Paradise was an institution for me and friends, and spending Friday and Saturday nights here was absolutely necessary and so enjoyable. The joint will be sorely missed, but the memories never will die.

  3. Homer says:

    Should call the new restaurant “Kelly’s Corner”

  4. Lynn says:

    Great drinks, food and wonderful staff. I am so sad that though Randy sold to another Corp it’s sad the new owners couldn’t see making it work even with that great patio. Our loss. Wonder what restaurants their keeping.

  5. El Guapo says:

    Once Randy sold it I knew it was not going to last, whenever icons like this change hands it’s never good. The new menu was trash and the atmosphere was gone. I don’t blame Randy, it’s his right to cash in and move on, but COVID did us a favor and gave this place a quick death.

    • Patty says:

      Agree, new menu catered to that Miramar crowd. At least I don’t need to waste my time giving them or any of their sister restaurants any $$. Let me guess, the new decor will be all-white minimalist design with a menu full of hand-crafted $15 cocktails. Snore.

  6. LoFi Girl says:

    Ughhhh. Nooooo. Another one GONE. I’m so sad about this. I had many a time there, starting in my early 20’s in the 1980’s. If those walls could talk. This breaks my heart. The Enterprise Fish Co. too. It’s just not Santa Barbara anymore without these icons.

  7. LoFi Girl says:

    I would like to add that a company called “ACME Hospitality” sounds like a huge corporation and probably not a local one. Say goodbye to the charm of local owners and personality. Ughhhhhhhhhh. Gentrification killed us.

  8. Rex Of SB says:

    Is it actually going to be a restaurant again? “New concept” could mean it might be something else entirely.

  9. peter says:

    I hope they’re smart enough to keep the oak bbq. That is a unique feature of the old Paradise and one that is likely hard to get a permit for. It is what made their grilled foods so good. The bar was in desperate need of a redo and served the worst Margarita in town. That and the fact that Randy refused to have any music playing on the patio showed how out of touch he had become with what the restaurant needed to be successful into the future. The place just needed some tweeks and a refresh to be great again. I fear that an entire new “concept” (why do we use this word…it’s food after all not a concept) will erase the memories that we all have there.

  10. Karen Dutton says:

    Well, let’s hope they don’t try and do what the new owners of Arts & Letters Cafe tried for their “new concept.” We all know how well that worked out…..NOT.

  11. rambo says:

    The place was in bad shape everything inside was destroyed from years of heavy use and minimal repairs ..but how did they do all new electrical, carpentry drywall with no permit?

  12. Hefe says:

    I thought Paradise was pretty tired even before the sale. Acme is a local company that seems to have the ability to open successful restaurants in SB which is no easy task. I suppose when they do these 6 and 7 figure remodels it has to be relevant and produce adequate revenue and profit.

  13. Gary Sudder says:

    Unfortunately there will be more closures of places from all walks of life. Unfettered US-style capitalism.

  14. Ed says:

    Honestly because of the parking going to the Paradise was because I saw it as a destination. It will be a total crapshoot for the new restaurant which will still have parking issues.

  15. Fay says:

    I wonder what happened to the Neon sign – gone now, maybe Roy grabbed it!

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