Here is a message I received from bouchon at 9 W. Victoria Street:
bouchon is sold out and wait list is full as well. We have guests who have been joining us for 15-20 years so fill up faster than any other holiday. Further, as everyone knows, we are currently limited in Santa Barbara to 25% capacity indoors so that obviously reduces the number of guests we can serve. Based on our current ‘Red’ tier and recent comments from SB County Public Health I do not believe we’ll move into ‘Orange’ today (as you know we are given a ‘report card’ every Tuesday from the State).
And while Orange does allow restaurants to increase to 50%, many restaurants say their capacity is already severely limited due to the requirement to socially distance their tables, so 25% vs. 50% doesn’t much matter.
· Weather will be as a big a factor as anything else this year due to outdoor dining—would be great if you included a ‘Santa Barbara is known for its beautiful weather but can be chilly so be sure to dress warmly’. If it is a crisp, sunny and wind/rain-free day we should be able to seat all of our outdoor tables and greatly increase the chances for those on our wait list. If it’s rainy, gusty and cold, well…
· Buffet service is a huge part of some restaurant game plans on holidays yet will be much more difficult to pull off during Covid (no self-serve permitted, must have sneeze guards, etc.) so not sure how that will affect those restaurants. Many make the most by serving large groups/families so with the current SB Health Order restricting parties to no more than 10 guests per table I’m not sure how that will work for them.
· Takeout requests are off the charts, and while we added online takeout ordering at bouchon in June we’ve never offered holiday fare to go. It truly takes a herculean effort by Chef/kitchen staff to just handle our in-house guests (oven space for turkeys, refrigeration capacity, etc.). If, however unlikely it may sound, Gov. Newsom decided to close restaurant dining completely then we would shift our Thanksgiving plans to offer takeout feasts instead. No way of knowing today when/if that could happen.
Ah the world of uncertainty we now enjoy every day. Best of luck to all of us and thanks again for your efforts, John—hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday together!
Mitchell Sjerven, Proprietor
bouchon santa barbara
9 W. Victoria Street, Santa Barbara CA 93101