La Paloma Café opens Tuesday at 702 Anacapa Street, the former home of the Paradise Café and, well, La Paloma Café. The original La Paloma was a traditional Mexican restaurant that was operated by the property owners from 1940-1983 at which time the space was leased to the Paradise Café which carried the torch for the next 37 years.
Acme Hospitality, owners of many popular area eateries including Helena Avenue Bakery, The Lark, Loquita, and Lucky Penny, bought the business late last year and originally planned to continue the Paradise Café brand but the closures caused by COVID-19 created an opportunity to do something new while resurrecting a storied local business name.
Owner Sherry Villanueva’s new restaurant serves Ranchero California Barbecue Cuisine. They cook a lot of their meals over a live oak grill so you get a lot of smoky and oakie flavors. The new eatery is an homage back to the vaqueros who cooked a lot of meals over an oak grill.
The restaurant initially offers a dinner menu including Santa Barbara Mission Chicken ($20), Santa Maria Style Angus Tri Tip ($21), Oak Grilled Flat Iron Steak ($22), All Natural Pork Shoulder ($19), Oak Grilled Coastal Salmon ($27), and California Fields Vegetable Al Pastor ($18). Call (805) 966-7029
Photos by The Restaurant Guy
The menu looks fantastic, and I’m so happy they resurrected the old La Paloma name. I’ve always continued calling it La Paloma just from force of habit.
When we were in school at UCSB in the ’60s and living in IV, every Friday we would drive into town for lunch at La Paloma, and continued the tradition after we moved to Mission Canyon in ’68. Jennie Luera made the best cheese enchiladas in the known universe; her secret was half New Mexico chiles and half California chiles, which she ground herself. If Acme has any sense at all, they’ll add those enchiladas to their new La Paloma menu. And the “free Mexican dessert” — rice pudding or capirotada (bread pudding with cheddar cheese and cashews) — YUM! Those were the days.
A beautiful transition from the old to the new without losing the original old feel. Updating the patio and bar freshen it up, but retain the original feel. City leaders new to follow suit. Bravo.
Good times, we grew up in SB in the 50s. It was good times and little riff raff. things changed dramatically though. Now it’s trendy, hipster places with the propaganda- marketing/ illusion of quality, not authentic quality.
Gary: You got THAT right! Let’s hope that this transitioning of the new La Paloma is a step in the right direction. I’ve had it with the Funk Zone demographic.
Wow, people are very opinionated ( Rex of SB )
Let’s just enjoy the new restaurant as your words here will not change the direction that ownership is taking their new venture.
Keeping the Monster nog? Please please please!
RIP Rex of SB. I believe this might be his last post to The Restaurant Guy site. I always enjoyed reading his post’s and took his advise a few times. He will be missed here and elsewhere.
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