Georges & Nicole Bitar, veteran wine dealers and proprietors of local Italian eatery Via Maestra 42, have purchased the legendary Chase Restaurant & Lounge at 1012 State Street. Generations of fans can rest assured that the name and traditions that made the eatery so popular for 44 years will live on.

“It’s going to remain the Chase and we’re going to elevate everything,” says Chase General Manager Warren Butler. “We’re going to enhance it, we’re going to improve upon it, and we will continue to support Chef Mario Rodriguez. He is the key to the consistency.”

Chef Rodriguez has been with the Chase since its founding in 1979, the food is much as it was then, and his magic will continue. Rodriguez trained with original Chase owners Tony and Angie Caligurie and he prepares everything the same way.

“We are committed to this iconic legacy and will pay it the respect it deserves,” adds Georges Bitar.

About the owners: When Via Maestra 42 first opened at 3343 State Street in 2000, Nicole Bitar was the first manager under the helm of original owner Renato Moiso. She brings many years of Italian restaurant experience working for some of the best Italian restaurants in Santa Barbara and Montecito. Years later, in 2021, Nicole came full circle and has become co-owner of Via Maestra 42 with her husband, Georges. Now they can add local icon Chase Restaurant & Lounge to their extensive resumes.

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  1. Christine_Z28 says:

    WOW, Nicole! Congratulations to you and Georges! The Chase has really needed help for many years, and I hope this is a very successful turnaround.

  2. Paige says:

    I hope they DO elevate the food! As much as I can appreciate the Chef “keeping things consistent” the only thing I’ve had consistently in the last few visits is lackluster food that is now where near what it once was. Don’t even get me started about the service and how run tired the place looks!

  3. JJ says:

    After three years of free parklet rent, and a full commitment to maintain parklets and the Promenade…we should look into the Crystal Ball of John’s and guess how many more parklet owning resturants will change hands before their current leases expire. When they expire, you can be certain the rents will go up as well. Right now the city will get paid, and when the leases come to will be time for the landlords to get their share. I will start the forecasting at 25% will sell/change ownership in next 4 years

  4. KC says:

    Maybe now they will shut the window during winter and staff the bar!

  5. Meridith says:

    This is excellent news. I remember when the Chase opened originally and am delighted such a great team will take it over! Can’t wait

  6. LEE JUSKALIAN says:

    used to be organic; is it still? i don’t care about decor; put the money into food quality.

  7. LEE JUSKALIAN says:


  8. Art says:

    Tony and Angie Caliguri ! Get rid of the Christmas lights and bring back the ambiance the way it was

  9. Queso Grande says:

    Less salt. More style please. And make it fresh.

  10. DebbieW says:

    Wow, this is exciting! My husband and I used to love this place but the last few times we visited the service and ambiance was terrible (not to mention there was a bunch of messy supplies/ boxes stored right next to our table and don’t even get me started on the cockroach infestation… I couldn’t even set my purse down). Needless to say, we stopped eating here. The food has always been incredible and is the reason I am eager to see what improvements the new owners have implemented. Hopefully, they’ve managed to revitalize this once charming restaurant. I’ll be in town in June and plan on checking out The Chase.