Reader Primetime let me know that OPPI’Z Bistro and Natural Pizza at 1026 State Street, which opened in July 2019 (replacing Palazzio), has closed permanently. Reader John P. then forwarded a message to you from owner Guido Oppizzi:

Dear All,

As I am sure you are all quite aware, the last months have been extremely challenging for the restaurant business. For my part, I have made every effort to try and make OPPI’Z a success story. However, due to the Pandemic, skyrocketing inflation, abysmal Winter season, and all the other adverse situations we have encountered, I am unable to make OPPI’Z as successful as I had wished. Therefore, it is with great regret I must inform all of you that OPPI’Z will be closed permanently.

Since we opened our doors on July 19, 2019, it has been a pleasure to serve the beautiful Santa Barbara community and its visitors from around the world. I will miss chatting with you and our most loyal customers with who we have built up authentic relationships over the years. Obviously, I would be remiss if I did not mention all of the dogs who brightened each of my days with their joyful greetings. You will be missed too!

I would, thus, like to say: A big Thank You to all of you for giving me the honor to serve you these past four years.

With much appreciation and gratitude,

Photo by The Restaurant Guy

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7 Responses to OPPI’Z CLOSES

  1. Jennifer Miller says:

    What a graceful exit even during this surely difficult decision.

  2. jj says:

    Such a wonderful & pleasant man! He took great pride in his vision, but unfortunately the vision of our City Council (mainly MJ & KS) has created such a cannibalistic environment, it was an avoidable fate. Increasing 2500+ seats in a market that was already recognized as Highest Restaurant Seats per Capita has caused more harm to our restuarnt community than any pandemic could have inflicted. Our restaurants have weathered economic downturns, a pandemic, fires & mudflows, mainly due to our community support throughout those occurrences. Coupled with a regulatory process of limited Alcohol licenses, the equation was there for a sustainable Restaurant ecosystem. No one got rich in the process, but they all sustained. Throw in a few thousand more seats with full liquor licenses (that no one else can get, due to the restrictions) and now you see that ecosystem turned upside down. A handful of restaurants are getting rich (funny, more than 80% of them defrauded the US Govt for millions on their false RRF applications) and now the edges of downtown have been drying up. Now, the first on the Promenade has reached its demise. I am all for a Promenade in downtown, but it needs an equitable balance. Expand the sidewalks a bit, move all dining onto the sidewalks (portable and removed daily as all other restaurants do) and relocate the two way shuttle service from the pier up to the Museum. Parades can happen again, car shows can happen again, concerts can happen, retail has room to breathe and be seen, “Dining in the Streets” co operative events can happen, art shows can happen, anything can happen. The opportunities are endless. Now, all we get is 30 restaurants with discounted overgrown ghetto structures (subsidized by all downtown businesses parking fund $, and thus the increase cost to our downtown employees and visitors per hourly rate increases) and a half baked collection of lackluster D.O. events also funded by downtown businesses fee’s that only supports the Downtown Restaurant Cartel a.k.a The Downtown Food & Beverage Committee (ironic they are all parklet owners?)
    So sorry for the loss Guido you will be missed!! You fought so hard to keep the promenade/parklets as it is…but in the end, that is the problem. The demand no longer meets the supply…thanks Sneddon.
    Let’s as City Council and the D.O. to fix this problem before more unnecessary closures occur, Even the $800k consultant said the Promenade as it is, would fail. So what does Council do in response? extend it 3 years as is…so they can either force the consultant to their vision, or find a new one.

  3. Snookie (aka Irene) says:

    Sorry we didn’t go to your restaurant, but what a nice person you are to send this message.
    Hope you open another restaurant here again someday. All the Best to you and yours!

  4. 805yokal says:

    Jj…did you ever go to the resturant?

    While he seems like a lovely guy, the place was doomed from the beginning. They touted a $75.00 pizza with gold flakes on it. I ate there once. It’s hard to screw up pizza but it simply was not good. He had a $500 raffle for five star reviews. If you need to pay for reviews, you are doing it wrong.

    Honestly, the pandemic helped the resurant in that it allowed for outdoor eating. I never saw people in the restaurant. The only people that went there were tourist who went because of the inflated reviews. At no point did anyone ever ask me to meet me there for pizza. The new pizza place across the street will likely close also. People over think pizza. It’s pizza. Nothing more, nothing less.

    Give me Rustys, Giovanias, and even Institution Ale, and life is good. Shit…the Number Duo at Petrinis is a classic.

    It’s not City Council that makes resturants fail. It’s people thinking SB is some version of Beverly Hills.

  5. jj says:

    805yokal, yes I did eat there on several occasions (although, not for pizza) and enjoyed his charm and passion for what he was trying to create. Sorry you feel that way about pizza in general. If you like conveyor belt/electric baked pizza’s you ought to give Mizza a try and pay an extra $10 for a name vs gold flakes? I guess you can feel that way about pretty much anything, even beer. I mean I can get a can of Bud Light for about $.65 per can at home, but Institution Ale charges $8 for an IPA…I mean its just beer, nothing more nothing less.
    But if you honestly believe that adding 2500 more outdoor dining seats is helping the local restaurant economy, that is when I would have to say you are wrong. City Council is not elected to play role of the urban developer, or to influence the commerce tenancy mix…that is the role of the private property owners who have invested in this city. Council should create and regulate ordinances, but they shouldn’t take control of how many restaurant seats a city should have…they honestly have no experience in that role and they should not be given that power. Especially when they are taking campaign funds from business owners profiting from their votes on the matter…seems a bit, I dunno…unethical?

  6. Cynthia Anderson says:

    Thank you, JJ for informing us of the situation. I hope your point of view will be seen in the SB Independent, it deserves to be more widely known and discussed.

  7. Alan Smithee says:

    Interesting comments by both jj and 805yokal… I would say each are right on most points. The misguided decisions by the Downtown Organization need to be called out (along with the corruption that lurks beneath the surface), but so does the arrogance of buyers and sellers of gold-flecked pizza. It is hard on long-time Santa Barbarans to see what was once a charming and modest beach town that cared about a big tree become a failed attempt at Beverly Hills, South Beach or Las Vegas, but it is even harder on the intrepid restaurant owners who have to navigate the demands of a society fed on hubris. I wince when each committed local restaurant struggles and fails, but I am also sickened by what many restaurant owners have had [chosen?] to do to rise to the inflated self-image of the city Santa Barbara is becoming.

    P.S. – Unable to afford the bright lights of the new SB, my partner and I are moving out. Good luck to all of you.