212 HOT POT OPENS IN ISLA VISTA

Owner David Chen is a busy guy these days. He opened PokeMee in Hollister Village Plaza last year, he opened Choppa Ice Cream earlier this year, he is planning to open Choppa Poke at 716 State Street, offering Thai-style ice cream and Poke in the former home of Mac cosmetics, and now has officially opened 212 Hotpot, a Taiwanese restaurant at 6533 Trigo Road in the former home of Kol’s Cafe and Crushcakes. At 212 Hot Pot you choose from 11 preset hot pots, pick a spice level ranging from none to “Flaming Spicy,” and decide if you want to include rice or vermicelli. The hot pots range in price from $13.99 to $17.99 depending on size or style. The shot pot pre-sets include sliced beef, lamb, pork, curry, pork and quail egg, healthy veggies, cheesy variety, and Korean kimchi with dumpling, Taiwanese spicy, Japanese Miso, and spicy Thai. 212 Hot Pot is open daily from 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.

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THE 805 DELI UPDATE

The 805 Deli at 135 East Carrillo Street closed in early January of this year with a sign that said they would reopen February 1st – then never did. Readers Mike and Jose just sent me an update:

Hi John…new sign painted on the 805 deli at Carrillo and Santa Barbara Street. Now says The 805 Hazy and Deli. –  Mike

805 Deli restarted its renovation last week, first time since January. It will now be called ‘805 Hazy and Deli.’ However, as of today, 06/12/18, there was a big red city notice on the door telling them to stop all work. Must not have permits. –  Jose M

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LOCAVORE KITCHEN OPENS DOWNTOWN

Locavore Kitchen, offering rustic, elegant California cuisine, has opened at 21 West Victoria Street, the former home of The Nugget, Arlington Tavern, Hobnob Tavern, Epiphany Restaurant & Bar, and Blue Shark Bistro. I’m told they had a huge turn-out on opening day and diners have received the food very well. ”I’m excited to be here and excited to be part of the community,” says owner Andrew Crawley, who has been a chef and consultant for more than 30 years. “So far the response has been great. People love the atmosphere here. The burger is fantastic. It is absolutely amazing. The flat iron steak is also phenomenal. Great fried chicken – the food’s good!” Crawley tells me that he likes to promote local business and use local products, from the local farms, for produce as well as meat, and the local fisheries. He tries to keep the menu as local as possible. Nothing is frozen, everything is fresh and made in house. Locavore has a beer and wine license and are promoting local craft breweries and local wineries. Full-service catering is planned. Locavore is open 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 10 a.m.-10 p.m. on Sunday. Visit locavore-kitchen.com.

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SUNSHINE CAFÉ OPENS UPTOWN

Things are looking bright on upper State Street. Sunshine Café has opened at 3514 State Street, the former home of Max’s Restaurant & Cucina which closed in March after 33 years in business. “70% of the menu comes from Max’s and the regulars are coming back,” says owner Ramiro Plascencia. “We’ve had great feedback and great comments about the menu and food. We are serving generous portions and offer both breakfast and lunch all day. We are focusing on the three basics: quality, customer service, and consistency.” Sunshine Café is open daily from 7:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. The restaurant offers dinner for groups of 20 or more on a reservation basis and will start offering catering in a few weeks.

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WORKER BEE CAFÉ IN GOLETA CLOSES

The Worker Bee Café in Carpinteria is open for business as usual. However, the new location which opened in September 2017 (replacing Sage & Onion Cafe) at 5599 Hollister Avenue in Old Town Goleta is gone.

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UNIBOIL COMING TO GOLETA

As soon as a sign was put up in the window at 5599 Hollister Avenue in Old Town Goleta, letting patrons know that the Worker Bee Café is closed permanently, a sign for a different restaurant joined it: Uniboil. The Taiwanese restaurant chain that specializes in spicy hot pot noodle soups will be the next tenant in the space also once occupied by Sage & Onion Café and Deli Planet. Uniboil has locations in Hong Kong, Los Angeles, San Diego, and at UC Davis. There’s been a wave of new hot pot spots coming to Southern California with one opening recently in Isla Vista. Uniboil’s signature soup base is made with Szechuan peppercorns, but it also offers a tomato-based soup, Thai-style tom yum soup and a mild chicken broth. There are preset hot pot combinations, or you can customize your own from a long list of ingredients; the eatery sets itself apart by offering better quality meat options, from Kurobuta Pork to certified Angus beef. All hot pots come with a side of rice or vermicelli noodles. The lunch and dinner hot pots range in price from $12.99 to $15.99. Add-ons ranging in price from $0.50 to $3.95 include Angus beef, Kurobuta pork, lamb, shrimp, fish fillet, luncheon meat, popping fish ball, fish tofu, bell ringer, enoki mushroom, frozen tofu, crab legs, cabbage, corn cob, shin ramyun, udon, vermicelli, steamed rice, cheese, egg, green onion, and mashed garlic.

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CADIZ CLOSES

Yelp is listing Cadiz restaurant at 509 State Street as “closed” and reservations are no longer available on Open Table. Readers tell me that Cadiz has been closed when they have walked by during business hours. Reliable sources tell me Cadiz is closed permanently. My messages to ownership have not been returned so I have not received direct confirmation. Their web site cadizsb.com suggests the restaurant is open for business as usual. Cadiz opened in March 2011.

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LOCAVORE KITCHEN OPENS

Readers sent me an update on the restaurant replacing The Nugget at 21 West Victoria Street:

According to their Instagram account, Locavore Kitchen is now open (as of today)–just posted a few minutes ago! No menu on their website still or information on hours, etc. Looking forward to trying it out! – Ellen

Locavore on Victoria Street has officially opened! –  AT

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COMING TO THE FUNK ZONE

This just in from reader Brendan: “An alcohol license sign for a ‘beer and wine eating place’ has appeared in the window of the building at 121 East Yanonali Street, formerly occupied by L’s Kitchen. There is no business name, but the company name is ‘Acme Hospitality’, which is the Funk Zone powerhouse behind The Lark, Lucky Penny, Loquita, etc.”

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JEANNINE’S BAKERY COMING TO GOLETA

Readers Lois, Pedro, David, and Claudia let me know that Jeannine’s Bakery is coming to Hollister Village Plaza at 7060 Hollister Avenue in Goleta, the former home of Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, which is next to Smart & Final.

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DUE, ‘LUNE CUCINA COMING TO STATE STREET

In May I wrote that Gene Montesano, owner of Tre Lune Ristorante & Bar at 1151 Coast Village Road in Montecito (as well as Joe’s Cafe, Lucky’s, and D’Angelo Bakery) has signed a lease to bring a Tre Lune location to 1 State Street, the former home of Eladio’s. Reader Primetime let me know that my story was correct except for the all-important name of the business. Primetime sent me a photo of a new sign on the building that reads: “Due, ‘Lune Cucina.”

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TEDDY’S BY THE SEA COMING TO CARP

About 6 months ago I posted a story about an unnamed seafood restaurant coming to 5096 Carpinteria Avenue in Carpinteria, the former home of the The Nugget. Readers Primetime and Brad let me know that the name of the new eatery will be Teddy’s by the Sea. I don’t know yet when the ship sets sail.

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CHOCOLATE GALLERY TO CLOSE

After 38 years in business, Karen Kegg and Tim Johnson from The Chocolate Gallery at 5705 Calle Real in Goleta have announced that they are not renewing their lease on the Calle Real Center store location. “There are no future plans and it has been a fantastic ride but the time is right for a change,” said owner Karen Kegg. “Thanks to all for the unwavering support and fun over the years. We are still going strong, taking ‘stock-up-now’ orders to be picked up before it’s too late to get your hands on this most fantastic of homemade chocolates. Our last guaranteed hours in the retail store at 5705 Calle Real are on Saturday, June 16, 2018, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. the day before Father’s Day. Before then, in addition to stockpiling your personal stash, there will be plenty of chocolates to get you through your gift giving needs for End-of School activities like teacher’s gifts and graduation gifts and also through Father’s Day, June 17.  And we are not forgetting the 30 year tradition of support at the Goleta Library Summer Reading Program. We won’t be open, but the kids can still earn some chocolate letters. Stay in touch on Facebook!”

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QUESTION OF THE DAY

“What happened to The Fork who wrote reviews for the News Press?
–  George”

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BLACK SHEEP POP-UP AT BEAR AND STAR

The Black Sheep restaurant at 26 East Ortega Street is having a pop-up special event at the Bear and Star restaurant, 2860 Grand Avenue in Los Olivos. Here is a message from The Black Sheep: “Join us at The Black Sheep on Sunday, June 10th, for a very special evening with guest Chef John Cox of The Bear and Star. He will be collaborating with our amazing, Chef Robért Perez, on an incredible 4 course tasting menu, which we will be serving all night (no regular menu). If you’ve eaten at either restaurant, then you know these masters are going to create an epic feast that is not to be missed! Reservations are required. Please call us at 805.965.1113. Or you can book now through yelp or open table. The special event includes 4 courses (with amuse bouche) for $55/pp with an optional wine pairing an additional $30/pp. Our full selection of beer, wine, and cocktails will be available as well.”

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BELLA VISTA REOPENS AT THE BILTMORE

In December 2017 the Four Seasons Biltmore in Montecito was closed for a month to cleanup after tremendous ash fall from the Thomas Fire. The day after reopening in January 2018 the devastating Montecito floods hit, shattering the lives and homes of many, and directly damaging much of the Biltmore property. As predicted by reader Steve H.  the Biltmore resort and popular Bella Vista restaurant reopened on June 1st and has never been better. Here is a description provided by Four Seasons:

“Bella Vista Restaurant is Santa Barbara’s most beautiful premier al fresco oceanfront dining experience. With panoramic ocean and island views across Montecito’s Butterfly Beach, guests will enjoy a contemporary Italian menu showcasing fresh California ingredients inspired by Executive Chef Marco Fossati. The expansive terrace features Italian marble, indoor fireplaces, an outdoor fire pit and a retractable glass roof further create the indoor–outdoor dining experience. Bella Vista has the distinction of being one of only 12 restaurants in California (the only one in Santa Barbara) licensed to cure its own meats, and the shared charcuterie plate is the most popular appetizer on the menu. Bella Vista also boasts an expansive wine list and has been recognized for earning Wine Spectator’s 2017 Award of Excellence.” Bella Vista is open 7 a.m.-9 p.m. daily (9:30 p.m. Friday-Sunday).

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SIP & SWIRL AT CANARY

Finch & Fork and the Canary Hotel at 31 W Carrillo Street have kicked-off summer with the return of their popular wine tasting series, Sip & Swirl. Locals and guests are invited to taste regional wines set to stunning views from their rooftop terrace. Held from 5:30-7:30 p.m. all summer long, Sip & Swirl features a rotating collection of local wineries who will showcase their best vintages – some whose winemakers will be the ones pouring. Sip & Swirl-goers have the opportunity to learn about one of Santa Barbara County’s leading industries, while enjoying entertainment and a selection of premium cheeses. November and December Sip & Swirls will take a festive turn, highlighting bourbons, cabs, and bubbly. Tickets are $35, which includes tastings of all the wines and cheeses. Buy online at NightOut.com, or purchase at the door. Summer Sip & Swirl dates are as follows: June 26, August 28, October 23, November 13 (Bourbons and Cabs) and December 11 (Bubbles).

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EAST BEACH GRILL REINCARNATED

Reader Lynn says that locals like me who were saddened by the closure of East Beach Grill in January will be happy to know that the former owner is now serving the same breakfast menu, including his amazing blueberry wheat germ pancakes, at his other restaurant, Char West on Stearns Wharf, daily from 7 a.m.

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TAP THAI BRINGS BACK LUNCH

Reader Brendan passed the word that TAP Thai restaurant at 3130 State Street, which had previously stopped its lunch service, has restarted it.

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WATERFRONT UPDATE

Reader Steve H. let me know that Third Wave Hospitality has published a information related to a couple of restaurants coming to (and near) the former home of El Torito on the waterfront. Third Wave says that their Cabrillo Project will be the “Gateway to the Funk Zone.” They first describe Leadbetter, coming to 23 East Cabrillo Boulevard, the former home of Wheel Fun and L.T. Cinnamon:  “The location will attract tourists & locals with Stumptown Coffee, Craft Beer & fast casual breakfast, lunch, and dinner 7 days a week. Boasting a 2,800 square foot outdoor patio, patrons will enjoy oceanfront dining year round. Santa Barbara’s one and only coffee BAR, also serving delicious, California classic food.”

Third Wave Hospitality also describes Oku Sushi, coming to 29 East Cabrillo Boulevard, the former home of El Torito: “We will bring a sophisticated, sexy vibe to a building that is the Gateway to the Funk Zone for the many tourists visiting our city each day. Oku Sushi will serve Asian Cuisine with a heavy California influence. A full service, sexy bar, sushi bar, private dining room and wrap-around, outdoor patios will bring the ‘in crowd’ down to the Funk Zone. OKU will be THE place to go out, see & be seen in an upscale, hip, club-like atmosphere.”

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ALPHIE’S REOPENS

Alphie’s Restaurant in Goleta reopened today after repairs from a fire a few months ago.

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SORRISO ITALIANO TO CLOSE

Readers Bob and Annie let me know that Sorriso Italiano at 901 Embarcadero del Mar in Isla Vista, which opened in July 2013, closes this month. Here is a message from the owners: “Dear Friends, On Tuesday 29th of May at 6 p.m. we would like to organize our last Wine Tasting with three excellent wines. We’d like to toast with you the end of a journey that you’ve accompanied us on for the last five years! It’ll be the perfect occasion for us to celebrate the closure of our “Sorriso” to be able to  mainly focus on our children. We hope to see all of you there! Please RSVP at 324-4367. Thank you, Antonio and Elisabetta.”

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DOWNTOWN CHIPOTLE TO CLOSE

Reader Annie says that Chipotle at 723 State Street has posted a sign announcing that their last day in business is May 27th. The La Cumbre Plaza and Goleta locations are open for business as usual.

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FURNITURE SALE

This is your last chance to grab a few things for sale at 18 East Cota Street, former home of Globe lounge. Items offered include couches, tables, chairs, Moroccan tile patio tables, lighting, antiques and unique décor from all over the world. The event will be held Saturday May 26 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. See photos on Craig’s List. I am told that everything must be sold by end of month so prices are reduced.

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LOST AT SEA

Reader Annie says that the late night (9 p.m.) happy hour menu announced at the launch of the new Islands restaurant in La Cumbre Plaza has suddenly disappeared. I called the restaurant and confirmed the news.

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BREWHOUSE CELEBRATION

This just in from owner Pete Johnson: “Hi John, The Brewhouse turns twenty this month.  We’ve been running a special all month long (Monday -Thursday). The special offers choice of 2 items and 2 beers for $19.98 including Gorgonzola Salad, Salmon Salad, Penne Pasta w/ Chipotle Cilantro Pesto, Pan Fried Chicken, Filet Mignon Enchilada, Pan Seared Salmon, and Cheeseburger with Fries. We’re also doing a special for the actual 20th anniversary day, Saturday May 26th.   For that day we will sell the cheeseburger, side and a beer for the original price of $5.99 all day long. Just curious, do you have a count, or estimate of how many restaurants have closed in SB since we opened?  Twenty years is a long run in a town often obsessed with the latest thing. Cheers, Pete Johnson” To answer Pete’s question, approximately 800 restaurants have closed since the Brewhouse launched in the late 1990s.

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TRATTORIA MOLLIE REPLACING TUPELO JUNCTION CAFE

Reader Primetime fired the first shot by texting me that Trattoria Mollie in Montecito is looking to open a location on State Street. Reader Peter added more detail: “I noticed that the space occupied by Trattoria Mollie has come up for lease in our local Multiple Listing Service. The space, 1250 Coast Village Road, Suites E and F is described as 2,950 square feet and is said to be currently occupied by a restaurant. The asking rent is $6.50 per square foot. While I suppose she could still extend her lease, the listing suggests that Mollie may no longer exist in the near future.” Reader Meg offers yet more detail: “Rumor has it that Mollie’s son, from Trattoria Mollie on Coast Village Road, is opening a restaurant at the former Tupelo Junction Cafe location, 1218 State Street next to the Granada Theater.”  Lastly reader Bruce sent me of a confirmation photo of an ABC application at 1218 State Street that says that the next tenant will be named Mollie’s, brought to you by Trattoria Mollie, Inc.

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SUBWAY AT STATE AND MISSION TO CLOSE

Reader Chad says that he was on the bus recently and I saw a “closing May 23rd” sign on the Subway at 1936 State Street next to the 7-Eleven at Mission Street. I called the restaurant and confirmed the news. This Subway location opened November 2015. The 11 other South Coast Subway locations are open for business as usual.

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JERSEY MIKE’S COMING TO CARP

Reader Primetime was in the Casitas Shopping Center in Carpinteria and spotted a sign at 1054 Casitas Pass Road, next to Little Caesar’s and CVS, that says a Jersey Mike’s Subs is coming soon.

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