New owners Brooke and Lindsey Christian are opening Longoria Winery at 732 State Street, the former home of Santa Barbara Wine Therapy which moved to 12 West Haley Street in August 2021.

Photo by The Restaurant Guy

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The Landing is a taproom/restaurant coming the 5690 Calle Real in Goleta, the former home of Outback Steakhouse.

Photo by The Restaurant Guy

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The Ellwood is coming to 5905 Sandspit Road Goleta, formerly Beachside Bar-Café.

Photos by The Restaurant Guy

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Santa Barbara Fish Market is coming to University Plaza next to the DMV in Goleta. The new location will be 7127 Hollister Avenue Ste. 18, the former home of La Bella Rosa Bakery (2016-2019), Cafe Zoma (2010-2011), and Mojo Coffee (2006-2010).

Photos by The Restaurant Guy

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Silvers Omakase is a Japanese restaurant coming to 224 Helena Avenue, formerly Seven Bar & Kitchen.

Photo by The Restaurant Guy

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SocialEats, an Instagram-ready food concept from Los Angeles-based hospitality group K2 Restaurants, is coming to 6521 Pardall Road in Isla Vista, the former home of South Coast Deli, Dirty’s, On The Side, Tasters, The Spot, Espresso Roma, McBurley’s as well as the birthplace of The Habit Burger Grill and Kinko’s (now Fedex Office).

Photos by The Restaurant Guy

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Finch & Fork will be hosting a holiday meal in their recently redesigned space within the Kimpton Canary Hotel. Christmas Eve dinners by reservation will take place December 24, with seatings between 3:30-7:30 p.m. at 31 West Carrillo Street.

The menu pulls inspiration from traditional Christmas dishes and seasonal winter ingredients with a California flare for $140 per person. Wine pairings can be enjoyed with each of their dishes for an additional $50.

Menu items range from Chicken Liver Pâté served with Pomegranate Gelee, Grilled Rustic Sourdough Crispy Shallots, and Prosecco Vinegar, as well as a Eggnog Milkshake with Salted Caramel, Shortbread Streusel Torched Merengue. Also offered are holiday dishes like a Herb-Crusted Prime Rib with White Chocolate Mashed Potatoes, Crispy Brussels Sprouts, Sherry Molasses, Horseradish, and Natural Jus and the Chocolate S’more Budino with Graham Cracker and Chantilly.

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December is Happy Month at Pascucci, 509 State Street:

Hi John,

Pascucci, a local favorite for 29 years would like to thank all of our loyal customers, we really appreciate all of you that helped getting us ( and many other of your favorite restaurants) through Covid, and with rising costs for gas/food and everything else these days, we’ve decided to declare December as Happy Month. Our Happy Hour (normally Mon-Friday 3-6) has been so popular, we are giving our loyal customers a little treat, throughout the entire mnth of December, all day/night, 7a days a week, we will be offering our Happy hour prices (with purchase of meals) to all.

House Margarita $6 (we use 100% agave Rancho Alegre reposado tequila with fresh lime)
House Chardonnay and Cabernet $5
Well Cocktails $5
Bottle beer & White Claws $4

Please come visit us at 509 State Street (our new but not-so-new location since
February 2020)

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This just in from Anchor Rose at the Santa Barbara Harbor:

Hello John,
We love your blog.

The Anchor Rose opened earlier this year in the Santa Barbara Harbor’s historic Maritime Museum building and is bringing new life to the location of both The Endless Summer (Upstairs) and Chuck’s of Hawaii (Downstairs). We have received some really great reviews and feedback from the community.
The Anchor Rose staff is composed of many of the previous employees of the well loved Beachside Cafe including the Head Chef and General Manager who have been working together for many year producing local favorite seafood and tri-tip dishes and appetizers that remain on the menu to this day. The owner Amy Rose and partners plan on providing incredible food, service and views to Santa Barbara harbor visitors.

Amy Rose is a true Santa Barbara local who’s family has previously owned and operated Harry’s Plaza Cafe and has had deep ties to both Sambos and Carrows for many years hopes to attract locals and visitors alike to celebrate and enjoy The Santa Barbara Waterfront. Her longtime experience in the restaurant industry where she currently owns and operates seven other successful restaurants make this a winning recipe for the Santa Barbara Harbor and our community.

While the upstairs portion of the Anchor Rose will remain much the same with the two heated
patios and full bar; the downstairs interior area will undergo some exciting improvements including adding future additions to the large outdoor glass enclosed patio making it a perfect venue for groups and larger celebrations of all kinds.

Thank you,

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Santa Barbara County added a third Michelin Star awardee to its ranks this week, when Caruso’s at the Rosewood Miramar in Montecito was honored with the culinary world’s most esteemed designation. Bestowed upon a very excited Chef Massimo Falsini during a presentation in Los Angeles on Monday night, the star puts Caruso’s on par with Bell’s in Los Alamos and Sushi by Scratch: Montecito, which won their Michelin stars in 2021. Caruso’s also picked up a Green Star, which designates sustainable operations.

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Ted and Greer Ellis have opened We Want The Funk at 210 Gray Avenue in the Funk Zone. “We are serving fresh oysters, wood fired oysters, wood-fired flat bread pizzas, along with beer and wine,” says Ted Ellis. Food hours are Wednesday-Thursday 4-9 p.m., Friday-Saturday 4-10 p.m. The bar stays open later. Next year they plan to start serving lunch and offering brunch on weekends. Ted Ellis has worked with The Lark, Oku, Leadbetter, and consulted with Ca’Del Grevino Winery as Vice President of Operations. Prior to that Ted Ellis’ position at the Bacara Resort & Spa was Director of Restaurants & Beverage.

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Bluewater Grill Santa Barbara in the lighthouse across from Stearns Wharf has a special holiday gift for guests of its final Second Tuesday Tasting of the year: a preview of several chef-driven seafood dishes on the Bluewater Grill 2023 menu. Local seafood fans attending the December 13 tasting and wine pairing will be the first to sample a Sashimi Grade Yellowfin Tuna Tostada with Avocado Purée Firecracker Sauce and Daikon Sprouts followed by Sun-dried Tomato Pesto Roasted Rockfish with Parmesan Risotto. The two dishes were created by Bluewater Grill chefs for the 2023 menu debuting early next year and will be paired with BNG Bordeaux Blanc from France and Crisanto Chianti Classico from Italy.

“While Bluewater is best known for the West’s most pristine sustainable seafood and shellfish, simply prepared to showcase the just-off-the-boat freshness, our chefs also create some one-of-a-kind dishes you can’t find anywhere else,” said Bluewater Grill co-founder and co-owner Jimmy Ulcickas. “We’re excited to be serving up a sneak peak of two of these most innovative dishes on our 2023 menu as a holiday gift to our customers. Since no one knows seafood better than Bluewater regulars, we’re asking for guest feedback to make these innovative flavor combinations as good as they can be.”

The price of the Second Tuesday Tasting on Dec. 13 is $50 per person, which is $15 off the $65 value. Seatings begin at 6:30 p.m., and reservations are strongly encouraged.

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Project Manager Andres Velasco tells me that cuisine inspired from the streets and markets of Mexico City is the specialty of Corazón Comedor which has opened at 29 East Victoria Street, the former home of Ca’ Dario Pizzeria (Ca’ Dario is open for business as usual nextdoor). “For lack of a better word, let’s call it traditional,” says Velasco. “This is the most traditional style, like when your mom cooks for you, or your grandma cooks for you. That is the inspiration behind it. We want to make it like you are eating at home, or eating at your mom’s, your grandma’s, your aunt’s. We offer tacos and quesadillas but it is totally different that what you usually find around town.”

Velasco says they specialize in Guiso which is a traditional and homey Mexican dish prepared by braising or in stew. “Guisados is our main thing,” says Velasco. “We make tacos out of all of our Guisados. We have vegetables, chicken, pork, beef, and shrimp from seafood.” Corazón Comedor is open daily 11 a.m.-9 p.m. They will soon start offering breakfast and open at 8 a.m. Call (805) 679-5397 or visit

Photo by The Restaurant Guy

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While talking with Project Manager Andres Velasco at the new downtown eatery Corazón Comedor, which is one of a series of restaurants being opened by Corazón Cocina founder Ramon Velazquez, I learned that a restaurant named Tacos Roma is coming to 1024 Coast Village Road, the former home of Little Alex’s. They hope to open four or five months from now. Previously I reported that the name of the eatery coming to this space was Alma Fonda Fina but that has changed. “We will be working in the following months in Montecito at the Country Mart,” says Velasco. “We changed the name a little bit because we changed the whole concept. Roma Norte is a district in Mexico City where we have some high-end restaurants. Owner Ramon Velazquez loves Mexico City and travels there a lot. We are focusing on tacos and it will be a little more on the high end but it will still be casual. We are going to be serving plates from Guadalajara [a metropolis in western Mexico and the capital of the state of Jalisco] and we will platter everything super nice. But nothing is set in stone yet.”

A few months back I broke the news that Velazquez may be opening a restaurant inside the M. Special brewery at 634 State Street and I am told that it is not 100% for sure at this point but if plans do hold up the name might be Beast Tacos. Velazquez is also working with The Good Lion to do something in Ventura. Good Lion Hospitality operates The Good Lion bar at 1212 State Street, Shaker Mill at 418 State Street, Test Pilot at 211 Helena Avenue, Venus in Furs at 18 East Cota Street, and Bank of Italy at 394 East Main Street in Ventura.

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After intense concentration and a wave of my hand over the crystal ball, my eatery oracle has revealed a list of food and drink locations appearing in your future:

  • Azul Cocina, 7 E. Anapamu St. (formerly Arts & Letters Café)
  • Beast Tacos, 634 State St. (inside M. Special)
  • Belching Dragon Tavern, 800 State St. (formerly Starbucks)
  • The Black Sheep SB Brasserie, 18 E. Cota St. (formerly Venus in Furs)
  • Brass Bear Brewing Company, 3302 McCaw Ave. (Café Stella)
  • Casa Comal, W. Carrillo St.
  • Chick-Fil-A, 4765 Calle Real, Goleta (formerly IHOP)
  • Drift Hotel and Restaurant, 524 State St. (formerly Scientology)
  • The Ellwood, 5905 Sandspit Rd., Goleta (formerly Beachside Bar-Café)
  • Everytable, 1001 State St. (formerly Saks 5th Avenue)
  • Kin Bakeshop, Turnpike Center
  • The Landing, 5690 Calle Real, Goleta (formerly Outback Steakhouse)
  • Pavilions, 1040 Coast Village Rd., Montecito (changing from Vons)
  • Santa Barbara Fish Market, 7127 Hollister Ave. Ste. 18, Goleta (near DMV)
  • halhoob’s, 5112 Hollister Ave., Goleta (formerly Woody’s BBQ)
  • Silvers Omakase, 224 Helena Ave. (formerly Seven Bar & Kitchen)
  • SocialEats, 6521 Pardall Rd., Isla Vista (formerly South Coast Deli)
  • Tacos Roma, 1024 Coast Village Rd. (formerly Little Alex’s)
  • Taqueria La Unica, 3771 State St. (formerly Dunkin’ Donuts)
  • Teddy’s on State, 3102 State St. (formerly Yanni’s Greek Deli)
  • Unnamed seafood, 703 Anacapa St.
  • Unnamed, 516 San Ysidro Rd. (formerly Montecito Wine Bistro)
  • Unnamed, 1212 Coast Village Rd. (formerly Cava)
  • Unnamed, 28 E. Ortega St. (formerly Black Sheep)
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Readers JK and John Paul let me know that Pepe’s Mexican Restaurant at 254 Orange Avenue, an icon in Goleta since 1958 that closed after a kitchen fire in December 2020, reopened today to nearly a full house during their very first lunch. The eatery used the unexpected closing as an opportunity to do an extensive two-year remodel, including putting on a new roof. Hours are Monday-Saturday 11 a.m.-9 p.m., and Sunday 9 a.m.-9.p.m. I am told there have been a few changes to the menu but it remains mostly the same. Call (805) 967-0313 or visit

View the new menu

The remodeled Pepe’s in Goleta. Photos by The Restaurant Guy

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Acme Hospitality has relaunched Tyger Tyger, the Funk Zone’s Asian-inspired cafe, at 121 E. Yanonali Street. The original Tyger Tyger opened in 2018 but the pandemic forced the restaurant to close, and the concept was placed on hold.

The eatery became a test kitchen to give Acme Hospitality chefs a place to experiment with new menus, concepts and pop-ups. Consulting chef Jasmine Shimoda (formerly of Los Angeles vegan restaurant Jewel and Santa Barbara’s Loquita) and Chef Trevor Laymance (farm-to-table fine dining chef hailing from Ojai) put their heads together to develop a new plant-forward menu offering vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and omnivore options. Tyger Tyger 2.0 offers breakfast and lunch daily and dinner service Thursday-Saturday.

The building on Yanonali was built in 1945 by the Castagnola family as the original “net barn” where fishing nets were stored and repaired and has served the community as an auto repair shop, bakery and catering kitchen/café

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In June 2020 the South Coast said goodbye to local German dining icon Dutch Garden at 4203 State Street after 75 years in business, the most recent 40 years under the same ownership. Last week new owners Charlie Fredericks and brothers Matt and Daniel English reopened their labor of love.

“Thank you, Santa Barbara, for your business,” said Fredericks, part of a local family working hard to keep the Dutch Garden alive. “This swell of support for this restaurant is humbling. It’s incredible to be a part of this. I’d like to give heartfelt thanks to all the people who helped us, from my landlord, to the construction people, to the County of Santa Barbara who came in and got us pushed through. Every single person along the way has helped us so much.”

Patron Matthew Fineberg from Get Beyond (restaurant management software among other things, email, stopped by on opening day before the eatery opened and says the line stretched from the front door, up the street, and across the parking lot. “The thing that is amazing is about this is that Dutch Garden is a pillar of Santa Barbara,” says Fineberg. “It’s one of these institutions that anyone who’s lived here for any period of time knows about it. I feel that they are not just going to be successful, that they are going to thrive.” Given that Fredericks says the restaurant served 125 schnitzels on opening day, they are certainly off to a great start.

Dutch Garden is open for lunch Wednesday-Sunday 11 a.m.-3 p.m. for the first two or three weeks and the menu is nearly identical to the way previous owner Ken Luetjen did it. Then they will roll out dinner, and later, weekend brunch on the spacious patio.

Photos by The Restaurant Guy

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Santa Ynez Valley icon, Mattei’s Tavern’s restaurant and bar, reopened last week. Helmed by Executive Chef Rhoda Magbitang, the ranch-inspired Californian restaurant features local ingredients from nearby farmers, ranchers and fishermen. “I’m thrilled to be part of a restaurant and property with such a rich history, and in a destination that is quickly becoming known for its talented culinary players,” said Magbitang. “The Santa Ynez Valley has given me the opportunity to work with some of the most outstanding and dynamic ingredients, farmers and ranchers.”

Menu highlights include starters such as sweetbreads with sunchokes, roasted grapes, mizuna, oxtail jus and Santa Barbara abalone with king oyster mushrooms, white miso butter, sea beans. Salads showcase seasonal flavors, with favorites including a warm bean salad with haricot vert, braised heirloom beans, ricotta salata and trufflebert hazelnuts and sprouting broccoli with snow peas, watercress, red chili flakes and poppy seeds. More substantial entrees from the grill include a whole local fish with Tehachapi heritage grains salad, roasted cauliflower and caramelized zucchini yogurt served on a charred wood cutting board.

Mattei’s Tavern is open for dinner on Wednesday-Thursday from 5-9 p.m., and Friday-Saturday 5-9:30 p.m. The bar and lounge are open on Wednesday-Thursday from 5-10 p.m., Friday-Saturday 5-11 p.m. Call (805) 695-4783.

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Reader Don S. let me know that a sign for a new Mexican eatery named Azul Cocina (not to be confused with popular dining destination La Playa Azul) has appeared at 7 East Anapamu Street, the former home of Arts & Letters Café which closed in April 2015 and was followed briefly by La Cocina, Smithy, and Somerset restaurants. Their website says they plan to open next month.

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Starting very recently, pop-up ads for Cafe Stella are appearing on many of the websites I visit. I thought they had closed some time ago and were being replaced by a beer pub. Why are these ads showing up now?
– Artemisia

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Michelin Guide added AMA Sushi at the Rosewood Miramar Beach to their respected culinary resource along with the following description: “It’s worth going all in on the omakase here to sample the chef’s artistry, which begins with a trinity of bites from soba noodles and fried eggplant to sesame tofu.” Last year the guide added Sushi|Bar in Montecito, then operated by head sushi chef Lennon Silvers-Lee, who left soon after to open her own restaurant named Silvers Omakase. It is currently under construction at 224 Helena Avenue, the former home of Seven Bar & Kitchen.

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Reader Foodie Mike noticed that Dutch Garden has posted an announcement on Instagram that they open November 16. Hours will be Wedneday-Sunday 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

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This just in from Reader Daktari:

“To follow up on your story of 9/15 about Saigon leaving Five Points Shopping Center, I am happy to report that Saigon did indeed move in with Sachi Ramen at 721 Chapala Street. When you go there, Saigon’s name is on the front sign under Sachi s, and when you go in, they hand you both menus, and the Saigon menu is the same as ever.”

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Jersey Mike’s Subs, with more than 2,300 locations nationwide, opens tomorrow, November 16, at 199 South Turnpike Road next to Lighthouse Coffee and Vons. Franchise owner Stephen Youlios and Kyanna Isaacson are holding a grand opening and fundraiser until Sunday, November 20, to support San Marcos High School. “We’re very excited to open our third location in the Santa Barbara area,” said Isaacson.  “We cherish our relationships with our local schools.  This newest store gives us an even greater ability to provide our schools with the resources they need.” Guests can place orders in-store or for pickup through the website or through the Jersey Mike’s app. Additionally, delivery is available in most areas through the Jersey Mike’s app or through third-party delivery partners. Curbside pickup is available for orders placed in Jersey Mike’s app. Hours are 10 a.m.-9 p.m., seven days a week. Call (805) 259-3482 or visit

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Oat Bakery, which opened at 5 West Haley Street five years ago, opens a new location at 231 South Magnolia Avenue in Goleta tomorrow, November 16, in the former home of Goodland Kitchen and Market. Old Town Goleta’s newest eatery boasts a front-of-house seating area and 1700 square foot kitchen. Oat will now be able to fulfill larger wholesale orders, including partnerships with several Southern California companies such as Moon Juice and Flamingo Estate. Along with their complete original bread menu, Oat’s new Goleta location offers “by-the-slice” toast options topped with whipped butter, Comté cheese, and more, as well as Scandinavian breakfast and lunch options. The new bakery also has a front-of-house fridge with grab-and-go items, a coffee bar, and space for customers to sit and enjoy their bakery goods. Hours are Wednesday-Saturday 8 a.m.-4 p.m.. Starting in January, 2023 Oat’s Goleta location will also be open Sundays 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Visit

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L’antica Pizzeria da Michele has opened at 1032 State Street, the former home of Embermill, Aldo’s, and the Copper Coffee Pot, the latter occupying the address from 1927 to 1982.

Italian entrepreneur, restauranter, and owner Francesco Zimone—who opened the first U.S. outpost of the 152-year-old Naples brand in Hollywood in 2019— is dedicated to sourcing and highlighting Santa Barbara-based vintners, locally-grown produce, and fresh seafood.

“We are thrilled to expand our Naples footprint with the opening of our second California location in Santa Barbara – a city we are proud to embrace as our new home,” says Zimone. “Our cozy new location is equally on par with the authentic flavors diners could expect whilst eating in Italy, without having to leave this beautiful beach town. I for one, have fallen in love with the Mediterranean-style architecture of the city, and hope that our Naples style dining will add to Santa Barbara’s already rich and diverse dining community. With a dream to continue to share the treasured 152-year-old Italian recipes and sense of genuine hospitality and place, we look forward to welcoming the Santa Barbara community with open arms this season.”

Head Pizzaiolo Michele Rubini includes the original recipe for the Naples original Neapolitan pizza, along with a selection of house made pastas, salads, barley-fed steaks, an on-site salumeria, and a more laidback and casual lunch menu featuring paninis, pastas, salads, and more. Menu highlights include Gnocco Fritto (deep-fried pizza dough and stuffed with burrata, prosciutto and arugula $19), Diavola Pizza (imported tomatoes, fior di latte, pecorino, spicy salame, & calabrian chili $28), Spaghetti Nerano (housemade spaghetti, fresh zucchini, parmigiana, pecorino and basil $25), and Maccheroncini Carbonara (macherroncini, guanciale, egg & pecorino $28).

The new downtown dining destination has a 60-seat tree-covered courtyard with views of State Street, indoor dining, and bar seating for an additional 40 guests, as well as sidewalk-adjacent seating accommodating 20 guests. Hours are Tuesday- Saturday 11 a.m.-4 p.m. (counter service lunch), 4-6 p.m. (take-out only), and 6-9 p.m. (full-service dinner). Call (805) 770 8055 or visit

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Last January reader Richard let us know that the Carpinteria planning commission had posted documents that said a new coffee shop named Brass Bird was coming to 4835 Carpinteria Avenue in Carpinteria, the former home of Omni Catering (which owns Brass Bird and moved their catering operations to Milpas Street) and Taqueria El Tapatio. Fast forward to November, and reader Johnny gives us an update:

“Hi John, Just wanted to let you know that brass bird coffee in Carpinteria opened last week and it is one of the nicest coffee places in the area.”

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Each November my inbox is swamped with the same question: Which restaurants serve a traditional turkey dinner on Thanksgiving Day? For the 16th year in a row, I made a hundred phone calls to find the answers, which I serve below.

Make your reservations early because many places will sell out; some are booked out three months in advance. And the competition isn’t just from your immediate neighbors: Based on the analytics of who is reading my online posting of this list, it appears that slightly more than half of the people exploring the idea of a Santa Barbara Thanksgiving feast are from outside of the county.

View the list for 2022: Restaurants serving Thanksgiving in Santa Barbara

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Reader Primetime let me know that the Ritz-Carlton Bacara Resort was sold for $529 million to Brookfield Properties of New York.  This is the largest non-oil sale in Santa Barbara County history. The official buying entity is Ruby SB Hotel LLC and the City of Goleta earned a $583,855.90 transfer tax on the sale.  I am told that a restaurant refresh is in the works.

The transaction follows several others involving Brookfield Properties in recent months. In May, the company announced its purchase of the Watermark Portfolio, a hospitality portfolio which included 1,080 rooms in Southern California. In total, the $3.8 billion deal included 25 properties totaling over 8,100 rooms in 14 states. The Southern California properties that were part of the transaction include the Bacara, the 350-room Westin Pasadena, and the 372-room Marriott La Jolla. Prior to that, the company also purchased the DreamWorks property, a 14.7-acre headquarters campus in Glendale.

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IHOP has completed its move from 4765 Calle Real in Goleta (which will soon be a Chick-Fil-A) to 7127 Hollister Avenue Ste. 30 next to Costco and the DMV, where Itsuki Restaurant was located from October 2012 until September 2021.  Before Itsuki it was the home of Baja Fresh where, back in my single days, and because I live around nearby, I ordered chicken tacos for lunch nearly 7 days a week for years. But I digress.

“We are happy to be near the University and to serve customers in this area,” says General Manager Miguel Velasquez. There are only a couple of other breakfast spots in this area so IHOP is a welcome addition. The restaurant appears to be a little smaller than the space they previously occupied but I am told there are plans to expand. In the addition to the patio at the east end of the building, the eatery is planning to a create outdoor seating in a nook on the west side of the facility. Alcoholic beverages will be available later in the month.

In 1958 Jerry Lapin, Al Lapin, and Albert Kallis founded IHOP at 4301 West Riverside Drive in Burbank, and now there are nearly 2,000 locations in all 50 states and around the world. The new Goleta IHOP is open daily from 6 a.m.-10 p.m. Call (805) 562-0056 or visit

GIFT TO THE GOODLAND: The first-ever Goleta IHOP has opened near Costco in University Plaza. Photos by The Restaurant Guy

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I was biking with my son in Isla Vista for a special Halloween party for kids and noticed that Buddha Bowls at 901 Embarcadero Del Mar is now known as “Dank Bowl Kitchen.” Buddha Bowls opened in December 2013. Apparently owner Daniel Dunietz kept facing customer confusion because Buddha Bowls is a name used for vegetarian dishes and suggests the cuisine is inspired by Eastern traditions. The eatery offers neither. Dunietz says he originally chose the name “Buddha Bowls” because in Chicago, where he is from, the term is interchangeable with weed. He switched to Dank Bowl Kitchen because dank is a slang term describing something as “excellent,” especially marijuana, and it leaves the other connotations behind.

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This just in from reader Terry: “I was in SCOOP on Coast Village Road last Saturday. I asked the nice guy behind the counter packing my ice cream if they were going to have the peppermint in December. He told me they are closing by December to reorganize, remodel, etc. He is looking for a job! I have noticed they have not been as busy as the previous owners were. Too bad.”

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Reader “I Miss Rex of SB” reports that they stopped by Mony’s at 217 Anacapa Street and noted that it is now offering dinner 4:30-8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday. Call (805) 895-2978 or visit

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Little Dom’s Seafood at 686 Linden Avenue in Carpinteria is bringing back its annual Deep-Fried Thanksgiving Turkey. Available for pre-order now, Little Dom’s Seafood’s co-owner and executive chef, Brandon Boudet offers his popular deep-fried turkeys and holiday side dishes for take-out. In addition, Pastry Chef Ann Kirk will be offering a spread of desserts to complete the Thanksgiving feast. The 12–14-pound turkey feeds 6-8 people and costs $100. Sides (6-8 people) cost $48 each and include Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Applewood Bacon, Homemade Fennel Sausage & Mushroom Stuffing, Shaved Raw Brussels with Parmesan, and more. Desserts (6-8 People) include Pumpkin Cheesecake with Bourbon Caramel & Toasted Pecans $48, Apple Crisp with Oat Streusel Topping $42, and Sweet Cream Gelato (1 pint) $12. Orders can be placed by calling (805) 749-7400 and they will be ready for pickup on Thanksgiving morning.

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The original Natural Café, located at 508 State Street, will close at the end of March 2023. Nick Welsh at the Santa Barbara Independent reports that owner Kelly Brown, owner of the Natural Café, says the issue of homeless people has veered from being merely difficult to one of “straight up criminality” and that the problem of rats nests under parklets has become intolerable. The other locations will be open for business as usual.

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On June 22, 2020, I sadly broke the news that the South Coast was about to say goodbye to local dining icon Dutch Garden at 4203 State Street and three days later the eatery closed after 75 years in business, the most recent 40 years under the same ownership. Since that time the business was sold and proprietors Charlie Fredericks and brothers Matt and Daniel English have been working hard to bring it back. That’s no easy task when you have to bring infrastructure, that is four decades behind the times, up to code because Santa Barbara County rules dictate that grandfathering ends when a business changes hands.

Fast forward to October 2022 and I am happy to report that final inspection is scheduled for this week. I am told that if Dutch Garden passes the test they hope to open by the end of the month, with a possible target date of October 28th. They have resubmitted for final inspection five different times so of course the opening date might again be pushed back. No grand opening is planned. “We’re just going to flip the ‘closed’ sign over quietly one of these days,” says partner Matt English. “It should be about a week. We’ll let it virally spread. People are jonesing. We can’t wait.”

English tells me that they have been working hard to bring the place back much like it was before with a few modern additions. He showed me the dining room and at first glance the interior looks the same as it always has. “We had to redo everything including plumbing and electrical,” said English. “This is a new wall but we saved the old trim, touched it up, and put it back. We saved the tchotchkes and put new curtains up like the old ones. This is a dream come true. I am just excited and grateful that we have made it through. We have had a lot of support behind us.”

I am told Dutch Garden will have the same menu with a pickle plate and a charcuterie plate added. They will be only opening up for lunch 11 a.m.-3 p.m. for the first two or three weeks because they want to execute their operation really well. Lunch will be nearly identical to the way previous owner Ken Luetjen did it, but they will “play around” with the dinner menu a bit though it will still include German classics. Initially they are not going to offer to-go with GrubHub or UberEats so that they can focus on the diners who are coming in and make their experience the best they can. When dinner service becomes available it will likely start at 5 p.m. A limited menu will be available for the in-between hours and brunch is being considered.

Photo by The Restaurant Guy

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Finch & Fork will be hosting Thanksgiving dinner in their recently redesigned space within the Kimpton Canary Hotel, featuring a fall menu. Meals will take place on Thanksgiving day, Thursday, November 24, with seatings between 3:30 pm and 7:30 pm, at 31 West Carrillo Street. The menu pulls inspiration from traditional Thanksgiving dishes and costs $110 per person. The Finch & Fork team adds suggested wine pairings to each of their dishes for an additional $55.

Menu items range from elevated Thanksgiving classics like the Diestel Turkey breast with confit thigh meat, chestnut stuffing, orange cranberry relish, sage gravy, and rosemary green beans. Also included are a classic Pumpkin Pie with cinnamon chantilly, graham cracker crumble, and salted carame. Other holiday dishes available are Ora King Salmon with Gigante beans, piquillo peppers, kale, garlic confit, lemon, and roasted hazelnuts and the Pineapple passionfruit sorbet with coconut sorbet and merengue.

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Last August 1st I broke the news that a sushi restaurant is coming to 224 Helena Avenue, the former home of Seven Bar & Kitchen, and speculated that the most likely tenant will be Silvers Omakase, a sushi shop run by Michelin star chef Lennon Silvers Lee who used to helm Sushi Bar Montecito. Reader George H. tells me that a liquor license application has appeared on the building confirming that Silvers Omakase is on the way to the Funk Zone.

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In April 2021 I wrote that IHOP at 4765 Calle Real in Goleta will be closing its doors and reopening in the University Plaza shopping center, home to Albertsons and the DMV. IHOP replaces Itsuki restaurant which closed last September and Chick-Fil-A will replace IHOP on Calle Real. I stopped by the new IHOP today and noticed that it looked ready to go, including napkins and condiments on the tables. A large “IHOP RESTAURANT” sign had yet to be installed on the building and the area near the cash register still needs some finishing touches. A large “We’re Hiring” sign is displayed in the parking lot.

Photos by The Restaurant Guy

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