Readers Brendan and Cris let me know that El Pollo Rico at 5698 Hollister Avenue in Old Town Goleta has apparently changed ownership and is now known as “La Guerrerita.” Call 805-964-3136

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  • Finch and Fork restaurant at 31 West Carrillo Street sent me a sneak preview of their Thanksgiving plans: “Holiday classics and Finch & Fork favorites come together in a three-course menu. Starters and entrees feature seasonal selections from Chef Peter Cham, like Tuscan Kale & Apricot Salad, Mary’s Free Range Turkey Breast with garlic-whipped potatoes, sourdough and turkey sausage stuffing, glazed root vegetables, herb gravy and cranberry compote, and Channel Islands White Sea Bass with delicata squash, king trumpet mushrooms and frond-pepita pesto. Seasonally themed desserts, like Pumpkin Mousse and Fall Bread Pudding round out the meal. Dinner is $90 per person for adults and $35 for children 10 and under.”
  • Miguel Flores at Moby Dick Restaurant on Stearns Wharf asked me to spread the word that Moby Dick is going to be serving (as every year for the last 40 years) their traditional turkey dinner on Thanksgiving from 11am to 9pm. The special menu includes hand crafted, naturally roasted turkey breast, homemade mashed yams, cranberry stuffing, turkey gravy, cranberry sauce, fresh sautéed, green beans, soup or salad, and a slice of pumpkin cheese cake. Price is $29.99 per person.
  • Mitchell Sjerven, proprietor of bouchon Santa Barbara at 9 West Victoria Street sent me a Thanksgiving update: “Hey John, hope you are doing well. Saw your tease on Thanksgiving so thought I’d let you know that we are sold out at bouchon. This will be our 21st (!) and we have many wonderful guests who return year after year so it sells out earlier each year.”
  • Here is a message to you from owner Paul Dargan: “Dargan’s will be open on Thanksgiving, from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. serving a traditional turkey dinner and our normal full menu. By the way, we are 21 years old this weekend, and hence Dargan’s can legally drink!”
  • From Helena Avenue Bakery at 131 Anacapa Street: “Helena Avenue Bakery announces their annual EVERYTHING BUT THE TURKEY Thanksgiving package – a takeout menu of signature rolls, hearty side dishes and desserts, providing hosts with ample quality time with friends and family and less in the kitchen. Chef Adam Shoemaker has assembled a menu of savory and sweet must-haves to accompany Thanksgiving dinner on November 22, 2018. As an added convenience to party planning, The Santa Barbara Wine Collective offers holiday wine pairings for purchase throughout the season, to make it easy to choose the best wine for an effortless celebration. Side dishes include Fresh Cranberry Sauce; Gravy; Chicken Stock for those making homemade gravy; Sourdough Stuffing; Scalloped Potatoes; Green Bean Casserole; Pumpkin Soup with Fried Pumpkin Seeds; Roasted Rutabaga with Sage & Brown Butter; and fresh-baked Parker House Rolls. All dishes come packaged in generous portions for six guests with easy reheating instructions. For dessert, guests may choose from the bakery’s hand-made Sweet Potato Pie; Pecan Pie; Apple Pie; and Pumpkin Pie with Whipped Cream. All orders must be placed on or before Tuesday, November 20, 2018, and a credit card is required when placing orders. Orders are made by calling 805-880-3383 or in person at the Helena Avenue Bakery Picnic Counter. Everything But the Turkey pick-ups are on Wednesday, Nov. 21 from 7:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon.”


Each year in early November I post the South Coast’s most comprehensive list of restaurants serving a traditional turkey meal on Thanksgiving day. I need to wait until early November to publish the information because many restaurants have not finalized their turkey day plans until then. That means that each year I mention a few restaurants that are sold-out and no longer taking reservations. Last year the sold-out list included Bacara Angel Oak , Bella Vista at Four Seasons Biltmore, and Brothers Restaurant at Red Barn in Santa Ynez. If you are planning to dine at these restaurants on Thursday, November 22, you might consider making reservations now, assuming they are still planning to be open that day.

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Reader Don sent some news from Buellton: “Bottlest Winery, Bar & Bistro closed two weeks ago. That’s a surprise. They tried hard to attract customers. Tequila Mexican Restaurant has replaced El Sitio. It’s been a tough corner to do business. Tequila has done a magnificent job creating outside seating though. Hope they do well. – Don”

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Last June I wrote that L’s Kitchen at 121 East Yanonali Street had closed and that an unnamed restaurant was on the way to replace it. Reader Adam has pulled back the curtains and revealed that Tyger Tyger will be the next tenant. Their web site describes the business as follows: “Tyger Tyger is a fast-fine restaurant offering the highest quality food & beverages matched with a welcoming ambiance and delivers extraordinary guest serve of which the Acme brand is known. Located at 121 East Yanonali Street, along the primary east-west thoroughfare in the heart of the Santa Barbara’s burgeoning arts district, the Funk Zone, Tyger Tyger features coastal Southeast Asian cuisine in a casual and convivial environment. Street food inspired by food carts from southern Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam are made from the year-round local bounty of fresh produce, seafood, and other meats.”



Mundos restaurant at 901 North Milpas Street, which opened August 2017, has closed and a new concept is in the works. Mundos sold their business to chefs Lauren Herman and Christina Olufson. “We’ve been the new tenants as of 10/1 and are excited to be opening our first restaurant as chef-owners!!” says Olufson. “Our neighborhood concept will be seasonal and farmer’s market driven, with counter service and a casual, fun, Santa Barbara atmosphere. We will be open Tuesday-Sunday beginning with dinner service, and look forward to serving lunch and Sunday brunch a couple weeks following. The menu will include some of our favorite dishes such as: garlic-herb roasted chicken, grilled pork belly sandwich, and Korean fried chicken. In addition to the regular menu, we will have daily specials including a Sunday night pot roast dinner, or Wednesday’s chicken pot pie. Desserts will range from cookies to layer cakes, brioche donuts and churros. Our beer and wine list will offer local favorites, and happy hour Tuesday-Friday. We hope to see you in a few weeks!” I’ll try to get you the name of the restaurant next week.

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Pizza Mizza restaurant in La Cumbre Plaza closed permanently today. The web site and phone now forwards to a new, similar business name Mizza Pizza (order reversed) that offers delivery-only. Call 805-564-3900 or visit



Readers tell me they have tried visiting The Palace Grill at 8 East Cota Street for lunch and found it to be closed much of the time. I called the restaurant and was told that lunch is now served Friday-Sunday only while dinner continues to be served nightly. Call (805) 963-5000.

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Owner Sophie Xu tells me that she has opened her first restaurant at 5599 Hollister Avenue in Goleta, formerly Worker Bee Café, Sage & Onion Café, and Deli Planet. Actually Xu has opened two new businesses in the space: Uniboil, a hot pot restaurant, is inside the left door and Phresh Teas Co., offering boba milk teas, yogurt, and smoothies, is behind the right door.

Uniboil is a Taiwanese restaurant chain that started in China and specializes in spicy hot pot noodle soups. Uniboil has locations in Hong Kong, Los Angeles, San Diego, and at U.C .Davis. There’s been a wave of new hot pot spots coming to Southern California with one opening recently in Isla Vista. They are very popular. Xu tells me that she already has a base of regular customers that dine at Uniboil up to 4 times a week.

At Uniboil you choose one of six soup stocks and then pick a protein (Certified Angus Beef, New Zealand Natural Fed Lamb, Kurobuta Pork from Snake River Farms, and Universal Seafood). Prices range from $12.99-$15.99. Also available are a variety of non-hot pot dishes called Teppanaki that are instead served with rice on a plate. Proteins for the Teppanaki plates include Black Pepper Grilled Chicken, Szechuan Hot Sauce with Grilled Chicken, Japanese teriyaki Chicken, Korean Cheese Grilled Chicken, Diced Beef in Black Pepper Sauce, and much more. A selection of noodle dishes fills out the menu.

What’s most popular? Xu tells me that the Uniboil Szechuan Pepper Numb Pork Feet appetizer is the best seller. Hours are 11:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Cal 805-770-3875.

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

  • Bristol Farms, 3855 State St. (formerly Vons at La Cumbre Plaza)
  • Cafe Ana, 1201 Anacapa St. (formerly Coffee Cat)
  • Caffe Luxxe, 1028 Coast Village Rd. (formerly Xanadu French Bakery)
  • California Taco, 956 Embarcadero Del Norte, Isla Vista (formerly Grilled Cheese Truck)
  • Captain Fatty’s, 214 State St. (formerly Union Ale)
  • Choppa Poke 716 State St.(formerly MAC Cosmetics)
  • Copenhagen Sausage Garden, the Funk Zone
  • Corazon, 214 State St. (formerly Rebar)
  • Cubaneo, 418 State St. (formerly India House)
  • Fala Bar vegan restaurant, coming somewhere
  • Flightline, 521 Firestone Rd., Goleta (replacing High Sierra Grill)
  • Institution Ale, 516 State St. (formerly Caffe Primo)
  • Jeannine’s Bakery, 7060 Hollister Ave., Goleta (formerly Dickey’s Barbecue Pit)
  • Jersey Mike’s Subs, 1054 Casitas Pass Rd., Carpinteria
  • Khao Kaeng by Empty Bowl Gourmet Noodle Bar, 1187 Coast Village Rd., Montecito
  • La Michoacána, 21 N. Milpas St.
  • Leadbetter, 23 E. Cabrillo Blvd (formerly Wheel Fun and L.T. Cinnamon)
  • Merci To Go, 1028 Coast Village Rd. (formerly Xanadu French Bakery)
  • Modern Times Beer, 418 State St. (formerly India House)
  • Oku Sushi, 29 E. Cabrillo Blvd. (formerly El Torito)
  • Renaud’s Patisserie & Bistro, Carpinteria Ave. at Holly, Carpinteria
  • Rusty’s Pizza, 2315 Lillie Ave., Summerland (formerly Stacky’s Seaside)
  • Starbucks Drive-Thru, empty lot at Turnpike Ave. and Calle Real
  • The Daisy Restaurant, 1221 State St. (formerly McDonald’s in the 1980s)
  • Uniboil, 5599 Hollister Ave., Goleta (formerly Worker Bee Café)
  • Unnamed Steakhouse, 20 W. Figueroa St. (formerly The Sportsman)
  • Unnamed, 121 E. Yanonali St. (formerly L’s Kitchen)
  • Unnamed vegan pizzeria, 1429 San Andres St. (formerly Paesano’s)


From reader Annie:

Maybe you covered this and I missed it, but I notice there is a something going on at Mundos on [901 N.] Milpas– windows papered over, official notice of — well, too small for me to read from the car. Any info on what might be taking shape?



This just in from Bagel Cafe at 6551 Trigo Road Suite #1 in Isla Vista:

Hi John,
Not sure if this is new worthy but thought I would let you know.  Bagel Cafe in Isla Vista is celebrating 27 years in business and as a way to give back and show appreciation to our loyal customers over the many years we will be offering 25 percent off to anyone who is part of and or joins our rewards program, which is basically a digital punch card.  25 Percent off will be valid next week October 8th – 12th.  Also random days throughout the month of October we will also feature popular items at their original prices when we first opened in 1991.

– Jacob

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The Santa Barbara Maritime Museum’s celebrated Wine and Seafood Pairing event, is being held during the annual Harbor and Seafood Festival on October 13. Participants will have the opportunity to enjoy selected wines and culinary creations from some of Santa Barbara County’s vineyards and best chefs.

Cost: $30 Advanced Tickets & SBMM Members $40 Day-of Ticket Sales
Purchase: or (805) 456-8747

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Chicken in a Barrel BBQ has opened at 5711 Calle Real in Goleta, the former home of Petrini’s and Luigi’s Pizza & Pasta. Owners Alex and Jennifer Vilera hadn’t planned on opening their own restaurant but after they moved from their home in Hawaii (home to Chicken in a Barrel BBQ) to California, they realized that the only way they were going to satisfy their craving for food from their favorite restaurant was to open their own location. There are now four Chicken in a Barrel BBQ locations on Kauai and one on the mainland in Lake Tahoe. The restaurant has been on the Food Network and has a big following.

While stopping by the restaurant the other day I was given a tour of the famous barrels. “We call them ‘hook ‘em and hang ‘em’ says Jennifer Vilera. “We hang them so they are three feet away from the heat and we use Kiawe wood and coal. When the juices from the meat hit the coals it steams the meat in its own juices. We use our homemade rubs and have homemade barbecue sauce, hot and mild, on the side.”

The entrée menu includes the Chicken in a Barrel Plate, Sampler Plate, Babyback Ribs Plate, Chicken & Rib Plate, Beef Plate, Pork Plate, Chicken for Two, and Hoagie with Fries. The plates include a side of brown rice with chili beans and range in price from $12.99-$17.99. Also available are a kids menu, salads, a la carte options, sides, grass-fed beef hamburgers, and Mexican food offerings.

“We’re thrilled to have the Vileras as our first franchisees,” said Mike Pierce, Chicken in a Barrel founder and owner. “It was very important to us that our first franchise partners share the same goals and family values as we do, and Jennifer and Alex are a great fit in that sense. They, too, intend to spread the love of God with this business, and plan on creating a family-friendly atmosphere. We’re looking forward to seeing what great things come from them and the growth they’re bringing to the brand.” Chicken in a Barrel BBQ  is open daily 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Call 805-324-4234.



Readers tell me that Urkeb, a fast casual kebap restaurant that opened at 413 State Street in August 2017, has closed.



Los Arroyos Mexican Restaurant and Take Out has opened at 1992 Old Mission Drive in Solvang. Co-owner and founder Maria Rickard Arroyo is a 5th generation born in Santa Barbara. Co-owner, founder, and chef Jose “Tony” Arroyo came to the United States in 1984 at the age of 13 from his hometown of La Piedad, Michoacán, Mexico. Tony’s determination matched his passion for food, and in 1999 his dream of opening his first location became a reality. Family is the cornerstone of Tony’s philosophy in life and business. All his recipes are inspired from the home cookings of his Mother, “Mamá Toña,” and he says his biggest achievement is being a father to Diego, the future leader of Los Arroyos. Los Arroyos serves fresh, homemade Mexican food using Tony’s original recipes including a variety of dishes from traditional fare such as Sopes, Tamales, and Pozole to modern cuisine such as the Mama’s Salad with grilled vegetables, the Ceviche with fresh fish, and the Garden Burrito. The new Solvang location is open daily 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. Call 805-693-2994 or visit

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Mezza Thyme bar and eatery has opened at 20 East Cota Street, the former home of Nectar and Blue Agave. “Mezza Thyme brings Levant ingredients, flavors and cooking methods to downtown Santa Barbara,” announces their web site “Hand crafted cocktails made with herbs, citrus, fresh juices and quality spirits. Mezza is quite common in the Near East region and translates into small dishes served with alcoholic beverages. Our goal is to share the wonderful memories over the Levant region. Unique dishes and flavors inspired from former travels, youthful memories and tradition.”

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Vons at 3855 State Street next to La Cumbre Plaza is closed after 51 years in business and will be replaced by Bristol Farms. Bristol Farms Inc. is an upscale California grocery store chain that operates fifteen stores, twelve in Southern California, and one in San Francisco. The fourteenth and fifteenth stores operate as Lazy Acres Market on the Mesa and in Long Beach, respectively. Another Lazy Acres Market opened in 2016 in Encinitas.



File this story under “better late than never.” Due Lune Ristorante and Bar opened August 1st at 1 State Street (across from Stearns Wharf) in the former home of Eladio’s. The Italian restaurant builds on the success of its sister restaurant, Tres Lune in Montecito and is the latest establishment brought to you by the Montesano Group which also includes Lucky’s Steakhouse, Joe’s Café, and D’Angelo Bakery. Due Lune is open daily 11:30 a.m. – 10 p.m. Happy Hour is 3-5 p.m. Call 805-770-3112 or visit



Reader Jonathan and others tell me that Crush Tasting Room and Kitchen has opened at 432 East Haley Street. Co-owner Michael Amador tells me that Crush started as an idea he had many years ago. “As a restaurant wine buyer for 20+ years I was in the fortunate situation to discover a lot of great wines, some of them from very small producers that few had heard of,” says Amador. “ Often times these small, artisan wineries had no distributors and no tasting rooms of their own. I thought I should open a tasting room to showcase these great wines. As I looked around from Montecito, to Summerland, to Goleta, and of course the Funk Zone, this little spot on Haley attracted me. With the Mill anchoring the block I felt like this could be the new hot spot area. We built out a new kitchen so we would have some light bites (lobster sliders, grilled pulled pork and goat cheese, gorgonzola/fig/bacon flatbread, and more) while people were tasting.”

Amador says Crush is pouring 20 wines (19 Central Coast and 1 Napa) through a wine dispensing system which keeps them fresh, and allows patrons to have a taste, a half glass, or a full glass. He also brought in local beer, cider and kombucha on tap, including Draughtsmen, Captain Fatty’s Rincon and others. Crush is open daily from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. (9 p.m. on Thursday-Saturday, Monday night being $1 oyster night. Call 805-690-4590 or visit



Here is a list of area eateries that have closed in the last year:

  • September 2018: Good Cup, 1819 Cliff Dr. (now Lighthouse Coffee); Pinkberry, 742 State St.; Sly’s, 686 Linden Ave., Carpinteria
  • August 2018: El Pollo Loco, 5796 Calle Real, Goleta; Flagstone Pantry, 38 W. Victoria St.; Frankland’s Crab & Co., 1295 Coast Village Rd., Montecito (now Chaplin’s Martini Bar); HiWi Tropical Fusion, 6555 Pardall Rd., Isla Vista (now One Piece); Locavore Kitchen, 21 West Victoria St.; Trattoria Mollie, 1250 Coast Village Rd., Montecito (moved to 1218 State St.)
  • July 2018: None
  • June 2018: Cadiz, 509 State St.; Grilled Cheese Truck, 956 Embarcadero Del Norte, Isla Vista (changing to California Taco); Nicky D’s Wood-Fired Pizza, 2840 De la Vina St. (now Lilsey’s Wood-Fired Pizza); Rincon Brewery, 6583 Pardall Rd., Isla Vista; Worker Bee Café, 5599 Hollister Ave, Goleta (changing to Uniboil)
  • May 2018: Chipotle,723 State St.; Empress Palace, 2251 Las Positas Rd.; Mattei’s Tavern restaurant, 2350 Railway Ave., Los Olivos; Peet’s Coffee, 1131 State St.; Sorriso Italiano. 901 Embarcadero del Mar, Isla Vista (now Hanamura); Subway, 1936 State St.; Wildwood Café, 1130 State St.
  • April 2018: None
  • March 2018: La Arcada Bistro, 1112 State St. (now Mizza); Max’s, 3514 State St. (now Sunshine Café); The Nugget Santa Barbara, 21 W. Victoria St.; Vineyard House Restaurant, 3631 Sagunto St., Santa Ynez
  • February 2018: None
  • January 2018: 805 Kabob, 6578 Trigo Rd. (now Mojo Teahouse), Isla Vista; East Beach Grill, 1118 E. Cabrillo Blvd.; Fire & Ice Museum Café, 1130 State St.; Nectar, 20 E. Cota St.; Our Daily Bread, 2700 De la Vina St.; Pascucci Goleta, 6920 Marketplace Dr., Goleta (changing to Vicenta’s); Yen Ching Restaurant, 2840 De la Vina St. (now New Si Chuan Garden)
  • December 2017: C’est Cheese Cafe (not the store), 825 Santa Barbara St.; Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, 7060 Hollister Ave., Goleta (changing to Jeannine’s)
  • November 2017: Cantwell’s Summerland Market, 2580 Lillie Ave., Summerland; Eladio’s, 1 State St.; Outback Steakhouse, 5690 Calle Real, Goleta; The Nugget, 5096 Carpinteria Ave, Carpinteria (now Teddy’s) ; Tupelo Junction Café, 1218 State St. (now Mollie’s)
  • October 2017: Miso Hungry, 3613 State St. (now Vegan Greengo); Somerset, 7 E. Anapamu St. (now Smithy); Taqueria La Colmena, 217 N. Milpas St. (now Tacos Pipeye)
  • September 2017: Oveja Blanca Restaurante, 30 E. Ortega St. (neighboring Black Sheep expanded into this space)


Readers tell me that Lighthouse Coffee has replaced Good Cup at 1819 Cliff Drive. I’m told that the space is fully modernized but many of the familiar faces from Good Cup are still working there.



Hanamura has opened at 901 Embarcadero del Mar in Isla Vista, the former home of Sorriso Italiano which closed last May. Just around the corner from Hanamura, One Piece Japanese Restaurant has opened at 6555 Pardall Road, where HiWi Tropical Fusion was located until last month.

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Reader Cris says that a new “we’re hiring” banner went up in front of Vicenta’s, coming to Camino Real Marketplace next to Jane. It looks like they are getting close to opening.

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Carpinteria institution Sly’s restaurant at 686 Linden Avenue closed on September 23rd. Sly’s open in August 2008. Reader Julia says that a new restaurant with a different format will be replacing it in the near future.



Reader Cris says that Chicken in a Barrel coming to 5711 Calle Real in Goleta (formerly Petrini’s) is set to open any day now.



Reader Primetime tells me that the iconic Santa Barbara Brewing Company has announced that at the beginning of October it is changing ownership and, by mid-October will be sporting a new bicycle-themed name: ”Cruisery.” Word is that current employees will apply to work for the new owner, Aron Ashland, who will offer a new menu and plans interior improvements. “We would not have enjoyed years of success without the community, many of whom are now friends, and the 1,500+ employees we have employed over the years,” said owners Wayne and Michelle Trella and Steve Hovdesven. “Being the first Brewery in Santa Barbara, we recognize what an important icon SB Brew Co. has become in Santa Barbara.” For more on the story visit



Readers tell me that Pinkberry at 742 State Street has suddenly closed and that the interior has been cleared out. The business opened in January 2009.

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On September 23rd, Community on Cosmo at the Hollywood Farmers’ Market will be transformed into a Culinary Showcase. The event will feature special guest Executive Chef Jason Paluska from The Lark restaurant in the Funk Zone. Paluska will be signing “Around The Table –Recipes and Stories from The Lark in Santa Barbara” in the center of the market. On Cosmo, Los Angeles based food businesses, home cooks, and food-based non-profits will offer tastings, share recipes, and provide information on their culinary programs and how you can support them. The recipe demo and book signing will be scheduled from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. and is open to the public. Paluska  book shares more than 160 recipes with local Santa Barbara County wine pairings, illustrated sections on Basics, Butchering, Brining & Pickling, stories on local farmers, fisherman and ranchers, and hundreds of photographs showcasing each recipe and the beauty of Santa Barbara and the Central Coast. Books will be available for purchase at $35.00.

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Mojo Tea House has opened at 6578 Trigo Road in Isla Vista, the former home of 805 Kabob, Lovin Oven Mediterranean Bakery & Café, Café International, and Fresh Wok.

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