THE OYSTER BAR OPENING MAY 23

This just in from The Oyster Bar, coming this month to Moby Dick’s on Stearns Wharf:

Good morning, John.

It gives me great pleasure to share with you exciting news about changes at one of Santa Barbara’s signature restaurants: Moby Dick on Stearns Wharf. The changes are spearheaded by the creation of The Oyster Bar, a beautifully designed facility with a 270 degree view of the city, the harbor, and the Santa Barbara Channel. Slated to open to the public on May 23, The Oyster Bar will feature a curated selection of fresh seafood, craft cocktails, and craft beers from our region. Chef David Campos, previously at the Ritz Carleton, is applying his experience and creativity in designing dishes and cocktails that promise a special dining experience in a unique setting.

Beyond The Oyster Bar, our new Director of Operations, Scott Howard, a restaurateur with deep experience in Marin County, Beverly Hills and Florida, is leading a transformation of the Moby Dick Restaurant more broadly. Chef Campos has created a new imaginative menu that is reflective of our community, focused on locally produced and sustainably harvested seafood, produce, and alcoholic beverages.

Sincerely,
Karl L. Hutterer
President & CEO
The Stearns Wharf Company, dba Moby Dick Restaurant

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GIOVANNI’S IN CARPINTERIA REOPENS

Here is a message to you from Shawn and McLeod Noormand, owners of Giovanni’s Pizza in Carpinteria which recently closed at 5003 Carpinteria Avenue:

“Hello Restaurant Guy, We had our last hurrah on April 28. That same night me, my son McLeod and my crew moved into our new location at 5205 Carpinteria Avenue [formerly The Good Plow and Fosters Freeze]. We opened the following morning, April 29. We are up and running at light speed, soft serve ice cream and our full menu. Come by and check out our new digs. I heard they already have a tenant for our old location.”


Photos by reader Primetime

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LITTLE ALEX’S OPENS IN FIVE POINTS

Reader Dawn says that Little Alex’s has opened at Five Points Shopping Center in the former home of Fresco Cafe. “Come see us at our new location at 3987 State Street in the 5 Points Shopping Center,” says co-owner Josh Briner. “We are maintaining our family friendly atmosphere with an elevated look. We miss our old home of 30 years in Montecito and all of the great customers and friends that were created, and we’re excited for the opportunity to serve our local community again.” They have kept all of the original breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu items that customers enjoyed for three decades in Montecito as well as some new items including a number of draft beers from local craft breweries and their famous chicken soup, taco salad, rajas tacos, and chile rellenos.


The former home of Fresco Cafe in Five Points Shopping Center is now Little Alex’s Cantina.

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CARPINTERIA GIOVANNI’S CLOSES (FOR NOW)

Last January reader Primetime broke the news that Giovanni’s Pizza at 5003 Carpinteria Avenue in Carpinteria in moving to nearby 5205 Carpinteria Avenue, the former home of The Good Plow and Fosters Freeze. I called Giovanni’s at the time and was told that their current building was sold and is scheduled to be demolished. Primetime has sent me an update that Carpinteria Giovanni’s served their last meal on April 29. I have not received word yet about when they will reopen down the street.

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VIA VAI CLOSES

Last January I wrote that lease for Via Vai restaurant at 1483 East Valley Road in Montecito is not being renewed. This was a surprise since the place has always been hopping every time I have dined there and has been open for more than 30 years. Reader Primetime tells me that Via Vai had their “last supper” over the weekend. The eatery ended lunches on April 1.

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DUMPLINGS COMING TO MILPAS

Reader Bryan says that Shanghai restaurant at 830 North Milpas Street will soon become a dumpling house in addition to having their regular menu.

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CALL IT LA CANTINA

In July 2021 I broke the news that six restaurants were coming to the Turnpike Center next to Vons. Many have since opened but one previously unnamed eatery, brought to you by Chris Chiarappa, the visionary and inspiration for Mesa Burger and other local eateries, has been under construction since then. Reader Claudia tells me there is a sign up now indicating that the restaurant will be named “La Cantina.”

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CINCO DE MAYO AT LA PALOMA

Join Chef Jeremy and the team at La Paloma (702 Anacapa Street) for a Cinco de Mayo brunch on May 5. Brunch is served from 10:30 a.m. -2 p.m.; to book a reservation, visit tinyurl.com/lapalomabrunch.  The bar will offer a special happy hour of La Paloma’s margaritas from 3-6 p.m. Features for Cinco de Mayo: $45 station brunch + $20 for unlimited mimosas, $25 for kids; live music, taco bar, specialty margarita pitchers, and complimentary tequila tastings with Nosotros.

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MOTHER’S DAY AT BRASS BEAR

Brass Bear Uptown is doing a Mothers Day Brunch Sunday May 12th from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. The buffet will include sausage quiche, vegetarian quiche, glazed bacon, scrambled eggs, caesar salad, fresh fruit, breakfast potatoes, smoked salmon with capers and onions, bagels, french toast, and assorted pastries and sweets. Pricing is $45 for adults and $15 for kids 12 and under. Reservations can be made online or call 805-869-4014.

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MOTHER’S DAY WITH ACME

Eateries under the umbrella of Acme Hospitality are offering Mother’s Day specials. The Lark celebrates Mother’s Day with their signature brunch, including specials of Chai Tea French Toast with toasted almonds, fresh apricots & mint, Smoked King Salmon Benedict with tarragon béarnaise, soft poached egg, pickled shallot and more. Mother’s Day Brunch at La Paloma Cafe includes a savory carving station, made-to-order huevos station, salads and crudo. Chef Elier Rodriguez at Loquita is offering new dishes, including Croqueta de Congrejo with Dungeness crab, fennel seed, squid ink aioli, tarragon & crispy potato nest; Gazpacho Blanco with soft boiled egg, sherry vinegar caviar, crispy leek & chive oil, and more. Lucky Penny is having a Tie-Dye event for kids (1-4 p.m.) where children can create their own unique tie-dye t-shirts. $25 per child. Includes complimentary frosé for every mom.

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BIG LINES AT NICK THE GREEK

Last week Nick the Greek restaurant at 508 State Street (formerly Natural Café) has a grand opening special, offering a free lunch to all. I am told that there was a line around the block and that more than 400 people took them up on the offer.

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CAGAMI RAMEN COMING TO GOLETA

Cagami Ramen, a popular restaurant in Camarillo that serves authentic Japanese Ramen Noodle, is planning to open a location in Goleta. It will be open 7 days a week from 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. Their food is authentic, homemade, and made in the Hatka style. I’ll put out an update when I have the address. Visit cagamiramencamarillo.com

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QUESTION OF THE DAY

Hi John,

I always look forward to reading “The Restaurant Guy” in the Independent. You keep all of us informed on what’s happening around town.

As you probably know, Sushi GoGo at the Breakwater closed a few months ago. It was quite sudden and has yet to re-open.
The sign on the door says it is “under construction” and will re-open soon. It’s been posted for a few months with no signs of activity or progress.

I heard on the grapevine that they were doing some re-modeling/repairs without a permit and that the City shut them down.

Sushi GoGo has always been a favorite, good food, reasonable prices, and a great way to enjoy the activity at the harbor.
I hope they will re-open.

Perhaps you could shed some light on their status. I look forward to hearing from you.

Thank you.

Sue McCue
mccueranch@cox.net
(805) 680-9293

I’ll look into this and get back to you!

– The Restaurant Guy

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NEW THREE-COURSE AL FRESCO LUNCH AT SAN YSIDRO RANCH

Montecito’s San Ysidro Ranch is now offering a new prix-fixe lunch, hosted at the their intimate Veranda. The three-course lunch is available Monday – Thursday and includes house-made offerings like Blackened Ora King Salmon Salad, Tuscan Melon & Yellow Tomato Gazpacho, and the San Ysidro Ranch Meyer Lemon Tart. Cost is $49 per person not including tax or gratuity.

View the menu

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JAMES BEARD BENEFIT AT THE MIRAMAR

The Michelin Green Star Caruso’s will honor Earth Month with an intimate dinner at Caruso’s restaurant on April 24, benefiting the James Beard Foundation:

Part of the Friends of James Beard Benefit series, a communal patio table overlooking the ocean will feature a hyper-local five-course menu highlighting seasonal ingredients and celebrating the restaurant’s esteemed network of local purveyors and guest chefs. Each course will be presented by Chef Partner Massimo Falsini in collaboration with Caruso’s chef de cuisine Shibani Mone and guest chef Rachel Haggstrom of Justin Restaurant. Partnering purveyors include Jessica Gasca from Story of Soil, Sea Stephanie Fish, Ojai Roots and Solymar Seafood. Guests will enjoy a night of gourmet excellence intertwined with a commitment to sustainability and environmental advocacy.

Space is limited. $325 per adult with optional wine pairing. Price excludes beverages, tax, and gratuity. Book reservations online.

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NICK THE GREEK OPENS

Even though April 23 is the date of the official grand opening of Nick the Greek, reader Annie says the doors were open last Friday. Not sure if they still are. Here is a message to you from the restaurant:

Santa Barbara’s food scene is about to get even better with the grand opening of the area’s newest restaurant, Nick the Greek. The restaurant, known for its mouthwatering pitas, traditional plates, fresh salads and sides, and delicious desserts, will open its doors to the public on Tuesday, April 23. The new store is located at 508 State St Santa Barbara, CA 93101.

In honor of the grand opening, the restaurant will offer free lunch for all patrons from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., inviting the Santa Barbara community to experience Nick the Greek’s authentic Greek fare for themselves. To participate, guests simply arrive during the allotted time, and can enjoy one complimentary entree per person, including options like Nick the Greek’s beloved Gyros and Souvlakis.

Nick the Greek was founded in 2014 in Northern California by three cousins – Big Nick, Little Nick and Baby Nick – and has since expanded to include outposts in Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Kansas, Texas, and Missouri. Santa Barbara follows closely behind the brand’s recent opening in Fair Oaks, marking an exciting period of expansion of the brand’s presence in California.

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BLACK SHEEP TURNS TEN

Here is a message for you from Black Sheep restaurant (18 East Cota Street) owner Ruben Perez:

Come celebrate with us… we are beyond excited to be coming up on our 10 year anniversary. Can’t believe it went by this fast. So grateful for the chance to become part of this amazing community and for the amazing friendships we have made ❤️.. here’s to another 10 year filled with food, love and laughter To celebrate. We will be opening on Tuesday April 30th at 5pm And rolling back our tasting menu to the original price $45 pp @chefjakereimer and the whole amazing black sheep team will be creating 9 unforgettable plates of food for you and come enjoy smooth beats with a live dj and maybe a little dancing 🕺You can make reservations by texting Ruben at 805-319-2498.

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THIRD ANNUAL CRAWFISH BOIL AT LITTLE DOM’S

Little Dom’s Seafood at 686 Linden Avenue in Carpinteria will be hosting its third annual celebratory Crawfish Boil events on Saturday, April 27 and Saturday, May 4 from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Crawfish boils are a tradition in the South, especially in Louisiana and involve boiling pounds of crawfish with spices and fresh vegetables like corn and potatoes. Typically, crawfish boils are enjoyed during a celebration but also can be thrown as a way to bring family and friends together.

Having grown up in New Orleans, co-owner and Executive Chef, Brandon Boudet has fond childhood memories of his family gathering around over freshly boiled crawfish. Ahead of each event, the Little Dom’s Seafood team flies in live crawfish from Louisiana, preserving the authenticity of traditional boils while also sourcing produce from local farmers and purveyors in Carpinteria to complete the feast. Each Crawfish Boil is hosted in the restaurant’s parking lot, complete with newspaper-lined picnic tables, specialty cocktails, locally sourced wines, and beer.

Little Dom’s Seafood’s Crawfish Boil menu will feature Crawfish by the pound (M/P), Crawfish Monica ($17), Cup of Gumbo ($11), Jambalaya Balls with Creole Mustard ($10), and Alligator Meatballs with Creole Mustard Sauces ($15). The restaurant’s a la carte breakfast and lunch menus will also be available during both Crawfish Boils, should guests like to order additional dishes and beverages. Visit ldseafood.com

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OAT BAKERY OPENS IN MONTECITO

Oat Bakery has opened their third location, located at 1014 Coast Village Road in the Montecito Country Mart. The eatery offers a selection of their sourdoughs, focaccia and pastries along with crackers, house – made vegan spreads and more. Known for their organic and Scandinavian offerings, Oat Bakery creates unique recipes that follow the seasons, using the local farmers to create seasonal offerings. The bakery has two other locations, one in Downtown Santa Barbara, and in 2022 they opened a production kitchen and bakery in Old Town Goleta to be able to supply their newest bakery in Montecito. “Our new location at Montecito Country Mart allows us to connect even more with the community and share our passion for healthy, wholesome bread,” says co-owner Louise Ulrich. “Oat Bakery’s third location is at Montecito Country Mart, located in the courtyard near Bettina Pizzeria.” Hours are 8 a.m.-4 p.m. seven days a week.

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SHALHOOB’S OPENS IN NOLETA

In April 2021 I broke the news that Woody’s BBQ at 5112 Hollister Avenue in Goleta (Magnolia Center) was closing then, a year later, I wrote that Shalhoob’s would be the next tenant. The eatery finally opened while I was out of state for a week, enjoying a total eclipse in Morrilton, Arkansas. “Shalhoob’s is all about quality,” says co-owner John Shalhoob, Jr. “We don’t skip on quality and we believe that as long as we keep our quality up, we will always be in business. Starting with the meat company, we have always dealt with quality. My dad instilled that in us and we are still following his direction.”

Their most popular item is the tri-tip sandwich, that I tried will visiting the eatery, and I am happy to report that it has joined my list of top-ten favorite sandwiches on the South Coast. It is amazing. John Shalhoob Jr.’s wife, Michelle Shalhoob, has been supportive with ideas and dreamed up the innovative covered patio at the new eatery where all the walls lift up like garage doors. This works so well it will probably start a trend in town. Shalhoobs is open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and Friday-Saturday they are open until 10 p.m.

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ETHNIC BREADS RETAIL SHOP OPENS

Last February I relayed a message from Ethnic Breads owner Peter Zadeh that his wholesale bakery at 137 Aero Camino in Goleta will be soon be adding a storefront. Zadeh now tells me that the retail shop at Ethnic Breads had its soft opening April 9th and that they are ready to sell our breads to the public.

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DART COFFEE OPENS AT THE HARBOR

Reader Steve C. says that Dart Coffee has opened at the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum, 113 Harbor Way. The  java joint’s flagship locations is at 121 East Yanonali Street and will be open Monday -Thursday: 7 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Friday – Sunday: 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. “Dart Coffee is dedicated to bringing ethical craft-roasted coffee to your cup,” says owners Erika Carter and David Dart. “We are committed to sourcing only the finest organic, fair-traded coffee beans from small-lot indigenous farmers who share our vision. We believe roasting is a balance of creativity and practiced precision. We are passionate about our craft and our aim is true.”

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NICK THE GREEK OPENS APRIL 23

In August 2023 I broke the news that Nick the Greek restaurant, offering “authentic Greek street food,” is coming to 508 State Street, the former long-time home of Natural Cafe. Reader Brendan says that the new eatery will be offering free lunch to all comers at the grand opening on April 23.

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OLIVER’S TO CLOSE

Plant-based Oliver’s restaurant at 1198 Coast Village Road, which spent 5 years remodeling the former home of Peabody’s, before opening in October 2017, plans to close on April 20th. Here is a message they have posted about the changes:

It is with gratitude, light hearts and fond memories, we want to let you know that our last night of service at Oliver’s will be next Saturday, April 20th. It has been an incredible honor to be part of such a beautiful, strong and resilient community for the last seven years, and we will deeply miss the privilege of welcoming you into our restaurant. Your kindness and support will never be forgotten. We’re wishing all of you an abundance of joy, laughter and good health, and we hope to see you before our last round of Artichoke Crab Cakes and Billy Billys hits the table. As for what the future holds, there will be a new concept coming to our Coast Village Road space in the months ahead, and Oliver’s may return to a new location in the coming years.

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CONSTRUCTION STARTED AT MACKENZIE MARKET

In February 2022 I reported that the family behind Omni Catering and Teddy’s By the Sea in Carpinteria bought the building at 3102 State Street, the former home of Mackenzie Market and Yanni’s Greek Deli which closed February 2021 after 31 years in business. Reader Jay tells me that construction has finally started at the site which reportedly will be a new restaurant named “Teddy’s on State.”

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PETRA CAFE OPENS

Last July I broke the news that Foxtail Kitchen at 14 East Cota Street was planning to close and the owner, Falah Maayah, would replace it with a new concept. His new creation, Petra Cafe which serves Jordanian cuisine, is now open. The eatery offers dine-in, take-out, and a hookah patio. Hours are Tuesday-Saturday 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Visit foxtailsb.com

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OYSTER BAR COMING TO MOBY DICK

Reader Franco, owner of Santa Barbara Signs, just installed a new sign at Moby Dick restaurant on Stearns Wharf that highlights a future oyster bar option. I am told that part of the restaurant is currently being remodeled to accommodate the new offering and that the oyster bar is scheduled to open on May 23, 2024.


Photo by reader Franco

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POKE HOUSE COMING TO PASEO NUEVO

Reader Franco let me know that Poke House is coming to 811 State Street, Suite D, which is in Paseo Nuevo mall next to Pickles and Swiss. From the look of the photo I received they appear to be in the early stage of construction.


Photo by reader Franco

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ISLA VISTA GIOVANNI’S UPDATE

Reader Henrietta recently told us that she heard that Giovanni’s Pizza is trying to reopen in Isla Vista. Rincon Brewery replaced Giovanni’s at 6583 Pardall Road in Isla Vista in May 2017 and then Rockfire Grill took over that address for a few years. After some digging I discovered that there is a grain of truth to this story. A pizzeria is going to open at 6583 Pardall Road, and they tried to open under the Giovanni’s brand with the Giovanni’s menu, but were not able to get the rights to use the locally-legendary name. I am told that the young entrepreneur behind the operation will create a different brand and open there in the near future.

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SANTA BARBARA RESTAURANT WEEK

The sixth annual Santa Barbara Restaurant Week (April 26th – May 5th) is your chance to experience the  Santa Barbara’s food scene at a fraction of the normal cost. Presented by Santa Barbara Uncorked, LLC and sponsored by Jordano’s Foodservice and Pacific Beverage Company, Restaurant Week 2024 is a 10-day event designed to showcase the culinary options Santa Barbara.

For more than 20 years, Restaurant Week founders Tim Zagat and Joe Baum orchestrated a 4-week celebration of New York’s finest food. Their focus was making the area’s best dining experiences accessible to all, and the event became such a hit that cities around the globe soon followed suit. In spring of 2018, the SB Restaurant Week founders brought the foodie phenomenon to the South Coast, showcasing Santa Barbara’s more than 50 restaurants, wineries and hotels.

From April 26th – May 5th, 2024, each participating restaurant will offer a prix-fixe menu that includes a $45 2-course lunch and $55 and $75 3-course dinner option. Throughout the week, tasting rooms will also offer special wine tasting experiences.

The fifth annual Restaurant Week is an opportunity for locals and visitors alike to taste the best of Santa Barbara. Visit www.SBRestaurantWeeks.com for more details, including a full list of participating restaurants, tasting rooms and hotels, helpful tools to plan your visit, and options for business owners interested in sponsoring or participating in the event.

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SNEAK PEEK: THE ELLWOOD

The Ellwood is coming to 5905 Sandspit Road Goleta, formerly Beachside Bar-Café. In late 2022 construction had just started when winter storms battered the facility, leaving it full of sea water which was obviously a big setback. I stopped by recently and noticed that a tremendous amount of work has been completed but they still have a way to go. I estimate a fall opening at the earliest.

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EASTER AT RENAUD’S

Here is a press release about Easter options at Renaud’s Patisserie & Bistro:

This Easter, Renaud’s Patisserie & Bistro, Southern California’s gem for authentic French patisserie and bistro dining, is delighted to present a sumptuous Easter chocolate collection that promises to enchant chocolate connoisseurs and sweet lovers alike. In an exclusive partnership, Renaud’s is proud to feature the world-renowned Felchlin Swiss Chocolate, a luxury chocolate known for its unmatched quality and exquisite flavor profiles. There are only a few purveyors of Felchlin Swiss Chocolate in the region, and cannot be found in other grocery stores. Renaud’s is proud to offer a unique chocolate experience.

Renaud’s Easter collection is inspired by the joyous spirit of spring and the rich traditions of Swiss chocolate mastery. Each creation is a testament to Renaud’s commitment to excellence and innovation, from decadent chocolate pink and purple eggs filled with crisp chocolate bars to whimsical chocolate bunnies that are as delightful to admire as they are to devour. Our skilled artisans have meticulously crafted an array of chocolate masterpieces that embody the essence of Easter, using only the finest Felchlin Swiss Chocolate.

Highlight of the Collection:

Easter Chocolate Eggs: These are not just any chocolate eggs. Encased in the smooth, rich Felchlin chocolate, each egg is a treasure trove of flavors, waiting to surprise and delight with crispy crunchy chocolate pieces inside. Milk chocolate eggs are pink and dark chocolate eggs are purple.
Chocolate Bunnies and Figures: Renaud’s chocolate bunnies are a playful nod to Easter traditions, handcrafted with precision and care. Each bunny is made from the finest Felchlin chocolate, promising a creamy, melt-in-your-mouth experience.

Renaud’s Patisserie & Bistro invites everyone to celebrate Easter in style with these extraordinary chocolate offerings. “We are thrilled to offer our customers something truly special this Easter. Our exclusive use of Felchlin Swiss Chocolate sets our Easter collection apart, offering a taste experience that’s as luxurious as it is unique,” says Renaud Gonthier, CEO and president of Renaud’s Patisserie & Bistro.

Indulge in the art of fine chocolate this Easter with Renaud’s Patisserie & Bistro. Visit Renaud’s locations in Santa Barbara, Montecito, Long Beach, and La Cañada-Flintridge to discover the full Easter collection. Each piece is a work of art, promising to bring joy and a touch of Swiss excellence to your Easter celebrations.

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NEW MURAL AT LUCKY PENNY

I am told that a new mural has been added to Lucky Penny restaurant at 127 Anacapa Street. Here is a press release I received about it:

Lucky Penny, and Artist DJ Javier, in partnership with the Santa Barbara High School VADA Program (Visual Arts and Design), Santa Barbara

Lucky Penny, Santa Barbara’s most talked about landmark with an exterior tiled in real pennies, has recently unveiled a new large-scale mural in the restaurant’s outdoor patio by local artist DJ Javier. Javier, born and raised in Santa Barbara, received a degree in graphic arts from Azusa Pacific University.

DJ Javier is a first-generation Filipino-American artist and designer known for his creative explorations of his Filipino heritage and SoCal culture. He has established himself as a prominent figure in the art scene, creating murals, posters, apparel, and fine art pieces through his studio, Bayan Surf Club. Javier’s work extends beyond Santa Barbara, collaborating with major brands and institutions like Amazon and the Los Angeles Rams. Embracing his cultural identity, Javier has overcome feelings of alienation to incorporate his rich Filipino heritage into his artistic endeavors. He is dedicated to community impact, supporting local businesses and nonprofits while embodying the spirit of “bayanihan,” a Filipino communal practice. Additionally, Javier is an avid surfer who supports programs introducing youth of color to ocean sports. His work reflects a blend of cultural pride, creativity, and community engagement.

Javier is thrilled about the opportunity to partner with Lucky Penny. He states, “This partnership allowed me to not only mentor the art students from VADA on the process of mural painting but also educate them on the business side of being an artist, including the pitch and design process before painting begins. The students can feel ownership in something they created that will be enjoyed by our locals and travelers visiting Lucky Penny and the Funk Zone for years to come.”

VADA is also pleased with the results. VADA Program Director Dan Barnett says, “Since the VADA mission centers on preparing creative youth for their future, our work with DJ Javier was a perfect collaboration.” Barnett continues, stating, “DJ presented to VADA seniors on both design and business processes that he’s learned through hard work and perseverance. Then, students stepped out of the talk and utilized their art skills by executing the mural with DJ. The learning couldn’t have been more tangible. The path is not always easy, but we want to inspire our students to believe that a creative future is viable and that their skills are in demand in the marketplace. “

The Visual Arts & Design Academy is a program offered at Santa Barbara High School to engage creative students in the process of preparing for college and careers while integrating art and design into core academic classes. A smaller, family-like environment, field trips, intern and mentorship opportunities, access to supplies and technology, and a supportive team of teachers are distinctive features of the VADA program.

An ideal way to experience the mural is to visit the new SB Funk Zone Live, a series of bimonthly “arts, wine, dine and shop events” launching on March 29, 2024. Like the popular Downtown Santa Barbara 1st Thursday monthly events, Funk Zone venues will open their doors late from 5:00-8:00 p.m. on the last Fridays of every other month (November will be swapped for Dec due to the holiday). In addition to Lucky Penny, 18 other local businesses are on board for the first event.

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MUNCHIEZ ADDS MEXICAN

Reader Suzette asked me a question about Munchiez:

Looks like Munchiez at the corner of Nogal and Hollister is gone. The green awning now says Mexican Food Restaurant. Anyone have information? Thanks!

I stopped by that address a few weeks ago when the first inquiry about this hit my inbox. For some odd reason, the Munchiez awning has indeed being replaced my one that says “Mexican Food Restaurant,” but the popular Munchiez delivery service is still there. I asked employees about it and they said that Mexican food has recently been added to their extensive menu but, other than that, nothing has changed – except for the awning.

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WEXLER’S DELI UPDATE

Last July I broke the news that Wexler’s Deli is coming to the Santa Barbara Public Market. Reader IMissRexofSB tells me that the eatery will open on April 8th.

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GOLETA FINNEY’S UPDATE

Last December I broke the news that Santa Barbara’s wildly popular Finney’s Crafthouse & Kitchen at 35 State Street is coming to Goleta’s Camino Real Marketplace where Hollister Brewing Company used to be at 6980 Market Place Drive. Reader David sent an unexpected update:

Noticed the Finney’s “coming soon” sign is missing from Hollister Brewing today. Have you heard anything? Hopefully it’s still in the works.
– David

Update: The temporary “coming soon” sign came down to make way for the permanent Finney’s Crafthouse sign.

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EASTER AT SAN YSIDRO RANCH

With Easter just around the corner, I want to ensure that San Ysidro Ranch’s Easter Champagne Brunch is on your radar. It will be hosted on March 31st at the Stonehouse Restaurant.

The menu was created by Executive Chef Matt Johnson and his team.The experience begins with a basket of house-made baked goods, along with the option for a glass of Champagne, mimosa, Ty Bellini, or fresh juice. Starters include Grilled Carpinteria Avocado, Pan Seared Diver Scallops, Chilled Spring Pea Soup, and Chanterelle Mushroom & Black Truffle Tart. Entrée selections include Butter Braised Maine Lobster Benedict, Prime Filet of Beef Wellington, Alaskan Halibut, and Braised Petite Lamb Shank. The meal concludes with an Easter dessert buffet featuring SYR signature sweets and the Flambéed Harrys Berry’s Strawberry Shortcake.

Time: 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM. Cost: $205/per adult, $85 per child (12 & under). Weather permitting, two Easter Egg hunts will take place at 11:00 AM and 1:00 PM. Reservations: Call (805) 565-1720.

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NEW SIGN FOR SUNSHINE

Goleta Signs has just finished installing a brand-new sign for Santa Barbara Sunshine Cafe at 5711 Calle Real in Goleta which replaces the tarpaulin banner they have been using since the eatery opened last December. The upper State Street location of Santa Barbara Sunshine Cafe has closed.


Goleta Signs installs a new sign on Calle Real for Santa Barbara Sunshine Cafe

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LOWER STATE STARBUCKS OPENS

Reader Primetime tells me that the new Starbucks has opened at 120 State Street near the waterfront, next to McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams and Melville Winery.


Photos by Primetime

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EASTER ROUNDUP

Jellybeans and chocolate bunnies might be delicious, but they don’t exactly fill you up. So, if those egg hunts leave you with an appetite for something more, hop over to one of the many South Coast restaurants offering an Easter brunch, buffet or dinner. It’s supposed to rain this Sunday so I don’t know if the various egg hunts will still be happening.

ROSEWOOD MIRAMAR BEACH: Alongside its annual Great Easter Egg Hunt at Miramar, guests can enjoy the following special dining experiences on Easter Sunday: Elevated Prix-Fixe Brunch at Caruso’s (11 a.m. – 3 p.m.): Easter brunch at Caruso’s includes an elevated prix-fixe dining experience highlighting the local landscape of the central coast. Think dishes like oysters, hand-pulled burrata, eggs benedict, filet, and a dessert buffet. $195 per adult, $85 per child 4–12, complimentary for ages 4 and younger. Brunch Buffet at The Revere Room (11 a.m. – 3 p.m.) includes dishes like lemon ricotta pancakes, a salami & cheese station, salads, a raw bar, sushi, a carving station, a kid’s menu, assorted dessert stations, and more. $165 per adult, $65 per child 4–12, complimentary for ages 4 and younger.

ACME: Acme, which operates a variety of popular food and drink destinations in town, is gearing up for Easter. The Lark will be serving up decadent Easter brunch favorites by Chef Jason Paluska and offer a dinner special of Spring Lamb Pappardelle for those celebrating during the evening. Call (805) 284-0370 or visit thelarksb.com. Lucky Penny features a Roasted Carrot Pizza from March 29-31 along with a Tie-Dye experience for kids on March 30 and Easter Egg Hunt on Easter Sunday. For tickets visit acmehospitality.ticketsauce.com. La Paloma Café presents an Easter Brunch Buffet featuring a carving station, kids’ station, savory station and the essential dessert station. $70 per guest for menu only; $85 to include bottomless mimosas and $25 for kids 12 and under. Loquita offers holiday specials on Saturday, March 30 and Easter Sunday, March 31, in addition to their à la carte menu.

BRASS BEAR UPTOWN: Brass Bear’s uptown location at 3302 McCaw Avenue is doing an Easter Brunch Buffet again this year on Sunday March 31st from 10-2 p.m. The buffet will have Chef Martin’s quiches & cured salmon station as well as the classic accompaniments of maple glazed bacon, French toast, salad pastries and more. Pricing is $45 for adults and $15 for kids 12 and under. They also will have some special kid activities going like a jumpy house and Easter eggs hid throughout the space. Make reservations at tinyurl.com/bb-easter or call 805-869-4014.

THE STEWARD: Guests and visitors are invited to celebrate Easter at The Steward by joining their Easter Brunch Buffet at Terra from 7 a.m.-1 p.m. Guests can indulge in a festive, garden-inspired buffet featuring Harvest Quiche, Sweet Corn Olive Oil Pancakes, Overnight Oats, and an Easter egg hunt throughout the hidden gardens. $40 for adults and $25 for children 12 and under. Make reservations at tinyurl.com/easterterra

HILTON: Easter Brunch at Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort offers favorites, including the prime rib, the refreshing rosemary roasted beets, and a rich lemon curd crumble for dessert. Enjoy brunch with live music by David Segall from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. and two Easter Egg Hunts starting at 10:30 a.m. and noon. The Easter Bunny will be making special appearances. Adults: $140 per person, Children (12 & under): $45 per person, children under 3 are free. 18% gratuity will be automatically added to all parties. The brunch buffet will be served indoors at The Set, with the Easter Egg Hunt taking place on the lawn. Dress comfortably for outdoor activities, and don’t forget to bring your Easter basket. Make reservations at tinyurl.com/easterhsbbr

RITZ-CARLTON BACARA: Easter brunch specials feature an extensive seafood display and will be held from 9:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. in the Ballroom and Ballroom Terrace. Price: $158 adult / $55 kids. Make reservations at tinyurl.com/easterbacara

FINCH & FORK: Easter dining will be available at Finch & Fork located within The Kimpton Canary Hotel, 31 West Carrillo Street. Guests can choose one entrée from a selection of dishes including Bacon and Spring Onion Quiche with Watercress Salad, Kimchi Benedict with Crisp Pork Belly, Potato Gnocchi with Ridgeback Shrimp, Charred Ramp and New Potato Cream, and more. In addition to their main entrée, guests will enjoy buffet-style starters, salads and desserts. Options available at the buffet include Coastal White Fish Ceviche, Finch and Fork Deviled Eggs, Black Garlic Caesar Salad and Latte Crème Brulee, to name a few. Price is $89 for adults and $45 for children under 12. Hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Reservations are available via OpenTable.

CARP KITCHEN: Carp Kitchen at at 4945A Carpinteria Avenue in Carpinteria is offering an Easter dinner menu, which includes appetizers, soups and salads, main courses, sides, and desserts. Orders should be placed by noon on Wednesday, March 27 for pick up on Saturday, March 30. The location will be closed for Easter on March 31. Further contact details are (805)318-9400 and carpkitchen.com.


EASTER EATS: Enjoy Easter brunch at the Ritz-Carlton Bacara and a variety of other locations across the South Coast. Photo courtesy Ritz-Carlton Bacara.

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