KAI SUSHI UPDATE

Reader Marlowe says that Kai Sushi at 738 State Street has updated the hours posted on their window to indicate that they are now closed on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Unless Lennon and McCartney were right about there being Eight Days a Week, I suspect Kai Sushi has closed or gone on vacation. Their website still shows normal business hours and Yelp says they’re open so I called Kai when they should have been full of customers and the phone just rang, with to humans or voicemail picking up.

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AMA SUSHI OPENS AT THE MIRAMAR

Rosewood Miramar Beach announced the opening of AMA Sushi, a celebration of Japan’s Edomae tradition crafted with variety and skill. Inspired by the legacy of Japanese Ama free divers, the restaurant derives its name from women who swam the ocean to collect fresh seafood for their villages. AMA Sushi showcases fresh ingredients complemented by an extensive selection of wine, sake and cocktails.

The restaurant is helmed by Executive Chef Kentaro Ikuta who hails from Osaka where he learned his craft before moving to California, spending the last thirteen years at Michelin-starred omakase concepts. Chef Ikuta is joined by Chef de Cuisine Scott Yonamine, who was most recently in Tokyo at Musahi Sushi, and Sushi Chef Wendy Ramos from Southern California’s renowned Nobu Malibu. “I am thrilled to bring almost thirty years of experience in the traditional Edomae school to this special region of California,” says Chef Ikuta.

AMA Sushi can be experienced a la carte or as an omakase meal and the menu features a selection of zensai (appetizers) such as Namagaki Oysters and Tamago Tofu with Local Uni; salads and usuzkuri (thinly sliced sashimi); agemono (fried foods) including a variety of tempura and chicken karaage; and yakimono courses, grilled over Binchotan Charcoal, ranging from Hokkaido Scallops to Miyazaki A5 Wagyu Ribeye.

Anchored in an extensive nigiri and sashimi list, the menu highlights local offerings alongside seafood selected from Toyosu Fish Market in Tokyo’s Kōtō Ward. The wild-caught and sustainable ingredients will also be available as simply prepared hand and cut rolls or uramaki (inside out) rolls that introduce non-classical sauces and flavors. In keeping with local and Japanese seasonality, a selection of featured fish will rotate seasonally. Highlights include Abalone, Chu-Toro (tuna belly), Shime-Saba (marinated mackerel), Buri Yellowtail, and Uni from Hokkaido and local purveyors.

Curated by the resort’s Director of Wine Daniel Fish, the AMA Sushi wine list showcases both California producers and winemakers from Europe, alongside an extensive sake list. The restaurant’s cocktail program, designed by Nils Schabert, Director of Bars, offers over thirty varieties of Japanese whiskies for a comprehensive beverage offering. Highlights include Hinode, served Tokyo Kaikan Style with a king cube in an edged coupe with mezcal joven, pineapple liqueur, acidified dry vermouth, black lemon bitters, sparkling sake & kinome; and Tsumiki, a coconut infused sake-based cocktail served in a traditional ceramic cup with mandarin essence, banana liqueur, dry vermouth and roasted nori.

Designed in partnership with innovative design firm AvroKO, the restaurant’s interiors bring the history of the Ama divers to life, blending a minimalist Japanese aesthetic with the resort’s coastal style. The blue ombre plaster ceiling mimics water rippling through the sea, a contrast to the dark American oak paneled walls inspired by fisherman huts in Japan. Pearlescent white onyx is set against a black granite chef’s counter in the room’s bold centerpiece: a scalloped sushi bar. Nods to Japanese heritage throughout the space include a custom chandelier featuring layers of sheer linen stretched over intricate brass detailing, representing the garments worn by Ama divers that were believed to protect them from harm. On the restaurant’s terrace, al fresco California evenings can be enjoyed under lanterns strung throughout foliage alongside the resort’s koi pond.

Massimo Falsini, Director of Culinary Operations of Rosewood Miramar Beach adds, “Sushi-yas (restaurants that specialize in sushi), are an inextricable part of California’s food culture and we are honored to bring our version to life with AMA Sushi. Chef Ikuta’s expertise and meticulous attention to detail along with our renowned brand of five-star service will make for a truly memorable sushi adventure.”

AMA Sushi will be open daily for dinner from 5:30 pm to 9:30 pm (10 pm on Friday and Saturday). For reservations and additional information call (805) 900-8388.

 


Courtesy

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BLACK SHEEP TO CLOSE, NEW EATERY COMING

Reader Annie tells me that Black Sheep restaurant at 28 East Ortega Street is closing in early September and that a new eatery is in the works to take its place. Black Sheep opened in May 2014.

“It’s official, Black Sheep is closing on September 4th,” said owners Ruben Perez and family. “I am so grateful for everyone we have met, the friendships we have created, and the family we now have. It has been our honor to share with all of you, our love of food and service. Thank you for being a part of us. We will miss you. If you need to get your black sheep fix before we are gone, we would love to see and feed you.”

Annie says that both the restaurant and building may have been sold. I am told that the new owner of the space has ties to the community and is involved in Lotusland. The chef at the upcoming dining destination is reportedly coming from Los Angeles.

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FIESTA AT LOQUITA

Loquita at 202 State Street is celebrating Old Spanish Days with a Fiesta Party, Spanish food and drink and a live flamenco performance by Zermeño Dance Academy, on Friday, August 5. Fans can purchase a ticket to celebrate at Loquita – both indoors and patio – while enjoying a Fiesta-inspired menu. All guests will receive Loquita’s all-you-can-drink signature Sangria, multiple paella selections, a jamón carving station, a raw bar, and Fiesta party favors. In addition to the signature Sangria, a no-host bar is available for added cocktail selections. Hours are 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Fiesta is for guests 21 and over and priced at $125 per person.

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FIESTA AT FINCH & FORK

Finch & Fork, which recently reopened at Kimpton Canary after a full redesign, is getting into the Fiesta spirit. All Fiesta week, August 3-7, the team will be pouring a Spanish Rosé – Inazio Hondaribi Txakolina, for $13 by the glass, along with house made Sangria – with Celeste Torres Tempranillo with Licor 43, local mixed berries and citrus, for $14. Finch & Fork will also be serving a special cocktail called the Dulce-tini (offered at both brunch and dinner) for $15.

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MIRAMAR LAUNCHES MONTHLY WINE DINNER SERIES

Rosewood Miramar Beach at 1759 Jameson Lane in Montecito debuted a monthly wine dinner series at The Revere Room, showcasing wine from here to Napa Valley. Curated by the resort’s Director of Wine Daniel Fish, the monthly dinners will highlight local-first ingredients from nearby farms and purveyors. Each experience will showcase a multi-course menu from Director of Culinary Massimo Falsini and Chef Nicola Cavicchini to complement the month’s featured wines, and range in price depending on the region. The series featured wineries include Liquid Farm, Brewer-Clifton Winery, Dierberg and Star Lane Vineyards, and more.

View menu from Liquid Farm dinner on July 27th for $185 per person.

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SB FOOD CONNECTION COMING TO MILPAS, REPLACING DAVE’S DOGS

Reader Eric says that Dave’s Dogs on Milpas has closed (the Turnpike location is open for business as usual) and that Santa Barbara Food Connection, which has operated a truck locally for several years, will replace it. The website santabarbarafoodconnection.com describes the eatery as “a local breakfast, lunch, and late-night catering service specializing in fast delicious food.”


Courtesy

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CELEBRITY CHEFS OPEN I.V. EATERY

Korean restaurant Vons Chicken, which closed at 955 Embarcadero del Mar in Isla Vista last April, has reopened the franchise under new ownership. Sources tell me that it is run by L.A.-area celebrity chefs “Jared and Chris.” I located a pair in Orange County and another duo in Santa Monica that go by that name.


Photo by The Restaurant Guy

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RESTAURANT OPENINGS

At least 50 local eateries opened, or reopened, in the last year, which is more than in any 12-month stretch since 2018.

  • July 2022: Rare Society, 214 State St.; Sweetie’s Ice Cream Shop, 1826 Cliff Dr. Ste. A
  • June 2022: Lighthouse Coffee, 401 E. Haley St.; Taza Mediterranean Street Kitchen, 413 State St. Vons Chicken, 955 Embarcadero del Mar, Isla Vista
  • May 2022: Carp Moon Café, 4991 Carpinteria Ave., Carpinteria; Finch & Fork (reopened), 31 W. Carrillo St.; Hummus Republic, 6546 Pardall Rd., Isla Vista; Mangione’s Italian Ice, 1222 State St.; Mariscos Santa Barbara, 5892 Hollister Ave., Goleta; Rodeo Room Whiskey Lounge, 231 W. Montecito St.
  • April 2022: Casa Comal, 505 State St.; Hook & Press Donuts, 15 E. Figueroa St.; Lighthouse Coffee, 199 S. Turnpike Rd. Ste 101; Local, 1187 Coast Village Rd., Montecito; Montecito Deli (reopened), 1150 Coast Village Rd., Montecito; Saint Bibiana Pizzeria, 17 W. Ortega St.; Sazon Latino, 1417 San Andres St.; Zocalo, 901 Embarcadero del Mar Ste. 101, Isla Vista
  • March 2022: Beans BBQ, 1230 State St.; Goodland BBQ, 5725 Hollister Ave., Goleta; Hibachi Steakhouse and Sushi Bar (reopened), 500 State St.; Shalhoob’s at the Market, 38 W. Victoria St.; Wingman Rodeo, 235 West Montecito St.
  • February 2022: Bedda Mia, 1218 State St.; Little Heart Cafecito, 38 W. Victoria St.; Soul Bites, 423 State St.; Starbucks, 3052 De la Vina St.
  • January 2022: Broad Street Oyster Company, 418 State St.; El Patio Evening, 3007 De la Vina St.; Texas Tacos, 910 Embarcadero del Norte, Isla Vista
  • December 2021: Dune Coffee Roasters, 5915 Calle Real Ste. A, Goleta; Jersey Mike’s Subs, 163 N. Fairview Ave., Goleta; Red Pepper, 966 Embarcadero Del Mar, Isla Vista
  • November 2021: Kyle’s Chicken House, 900 Embarcadero del Mar, Isla Vista; Reunion Kitchen, 1118 E. Cabrillo Blvd.; Zio and Sweet Italian Desserts, 819 State St. Ste. A
  • October 2021: Carp Kitchen and Grocery, 4945 Carpinteria Ave. Ste. A, Carpinteria; Mr B Restaurant & Café, 140 S. Hope Ave.; Old Town Coffee, 1131 State St.; Pueblo Pollo, 2984 State St.; Tap Thai, 7060 Hollister Ave., Goleta; Timbers Roadhouse, 10 Winchester Canyon Rd., Goleta; Wingstop, 888 Embarcadero Del Norte Ste. C, Isla Vista
  • September 2021: Coast Range & Vaquero Bar, 1635 Mission Dr., Solvang; Kyle’s Protein Grill (reopened), 7000 Hollister Ave., Goleta
  • August 2021: Centennial Beer Hall, 5871 Hollister Ave., Goleta; The Courthouse Tavern, 129 E. Anapamu St.; Goodland Dining, 231 S. Magnolia Ave., Goleta; The Good Plow, 5205 Carpinteria Ave., Carpinteria; Riviera Bar, 20 W. Figueroa St.
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ISLAND BREWING COMPANY CELEBRATES 21ST ANNIVERSARY

Island Brewing Company will celebrate its 21st Anniversary, Saturday, July 23. The day-long celebration will feature the usual fun in the sun and familiar smiles, along with a new Anniversary beer release, “Return to Paradise” a strong Pale Ale. The Shrimp vs Chef food truck will be on the patio from 12-7 pm, and Santa Barbara musical stalwarts Bombifiya will play from 6-9 pm.

“It’s amazing that we’re still doing what we love in the community we love,” says owner and founder Paul Wright. “We’re above all grateful for our staff and supporters and hope to have a day of connecting with friends and those that have made it all possible. Here’s to the next 21.”


Courtesy

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XO EXITS

This just in from Acme Hospitality:

I wanted to let you know that on behalf of Acme Hospitality, the XO Santa Barbara pop-up has concluded. Stay tuned for more exciting things to come in this space! I’ll be sure to reach out when we have information to share on what’s coming next. I haven’t heard any details on the timeline at this point so will keep you posted.

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RARE SOCIETY OPENS

Rare Society has opened in the Funk Zone at 214 State Street, the former home of Corazon Cocina, American Ale, Yankee Noodle, Rebar Coffee, Tri Tip Company, Union Ale Brewing Company, and Couchez. The third location of the San Diego-born concept, Rare Society is the brainchild of Chef Brad Wise who is paying homage to the infamous retro steakhouses that once laid claim to the Las Vegas Strip. Chef Wise’s menu places proteins and seafood in the spotlight, with cuts of dry-aged ribeyes, American wagyu, and classic Filet Mignon complementing steakhouse specialties such as oyster Rockefeller, snow crab legs, and Caesar salad.

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BREWCO FOR SALE

Reader Josh let me know that a listing of a restaurant for sale has appeared online at tinyurl.com/brewco4sale and that the description and photos match Hollister Brewing Company at 6980 Marketplace Drive in Goleta. The ad reads “Price reduced to $795,000 for this 6,000 sq ft Brewery, Bar & Restaurant and large Patio with ABC type 23 distribution license with additional ABC type 47 hard liquor license in an extremely sought-after corner location with seating for 140+ indoors and a further 80 outdoors.”

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LEBANESE FEAST

A cooking class/dinner at Apples to Zucchini Cooking School to benefit the school’s partnership programs will be held on July 15 in their teaching kitchen at 2300 Garden Street. Chef Sally Ruhl’s class menu includes Casitas Valley Pastures lamb, tabbouli, farro pilaf, and some surprises. Dinner, accompanied by paired wines, and will be served in the school’s garden. Chef Ruhl will provide all students with her recipes. Proceeds from the cooking class will benefit Apples to Zucchini’s partnership programs, which include Girls Inc., Noah’s Anchorage, Safe House, and Santa Barbara School of Squash. Visit tinyurl.com/a2zbenefit

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BARBAREÑO ADDS MONDAYS

Owner Julian Martinez sent me an update about his restaurant at 205 West Canon Perdido Street: “Hi John, I hope all is well! We wanted to let you know that our restaurant, Barbareño, has expanded our days of operation. We are now open on Mondays. Moving forward we will be open every day except Tuesdays, starting at 5pm. Thank you!”

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PIZZA MY HEART TO DEPART

Reader Don sent me some sad news that I confirmed is true: “Hi John, I love how you pay attention to Isla Vista. Pizza My Heart is closing. I ignored the place for years but it’s been so convenient to get a slice and a pint to enjoy on their patio. August 14 is their last day, according to my pal who shared this news. Somebody is going to get lucky if they hire their afternoon manager — that guy is friendly and efficient and he really seems to care for the team members.”

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ANACAPA SEAFOOD

Real estate agent Caitlin Hensel has announced that a new restaurant is coming to downtown Santa Barbara at 703 Anacapa Street, across from La Paloma Cafe. “We are very excited to announce that our clients have just completed a long-term lease on the iconic Los Arcos building,” says Hensel. “The to-be-named venture, from the restauranteurs behind @picnicrestaurant in Barcelona, will bring international farm-to-table dishes with a focus on local seafood, serving breakfast, lunch & dinner to Anacapa Street. They will also have a large outdoor patio open all day with coffee, juices, great wine and a full cocktail list. Look out for them to open in this beautiful space later this year!”

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SWEETIE’S OPENS ON THE MESA

Reader Tim tells me that Sweetie’s Ice Cream Shop, serving McConnell’s Ice Cream, has opened on the Mesa at 1826A Cliff Drive next to the Cliff Room. Sweetie’s, which is not owned by McConnell’s, is brought to you by entrepreneur Chris Chiarappa who is involved with Mesa Burger, Lighthouse Coffee, and many other local culinary adventures. Sweetie’s is open Sunday-Thursday 1-9 p.m. and Friday-Saturday 1-10 p.m. Chiarappa recently announced that he is opening a taproom named The Landing at 5690 Calle Real in Goleta, formerly Outback Steakhouse.

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Lighthouse Coffee opens

I was driving up Laguna Street and noticed that Low Pigeon Coffee Roasters at 401 E. Haley Street has completed the transition to being an outlet for Lighthouse Coffee.


Photo by The Restaurant Guy

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Independence Day at The Lark

The Lark and Executive Chef Jason Paluska will present a special Independence Day BBQ Celebration on Monday, July 4 from noon – 3:30 p.m at 131 Anacapa Street. The informal holiday menu includes Smoked Duroc Pulled Pork Sliders with California Peach BBQ, Bourbon-Pickled Jalapeno, Classic Slaw & Crispy Shallots Rings; Jason’s Throwback Lark Deviled Eggs with Creme Fraîche, Fallot Dijon, Espelette, Smoked Trout Roe & Crispy Pancetta; Fried Green Heirloom Tomatoes with Aerated Buttermilk, Texas Tornado Hot Sauce, Grilled Lemon & Chive; and Grilled Brentwood Corn on the Cob with a Garlic Butter Bath, Chili Dust, Sonoma Dry Jack Cheese & Basil. Guests can order at the bar and dine in at The Lark’s communal table, bar, on the patio or parklet. The BBQ is open to the public and does not require reservations. All food and beverages are for purchase à la carte; pricing ranges from $4-16. The Lark will also be open for full-service dining from 5-8:00 p.m. with their traditional à la carte seasonal menu. Reservations for dinner are recommended in advance.


Photo courtesy of Ali Beck

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Isla Vista update

I have been monitoring construction at 6555 Pardall Road in Isla Vista. In 2017 HiWi Tropical Fusion opened at the address after two years of construction that included tearing down the previous building and creating the largest patio in the area. A year and a half later the business closed. Earlier this year I noticed that the building was again mostly torn down, that the new patio had been demolished, and that construction had begun anew, which made me wonder if tacos or noodles were on the way which are a safe bet in Isla Vista. Apparently the answer is neither because this week a sign appeared on the property indicating that it will be the future home of Farmacy cannabis shop.

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Sweetie’s Ice Cream Shop coming to the Mesa

In February 2021 I wrote that a rumor was circulating that Chris Chiarappa from Mesa Burger on Meigs Road plans to open an ice cream shop across the street next to the Cliff Room. Last July I updated the story with an address: 1826A Cliff Drive, the former home of Santa Barbara Shabbos Services. Reader Gene let me know that the new eatery will be named Sweetie’s and that an opening might occur in the next two weeks.


Photos by The Restaurant Guy

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Dutch Garden update

Last April I wrote that Dutch Garden is shooting for a July 2022 reopening under new ownership at 4203 State Street though there is no hard date set. I stopped by this week and noticed that the paper covering the windows for the last few years has finally come down, the interior lights were on, and that tables and chairs have been added to the patio. A lighting system has been installed under the brand new sign on the roof.


Photos by The Restaurant Guy

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Checking Out

Last February I wrote that a new taco shop named Checo’s is coming to 6578 Trigo Road in Isla Vista, the former home Mojo (which moved to 6530 Seville Road), 805 Kabob, Lovin Oven Mediterranean Bakery & Cafe, Cafe Int’L, and numerous other establishments. Sources tell me that remodeling was completed but plans to open might have been scrapped. I’ll keep you posted.


Photo by The Restaurant Guy

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Correction

Last week I wrote that Rare Society is set to open their steakhouse at the end of June in the Funk Zone at 214 State Street, the former home of Corazon Cocina, American Ale, Yankee Noodle, Rebar Coffee, Tri Tip Company, Union Ale Brewing Company, and Couchez. The restaurant contacted me and says the opening was moved to mid-July.

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Taza Mediterranean Street Kitchen set to open

Taza Mediterranean Street Kitchen will be opening this week at 413 State Street, the former home of JJ’s Diner, Onus Donuts, Urkeb, The Mex Authentic, Pace, Momma Donna’s, Billies, and Lettuce B. Frank. The Middle Eastern eatery’s menu includes Salads (Tabouleh, Fattoush, Greek, Grilled Gyro), Plates/Wraps (Falafel, Chickek Shawarma, Gyro, Kefta Kebab, Chicken Kebab, Beef Kebab, Kefta Spiced Salmon), and Sides (Dolmas, Housemade Pita, House Salad, Shoestring Fries, Saffron Rice). Prices range from $5.95-$15.95.


Photo by The Restaurant Guy

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The Crystal Ball

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:

  • Alma Fonda Fina, 1024 Coast Village Rd. (formerly Little Alex’s)
  • Anchor, 113 Harbor Way (formerly Chomp)
  • Augie’s Tequileria, 700 State St. (formerly Left At Albuquerque)
  • Belching Dragon Tavern, 800 State St. (formerly Starbucks)
  • Brass Bird Coffee, 4835 Carpinteria Ave., Carpinteria (formerly Omni Catering)
  • Casa Comal, W. Carrillo St.
  • Chick-Fil-A, 4765 Calle Real, Goleta (currently IHOP)
  • Corazón Cantina, Turnpike Center
  • Corazón Comedor, 29 E. Victoria St. (formerly Ca Dario Pizzeria)
  • Drift hotel and restaurant, 524 State St. (formerly Scientology)
  • Dutch Garden, 4203 State St. (reopening)
  • The Ellwood, 5905 Sandspit Rd., Goleta (formerly Beachside Bar-Café)
  • Everytable, 1001 State St. (formerly Saks 5th Avenue)
  • Handlebar Coffee, 836 E. Anapamu St.
  • IHOP, 7127 Hollister Ave., Goleta (formerly Itsuki)
  • Jersey Mike’s Subs, Turnpike Center
  • Kin Bakeshop, Turnpike Center
  • L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele, 1032 State St. (formerly Embermill)
  • Mattei’s Tavern, 2350 Railway Ave., Los Olivos (reopening this summer)
  • Mokutan, 716 State St. (formerly Choppa Poke)
  • Oye Vey Maria’s, 1150 Coast Village Rd., Montecito
  • Pavilions, 1040 Coast Village Rd., Montecito (changing from Vons)
  • Pepe’s Mexican Restaurant, 254 Orange Ave., Goleta (reopening this winter)
  • Pure Vida Coffee Society, 801 Paseo Nuevo (formerly eBar Coffee)
  • Rare Society, 214 State St. (formerly Couchez)
  • Santa Barbara Fish Market, 7127 Hollister Ave. Ste. 18, Goleta (near DMV)
  • See’s Candies, 7044 Market Place Drive, Goleta (formerly GNC)
  • Shalhoob’s, 5112 Hollister Ave., Goleta (formerly Woody’s BBQ)
  • Silvers Omakase, Santa Barbara
  • SocialEats, 6521 Pardall Rd., Isla Vista (formerly South Coast Deli)
  • Sweetie’s, 1826A Cliff Dr. (formerly Santa Barbara Shabbos Services)
  • Taqueria La Unica, 3771 State St. (formerly Dunkin’ Donuts)
  • Taza Mediterranean Street Kitchen, 413 State St. (formerly JJ’s Diner)
  • Teddy’s on State, 3102 State St. (formerly Yanni’s Greek Deli)
  • Validation Ale, 102 E. Yanonali St.
  • We Want The Funk, 210 Gray Ave.
  • Unnamed sushi place, 1759 S. Jameson Ln., Montecito (at Rosewood Miramar)
  • Unnamed taco place, 701 Chapala St. (formerly Romanti-Ezer)
  • Unnamed tap room, 5690 Calle Real, Goleta (formerly Outback Steakhouse)
  • Unnamed, 516 San Ysidro Rd. (formerly Montecito Wine Bistro)
  • Unnamed, 1212 Coast Village Rd. (formerly Cava)
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Chef Cameron Ingle joins Pico

Pico restaurant at the Los Alamos General Store, 458 Bell Street in Los Alamos, has officially announced the arrival of executive chef Cameron Ingle, who has joined Pico co-owners, Will Henry and Kali Kopley, in the Santa Barbara County wine country hospitality venture which also features a tasting lounge for Henry’s Lumen Wines.

“Our group of hospitality brands and businesses focuses on all that’s local, all that’s fruitful and available to us in this section of the California Central Coast,” said Henry. “Chef is a natural fit for what we’re trying to create, which is not only an environment in which to enjoy what comes from our surrounding farms and vineyards, but also an education into what can be found here, what grows well, what thrives.”

Chef Cameron Ingle started to work in the restaurant industry at the age of 14, as a dishwasher in his hometown of Plymouth, Michigan, a western suburb of Metro Detroit. Chef Ingle has since studied under, and worked with celebrated chefs and restaurateurs in the nation, such as Chef Thomas Keller at his Bouchon Bistro, and at restaurants Bestia and Bavel in Downtown Los Angeles. Chef Ingle was most recently, part of Chef Dan Barber’s resident chef program at the industry-famous Blue Hill at Stone Barns in New York, a program which aimed to highlight BIPOC chef talent in the center’s kitchens.

Chef Ingle’s menu changes for Pico will be guided by his passion for hunting and foraging. He is crafting a farmer-driven menu which will regularly change, with most ingredients sourced from within a 60-mile radius of the restaurant.

Pico’s updated dinner menu is portioned into three sections, the first of which features seasonal, shareable plates like “MCR” (Motley Crew Ranch) chicken liver mousse with charred apple purée and pickled rhubarb, oysters served with a rotating mignonette, or burrata with a pickled blueberry salad.

The second menu section might include dishes such as grass-fed beef tartare with grilled sweet peppers and shaved red onion, a fresh fish crudo, or hand-cut linguini, leading to the heartier, third menu section with proteins like grass-fed Santa Carota steaks, duck breast complete with a duck reduction, or whole Branzino, all simply prepared with farm-fresh or foraged accompaniments.

Pico is open Wednesday through Sunday, 3-9 p.m. Call (805) 344-1122 or visit losalamosgeneralstore.com


Chef Cameron Ingle has joined Pico restaurant in the Los Alamos General store. Courtesy photos.

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Tacos for Chapala

Reader Q tells me that Romanti-Ezer, which closed at 701 Chapala Street on June 11, 2020, will be the future home a taco shop brought to you by Chris Chiarappa (Mesa Burger, Lighthouse Coffee) and Ramon Velazquez (Corazón). No word yet on what the new eatery will be called.


Photo by The Restaurant Guy

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Rare Society to open mid-July

Rare Society is set to open their steakhouse in mid-July in the Funk Zone at 214 State Street, the former home of Corazon Cocina, American Ale, Yankee Noodle, Rebar Coffee, Tri Tip Company, Union Ale Brewing Company, and Couchez. The third location of the San Diego-born concept, Rare Society is the brainchild of Chef Brad Wise who is paying homage to the infamous retro steakhouses that once laid claim to the Las Vegas Strip. Chef Wise’s menu places proteins and seafood in the spotlight, with cuts of dry-aged ribeyes, American wagyu, and classic Filet Mignon complementing steakhouse specialties such as oyster Rockefeller, snow crab legs, and Caesar salad.

Rare Society’s brings back the concept of the 1950s Lazy Susan which solves the age-old steakhouse problem of meat monogamy—choosing one cut and dedicating your night to it. Rare Society has an option that places a Lazy Susan mid-table with slices of a few different cuts: bullseye ribeye, Wagyu strip, tri-tip, NY strip. Next to each offering are ramekins of various sauces including bearnaise, veggie butter, Santa Maria-style salsa, steak sauce, and horseradish cream.


Rare Society will open their steakhouse in mid-July in the Funk Zone in the former home of Couchez, offering a 1950s Lazy Susan to share a variety of cuts of meat at your table. Photo by The Restaurant Guy and courtesy.

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Fresco moving

A rumor heard by reader Kate and second-hand information from reader Annie suggests that Fresco Cafe at 3987-B State Street in the Five Points Shopping Center is considering looking for a new space due to a rent increase. I visit Fresco several time per year, exclusively for their Hot Mushroom Combo sandwich that has a permanent spot in my top-ten favorite meals list for the South Coast. I called the eatery and they confirmed that a move is planned.

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Back home

I am back from by quinquennial vacation to northern California and am sifting through the inbox. I’ll let you know what I find.

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Pride Month at Acme

Acme Hospitality is supporting Pacific Pride Foundation this Pride Month with “LOVE IS LOVE” cocktails. For the month of June, $1 from each purchase will go to support programs, outreach, events, and services for over 10,000 Central Coast residents each year. Support Pacific Pride Foundation through volunteerism or donations at The Lark, Loquita, La Paloma Cafe, Pearl Social, Santa Barbara Wine Collective, and Lucky Penny.

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OFF TOPIC

My Santa Barbara friends and I take have been taking a group photo (with the exact same pose) every 5 years since 1982 (see fiveyearphotos.com). We do this at tiny Copco Lake in northern California where my friend John Wardlaw owns a cabin.

In 2012, 30 years after the first photo, we took our 7th picture when Santa Barbara native and CNN reporter/producer Paul Vercammen heard about it. Vercammen did a small story that was published on CNN.com and, to our amazement, it went viral. The story on CNN’s website got 50 million hits in a week and it made news all over the planet including People Magazine. NBC flew us all to be on the Today Show and we were asked for autographs everywhere we went while touring New York City. It was crazy stuff and, of course, the story completely vanished from the news a week later. CNN did a follow-up report in 2017 about our 8th photo.

We take our 9th five year photo, 40 years after the first, this June 15th and CNN is covering it again. I am told that Vercammen is actually coming to northern California to do a live report. I guess with so much drama in the news they decided it is time for a happy story. If you happen to be watching TV or browsing the web in mid-June and see a series of pictures of five guys sitting on a bench, The Restaurant Guy is the one on the right.

Five Santa Barbara High School graduates were swarmed by fans of their viral story at Rockefeller Center in New York City in 2012. The two photos at the top, left to right: John Wardlaw, Mark Rumer, Dallas Burney, John Molony, and The Restaurant Guy. Lower photo: same guys, different order.

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Chef Gonzalez to join Augie’s

Augie’s of Santa Barbara, coming to 700 State Street this August, has announced the addition of Chef de Cuisine Eduardo Gonzalez. “You’ll find an amazing selection of agave spirits, modern takes on great cocktails, superb service, and a fun vibe,” says Berkeley Johnson, Augie’s visionary. “We knew we needed a chef that could absolutely wow our guests with fabulous flavors and presentation. We are so grateful to have found Santa Barbara native Eduardo Gonzalez.” Chef Gonzalez’s passion for food was born from his maternal grandfather, a chef/owner in Guadalajara, Jalisco. “His stories put the love for cooking in me, and my experience as a restaurant owner, and a culinary team leader at local Santa Barbara 5-star properties such as Hillstone Group, Four Seasons, and Caruso’s have fueled my passion and love for cooking, ” says Gonzalez. “I love the Augie’s project because I can show the fabulous flavors of Mexico with a great service experience.” Call (805) 664-0516 or visit augiessb.com


Chef de Cuisine Eduardo Gonzalez will be helm the menu at Augie’s of Santa Barbara, coming to 700 State Street this August.

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Father’s Day at Finch & Fork

This Father’s Day you might consider celebrating at the recently remodeled Finch & Fork at Kimpton Canary. From 8 a.m. until 2 p.m., Chef Craig Riker will be adding two specials just for dad to the menu which includes a tender Short Rib and Sweet Potato Hash with poached eggs, Chilaquiles, Huevos Rancheros, a selection of toasts (including Avocado Toast), salads and sides, along with signature cocktails, wine and beer. Specials just for Father’s Day include 1) Double Wagyu Beef Burger ($23) with a sunny-side up egg, Niman Ranch bacon, crispy shallots, American cheese & topped with BBQ sauce, and 2) a Breakfast Burrito ($19), a flour tortilla stuffed with soft scrambled farm eggs, short rib, tater tots, white cheddar cheese, pickled shallots, and salsa. Reopening after a full renovation in Spring 2022, Finch & Fork is the reimagined vision of Executive Chef Craig Riker. Brunch: Monday-Friday 7 a.m.-2 p.m., Saturday-Sunday 8 a.m.-2 p.m; Dinner: Tuesday-Thursday 5-9 p.m., Friday-Saturday, 5-10 p.m.

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Pride Month

This just in from reader Jordyn at Java Station, 4447 Hollister Avenue in Noleta: “Hi! We are an all girls, mostly queer, coffee shop in Santa Barbara. Java Station is fully decorated for Pride Month and we wanted to share with our favorite news source, hoping you would want to share the word with our beautiful community!”

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Bree’osh Artisan Bakery expanding?

Here is a tip from reader DRGM: “Rumor has it that Bree’osh on Alamar and De la Vina will open its new indoor space and corner patio in June. A worthy successor to Restaurant Mimosa. The space and patio look beautiful and the coffee drinks, pastries, food and people there are fantastique!”

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Pascucci raises $4500 for Solstice

On May 25th reader Primetime, The Restaurant Guy & Kid, Mayor Randy Rowse, and many other locals volunteered at Pascucci restaurant to help raise money for the 2022 Solstice Parade and Festival. All purchases at Pascucci that night, including tips, went to Solstice and I am told that the amount generous diners donated exceeded $4500.


Some Pascucci volunteers in 2016 and again in 2022

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La Salsa closed

Readers Josh and TPF were at Five Points Shopping Center recently and said that La Salsa at 3987 State Street Ste. D was closed and giving off “closed for good” vibes. In the opinion of La Salsa corporate, however, the news is not so grim. A notice on their website says: “We are temporarily closed. We apologize for the inconvenience.”

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