This just in from reader Krista:

“Hello John, I’m excited to announce the very first Santa Barbara Restaurant Week will take place on February 23 through March 4, 2018. Jordano’s, Pacific Beverage and Mission Linen, all known for their restaurant services, will be supporting this event. Participating restaurants will offer prix fixe menus for either $25, $35 and $45. It’s the perfect excuse to get out, discover and enjoy all the creative, fresh and fine cuisine in Santa Barbara! Our main goal is to sign up restaurants to participate in this event, and we would love your help!” Visit

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Outpost at The Goodland, 5650 Calle Real in Goleta, presents their third annual Ramenfest on Sunday, November 12th from 12-4 p.m. Santa Barbara’s top restaurant teams, including returning champions Sama Sama and Finch & Fork, as well as fest newcomers Industrial Eats and Barbareño, will come together to put forth their best ramen recipes. This friendly competition will offer a taste of a variety of ramen, from the traditional to the unique, for the public’s “Ramen King of Santa Barbara” vote. DJ Darla Bea will be setting the vibe, while Young’s Market will be sampling Japanese beer, sake and whiskey.

Fest-goers can purchase tickets at General admission tickets are $55, which includes tastings from each participating restaurant, a cocktail, and samplings from Young’s Market. Partial proceeds from Ramenfest will be donated to No Kid Hungry, which works to end childhood Hunger in America. Local chefs also participate in the annual Chefs Cycle, a 300 mile bike ride down the coast to benefit No Kid Hungry.



This just in from reader Adam: “Hey guys ..the old Bo Henry’s on San Andres is now The Tully Bar. Great west side spot, cleaned up, and beautiful !!!! Stop by and see owner Tanya Tully.”

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The Downtown Organization of Santa Barbara says the company that owns the property at 700 State Street, formerly Panera Bread, Left At Albuquerque, and Ma Dolce Vita, confirmed it will turn part of the 5700-square foot building on 700 State Street into a 7-Eleven store and will look for other tenants to share the space. In Goleta a 7-Eleven has opened at 5342 Hollister Avenue, the former home of Mama’s Bakery.



They have given many interviews during their quest to win the election for mayor of Santa Barbara. But until now no reporter has had the courage to hammer the candidates with the one hardball question you want answered most: “What are your favorite restaurants in town?” I reached out to everyone seeking to lead the next era of our beautiful city. Here are the responses I received, in alphabetical order:

HAL CONKLIN: “Tough question because my list would be long. Here are my favorite ‘go to’ places:  1) Jane Restaurant for a cozy atmosphere, good prices, and the best Chicken Picata dinner and best Coconut Cake desert in town!  2) Love the steaks and grilled artichoke at Holdren’s.  3) I love the Tom Ka Kai soup at Your Place on Milpas!”

ANGEL MARTINEZ: “Barbareño: It’s our son, Julian’s, restaurant! But besides that, the attention to detail in all the menu items is unique in Santa Barbara. It is a very creative menu, featuring farm to table cuisine. It has the best tri-tip I’ve ever had. Los Agaves: We love Mexican food and this is our favorite. It it very authentic and features Carlos Luna’s family recipes. Trattoria Victoria: We love Italian home cooking. The food here is simple, not at all fussy, but very tasty. And they have the best Martinis in town!”

CATHY MURILLO: “Close to City Hall, Pacific Crepes is my favorite lunch spot. The French onion soup is exceptional, as is the homemade salad dressing. Eating alone and on-the-run, I sit at Pascucci‘s bar and order the Caesar salad with shrimp. I feel like the waitstaff are all friends! There are so many good breakfast places: I like the chili bean omelette from Judge for Yourself, Freddie Villa’s machaca at Rose Cafe on Haley, and veggie scramble at Cajun Kitchen on Chapala. For special occasions and birthdays, I prefer the Palace Grill for the food and festive atmosphere. General cravings: chile relleno from El Zarape (Wednesdays only), dry-rub chicken wings from Taffy’s Pizza, and old-fashioned spaghetti dinner from Petrini’s.”

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Reader Primetime reports that PokeCeviche has opened at 901 Embarcadero del Mar Isla Vista, the former home of Jimmy Johns. Another location is coming soon to Paseo Nuevo, immediately to the left of Brookstone.

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I spoke with a representative with Outback Steakhouse at 5690 Calle Real in Goleta who told me their lease is up for renewal next month and that rent was increased so much that they won’t be able to stay. I was told that the restaurant will be closing permanently November 12th. They hope to relocate somewhere else in town but it won’t happen any time soon, if it happens at all.



Reader Primetime sent me a tip that Frankland’s Crab and Company, billed as “a modern American shell shack,” is coming very soon to 1295 Coast Village Road inside the Montecito Inn. I am told that they are ready to open and are waiting a final permit from Santa Barbara. Chef Phillip Frankland Lee is opening multiple restaurants at the Montecito Inn including Monarch, and Scratch Restaurant in the former home of Montecito Cafe. Frankland’s menu focuses on fresh seafood including Local Ridgeback, Snow Crab Claws, Maine Lobster, White Gulf Prawns, Wild-Caught King Crab Legs, and freshly shucked Fried Oysters and Clams. A variety of sandwiches, burgers and fried side dishes are also available in addition to Fish and Chips. Chef Lee opened his first Frankland’s last May at 16101 Ventura Boulevard in Encino. Visit

.Photo by Primetime



Barbecue restaurant Wildwood Kitchen at 410 East Haley Street, which offers salads, smoked meats, sandwiches, local wine, draft beer, cocktails and a courtyard patio, has added free food for kids to the menu. One free dine-in kids plate is available for children 9 years old and younger for every $10 spent at Wildwood.

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Reader Primetime says he heard that Copenhagen Sausage Garden of Solvang is opening a second location in the Funk Zone. Details will be offered as they become available.

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Sandbar restaurant at 514 State Street closed last August after a kitchen fire and now there are signs that a comeback is in the works. A large sign out front indicates that the restaurant is hiring for all positions and will be open for interviews Friday October 27th 2-7 p.m. and Saturday October 28th 1-5 p.m. For details email Thanks to reader Primetime for the tip.

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Chinese restaurant Lao Ma Tou has opened at 511 State Street, the former home of Barbarians Pizza, Wahoo’s Fish Taco, and Taiko. Lao Ma Tou specializes in Chongqing hot pots and you cook your meal on the heating pad built into every table. The menu includes 20 styles of meat for $8-$17 each, 15 selections of seafood for $10-$12 each, and 36 varieties of vegetables for $5-$9 each. Restaurant hours are Sunday – Thursday 11:30 a.m. – 11 p.m., Friday – Saturday 11:30 a.m. – midnight. Call 618-1878. Thanks to readers Brendan, BBH, Lilly, and others for the tip.



Kyle’s Kitchen has opened their third area restaurant at 7060 Hollister Avenue in Goleta at the east end of Hollister Village Plaza across from Costco. Their first South Coast location opened on Calle Real in December 2014 and a second opened last April on Chapala Street in the former home of Silvergreens. The full Kyle’s Kitchen menu is available (including the popular Klassic Kyle, Double K and Ahi in my Body burgers) and a few new things have been added that are not available elsewhere. Where other locations offer two flavors of ice cream, the new eatery offers eight (mint chocolate chip, cookies & cream, chocolate malted krunch, classic vanilla, pistachio, rainbow sherbet, mocha almond fudge, and chunky strawberry). Beer selection has been boosted from two to eight as well (Island, Draughtsman, Figueroa Mountain, Captain Fatty’s, Topa Topa, M. Special, Firestone, and Institution). A bakery has been setup at the Hollister Village Plaza restaurant which delivers fresh bread daily to all Kyle’s Kitchen locations (previously this was done at sister restaurant Silvergreens in Isla Vista). Happy Hour is offered daily from 3-6 p.m. with a variety of items available for $4 including beer, wine, specialty fries, Mt. Climber burger, and the Thai peanut salad. Hours are Sunday – Thursday 10:30 a.m. – 9 p.m. and Friday – Saturday 10:30 a.m. – 10 p.m. Visit

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Bluewater Grill, coming in January 2018 to 15 East Cabrillo Boulevard (formerly Rusty’s Pizza and Castagnola Lobster House) has named a local executive chef. Chanel Ducharme, former chef de cuisine at the Hungry Cat, has assumed executive chef duties at Bluewater Grill. The Santa Barbara native and seafood and shellfish aficionado has a large culinary following along the Central Coast and is currently undergoing training with Bluewater Executive Chef Jason Mazur to master the Bluewater method of sustainable seafood preparation. “We are thrilled to build a culinary and management team that can introduce Santa Barbara to Bluewater’s 21-year tradition of hospitality and signature seafood and shellfish – much of caught locally off the California coast by our own fishing boat,” explained Jimmy Ulcickas, Bluewater co-founder and co-owner.

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Santa Ynez Valley native Anthony Endy returns home to join the Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort team as the new executive chef. Endy brings his extensive list of California eatery experience, ranging from local Central Coast cafes to a regional franchise, to prepare him for his new role uniting local sensibilities with elevated culinary approaches. “Alisal is an iconic Central Coast property, and I’m excited to maintain the integrity of the The Ranch and expand upon the food and beverage program with new offerings,” says Endy. “The essential elements—seasonal ingredients, classic ranch recipes, BBQs—are all there, now with a bit more technique and flare.” Endy aims to capture the essence of California cuisine with the depth of flavor and heartiness of Western ranch cooking. He plans to achieve this using locally sourced Santa Ynez Valley ingredients at their peak and is working with a local farm to grow fruits and vegetables especially for Alisal. The new menu will include vegan and vegetarian options, and a farm-to-table program with cooking classes and hands-on guest workshops that will enhance the guest experience.

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 Juice It Up!, a national raw juice bar and hand-crafted smoothie chain, has announced that is now open inside HiWi Tropical Fusion at 6555 Pardall Road in Isla Vista. “We’re thrilled to officially open Juice It Up! inside HiWi Tropical Fusion, and have the opportunity to serve healthy locals our delicious fresh-squeezed raw juices and hand-crafted smoothies,” said general manager of HiWi Tropical Fusion, Nareh Shanazarian. “With fall semester now in session, UCSB students are looking for better-for-you options to get that boost of natural energy in the morning, or that necessary afternoon pick-me-up before class begins, and that’s where Juice It Up! comes in. We can’t wait to serve students and Isla Vista residents for years to come!”

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Readers Daddy, Kay Lee and Chompee McGillicutty let me know that Somerset restaurant at 7 East Anapamu Street, which opened last December, closes October 23rd. Chompee says that owner Steve Hermann — a Montecito-based architectural designer and hotelier who purchased the property for $2 million in 2015 and then spent “millions” more renovating it — will be remodeling the space and vibe toward a more casual concept. I am hearing that chefs Lauren Herman and Christina Olufso, along with mixologist George Piperis, will stay on. The new restaurant is expected to open two to three weeks after closing. Here is a message to you from Somerset management:

“We would like to Thank our loyal patrons for supporting us this past year. After much thought, we are closing our fine dining restaurant, Somerset, beginning October 23rd, 2017. While we have had an overwhelming amount of appreciation and support from our guests during this first year, we have found that it was time to move towards a more accessible dining experience for our Santa Barbara community. We will be closed for a brief renovation before we open our new casual restaurant in the 7 East Anapamu space. Thank you! Sincerely, Management”



Multiple readers tell me that La Colmena on Milpas Street is closed, and that it has a notice posted on its door for outstanding rent. The business opened in August 2008.



Poki Rito restaurant at 848 Foothill Boulevard in San Luis Obispo, near Cal Poly, has opened a second location at 6530 Seville Road in Isla Vista, next to UCSB. Co-owner Pongwarin “Oak” Rujiehan tells me that the SLO location opened a year ago and the local restaurant arrived September 16th. The menu includes bowls and wraps ranging from $10-$14. Oak says that many Poke shops don’t offer wraps and that avocado comes with no extra charge. A small order includes 2 proteins and one side, medium comes with 3 proteins and 2 sides, while the large includes 4 proteins and 3 sides. Proteins come in three categories: Naked (ahi tuna, salmon, albacore, yellow tail), Dressed (ahi shoyu, spicy wasabi salmon, scallop, shrimp, tofu edamame), and Cooked (spam, kalua pork, teriyaki chicken, beef patty, sous vide egg). Sides offered are spicy crab and tuna, seaweed salad, avocado, tamago, and macaroni salad. A variety of sauces and toppings are also available. Call 883-3933 or visit

Co-owner Oak Rujiehan shows the delicious Poke bowl he made for The Restaurant Guy.

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Summer is fading, but autumn in Los Olivos is great for outdoor entertainment. The  new Bear and Star restaurant at 2860 Grand Avenue continues their series of special events with Movie Night in conjunction with the Fess Parker Wine Country Inn. The starting line-up includes Princess Bride, Dances with Wolves, Forrest Gump, The Man from Snowy River, True Grit and Davy Crockett starring the beloved Fess Parker. Every Thursday night beginning October 12, The Bear and Star will screen classic films on the Garden Patio featuring a fourteen-foot screen with digital surround sound. Cozy blankets and complimentary popcorn are provided by the restaurant, and the complete menu from The Bear and Star will be served at the bar throughout the evening. Movie Night will continue through November 17, with plans to extend through the fall and winter season. Movie Night is from 7:00-9:00 p.m. on Thursdays and is free to the public. Seating is limited and on a first come first serve basis; low profile chairs welcome.

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You may enjoy using Uber when you need to get somewhere in a hurry but now you may use the company when you just feel like staying at home. UberEATS is Uber’s food delivery platform that makes getting food as easy as requesting a ride. The UberEATS app connects you with a broad range of local restaurants and food, so you can order from the full menus of your local favorites whenever you want. UberEATS has been expanding across the nation rapidly and officially launches in Santa Barbara on October 11th. UberEATS has close to 30 local restaurants available on the platform, including On The Alley, South Coast Deli, Woodstock’s Pizza, and more.

“We’re thrilled to be launching UberEATS in Santa Barbara, bringing a convenient and reliable way for people to get the food they love; opening up new economic opportunities for delivery partners; and enabling restaurants and chefs to connect with more customers,” says Ben Story, General Manager of UberEATS.

“Genuine Restaurant Concepts (Benchmark Eatery, Farmer Boy, and On The Alley) are honored to be a launch partner with UberEATS,” says owner John Bennett. “We are very excited that our customers are now able to enjoy our various menu items utilizing the quick and convenient service of UberEATS. We look forward to adding our other restaurants Brophy Bros. Santa Barbara and Brophy Bros. Ventura to the delivery service in the near future.” Visit



The major renovation of Coast Village Plaza at 1187 Coast Village Rd in Montecito, which has been underway during the past year, is scheduled for completion very soon. Renaud’s Patisserie & Bistro and Empty Bowl Gourmet Noodle Bar are the two newest commercial tenants, and when their tenant improvements are completed early next year they will join Juice Ranch, Here’s the Scoop, The Tennis Shop, UPS, Norvell Bass Cleaners, Riviera Smiles, Sequel Salon, Giovanni’s Pizza, and Richie’s Barber Shop. Renaud’s will occupy the space and patio adjacent to the new driveway on the south end of the property and Empty Bowl Gourmet Noodle Bar will occupy the space and patio downstairs formerly used by Scoops.

In less than 10 years, Renaud’s Patisserie & Bistro has become a thriving, award-winning fixture in Santa Barbara, offering “a taste of Paris” with a bakery in Gelson’s Market and two other bistro locations in Santa Barbara serving breakfast and lunch. The Coast Village Plaza location will offer an expanded menu with special dinner items.

Empty Bowl Gourmet Noodle Bar is a popular Asian fusion restaurant at Santa Barbara Public Market, founded by Jerry Lee, an eight-year veteran of San Ysidro Ranch’s Stonehouse restaurant. The Coast Village Plaza location will be called Khao Kaeng by Empty Bowl Gourmet Noodle Bar. “Khao Kaeng means ‘curry on rice’ in Thai,” Lee said. “We will offer some of our popular menu items from Empty Bowl Gourmet Noodle Bar plus additional comfort specialty Thai food our Chef Nui grew up with in Thailand.”

Commercial brokers Francois DeJohn and Steve Hayes of Hayes Commercial Group have been hard at work marketing vacant spaces and searching for high-quality tenants. “Renaud’s and Empty Bowl are great additions to this ‘lifestyle center’ and to Coast Village Road,” DeJohn said. “These are local businesses that operate at a very high level and are sure to be welcomed and enjoyed by the Montecito community.”

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Reader Steve H. sent me a tip that Oat Bakery has quietly opened at at 5 West Haley Street, the former home of Hana Kitchen, Tacos El Rey, Magic Pita Café, and Greek House Café. “They are currently open to the public 3-1/2 hours per week: 4:00 to 7:30 pm on Tuesday only which is also downtown Farmers Market day,” says Steve H. “It is run by a Danish lady. Beautifully rustic tasty round loaves, both regular and gluten-free.”

Photo by reader Steve H.



In April 2016 I announced that Handlebar Coffee Roasters is opening a second location at 2720 De la Vina St. (formerly Sleep Shoppe). To the delight of many Handlebar finally mde good on their promise and are now open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

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Serial restaurant entrepreneur William Lam is the owner and chef of several restaurants in town including Saigon at Five Points and on State Street (near the Granada), and Sachi Ramen on Chapala Street. You can now add to that list Sunny Korean Restaurant at 532 State Street, the former home of Zia Café. “I like the food business,” says Lam. “I like to create something different. I started with Vietnamese food then ventured into Japanese Ramen. In downtown Santa Barbara we had nothing close to traditional Korean food, so I wanted to do something different than other restaurants around here.” Lam tells me that he modifies the dishes to make the food a less spicy to satisfy local tastes. He does at the same thing at Saigon. I asked Lam why he opened Sunny Korean Restaurant and not another Saigon or Sachi Ramen. “I love Kimchi!,” he replied. While visiting the newly remodeled downtown eatery The Restaurant Gal and I enjoyed a few dishes including dumplings, stir-fried glass noodles with vegetable, Bulgogi, and Jjigae. It was terrific. Give it a try.



Some things take time to get just right and that’s why the new plant-based Oliver’s restaurant at 1198 Coast Village Road spent 5 years remodeling the former home of Peabody’s into a sight to behold. Oliver’s is the creation of cellular phone pioneer Craig McCaw. A plant-based restaurant typically has no meat, dairy, butter or eggs.

The first thing you notice when arriving at Oliver’s  is that one side of the building is completely open (via accordion doors) to seamlessly connect the bar area with the patio. You can feast under a forest of lighted trees on the heated patio, enjoy your meal in cozy quarters in the dining room or pull up to the large table near the bar.

“Being a plant-based restaurant we try to get as close to the original form of food as we can to get as healthy and healthful and tasteful of a meal that we can give you,“ says Assistant General Manager Phillip Thompson. “There is a lot of hesitance about [plant-based restaurants] in the community and the world at large. Come and taste the food. It’s high end cuisine but not fine dining, you don’t have to feel uncomfortable here. If you come and taste the food you will see what it’s about. It’s delicious. It’s healthful. You feel good after eating it. It’s just good food.”

The Small Plates menu ($7-14) includes Herb Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Avocado Toast, Summertime Hummus, Hearts of Palm Ceviche, Artichoke “Crab Cakes”, and Zucchini Flatbread. Salads menu ($12-14) includes Julia’s Cranberry and Chevre Salad, Chopped Salad, Sunflower Caesar Salad, Chickpea Nicoise Salad, and Citrus, Beets and Avocado. The Entrée menu ($18-22) includes Summer Risotto, Toasted Millet Polenta, Grilled Cauliflower Steak, Lotus Bowl, Carrot Udon Noodles, Veggie Burger, Wild Mushroom Tostada, Roasted Acorn Squash, and Kelp Noodle Pad Thai. Vegetable Sides menu ($7)  includes Rainbow Beets, Long Beans, Bulgogi Carrots, and Truffle Potatoes. For the cocktail menu ($14) Oliver’s partnered with the local juicery Juice Ranch, mixing Oliver’s high-end spirits with a local fresh organic juice.

Oliver’s is open for dinner Monday-Thursday. 5-10 p.m. and the bar stays open until 11 p.m. Friday-Saturday food service stops at 11 p.m. and the bar closes at midnight. Lunch is part of future plans and free valet service is available. Visit



Oveja Blanca (“White Sheep”) at 30 East Ortega Street closed last month and neighboring restaurant Black Sheep, which is run by the same family as was Oveja Blanca, has expanded into the space.

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Word on the street is that the old El Torito at 29 E. Cabrillo Boulevard will reopen next year as two restaurants. One will be run by Carlos Luna, the owner of Los Agaves, and the other will be run by Tina Takaya from Opal restaurant. As always, this rumor might be completely false or a brilliant forecast of future events. Your call.

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This just in from owner Benjamin Schroeder: “Wanted to drop a line that Santa Barbara Cider Company has opened in Old Town Goleta. We are open Thursday and Friday from 5-9 p.m. and Saturday from 3-9 p.m. We hope to see you here at some point!” The address is 325 Rutherford Street, Suite D. Their web sites describes the business as follows: “Our mission is to locally produce delicious Hard Ciders with simple and real ingredients to deliver a delicious and casual tasting experience. We source fresh pressed juices (nothing from concentrate) and do not add artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. All of our Hard Ciders are Gluten Free and made on dedicated Gluten Free equipment.”



Reader Steve H. says that Mosto Crudo is a wine and raw tapas bar opening soon at 7 West Haley Street, the former home of The Champagne Room. I’m told that they will at first serve only raw, cold tapas, nothing cooked.”Mosto” means “must” (a wine word) in Spanish, and “crudo” means raw. Steve H. says the business is run by an Italian and Peruvian couple.