Every time I run a roundup of forthcoming restaurants, we learn of several others in the works. If you know of any, please email [email protected] or text 912-209-6473. And the opening forecasts are best guesses—rare is the restaurant that opens when it aspires to.
Chef Manny Diaz is at the helm of a new Mexican restaurant in the former Somerset/Smithy/La Cocina space on Anapamu (State/Anacapa). Opening forecast: Just soft-opened.
DAVE’S DRIP HOUSE
Dave’s Dogs is spinning off an “ice cream and cereal bar” at the Turnpike Center in Noleta. Opening forecast: Any day now.
A social club for parents and their kids, with a members-only café and full liquor license, is coming to a two-story building on W. Figueroa. Adults-only buyouts will be available in evenings. Opening forecast: This month.
Tara Penke and Jaime Riseco of Picnic in Barcelona are opening an all-day, market-driven restaurant in what was briefly a Low Pigeon cafe (Anacapa/Ortega). Opening forecast: Soft-launching this month.
DAWN AND DUSK
The Drift mini-chain of hotels has a flagship in San José del Cabo and three in the works—Nashville, Palm Springs, and 524 State Street (Cota/Haley). The latter will have a cafe called Dawn and a “Mexican-inspired tequila and tapas bar” called Dusk. Opening forecast: The hotel is taking bookings starting February 1, but may open earlier; the café and bar will debut concurrently with the hotel.
Dalan Moreno’s vegan pop-up has found a permanent home in the former Uncorked space (432 E. Haley). He has a Gofundme to help with the endeavor. Opening forecast: February.
BRASS BEAR UPTOWN
Funk Zone favorite Brass Bear took over the Cafe Stella space off Las Positas Road. Owner Seth Anderson gave an update on what to expect once the new location opens, after some decor changes: “We are offering a full-service experience inside the main dining room, while outside seating will be more similar to the Funk Zone with QR, bar orders and a few floating servers. The space really got us excited as it allows us to continue our family-friendly hospitality as well as improve on our offerings for events. We will continue to have an area dedicated for kids and now have a room dedicated to events with its own bar, entrance, and patio area with great mountain views. The option for a full buyout will be available here as well, for big life events and company parties.” Opening forecast: Winter 2023.
TAQUERIA LA UNICA
Carlos Luna of Los Agaves and Santo Mezcal is bringing “authentic Mexican street food classics, including tacos, tortas and more, along with beer and wine” to the former Dunkin’ space at 3771 State Street. Opening forecast: First quarter of 2023.
HERE’S THE SCOOP
According to the Montecito Journal, the Here’s the Scoop ice cream shop on Coast Village Road “will reopen as a different concept. Rumor has it that the new concept will be a nostalgic pharmacy or drug store, complete with an ice cream counter.” Opening forecast: The sign in the window says early 2023, but there’s no sign of a buildout.
HAPPY CAT CAFE
Oku‘s Tina Takaya is branching out with Happy Cat Cafe next door; we can expect “a fun, casual, dining spot with Handlebar coffee and great breakfast and lunch options.” Construction is underway. Opening forecast: Spring.
Little Alex’s, which got the boot from the Montecito Country Mart in the fall of 2021, is taking over Fresco Cafe’s former space in the Five Points shopping center. Opening forecast: Spring.
Co-owner Omar Khashen says that the Independent‘s initial description of the plan for the former Beachside Bar-Cafe at Goleta Beach Park is still accurate, except they’re also adding a bar to the patio: “a focus on California coastal cuisine that’s elevated but not overly expensive, with regionally respectful beer, wine, and spirit selections. They’ll enhance the location’s varied settings—the two bars, the main dining area, the primary patio, and the small rooms that could be rented for small events—and turn the small stand outside into an ice cream shack also serving scaled-down menu options, possibly with to-go cocktails.” Opening forecast: It was late spring, but storm damage has probably pushed that back.
In Little Alex’s former space at the Montecito Country Mart, Corazón Cocina’s Ramon Velazquez plans to offer “soul food, if you will—tacos, soups, enchiladas, and tamales. It’s home cooking.” (N.B. The initial name was Alma Fonda Fina; the new name refers to the Roma neighborhood of Mexico City.) Opening forecast: Late spring.
The chicken-and-waffles chain is coming to Paseo Nuevo. Opening forecast: May.
The popular doughnut pop-up’s plan for a bakery in Noleta’s Turnpike Center has hit some financial snags. Opening forecast: Hopefully spring.
BELCHING DRAGON TAVERN
Belching Dragon Tavern, at State and De La Guerra in what used to be a Starbucks, will be a gastropub with what proprietor Mike Sheldon (of Local in Montecito) calls a “modern English pub concept” with”brick walls, big tvs, gourmet pub grub, draft beers and craft cocktails.” Opening forecast: If the permitting process keeps moving, construction could start in February with an opening in May.
The local meat purveyor is expanding beyond the Funk Zone and Public Market with a restaurant at the old Woody’s space at 5112 Hollister Avenue. The goal is “a carbon copy of the Funk Zone location—we are even installing mini garage doors in where each stained glass window currently is, which will create an outdoor feel inside the restaurant, kind of mimicking our look in the Funk Zone.” Opening forecast: May at the earliest.
TURNPIKE CENTER MEXICAN RESTAURANT
Corazón’s Ramon Velazquez dropped out, but Chris Chiarappa (Mesa Burger, Lighthouse Coffee) is proceeding with a Mexican restaurant in two spaces at Noleta’s Turnpike Center. Opening forecast: Summer.
A new concept called Three Monkeys is coming to the Santa Barbara Public Market; no word yet on what to expect. Opening forecast: Unknown, but presumably it doesn’t require much of a buildout.
Sunstone Winery is working on a glamorous rooftop tasting room in the Funk Zone, atop the SB Biergarten building. Opening forecast: The Instagram account says summer 2023.
The loved/loathed fast-food chain is opening an outpost at the site of the former IHOP at 4765 Calle Real, east of N. Turnpike Road. Opening forecast: Unknown.
Mary Ta, founder of the MASS Beverly and Minotti Los Angeles showrooms, has plans for an ambitious new establishment called Skyfield in the former Black Sheep space (Anacapa/Ortega). “Skyfield is a community-driven, ingredient-centric dining outpost and retail concept inspired by the stunning landscape of the Santa Barbara coastline and the biodiversity of Skyfield Ranch—an 80-acre certified organic farm nestled in and amongst the Los Padres National Forest. Skyfield will have a strong emphasis on seasonality and locality—inviting local farmers, fisherman, and artisans to showcase their ingredients with mindfully curated foods, products and educational experiences offered throughout the approx 3,000-square-foot space. The plans involve a restaurant that will serve lunch and dinner, while a quick-service and retail component will be available alongside a bottle shop.” Opening forecast: Ta is just starting the process with her architect.
Funk Zone favorite Lama Dog and Sama Sama are partnering on a restaurant in the former La Rumba nightclub space on upper State Street (Las Positas/S. Ontare), which is being given a snazzy upgrade by Kevin Moore Architect. “This collab will have an even larger tap list and bottle shop from Lama Dog as well as the amazing food we all love from Sama Sama,” said Lama Dog’s Pete Burnham. “We’ll be very family-friendly, with games, TVs, and hopefully ice cream or something similar.” Opening forecast: Fall at the earliest.
Chris Chiarappa is turning the former Outback Steakhouse building at 5690 Calle Real in Goleta into a restaurant that’s Finney’s-esque, but perhaps a bit more family-friendly. Opening forecast: Unknown.
UNNAMED MONTECITO RESTAURANT
Montecito resident Graham Duncan has leased the former Montecito Wine Bistro in the Upper Village; he’s still working out what to do with it. Opening forecast: Unknown.
Lennon Silvers Lee, former chef at Sushi by Scratch Restaurants (née Sushi Bar Montecito) on Coast Village Road, is opening his own restaurant in the old Seven Bar & Kitchen in the Funk Zone. Opening forecast: Sometime this year.
NEW CARPINTERIA DEVELOPMENT
The multi-tenant project at 700 Linden Avenue includes retail, offices, and restaurants. The tenants we know are onboard: Old Town Coffee, Ramon Velazquez (Corazón Cocina), and Alvaro Rojas (Milk & Honey) and Nadia Ajlouni (The Blue Owl), who are working on a rooftop bar. And the word is that a major one will be announced soon. Opening forecast: Early 2024.
Eric Goode—of the turtle sanctuary, Tiger King, and many projects in New York City—bought the former Oaks at Ojai spa (before that, it was El Roblar hotel) with Warner Ebbink (Little Dom’s Seafood) and Ramin Shamshiri of Studio Shamshiri. Brandon Boudet, Ebbink’s partner/chef at Little Dom’s, will be the chef at the hotel’s restaurants. Opening forecast: Spring 2024.
TEDDY’S ON STATE
Sarah Dandona of Teddy’s by the Sea, Brass Bird, and Omni Catering is opening an outpost of Teddy’s in the former MacKenzie Market (3102 State Street) in San Roque. Opening forecast: Unknown; the project is still in permitting.
A notification of a beer-wine license application at 2714 De La Vina Street, next to Edomasa, says the establishment will be called Maíz Picante, which we might logically deduce will be a Mexican restaurant. Opening forecast: Unknown.
What Restaurant Guy called an “Instagram-ready food concept” will open at 6521 Pardall Road in Isla Vista, with “burgers, tacos, noodles, sushi, seafood, coffee, salads and more.” The company didn’t respond to requests for an update—or to even say whether the restaurant is still on. Opening forecast: Unknown.
Austin seafood restaurant Clark’s, which also has an outpost in Aspen, is taking over the former Cava space on Coast Village Road. Owner MML Hospitality has yet to confirm it, though. Opening forecast: Unknown.
The popular State Street bakery and café is hoping to open in the former Mesa Burger space on Coast Village Road, but the lease is still being worked out. Once that’s done, there will be renovations. Opening forecast: Unknown.
With the noble mission of “making nutritious, fresh food affordable to all,” Everytable is a chain that charges more in well-off areas to subsidize meals in poorer communities. The restaurant at the base of Amazon’s office at State and Carrillo was supposed to be the first outside L.A., but in the two and a half years that that the project has been on ice, the company has opened locations in New York City and all over Southern California. Opening forecast: The company continues to say it has no idea.
And farther on the horizon:
••• Construction should start this quarter on the former Casa Blanca and Fit Buddha parts of the ANDALUCIA BUILDING at State and E. Gutierrez; the project has been said to include a restaurant and bar, a “speakeasy,” and a music venue, but that may have changed.
••• The developers behind the Platform in Culver City are turning the Las Aves complex across from the Andrée Clark Bird Refuge into THE POST (below), with a full-service restaurant and a café.
••• On land owned by the Fess Parker family, the Robert Green Company is developing an 86-room resort—with “a signature restaurant with outdoor dining overlooking the ocean, a rooftop bar and grill with unparalleled views, and a lobby bar and lounge with enticing small plates”—at 433 E. CABRILLO BOULEVARD, at the corner of S. Calle Cesar Chavez. It will be positioned somewhere between the Rosewood Miramar Beach and the Hotel Californian, and barring any delays from the city, construction is slated to start in the third quarter of this year.
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