I was shocked to discover on a recent trip to Santa Barbara that perennial favorite Cava Restaurant & Bar has closed up shop after 25 years. The elegant Mexican eatery had been an iconic presence on Coast Village Rd. in Montecito and was known for brunch and margaritas. SantaBarbara.com has the owner, Carlos López-Hollis‘ gracious goodbye and explanation, in which he cites the Thomas Fire and Pandemic as reasons. Sad…
Meanwhile, a but farther north… Apparently there have been rumors for a while, but proof is now up in the form of a window banner announcing that a branch of Santa Barbara’s mini chain of “craft burgers with heart and soul”, Mesa Burger, is landing in the old Tutti’s/Coffee Bean location at 1209 Coast Village Road in Montecito. If you don’t know about Mesa Burger, you should: Celebrity Chef Cat Cora is part owner and force behind the menu of gourmet, handcrafted burgers, farm fresh salads, hand-spun shakes, and other items that are made using conscientiously-sourced and sustainable ingredients. Local beers and wines are also on offer. It looks like they’re shooting for a Spring opening. Well worth the drive.
For those of you who take your staycations in Montecito comes this news: A popular name in Santa Barbara Italian fare is opening a branch in the Coast Village Plaza at 1187 Coast Village Road. Ca’Dario Trattoria & Pizzeria will be battling stiff competition along the already red sauce laden strip. We wish them the best of luck…
After a sad and disastrous year, it is inspiring to watch the rebuilding of Montecito. From time to time, I like to check out what’s happening in the resilient and plucky seaside town. Recently, I noticed that a branch of Renaud’s Patisserie & Bistro is opening in the space at 1187 Coast Village Road (Suite 7). Renaud’s bills itself as “A taste of Paris without the trip to France”, and has a smattering of locations in Southern California, mostly in various Gelson’s. In addition to patisserie, and a light menu of salads, sandwiches, pasta, and quiche, the ABC application posted on the front indicates a that a beer and wine license is on the way. Glass of Sancerre with that pain bagnat? Mais oui!
A few months ago, we learned from Eater that Phillip Frankland Lee (Scratch Restaurants) was taking over the restaurant spaces in the Montecito Inn. After a number of delays one is about to open, bringing new lifeblood to a community devastated by the Santa Barbara Fires and Mudslides. Recently, I had a chance to speak with the energetic and affable Lee, who was kind enough to take time from his busy schedule to give me a glimpse inside his newest eateries. Frankland’s Crab & Co. is set to open April 5, and offers a menu of seafood in a bright and airy casual space with high stools and communal tables. His other Montecito Inn restaurant will be named The Monarch and has a menu of local Santa Barbara products cooked over almond wood: think pizza, pasta, and “We’ll see”. Look for an opening in late summer or early autumn. We wish him the best of luck.
Phillip Frankland Lee inside Frankland’s Crab & Co.
The progress inside The Monarch
Frankland’s Crab & Co. at night
It looks like artisanal coffee purveyor Caffe Luxxe is expanding. I just noticed their signs are up on an empty space in the freshly remodeled shopping center at 22335 Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu. Their website also promises a new location in the Montecito Country Mart in Montecito as well.
It wasn’t that long ago that an old-timey nursery sat at 1255 Coast Village Road in posh Montecito, a relic of the now-tony street’s utilitarian past that has disappeared to accommodate the patrons of estates worth millions just a stone’s throw away. The nursery was demolished to make space for a new development that will house a branch of LA-based Hillstone Restaurant Group (Houston’s, South Beverly Grill, Gulfstream, Bandera), according to the ABC application posted outside. This will be a prominent national chain presence in the sleepy seaside town known for its fiercely local and independent restaurant scene. And while I can confirm neither an opening date nor the exact branch of the HRG, rumor has it that the new venue will be an R+D Kitchen.