East Valley Kitchen Coming To Montecito

Like many in LA, Santa Barbara is one of my preferred destinations for a quick weekend getaway.  And while the restaurant scene is constantly evolving there (Hello? A wildly popular new L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele?), I’m sure that we all have our tried-and-true classics that we return to time and time again.  With its romantic fireplace patio, one hidden gem that was a favorite of the graying Hollywood set for years was Italian eatery Piatti at 516A San Yisidro Rd. in Montecito’s Upper Village.  Sadly, that closed down a few years ago and was replaced by a wine bistro, also now closed.  Now there is an ABC application on the front announcing that a new restaurant is moving into the cozy, nostalgic space.  There doesn’t seem to be much information yet on East Valley Kitchen (except this little tidbit), but I’m hoping they keep that back patio.


Cava Restaurant & Bar Closes On Coast Village Rd, Montecito Weeps…

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…

Mesa Burger Bringing Famous Burgers To Montecito…

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.MesaBurger.jpg

Ca’Dario Trattoria & Pizzeria Coming To Montecito

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…


Renaud’s Patisserie & Bistro Expands To Montecito

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!



Frankland’s Crab & Co. Opens April 5th In Montecito; Phillip Frankland Lee Gives Us A Glimpse Inside

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.

IMG_3290.jpgPhillip Frankland Lee inside Frankland’s Crab & Co. 

IMG_3288.jpgThe progress inside The Monarch

IMG_3292.jpgFrankland’s Crab & Co. at night

Hillstone Restaurant Group Expands Into Montecito

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.