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.