Monday, April 28, 2008

The ghost of Pattaya and ... Target in SB?

They're the hottest restaurant in town that never opened. Early last year, in Old Town Goleta, the building at 5918 Hollister Ave (former home of Alex's Cantina) suddenly received a new coat of white paint. It appeared that a new restaurant was planning to open there soon. And then nothing happened. No restaurant opened.

During the Fall of 2007 a big colorful new sign appeared atop the building that read "Pattaya Bar & Grill." I stopped by to try their food, and it appeared nothing had changed since the last time I was there. From what I could see through the window, it was a ghost town on the inside.
Then, in January 2008, a large, expensive colorful advertisement for Pattaya appeared in the Verizon Yellow Pages phonebook. It reads "Sportbar, Banquet, Catering, Live Music. Serve popular street vendor Thai Food under relaxing, friendly atmosphere. Open daily 11am-1am". About the same time, Pattaya launched a professional web site, complete with colorful food photos & menus. I wandered over to the restaurant and, to my surprise; the interior still looked the same. No progress had been made as far as I could tell.
Fast forward to April 2008. While driving through Old Town Goleta at night, I noticed that their big sign was fully illuminated. There were even spotlights brightening up the entrance. With a sudden craving for Pad See Ew, I pulled over to finally give them a try. To my disappointment the inside STILL looked the same and nobody was around. Nobody but 'dem ghosts.

CINCO DE MAYO: Be sure to go to De la Guerra Plaza this Saturday (11am-9:30pm) and Sunday (11am-9pm) to enjoy great Mexican food & music at Santa Barbara’s 17th annual Cinco de Mayo celebration. For more information visit

YOU DON’T KNOW JACK: Jack's Famous Bagels (53 S. Milpas St, 3891 State St, 5050 Carpinteria Ave) is transforming into Jack's Bistro (& Famous Bagels). They now have full menus with sandwiches, gourmet sandwiches, paninis (Capri, Veggie & Baja), wraps, burgers, salads, pastas and homemade soups (Chicken Noodle, Tortilla Soup with Avocado, Tuscan Bean, Split Pea with Ham, Beef Mushroom & Barley, Chili Bean). The Carpinteria location has full indoor/outdoor restaurant seating available and the Santa Barbara Jack's Bistros will be more of an "express" version.

MEDITERRA: Reader Foodie Dan tells me that Mediterra Cafe & Market at 5575 Hollister Ave in Goleta has a new expanded menu. They have added Chicken Lavash Wrap, Gyro Lavash Wrap, Meatball Panini, Meatball Plate and a Salad Plate. Other new arrivals include Bahcivan Aged Kashkaval Cheese, Bahcivan Fresh Kashkaval Cheese, Koska preserves and Eti Burcak biscuits. Call 696-9323 or visit

RUMOR MACHINE: I called the brilliant folks at Make It Work who arrived this morning to fix the Rumor Machine. With a new ink cartridge and some well-placed duct tape, it appears to be functioning normally once again.
The faded print-out from last week mentioned that the owners of Red Fish in Simi Valley are considering opening a restaurant in Santa Barbara. Our first test print-out today had a crisp, easy-to-read update to that story that said the Red Fish owners also operate Spark Woodfire Grill in Studio City, Huntington Beach and Beverly Hills. Spark might actually be the restaurant pondering life on the South Coast.
Our second test print-out read “Target has decided to build a store on the north side of Hollister Ave, immediate across from Camino Real Marketplace in Goleta. Estimated opening is late 2009 or early 2010.” Many Targets have a grocery section and even their own brand of boxed wine. As always, these rumors might be completely false or a brilliant forecast of future events. Your call.

MARGARITA MAN: Last month I was at the Santa Barbara Daily Sound 2nd anniversary party and they had rented a couple of very cool automated margarita dispensers. The machines were provided by the Margarita Man, run by local owners Sean Bevan and Angela Miller-Bevan. I loved their business card logo. The man pictured on the front looks like a cross between a cabana boy and Indiana Jones.
The standard package price is $175 and includes setup, pickup, your first mix concentrate, a 5 gallon pre-measured mixing bucket, an integrated cup rimmer with salt, and a festive, grass table skirt for the machine cart. Additional machines are discounted to $150 each. The machines make their own freeze so no ice is required, only power. The mixes do not contain alcohol. You can provide the liquor or can make the drinks non-alcoholic. One machine is usually sufficient for parties up to 100 guests. Call 683-0727 or visit

BOATHOUSE: Reader Jonathan spotted a new sign at the Boathouse Restaurant which replaces the Brown Pelican at Hendry's Beach. The sign reads: “Our Goal: To create a really nice restaurant for visitors to Hendry's Beach. We will be serving locally caught fresh fish principally from the Santa Barbara, Ventura and Central Coast fisheries. We will be serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. We will have a take-out component, and will serve coffee and sweet rolls for beach walkers. We intend to keep it simple and to keep the quality at the highest level.
The footprint [of the building] will be essentially the same as before. We are adding a deck with a windscreen so the experience on the deck should be comfortable and pleasant. The entire facility will be new and clean. We are working hard for a June opening. The stars will have to line up for us to get everything done that fast, but so far so good! - Tom and Adam White”

WENDY MARRIES ARBY: Arby's roast beef sandwich restaurants is buying Wendy's for $2.34 billion. The chain is represented locally on Hollister Ave in Goleta and in the UCSB UCen. Apparently the Wendy's founders' family is not too happy about the acquisition of the chain which has fallen on hard times in recent years.

John Dickson’s column appears every Tuesday in the Daily Sound. E-mail your restaurant news tips to

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