Monday, April 21, 2008

The year in review

As of today I have been writing for the Santa Barbara Daily Sound for one year. This is my 53rd consecutive food news column. To mark the occasion (and help lull you to sleep tonight) here are some restaurant statistics for the last 12 months:

We had 40 openings and 37 closings.
Openings consisted of American 8, Deli 5, Seafood 4, Bakery 3, Dessert 3, Mexican 3, Burger 2, Vietnamese 2, BBQ 1, Cheese 1, Chinese 1, Fusion 1, Hot Dog 1, French Dining 1, Latin American 1, Mediterranean 1, Pizza 1, Steakhouse 1
Closings consisted of American 10, Deli 4, Mexican 4, Dessert 3, Fusion 3, Bakery 2, Italian 2, Middle Eastern 2, Vietnamese 2, Coffee 1, Mediterranean 1, Pizza 1, Smoothie 1, Thai 1
Net Gain/Loss: Seafood +4, Burger +2, Bakery +1, BBQ +1, Cheese Shop +1, Chinese +1, Deli +1, French Dining +1, Hot Dog +1, Latin American +1, Steakhouse +1, Coffee -1, Fusion -2, Mexican -1, Smoothie -1, Thai -1, American -2, Italian -2, Middle Eastern -2
Region with the most openings: State Street (13) followed by Hollister Ave (6).
Region with the most closings: State Street (10) followed by Isla Vista (5).
Month with the most openings: May 2007 (9) followed by September 2007 (7).
Month with the most closings: September 2007 (6) followed by May 2007, August 2007, February 2008 & March 2008 (4).
Address with the highest turnover: 910 Embarcadero del Norte in Isla Vista. In the last 12 months it has been Jerusalem Garden Cafe, New York Buffalo Wings and McMaster's Steak & Hoagie.
• Most shocking statistic: We’ve experienced a net LOSS of one coffee shop.

: Corktree Cellars, a wine bar and bistro located at 710 Linden Ave in Carpinteria, opened on Monday, April 7. Hours are Mon-Sun 11:30am-10pm. Corktree Cellars has a full restaurant menu with sandwiches, tapas, soups, salad and desserts. They also have “flights of wine” with three samples of different wines. Reader Primetime tells me Corktree was packed the other night. With the smash-hit Giannfranco's Trattoria (666 Linden Ave) and Sly's Seafood Steaks Cocktails coming soon (686 Linden Ave), Carpinteria is becoming quite the dining destination. Call 684-1400.

TASTE OF THE NATION: This Sunday, April 27, come to the Santa Barbara Historical Museum for a benefit to help end hunger in America. Local beneficiaries include the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County. Enjoy an array of wines and special dishes prepared by over 20 of Santa Barbara's best restaurants & wineries. General Admission 1pm-4pm $75 in advance, $100 at the door. VIP 12pm-4pm, $100 in advance, $125 at the door. Location: 136 E. De La Guerra St. Call 877-268-2783 or visit

RUMOR MACHINE: I finally replaced the roll of paper in the Rumor Machine but now the ink seems to have run dry. The "Replace Ink Cartridge" warning light has been blinking for months but I am determined to milk it to the last drop.
With a Santa Barbara Roasting Co. blended mocha in my left hand and a magnifying glass in my right I was able to read this morning’s faded printout: “The deal for Whole Foods to come to upper State St has fallen through.” As I understand it the original plan was to have Whole Foods come to Hitchcock Plaza where the Circuit City building is now.
Just below that line, in an even lighter shade of gray, were the words "Red Fish Restaurant in Simi Valley is considering opening a new location in Santa Barbara." Given that we have had four seafood-related restaurants open in the last 12 months I think am starting to see a trend here. As always, these rumors might be completely false or a brilliant forecast of future events. Your call.

THE NEXT HOTSPOT: The 600 block of Anacapa is warming up. I was running through my list of places opening this year and noticed that a couple of biggies happen to be opening right next to each other. The Melting Pot restaurant will be opening at 608 Anacapa St and Bollinger's will be located at 602 Anacapa St. The Melting Pot has over 135 locations across the country. Bollinger's is a large restaurant & music destination with everything being designed from the ground up for optimum acoustics and ambiance. Think SOhO on steroids. For more information, visit and

SPUDNUTS: The Santa Barbara/Goleta area has nine 24-hour eateries. Starting this September two of them will get the axe including Spudnuts (the donut shop voted #1 every year) and Carrow's. That's because the Santa Barbara Planning Commission voted 6-1 yesterday to approved plans to raze a Carrillo Street shopping center, where both eateries reside, and replace it with a three-story commercial and residential development.
Construction starts in the fall and should take two years. While ordering a glazed old fashioned at Spudnuts last week, I spoke with a gentleman working the counter and he said "Our location is fantastic. I don't know what we're going to do. They have been talking about tearing this place down for so many years. The owner will decide what to do next."

NATURAL CAFE: The former director of franchise operations for the La Salsa Mexican restaurant chain, Ozzie Garcia, has been named the Natural Cafe's new vice-president and he reportedly aims to franchise the brand beyond the South Coast.

GIOVANI’S: Giovanni's Pizza at 5940 Calle Real in Goleta closed its doors last Sunday. It will be replaced by Fresco Cafe North sometime next month.

MESA THAI: Mesa Thai Cuisine at 1819 Cliff Dr has changed ownership and is closed for 6 months for renovations. They will re-open in the fall.

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

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good news about Mesa Thai. I once got take out and found John Dickson in my Pad Thai.