Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Café Luck opens downtown

Like a fine wine, good things in life take time. Four years in the making, Santa Barbara's newest French restaurant, Café Luck (18 E. Cota Street) officially opened last night. I interviewed owner Gene Montesano and thoroughly enjoyed his passion and enthusiasm for this culinary gem that he and chef David Rosner have brought to downtown.

He tells me that the Braised Short Ribs are to die for. The grilled Mediterranean Sea Bass is served whole, instead of as a slice, and was highly recommended to me by Leonard Schwartz, General Manager of Lucky's in Montecito who is helping launch the new restaurant. A “raw bar” is located to the left of the front entrance and will be in great demand by seafood lovers. Café Luck is open daily for dinner from 5:30-10 p.m. (reservations highly recommended). Lunch may be added to the menu in the near future. For more information call 962-5393.

HABIT OPENS UPTOWN: Yesterday also saw the opening of the The Habit restaurant near La Cumbre Plaza. After over a year of planning, design and construction the newest Habit restaurant, located within a completely recycled new building, is open for business at 3890 La Cumbre Plaza Lane.
I’ve visited the place and it is mind-blowing. I have never seen a burger place look this plush before.
Local burger entrepreneurs Brent and Bruce Reichard’s newest venture is in a finely renovated building designed by local award winning architect Michael Holliday, AIA.
“People have been stopping by for weeks asking us when we are going to open, and that is happening this week” said Habit owner Bruce Reichard. A VIP party was hosted Saturday evening for about 100 people including members of the design and construction team as well as friends and family. Bruce’s brother and partner, Brent Reichard was honored as 2008 Entrepreneur of the Year by the South Coast Business & Technology Awards.

CRUSHCAFE: Crushcakes Cupcakery owner Shannon Feld tells me that she will be opening “Crushcafé” this October at 44 Arlington Avenue, which is next door to her popular Anacapa Street bakery. The new restaurant will be open every day from 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. Breakfast, served until 11am, will include yogurt, oatmeal, bagels, bread pudding, breakfast sandwiches, an assorted bread basket, and quiche of the day.
The lunch menu includes homemade soups and six different salads served with fresh bread. A variety of sandwiches appear on the menu, all for less than $10. Crushcafe will offer six different grilled panini’s, eight cold sandwiches and three types of melts. For more information, including a complete menu, visit www.crushcafes.com.

PEET’S UPDATE: Sources tell me that Peet’s Coffee, destined to open at 1131 State Street (the former home of La Salsa), officially arrives October 23rd.

MELTING POT UPDATE: The Melting Pot restaurant, coming to 608 Anacapa Street in the near future, officially started construction on August 28th.

BOLLINGER’S UPDATE: 602 Anacapa Street, next door to The Melting Pot, has been a construction zone for more than a year now. This location has been advertised as the future home of Bollinger’s restaurant & music club (which I once referred to as “SOhO on steroids”). Sadly, sources tell me that the Bollinger’s project is officially dead… kaput… toast.

SPRINKLED VS. SPRINKLES: Last week I was hiking on a mountaintop in Northern California, near Mt. Shasta, when I received a call from the Los Angeles Times. No, they weren’t asking me to be a subscriber. They were requesting photos of Montecito’s Sprinkled Pink Cupcake Couture for a story to be printed the following day. Fortunately my cabin was only a mile away, complete with laptop computer & Internet satellite dish, and I was able to help them out.
The story was about the Beverly Hills-based Sprinkles cupcake chain and how they are taking legal action against rivals. The Times article stated that just one day after Sprinkled Pink owner Wendy Jones opened her shop, she received a letter from Sprinkles demanding that she change the name of her bakery. Jones registered the name when she got her business license in 2003. “They're going too far,” said Jones, who hasn't decided how to respond to the letter.

SCOTCH BONNET CLOSES: A reader sent me an email yesterday saying that she visited Scotch Bonnet restaurant (428 Chapala Street) at 9 p.m. last Saturday night and it was closed. No menu on the door. Not even a light on.
I called their voice mail and heard the following message: “Scotch Bonnet restaurant is no longer open. We're sorry to anybody we have inconvenienced.” Scotch Bonnet opened last May, replacing Sevilla restaurant.

: Reader Craig Smith tells me that Ruby's Diner in Paseo Nuevo has closed. I stopped by the eatery and noticed a sign on the door that read “This location will be permanently closed at close of business today, September 3, 2008. Thank you for your support and patronage throughout the years.”

TASTE OF THE TOWN: I attended the Arthritis Foundation's annual “Taste of the Town” fundraiser on Sunday at Riviera Park Gardens. The event was packed with wine and food lovers. I had such a good time that I stayed nearly four hours even though it was a three hour event!
Restaurants and food purveyors included A Piece of Cake, Bacchus, Ballard Inn, Barcliff & Bair, Bay Cafe, Brother's Restaurant, Ca' Dario, Cheese Pies, Chef Karim's, Crushcakes, Pierre Lafond Bistro, Elements, Emilio's, Green Star Coffee, Jade, Los Arroyos, Louie's, Michael's Catering, Mondial, Neo-Chase, Omni Fresco Catering, Opal, Outback, Pacific Beverage, Palace Grill, Peet's Coffee, Piatti, Renaud's, Santa Barbara Chocolate Fountains, Santa Barbara Olive Co., Sesto Senso, Shepherd Farms, SOhO, Spa Cafe, Stateside, The Faculty Club, Wine Cask and Via Maestra 42.

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

No comments: