A New Restaurant in the Former Courthouse Tavern Space

••• Edible Santa Barbara noticed a sign saying that Café La Fonda is opening in the former Courthouse Tavern space, so I popped my head in. The owners have been doing catering out of La Casa de la Raza on E. Montecito Street, and this will be their first restaurant. The food is Mexican, with mariachi performances. They’re shooting to open December 1.

••• While I was in the area, I checked in on Azul. They’re pushing to open for lunch and dinner the week after next, with brunch to follow at some point.

••• After I posted about the imminent reopening of the San Ysidro Ranch’s Plow & Angel under a new name, two readers weighed in that they’ve heard it will be a “speakeasy”—whatever that means in 2023.

••• Remember the plan to allow cars to pull up in front of the Granada Theatre? What no one mentioned—including to The Daisy—is that it entails the removal of all of the restaurant’s tables on the street. Late Thursday afternoon, the city told the Daisy’s owners that they had until today to get rid of everything—and if they don’t, the city will store it all at the restaurant’s expense. (And of course Friday was a holiday, so there was no way to push back.) Now the owners have to track down someone empowered to make the situation work for everyone—indeed, they’re offering to put away their tables on the rare nights when the Granada has a performance. There’s no excuse for parklet policy to be so hamfisted.

••• Bell’s has raised the price of its prix-fixe dinner menu from $90 to $110. That’s still a small price to pay for the county’s marquee restaurant, and you get something for it: a dollop of caviar now comes with the uni mille crêpe canapé, instead of being offered as a supplement. Of course, this change also affects the 20% service charge (and gratuity?) accordingly.

••• Sunburst and Dang Burger in Carpinteria are 21-and-over till the new liquor license comes though. UPDATE 11/15: The license arrived and all ages are now welcome.

••• Bettina celebrated its fifth anniversary with a bunch of special menu items, the most popular of which was “cheesy bread”—pizza dough, low-moisture mozzarella, garlic confit, and ‘nduja, with marinara for dipping. (My dad declared it “outstanding,” his highest food compliment.) Now the restaurant is offering it at dinnertime every Wednesday.


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That’s totally unacceptable about what is happening to The Daisy. That’s one of the best businesses downtown in my opinion. If the owners of The Daisy read this: we are regular customers so please let us know if there is anything we can do to support your efforts, such as writing a letter of support/outrage, whatever.

Caitlin Jennings

Agree, The Daisy is top notch and the enforcement of the no parklet rules are out of hand.


The Daisy is the vibrant hub of that block of State Street. It would be a huge mistake to take that away


It is one of the few that are actually used during lunch as well. Most other parklets are just storage units until the evening.


Someone told me today at Tre Lune that all the parklets on Coast Village road have to come down by Dec 31.


We dined at Stonehouse in mid-October and the water told us Plow & Angel was going to be a cocktail lounge


I find it perplexing that some restaurants choose to separate a service charge from their bills. Why not itemizing other expenses like food costs and rent. If they opt not to accept gratuity, that is fine and incorporate it into the product’s price. This trend of selective add-on is now permeating into other service industries as well.


JCD – not sure if you were referring to Bell’s but they do not accept gratuity, so the 20% charge with no tip sets a good expectation. The only thing that it makes me pause on is that I wouldn’t order an expensive wine at Bell’s, it would arbitrarily inflate the price.

Doanld E. Polk

City Council and city staff talk about reviving State Street, but their actions tell a different story. The parklets are one of the best ways to attract additional people downtown and enliven the atmosphere, but the city makes it increasingly hard for them to operate. They are also wasting $50,000 on a naive attempt to make various types and groups of ‘mobility devices’ line up and move at one speed within a narrow lane. A simpler solution is to tell the minority of individuals who are uncomfortable sharing the street with bicycles etc. to walk on the sidewalks.


I agree with you that parklets are probably the best approach to State without major infrastructure changes like raising the grade of the road to level with the sidewalks. Disagree the striping project is a waste of money though – it’s a pilot scheme that is a rounding error in budgetary terms, and will be useful to see if it helps alleviate some of the conflict between cyclists and walkers – it should have been done as soon as they closed State so is up against some inertial headwinds, but I have some optimism that it’ll reduce the feeling of conflict.

You make a good point about one of the issues that is brewing, that the City has latched on to the concept of “accessibility” and has really bought into the idea that by taking cars off State Street it has made it “inaccessible” – even though it’s never been possible to park on State other than a few select pull-in spots. That accessibility concern is driving the more out-there ideas about having some form of micro-transit like golf carts, shuttle buses or whatever running in the same lane as bikes.


If the “promenade” was only a block or two I’d agree you with you. But 10+ blocks is too far for many to easily walk and the trolley was excellent at making our entire downtown corridor easily accessible.


10 blocks is roughly a mile. End-to-end and back again is two miles. Saying that’s not walkable is bizarre.


If you’re older, have young children, are overweight, have an injury, bum knee, etc. it certainly is. And that doesn’t even include actual ADA type disabilities.


You can always park in a park house with access to state or in a street branching off. Saying you got to walk the whole strip is ridiculous. There is actually no difference to a “open state street”, as mentioned here before there was no parking on state when it was open to vehicles.