Azul Won’t Open for a Few More Months

••• Azul, in the former Smithy space on E. Anapamu, pushed back its opening a few months “due to ADA compliance requirements.”

••• Two events worth putting on your calendar: the first Natural Coast Wine Fest, organized by Drew Cuddy and Lindsey Reed of Satellite, is April 22, and the Santa Barbara Culinary Experience’s Taste of Santa Barbara is May 15-21.

••• Na Na Thai is winding down its popular Tuesday pop-ups at Bar Le Côte in Los Olivos, with the final one on March 28. The debut of its permanent location in Buellton will presumably follow soon after.

••• The Independent profiled Tilden, a new line of nonalcoholic drinks.

••• Bossie’s Kitchen is now passing along the 3 percent credit card fee on to patrons. UPDATE: The folks at Bossie’s feel unfairly singled out, saying that a lot of other restaurants around here are doing the same thing. (Understandably, they don’t want to name names.) Because I’m not aware of these restaurants, the charge felt noteworthy to me—and I certainly wouldn’t consider it a reason not to frequent Bossie’s. So please let me know of other Santa Barbara restaurants passing along the fee and I’ll add them here. UPDATE 3/8: Scarlett Begonia passes along the 3 percent fee. I haven’t been able to verify the ones mentioned in the comments because it’s not on the menu (or the menu isn’t online). UPDATE 3/9: A couple of people have said the Dutch Garden also passes long the credit-card fee, but its menu is not online.

••• Commercial real estate agent Caitlin Hensel posted that Lilac Patisserie finally signed the lease for the former Mesa Burger space on Coast Village Road. Here’s what co-owner Gillian Muralles said when asked about it last fall: “Similar to our flagship location, we plan to offer a full espresso bar and a number of familiar desserts and pastries, which will be available for walk-in orders. In addition, patrons will find many of the same breakfast and lunch items such as waffles, eggs Benedict, our turkey club sandwich, and fresh salads and soups. In addition, we plan to expand our beer and wine offerings, as well as our breakfast and lunch menus. We’re toying with new hot menu items such as croque madame, steak frites, grilled salmon, and burgers with fries. Our team is also discussing the possibility of a dinner menu down the line.”

••• Peasants Feast is indeed starting dinner service—it’s 5-8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, with no reservations.

••• Crush Bar posted that it’s looking for a new owner.

••• Motley Crew Ranch announced that its shop next in the Industrial Eats complex in Buellton has closed and will reopen in a location yet to be determined.

••• Anacapa Architecture posted an attractive proposal to redo Pali Wine Co.‘s Funk Zone tasting room, but neither business would say whether the project is proceeding.


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It is not standard to pass on the fee to the customer. If they don’t want to be called out, they shouldn’t start charging it.


That’s true, they’re in the small minority. If they upped their menu prices to cover it, not add additional fees.


If a business wants to avoid talking about merchant fees, it looks better to raise prices by 1.309% but offer a 3% discount for cash.


I’d guess it takes there owner/manager longer than 3% of an 8 hour shift (14.5min) to count and prepare a proper cash drawer and deposit slip. Seems like they should be adding the 3% to all transactions.


Hi TJ,

Unfortunately the cost isn’t associated with the amount of time it takes us to count a drawer. We consistently pay 3-5% on all credit card transactions, meaning we pay for 3-5% of each of our guests lunch or dinner every time they use their card.

We polled many of our long time and repeat customers regarding the matter prior to implementing the fee so that we could make the best decision. Most preferred to pay the fee so we could maintain our menu pricing where it is, and because they have the option to avoid the fee by paying cash.

We do understand your position in wanting the price to be inclusive of all associated costs, especially during a time where everything is just so darn expensive. We’re happy to continue the conversation and change our policy!


Every single business in that world gets charged a 3% on every transaction done on a card. That’s the cost of doing business and allowing people to order food on credit.

M. C.

Two restaurants I’ve been to recently (last several months) had a cash price listed on the bill. They didn’t charge more for credit – they just charged less for cash. Tratoria Victoria was one of them. La Hacienda was another. I happily paid cash.

Carp local

If they are charging the 3% they shouldn’t mind being called out.

It’s not fair to the customers let’s not pretend. They should just raise their prices.


Hi Carp local,

We understand the convenience fee for credit cards is unpopular…

From our perspective, we’re small neighborhood restaurant and we’re actually trying to avoid raising our prices across the board by implementing the fee to those who chose to pay with their cards. Raising prices to include fees for those that do choose to pay cash versus cards seemed unfair.

It’s honestly not meant to be deceptive in any way, and was done with our customers in mind by maintaining our pricing where it is.

We do understand your perspective and are happy to having more conversations regarding this, as we’re not set on imposing it.


I’ve noticed a lot of restaurants charging “convenience” fee and a tax on that fee in addition to regular tax for take-out order, which is essentially a credit card fee because how else do you pay online? Edomasa and Your Choice are two that I ordered from recently with such fees. Edomasa actually has a sign in their restaurant that says there is a credit card fee.

Dennis Cooper

Two months ago, I noticed Dutch Garden passed the credit charge fee to me. I haven’t been back.
This is from someone who went to DG every Saturday for 30 years! I know Laurie and Ken well and loved their food.


It seems like restaurants are trying to recoup margins lost to the increased cost of ingredients, labor, fuel, and electricity. Because the cost of card processing hasn’t gone up, yet suddenly everyone wants to charge for a convenience we’ve all used for decades. To me it looks tacky and feels hostile to the customer. No offense to Bossie’s. I understand being in the challenging position of running a business in this environment and not wanting to raise prices across the board. But it just doesn’t seem to make sense to try to recoup lost margins on this suddenly when the reality is the cost of doing business overall has gone up, so just charge accordingly. It’s 2023 and I expect to use my credit card everywhere and never carry cash unless I absolutely have to. It just feels clunky and weird to tack it on.


Hi BW,

Thank you for your reply, and for understanding the challenges of running a small business—especially right now.

We didn’t feel comfortable raising our menu prices across the board for the second time in recent months, but felt having the option to pay cash vs card would be preferable, and not having the option for credit cards being the most inconvenient.

We’ll take your feedback into consideration as we try to navigate what’s best for our customers, and what also makes the most business sense.


Who pissed off motley crew? That seemed like such a great fit for Industrial Eats?


I hear their rent was raised beyond reasonable. Can’t wait for their new location, will take this amazing business to even greater success. They fill a valuable link from farm to table offering humanly raised, organic food direct to the home cook. Absolutely love Motley Crew!!


Guess Industrial was not pleased with their success? Why invite in a business in then jack their rent? Hope they get a new location quick!


Dutch Garden, Via Maestra and Cruisery have all charged fees. Haven’t gone back to any after that because they were not up front about it. Transparency = trust

Carp local

I will not go to a place that adds a 3-5% fee of any kind. Just raise your prices! And avoid all this craziness!

Carp local out!

Jenny S.

Not up front…? Well, I can’t speak on those businesses as I don’t frequent them…… But what are you upset about, $1? $2? Now that’s crazy!

Please continue to avoid all places that pass along their fees, I’m sure they don’t want your poor attitudes anyway!


Hi Jenny S., Not a poor attitude at all on my part. I frequently visit locally owned restaurants. I’m always patient, tip very well and compliment folks – even during times when service is lacking because we’re all human, mistakes happen and sometimes half of the staff is out sick. However, restaurants not being up front about added fees until the bill arrives does not build a trusting relationship with the community. It’s dishonest.

Kudos to Bossie’s and Scarlett Begonia – they are demonstrating up front that they are adding these fees, so it’s highly likely I will frequent them even more because of that transparency (and delicious food).

Carp local

Wait a minute! You already raised prices in the last few months and now you want to stick your customers with a credit card processing fee.?

D. Please take it from here. This smells fishy.


My family owned a restaurant for many years so this issue is very close to heart. I don’t understand why people are ok with dealing with the massive inflation everywhere else, but not ok for a small business to increase their prices. Aren’t we all living in the same area and same year? They’re not exempt from inflation or fees.

If this keeps up, the large chain fast food places are the only places that will survive. But then, if you want something cheap and fast food with a lot of preservatives, you’re in good company.

Carp local

Once I realized that the cruisery was sneaking in that credit card processing fee I stopped going. At least some restaurants let you know up front.

Carp. Local

Jeannie Hubbard

Everyone says that they want a nice mom & pop restaurants, wanna support the small local businesses, etc., but most of us have a little or no understanding of how it operates, what it costs and how hard these small business owners work just to break even.

These small business owners are not greedy people , but VERY HARD-WORKING people. This is not a hobby for them, it’s their livelihood.
From the moment they wake up until they go to bed, they live, breathe and dream about how they can make it better. From choosing the right kind of napkins and choice cut of meat to perfect pairing of wine, every decision they make have one thing in common; their customers.

For every decision they make, they weigh the pros and cons heavily and it takes weeks, months or sometimes years. They don’t make any serious decisions on a fly or at random.

If and when they have to raise a price, it’s because their suppliers did. If and when they have to charge a fee, it’s because they could no longer absorb it themselves like they have been for years previously.

So, if you REALLY want to support a local, small business owners, please support and stand with them even after they raised the price or had to pass on the fees. Because they’re not raising it so that they can get a Lamborghini; they had to, in order to keep their doors open and pay their employees.

If you’d rather not support them during these difficult times, please be kind at least. These people are someone’s father, mother, daughters or sons.


I appreciate Bossie’s for being transparent about this issue and trying out another approach. If anything, us in the comment section should be upset about the 3-5% transaction fee credit card processors impose on small businesses like Bossie’s that are just trying to do the right thing for their customers in a notoriously low-margin industry.

Is it a little clunky? Sure, but there’s literally no difference between this and the alternative being proposed of raising prices on menu items. So… we’re upset about another line item on the receipt? Unless I’m missing something, that seems trivial. I’ll be ordering from them this week in support (and for delicious biscuits).


Carrying cash is not a hardship, come on people!
Have you noticed how expensive food is at the grocery store?? I can’t imagine how high the costs are to run a restaurant!
I could never give up your chocolate cruller, btw!
They are missing out


It’s seems to be the norm nowadays to be nickel and dimed on services that were otherwise inclusive. ATM’s at bank branches used to all be free, traveling – you were never charged for checking a bag, seats selection in economy cabin etc. Restaurants already have the benefit from having staff that is tipped in addition to their low hourly wage. But now, the cost of using something as ubiquitous as a credit card is being levied onto a consumer who is already paying a good amount to go out to eat at restaurant. It’s a trend I really hope doesn’t catch on.

Why not just raise all the prices and if a customer opts to pay cash discount the bill by 3%? I imagine if you did that you would feel as though you are missing out on money (on cash transactions) just like we feel we are being charged unduly (on credit transactions).

Jenny S.

“Charged unduly”? You’re being charged the fee that they are incurring ON YOUR BEHALF.

Matter of fact, 3% is likely much less than the average that they are actually paying, thanks to rewards cards with points, miles etc. Credit card companies increase their processing fees for these cards, forcing the business to pay for those rewards!

I LOVE BOSSIE’S and will continue to support them no matter what–those ladies ROCK!

Keep the list going, I’ll happily support each of the restaurants named.


At Goodland BBQ there is a cash discount, which is equivalent to a non-cash charge. I went to another place recently that had a similar thing but I can’t recall now where it was.

I don’t really have a problem with a restaurant adding a credit card surcharge as long as it’s clearly disclosed. But to me “clearly disclosed” means it should be on the menu. Even if the menu prices aren’t raised, there should be a notice on the menu itself mentioning the charge. When I look at the menu I want to see everything that will go into the price, not have the extra mentioned only at the time of payment.

That said, I do think it makes more sense to just raise the menu prices. If a 3% difference on credit card transactions is make-or-break for the business, that’s living life on the edge.

Sophie J

Let’s go Bossie,s! great local spot fresh yummy foods. My kids love it there, nothing on the menu they don’t like which says a lot cause mine are picky picky picky.

3% no big deal plus i leave cash tip

Eat out often

Very understandable that restaurants are trying to recover their prices increases as best as they can. Some restaurants in other cites charge a service charge for health insurance etc Some charge fees to be sure everyone gets a fair wage. I never have liked theses charges. I don’t like to start out with one price and ending up with another price. I have always felt a business charge one price what you need to run your business for all your costs. I generally avoid places that tack on extra costs. There is a lot of choices and competition. So I go to those places who keep it simple. I do love your food and baked goods. Best of luck but you are unlikely to see me.

Danny R.

Third generation Santa Barbarian and small business owner of 40+ years here….. and all I can say to much of these comments is WOW! This is not the kind of attitude that I thought was in our community, the same one that has brought me decades of support…….. I implemented CC fees maybe 4-5 years ago paying over $3k/mo to the CC companies. So you think that restaurants (many of whom operate on slim 10% profit margins……. it’s true I have many friends with restaurants past and present……….) should absorb that kind of cash so ya’ll can use your cards? No. Communities are built on the backs of small businesses…. They support the local economy and provide jobs…… Credit cards are a modern convenience for customers, NOT for business owners…………………

I commend Bossie’s for their transparency and overall response to the matter…. Even better than that, their food is always delicious, their staff friendly and welcoming, and their home made DONUTS?! CHICKEN POT PIE, KOREAN CHICKEN, SALMON……… I just tried the short ribs… Keep it up, keep it Bossie!


All this digging on Bossie’s but no one mentions The Cruisery and their “Covid Recovery Fee” which 1) is not optional, and; 2) is 5% if memory serves correctly.

I, too, am not one for extraneous fees but at least Bossie’s is offering a choice. Using a CC is a convenience at the end of the day (coming from a person who never carries cash).

Tough call for Bossie’s but I wont be boycotting them based on this. Cruisery, however, is a different story. What a joke.


My service business (not a restaurant) accepts credit cards to the tune of about $50k in CC processing fees annually. I would never think of adding a CC processing fee to my customer’s invoice. It’s a cost of doing business that I pass it along to my customers – so instead of charging them $480, I charge $495 or whatever. I’ve never had any customers balk at my pricing structure, including periodic price increases to keep up with inflation. Anytime I’ve been to a restaurant in town that charges this fee, I have not returned (Via Maesta most recently).

Credit card fees are nothing new for restaurants and consumers. What’s new is the rising costs of goods for restaurants, including labor. Restaurants who add the fee usually feel that their customers will complain about price increases, but I think that fear is usually unfounded. Consumers are smart and realize that a glass of wine now costs $16 instead of $12 and a steak is going to cost $48 instead of $42 a few years ago because of the economic realities. Unfortunately, restaurants do not give their customers enough credit and try to keep their pricing low and then tack on the fees.

Restaurants: Heed the advice of the masses and raise your prices .50 per item or whatever instead of adding CC fees. People don’t like fee’s and you are shooting yourself in the foot and putting yourself at a competitive disadvantage against restaurants who are simply building the cost into their product pricing.


Michael, I cannot agree with you more that CC processing fees are a part of doing business.

What’s next? Will we start seeing a list of “fees” attached to ordering at a restaurant? “3% rent fee, 4% dishwasher fee, 2% accounting app fee, 1.5% housekeeping fee…”

No, because all of those costs are a part of doing business. CC processing (and related fees) has been around for how many decades now? And how many people are really carrying cash around today? It’s a misguided decision.


Fellow local food business owner here. Echoing Jeannie’s sentiments. Restaurants have been a long time broken model in a broken industry. Things that would never exist in other industries are expected- (Why can you dine as long as you want? Why are takeout containers free? Why do people expect modifications to be free? Dare I say, why is water free?). I get that these are all things people have been conditioned to know, and people don’t like change that costs them more, but behind the curtain, these are all math problems that owners are trying to make work. They are the same reasons (of MANY) that the model isn’t healthy. I predict that the industry will keep moving in this direction and hopefully the vitriol that restaurants are now receiving will be better understood and redirected to those way more deserving.


Hi J, thanks for jumping in on this. Imagine if restaurants actually charged for the items or services that they haven’t had to, or if workers were paid a living wage and we did away with the tipping system? We’ve done the math, and I don’t think anyone would come to our restaurant for a $50 burger. You’re right, the industry will continue to shift… because what else can we do?


Gas stations have had separate cash and credit card prices for ages. Do you only go to the ones that don’t?

My hair salon has a separate credit card machine for tips because the owner doesn’t want to pay the CC fee on a tip that is not part of their revenue stream.

I agree with CK. If you don’t like the fee, pay cash. Bossie’s has told you about it upfront so there should be no sticker shock when the bill arrives.


“Gas stations have had separate cash and credit card prices for ages.”

Those types of stations make this pricing available to people who are pinching every penny or who are unable to get a credit card due to poor credit. Bossie’s is not the same type of business. It’s for people with some level of disposable income.

“Do you only go to the ones that don’t?”

Absolutely, because the cash-or-credit brands serve trash gas. I don’t drive a high-end or expensive car by any means, but trash gas has always been a bad idea, in my opinion. I’d rather pay $0.05 more per gallon today than worry about the costs of poor fuel economy or repairs over the lifetime of my vehicle.

Doug B

I’m no expert on gas, but do Shell and 76 serve “trash gas?” Because both offer discounts for paying cash.


Everyone read this……

As a business owner this is a no brainer. Here’s why:

Effective several years ago the state made this legal to bake in credit card processing fees to the overall final bill. This practice is becoming widely common places, especially in the restaurant space.

What’s happening is the customer uses a credit card to take on debt, to pay with debt the business has to pay a 3% on average processing charge to the credit card companies. So you can say it’s the cost of business, but I disagree. Let’s say the business makes 1 million a year, that’s 30k in fees they have to pay because the customers decide to take on debt. Why should the businesses have to pay that. It’s an underlying expense the business is paying because the customer is paying with debt, so it’s a penalty to the business.

Due to the increase in inflation, increase in employee wages and the increase in overall operating costs all is costing more for businesses keep the doors open.

The business has 3 options.
Option 1 – Eat the fee (30k less in profit)
Option 2 – Raise the menu prices across the board, thus everyone pays more to offset the inflationary rise in expenses.
Option 3 – Keep the menu prices the same to keep customers and charge a fee to the customers who want to use debt as a form of payment at the expense of the business. Reducing the businesses overall operating cost allowing them to keep the doors open.

Notice all the places closed on state street, we’re going to be having a lot more in the future. A lot of people in this town are hanging on by a string. So you can complain all you want about the 3% or accept it so the places you enjoy can stay open. Most restaurants on average have very small margins in profit, so this 3% fee is a big deal to them.


Note that merchant processing sales reps are strongly pushing passing the fee on to the consumer. It’s another profit center for them and they are selling it to the merchant as a free processing system less a small monthly fee. I think it will become standard in restaurants & hospitality where tipping is already excessive. Until Amazon and the giant box retailers start this practice it won’t fly in soft goods retail.


Hi Tom,

Thank you for breaking it down like this. The other options we have are:
4-Keep the menu prices the same, but discontinue purchasing organic produce from the local farmer’s markets, and purchase frozen meat and fish. For us this is a hard no.
5-Keep the menu prices the same, but cut the portion size by 30-40%. Who wants to pay for lunch or dinner and leave hungry? Also, no.
6-Keep the menu prices the same, but discontinue many of our home-made items for pre-made and frozen cookies and pastries, bread, salad dressings, mayo and aioli etc. in order to save on our labor costs. Again, no.

My mom lives out of state and over the course of visiting her 3-4 times in the past two years, 90% of their family-owned restaurants have closed. Is this what we want for Santa Barbara?


I totally understand why restaurants need to charge credit card fee. I think there just needs to be good transparency about it. We are always big tippers. We appreciate restaurant workers. Might cause me to tip a bit less ,although still tip customary amount.


Bossie’s is an absolute gem of a restaurant – it’s always on my short list when people ask me where to eat in SB. Truly, some of the best food in town, to say nothing of their donuts, which are unbelievably good. The economics of running a restaurant – especially one as small as Bossie’s – are absolutely brutal. Tacking on a 3% upcharge for a cc transaction is something that businesses only do if they HAVE to. To the folks who are outraged, I’d suggest you take a deep breath and realize that you are presented with this very same choice every time you fill up your gas tank. You can either call it a “cash discount” or a “credit card fee” – the end result is the same, it’s all semantics. Heck, yesterday I was at an upholstery shop and was presented with the very same option – 3% more for cc. This article made me realize it’s been too long since I’ve been to Bossie’s, we’ll for sure be rectifying that this weekend.


I had a small business for 20 years I would never ever consider adding the credit card fee to the customers bill. It feels tacky and cheap. It’s all a part in my opinion of doing business and maybe I make a little less but I have happy customers . I went to a local feed store weekly for 25 years and a year ago I was charged the credit card fee without being told beforehand (I usually pay cash) but that day I used my card and I’ve never been back. I always carry cash so I can pay with cash and save the business the credit card fee because I know how it adds up but I still can’t support adding it on. It’s part of doing business. In my opinion I make a little less but that’s OK.


It seems to me everyone is missing the simple solution to this whole thing? Just get a credit card that offers more than 3% cash back and you still come out ahead over paying cash. That’s exactly how I handle the “cash or credit” gas stations, my per gallon rate with card is still cheaper than the cash rate so it doesn’t matter.