Four and a half years after opening Bettina, Rachel Greenspan and Brendan Smith are ready to do it again—this time, in Carpinteria. They’ve leased a 1,500-square-foot space in the mixed-use development under construction at 700 Linden Avenue, where confirmed tenants so far include Corazón Cocina’s Ramon Velazquez and OId Town Coffee.
“We’ve been wanting to open something else, because we’ve been turning away business, and many of customers are from Carp,” says Smith.
“A lot of families and young people seem to be moving there,” adds Greenspan.
The new restaurant will be smaller and sleeker than the original, with fast-casual counter service and only a handful of stools inside the actual space. Instead, patrons can make use of the plentiful seating in the courtyard. “We’re envisioning something more New York–style,” says Greenspan. “We’re leaning toward calling it BTG, for Bettina to Go.” Kevin Moore Architects is helping with the design, which includes a large garage door opening to the courtyard, a reach-in fridge for beer and wine, and shelving for merchandise.
Accordingly, the menu will also be much tighter, with seven or so pizzas, a couple of salads, one or two desserts, and the famous sourdough bread. “The idea is to do stuff that travels,” says Greenspan. And they’re looking forward to trying new things there, too—such as square pies, or maybe submarine sandwiches. The biggest change is that they’ll be using an electric deck oven instead of a wood-burning one. “It’s called a Pizzamaster, and it can get up to 900 degrees,” says Smith. “They use one at Pizzeria Bianco in L.A. and Lovely’s Fifty Fifty in Portland. It’ll get the same leoparding—the dark spots on the crust—that you get from brick.”
For those of you who don’t know their story, Greenspan and Smith both grew up on the East Coast, and Smith was running the bread program at the famous Roberta’s in Brooklyn when Greenspan, who was working for Mikuni Wild Harvest food distributors, became his sales rep. “I thought she sounded cute on the phone,” says Smith. “Then one day she walked in the door, and I asked who that was. When I got off my shift, she was hanging out at the bar….”
That was August of 2013. Not longer after, Smith learned that Sashi Moorman was looking for help with the microbakery at Piedrasassi. “I flew out here for a weekend to check it out,” he says. “I had never been to Central Coast or Santa Barbara and obviously it was amazing.” By January 2014, he and Greenspan had moved here. While Greenspan worked remotely, Smith decided he was ready to go out on his own. They launched a catering business, Autostrada, centered on a pizza truck. “We still have the oven parked in our garage, and we use it for events,” he says. “We’re hoping we be able to do more catering out of Carp.”
They signed the lease in the Montecito Country Mart in July 2016, and opened two years later. Covid forced a pivot toward takeout—which helped inform the Carp decision—and motivated them to increase outdoor seating at Bettina, practically doubling the size of the restaurant. And in August 2021, they had a baby boy, Benji. All in all, they’ve had an eventful few years. So after Carp, what’s next?
“Maybe Goleta…” they answered in unison.
P.S. In the floor plan below, Bettina is Restaurant #3, Old Town is combining Restaurant #1 with Retail #10, and Ramon Velazquez is combining Restaurant #4 with Retail #12.
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I can’t wait until they open up a bakery called Bjettina
Finally, Carpinteria is one step closer to having an intersection with a pizza restaurant on each corner. Hopefully whoever bought the palms will sell pizza when they reopen and we can open a portal to the pizza-verse.
Another coffee shop??? Seriously??? There’s already like 10 coffee shops….. Sounds like a recipe for failure to me….. but what do I know…..
Who will be owning Old Town Coffee ? Hope it’s someone from Old Town and just not a person who wants to profit from our original area name we call our neighborhood .
It’s a branch of Old Town Coffee in Goleta.
I don’t think we here in carp own the name “old town coffee.” We are not that special Diane! If someone was going to open a coffee house what does it matter if they are local or not as long as they run a quality business.
Fantastic news Wonderful people Terrific food