Bibi Ji’s New Location Opens This Week

••• This Thursday, Bibi Ji will open in its new location at 1213 State Street (Victoria/Anapamu); you can tell from the photo below how much better it’s going to feel. The first crack at reservations goes to people on the restaurant’s email list (sign up via the website), with an email set to go out tomorrow morning. A chef’s counter with tasting menu will debut later this summer.

••• Derf’s Café is closing any day now, and “The Nugget restaurant chain, which has locations in Summerland and Goleta and another coming to Carpinteria, is currently in talks to take over the corner, according to [Derf’s owner Kent] Storey. The Nugget owner Bob Montgomery wants to change the location’s name to Derf’s Nugget, Storey said.” —Independent

••• Rumor has it that Seven Bar & Kitchen‘s new location—in the former Neighborhood Bar space on W. Montecito Street—will open July 4 weekend. Stay tuned….

••• Stella Mare’s will close at year end, but until then, the restaurant is very much open, despite the nearby roundabout construction. From co-owner Philippe Rousseau: “We were not offered a lease as part of the Los Patos Way new development by the new landlord, Runyon Real Estate Group. We are open until December 31, and we are planning a big New Year’s Eve celebration! We have been in business for 29 years and were absolutely not planning on closing anytime soon. We are actually busier than ever! This has come as a shock to us and our dedicated staff—some of which have been with us for over 29 years! To say we are devastated with the outcome does not even begin to describe how we feel. We are losing our wonderful Stella Staff and Family. At this point, we are considering all options including relocating to a new home.”

••• Opening forecasts for four new Goleta restaurants: 1) While EG heard that La Cantina, the Mexican restaurant in Turnpike Center, will open next month, later this summer is a safer bet. 2) The local outpost of San Luis Obispo’s SloDoCo donut shop will likely debut in August at 290 Storke Road (near Target). 3) Finney’s Crafthouse at Camino Real Marketplace (the one with Home Depot and Costco) is shooting for late September. 4) And The Ellwood, at Goleta Beach Park, should be ready by early fall.

••• Two updates were added to the last food roundup: 1) “I was trying to book a birthday party at Pizza Mizza and no one was getting back to me,” says C. “I finally went in there today to ask and was told the arcade is shutting, so something is up for sure.” 2) Regarding The Palms building in Carpinteria, I hear that the downstairs and rooftop will be casual, and a “chef’s kitchen” concept will be on the second floor. UPDATE: “The sign at the former Mizza now reads Santa Barbara Courthouse Distillery and Events,” says Popeye. “So it looks like Sb restaurant guy and his readers were right. There’s still a Mizza menu there but Mizza, as a restaurant, has gone under.” ANOTHER UPDATE: I walked by and asked. The restaurant is transitioning to Santa Barbara Courthouse Distillery and Events, but the menu is still Pizza Mizza, and the staffer I spoke with said she didn’t think it would necessarily change much. Imagine if something good were in that space….

••• It’s always wise to pay attention when someone is cooking from the heart. From Inn at Mattei’s Tavern chef Rhoda Magbitang:

A love letter to my maternal grandmother, Lola Magdalena. Kamayan dinner at Mattei’s, July 6th.

A lot of us have stories about watching our grandmothers cook and how much doing so influenced our cooking. My Lola was…something else. She was not affectionate or outwardly loving towards any of us. She grunted, mostly, as her main form of communication when asked questions about her ways mainly because she constantly smoked her unfiltered cigarettes with the lit side in her mouth. She drank straight gin at lunch. One time, when I was about 6 or 7 I mistook her glass for water and I believe that started my slew of trust issues. She slaughtered our chickens with her bare hands, without flinching. She was tough, had a sharp tongue and would cuss you out for the most trivial things.

She did love cooking though. That’s where she poured her love and affection for her family. We all felt it. I’d like to think her and I had an unspoken bond formed over hours of dicing up kilos of pork lungs for my favorite dish bopis while watching a Van Damme movie.

This kamayan dinner is significant in so many ways. It’s a way to showcase my love for not only my grandma, but also my culture and last but not least, the incredible Filipino community who have shown up to support me, complete total stranger who is somehow treated like kin because we all came from the same country. For Titos and Titas to come in and say they’re proud of me made my throat swell up and my eyes water.


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What will become of Stella Mare’s building? Is it to be tore down?

Erik Torkells

That’s extremely unlikely. The owner will almost certainly find another tenant for it.


Id be interested to hear the out of town ( aren’t they all?) Runyon Group’s explanation for their decision to end the lease with Stella Maris. I hope it doesn’t include the words “elevate” and “curate”.

And just while I’m at it. There really are fewer and fewer places for families to take their kids for a bite to eat sitting down. There used to be lots of such places in this town. Montecito especially. We’ve got a lot of new places but few “ elevate” above mediocrity.


I hope in doesn’t include the words “elevate” and “curate.” What euphemisms for “high priced and pretentious.” I
agree with you.

Sue Sadler

Devastated at the news about Stella Mare. A lovely restaurant with great food and service. If the lease holders are keeping the building why on earth are they booting Stella Mare out ????


Some nasty landlord behavior going on it seems. The more things change the more they remain the same unfortunately.


The sign at the former “Mizza” now reads Santa Barbara Courthouse Distillery and Events. So it looks like Sb restaurant guy and his readers were right. There’s still a mizza menu there but mizza, as a restaurant, has gone under.

Heidi Smith

Are we talking about Pizza Mizza in the former (it will always be) Acapulco space? Or Mizza the Italian restaurant on State? Are they the same company? I’m confused!

Lynn Adams

It’s the same owners, Courtney and Brendan Searls. He is already well-known for his role in such establishments as Video Shmideo, Bogart’s, Dargan’s, Viva Modern Mexican Cuisine and Eleven 14.


Such terrible news about Stella Mare, it’s the perfect location for that restaurant. I hope they are at least able to relocate but I’m sure for them that’s still not ideal given what they’ve created in their current location. Why do landlords in this town continue to insist on destroying anything good?

Also totally agree that another Nugget is very unnecessary. I would love to see something new but still local go in to the Derf’s spot.


Stella Mare’s has been such a consistently good restaurant with lovely greenhouse dining; it
is another great loss. I think we need to write to the Runyon group and urge them to reconsider for the sake of the community. This loss of leases for really well loved and successful restaurants is the result of corporations/businesses buying up places and then booting out long steady businesses in order to boost the corporations profits. Their greed is ruining Santa Barbara–look at the empty spaces for lease in downtown Santa Barbara.