Exciting Changes Proposed for the Former Cava Building

••• Finally, some action at the former Cava space on Coast Village Road, which we’ve known for a while now will become an outpost of Austin/Aspen restaurant Clark’s. The May 30 agenda for the city’s Architectural Board of Review includes a renovation of the restaurant building, as well as the little Cavita building across the driveway (but not the hotel building in back). The big news—I love this—it’s all getting Jeff Sheltonized. A few things worth noting: there will be 66 seats inside and 32 outside; the plans include a bakery in the rear, but there’s no way to tell whether it’s for retail (and I didn’t bother asking, because the company that owns Clark’s has never acknowledged any attempts at correspondence); and the little Cavita building will be divided into two offices.

••• Ramon Velazquez has decided to go back to original plan for the former Little Alex’s space in the Montecito Country Mart and call it Alma Fonda Fina (instead of Taco Roma).

••• According to an ad in local media, the Ritz-Carlton Bacara has a food truck serving burgers, tacos, etc.. on the trail leading to the beach.

••• The Old Town Goleta outpost of Los Altos has opened. —Noozhawk

••• If you’ve never been to Revolver‘s jazz nights, I recommend it. Seating can scarce, but the scene is great—it feels like an impromptu party, with people hanging out on the sidewalk to listen.

••• Bell’s is being featured in the Wall Street Journal‘s weekly “Slow Food” column. The first installment was about the restaurant’s egg salad sandwich, with a recipe for a quicker version. Here’s hoping the gâteau Breton shows up next.

••• “I asked someone at the Harbor Restaurant on Stearns Wharf if they were going to start renovations inside the restaurant and they had no idea,” emailed P. “Is that project still happening?” Fair question! In March 2022, Noozhawk reported this:

According to the waterfront department, the concept for the new Harbor Restaurant is a “transformed, energetic atmosphere with multiple activated spaces, a re-created and enhanced menu featuring high quality seafood, as well as local, fresh, and seasonal ingredients, new beverages, local craft beers, and cocktails.” The new owners plan to renovate and enhance the current spaces restaurant floors, along with the outdoor deck, bar areas, a to-go service window, a new lounge area, and a new coffee, pastry and gelato shop.

The restaurant didn’t respond to an email, and I’m waiting to hear back from the Waterfront Department.

••• I had dinner at AMA Sushi recently, and I finally understand the prix fixe menu. What it doesn’t say is that whether you go for the three-, four-, or five-course option, one course will be edamame or miso soup, and the second one will be a small plate from the zensai section. And the reasoning behind the shift to prix fixe seems to be to manage food costs: there’s a remarkably small variety of fish for this price point; most types show up in more than one dish. (The maguro no tataki is pictured on the home page.)


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Tripp Couch

Holy…for those that are not familiar with Clark’s, this is a huge addition. This is no gaudy scene where people will be plastic and post photos. The combo of Clark’s and the fresh seafood of SB makes this a rare spot worth driving from Montecito to SB for a night out!


True. Montecito has only 3 dinner restaurants: Via Vai, Stonehouse + Plow & Angel. All are exceptional but few in number.


Hopefully the New Mexican place will open soon and have some of the same dishes as Corazon in the public market. He did that at the short lived place in the funk zone (the Project?) and it was nice to get some of our Corazon favorites in a less hectic environment then the SBPM. Same when Empty Bowl opened their Montecito branch (RIP)-always felt like the rebranding was confusing for customers. Maybe just keep the same name!


Totally agree! After some 20 years in branding… keep it simple ie Corazon Montecito. And yay, some Shelton vibes on CVR!


AMA’s prix fixe menu is so confusing and with so many different permutations possible, it makes no sense. Plus you can also still order off the menu at the end. Either make it a fixed menu, or allow a la carte.
Fwiw, we would spend more on their a la carte menu than we did with this. And I also felt we ended up ordering dishes we typically would not have ordered. Overall, we are disappointed in this change and the confusing options took away from our meal. I hope they reconsider.


Playful or arrogant? Clark’s is great, but this architecture is a sad, disneyland addition to Montecito. An dumbing down of a vernacular. Delusional of mbar to approve and pretend like this is a positive addition to the community. Unfortunately an all too familiar story….