High-End Sushi Restaurant Confirmed for the Funk Zone

••• Thanks to B. for the tip that Maiz Picante, which I think we can logically deduce will be a Mexican restaurant, is coming to 2714 De La Vina Street, next to Edomasa. According to the beer-wine license application, the proprietors are real estate agents David Back and Monika Draggoo. (I could only wait so long for the woman pictured above to finish her phone call.)

••• Costa restaurant at the Hotel Mar Monte is now serving breakfast. Unrelated: the video on the restaurant’s home page is bonkers.

••• Ventura has a neat-looking new shop specializing in natural wines: Midtown Wines. There are plans to add pantry items.

••• In its current issue, the Montecito Journal says that Christopher and Martina Kostow of the excellent Charter Oak in St. Helena have “allegedly” signed a lease on the former Montecito Wine Bistro space. When I contacted Martina to confirm it, she was adamant that they’ve done no such thing and have no plans to—and she said that she had told the Montecito Journal as much. I subsequently heard from a friend that someone else has definitely leased on the space. If you know more, do tell: 917-209-6473, [email protected], anonymity guaranteed. UPDATE: A Montecito reader says that the new tenant is Graham Duncan of East Rock Capital. Now we just need to find out who he’s bringing on as chef….

••• Rose and Stirling Nix-Bradley of Soul Bites on State Street (Haley/Gutierrez) have big plans for the space—and are looking for investors: “Soul Bites Santa Barbara is a restaurant, bar, and upcoming entertainment venue. A soul food bistro and community gathering spot by day that will effortlessly transform into an intimate music venue at night. Rose and Stirling took over the historic building and opened up their casual soul-food restaurant. The location was once a live music venue that they intend to bring back into operation. […] Owners Stirling and Rose look forward to opening up the entertainment portion of the restaurant and hosting live music, improv comedy, theater, and DJ’s for the local Santa Barbara community.”

••• The Independent profiled chef Carolyn Kope of the Margerum Wine Company tasting room in the Funk Zone.

••• Tyger Tyger announced that its chef for this incarnation is Trevor Laymance.

••• The liquor-license notice at the former Seven Bar & Kitchen at 224 Helena Avenue confirms what everyone already knew: the new tenant is Silvers Omakase, from former Sushi Bar chef Lennon Silvers Lee. Interesting that the application is only for beer and wine.


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Andy Keck

>Unrelated: the video on the restaurant’s home page is bonkers.

Wow. You weren’t joking.


That video is bad! Cringe.

The new wine shop in Ventura looks great. Thanks for sharing it. Lately Ventura is getting the kinds of businesses I wish we were getting more of here. 1) They feel like they’re owned and operated by locals. 2) They’re stylish, and zeitgeisty enough without being corny or too trendy. 3) They’re accessible financially and feel like they’re for actual people who live in town, not catering to some imagined version of who lives here (those businesses fail fast, remember the 24 hour caviar delivery service LOL) or the ever-increasing tourist hordes. They’re the kinds of businesses it feels like we’re lacking and they’re the kinds of businesses I want to patronize on a daily basis.

A lot of the openings in the last few years here feel like they’re run by a corny and anonymous out-of-town restaurant group, are serving as a money laundering operation, or are for old fuddy duddies with money and no taste (literal or figurative). I’m early middle aged myself so this isn’t an ageist comment. There’s an energy in Ventura I feel we lack here. I assume it has to do with affordability. I can’t imagine being a young person and wanting to or being able to open a business here. Things were getting exciting in town here around 2019. We had some really nice businesses opening (and of course many are still open – there are great local places, I’m not saying we have none), many owned by young people who grew up here and later “came home.” But something shifted in the last couple of years with the opening of the Rosewood and its clientele, a new cohort of people streaming into town because of new WFH capabilities or discovering what is local to them for their COVID vacations rather than jetting across the world, etc. Something shifted and things don’t feel the same.

I guess more weekend trips to Ventura are in order. Soon the locals there will be annoyed with the Santa Barbara invaders the same way we’re annoyed with the LA invaders.

Robert W.

I don’t understand how individuals think they can open restaurants with no experience. I wish people would do their homework.


“I could only wait so long for the woman pictured above to finish her phone call.” This is SO Santa Barbara…!