Oliver’s Is Rumored to Be on the Ropes

••• Rumors have swirled for years that Oliver’s is about to close, but lately they’ve been coming from people who might really know. I was not able to confirm it, and until anything is announced, it’s very much business as usual at the restaurant. Last time I went, a few months ago, I was struck by the whiff of neglect about the place. If the building does become available, it’s certain to be an extremely hot commodity.

••• Tamar is now open Wednesday through Sunday (11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.).

••• A profile of Lilac Montecito. —Montecito Journal

••• A profile of Ramon Velazquez’s Beast Taqueria, inside the M. Special taproom on State Street. —Independent

••• Bibi Ji‘s last day at its current space is now March 10. It’s moving to the former McDonald’s at 1213 State Street (Anapamu/Victoria), aiming for May.

••• Inspired by requests for its hot sauce, the Inn at Mattei’s Tavern has begun selling pantry items.

••• “Chef Efe Onoglu Brings Aegean Cuisine to California […] Spiced with Stories, Aegean Neotaverna Offers Pop-Ups and Catering with Hopes of a Restaurant on the Horizon.” —Independent

••• “The Santa Barbara [city] council recently approved some changes to the city’s sidewalk vendor ordinance. […] The changes include requiring street and sidewalk vendors to possess a valid California driver’s license, identification card or other form of government identification. The changes […] also make clear that a person cannot sell on private property unless they have permission from the property owner. In addition, vendors without a license may have their equipment impounded and then billed by the city. If the owner doesn’t retrieve the cart within 60 days, it is forfeited to the city.” —Noozhawk

••• Pepperidge Farm has introduced a line of “lemon sugar” cookies called Ojai. —805 Foodie


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Pretty disappointed in Lilac for dinner last Fri. Made our resv weeks ago for 8, changed to 10 and they told us we had to come in one hr earlier which we did. No other guests arrived for 1.5 hrs. We watched all the staff appear busy but doing what I don’t know. Our server was great though. But my real comment is the food/portion/value – just not up to snuff. I’m good with Lilac Patisserie’s menu and value, but dinner here needs work. Doubt we will be back. $100 pp without drinks…pretty steep for the serving size. Sides are extra.


Not be surprised at all about the rumors of Oliver’s. We’ve consistently found the staff, in particular the management and hosts, to be rather pretentious. It’s a shame because the food is excellent. We stopped going altogether before the pandemic.


Wow, this has not been my experience at all. The hosts, managers and waitstaff have been unfailingly attentive and gracious. I don’t see the “whiff of neglect” either. The patio is gorgeous and the food is unlike any other in town. I drag all our out-of-town guests there and they all love it (and no, they aren’t vegans).


I’ve had two outstanding dinners at Lilac. They happily accommodated a group of ten. They have a wonderful kids menu, and of course the desserts are delicious.