Paradise Cafe Has Closed for Good

Acme Hospitality broke its silence about Paradise Cafe, where major work has been going on for a while now.

After 37 years, the Paradise Cafe is closing its doors for good. It enjoyed a long and well-deserved run as a neighborhood watering hole, a place for celebrations, date night headquarters, and as the best patio in downtown. It’s no wonder that the community fell in love with this iconic corner of Anacapa and Ortega. We are grateful to you, Santa Barbara, for your support over the years.

As difficult as change may be—especially in 2020—history is in the remaking. Stay tuned for an exciting new concept coming soon.

I understand that the restaurant has had a place in people’s hearts for a long time, but the possibility of it becoming a really good restaurant—along the lines, say, of The Lark or Loquita—is pretty exciting. Here’s hoping the new concept goes well beyond comfort food.


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One Comment


I’m really sad to hear this. It’s an architectural loss above all. We cannot have new neon signs due to misguided local rules, and I can only assume this means a complete exterior renovation (with the grey paint that is so ill-fitting for the location) and loss of that, as well as the mural. The takeover didn’t succeed because the food and drinks were objectively bad. I went 3 times after Acme took over and was looking forward to an icon being reinvented, especially as I am such a fan of Loquita. The food was awful, as were the drinks. It wasn’t just the kitchen doing a poor job (though they were); the menu was objectively bad. Everything was rich and overwhelming, there was no nuance to flavors, and everything tasted like greasy, over-salty bar food or TGIFridays. I wasn’t sentimental about the old food – but I heard numerous locals asking where classics had gone. I actually welcomed the sale to Acme because I thought we’d get something better than what we had before. There are a zillion empty retail spots. I’m sorry they had to take this one and destroy it. That corner with its neon sign, white walls, and its huge bird of paradise will always be among one of the most iconic downtown scenes for me. Here’s to hoping somehow it’s eventually returned to what it was. Acme is a wonderful company and a local asset. I’m appreciative of what they’ve done. But their properties sometimes already feel dated when debuted, like someone hatched the idea in Brooklyn in 2009. I was sorry to see the excellent Les Marchands become a corny millennial pink bar for bachelorette parties of out-of-towners, and even The Lark itself and its menu feel dated in 2020 and have for several years. I’m brutal, I know, but I call it like I see it. I’m all for reinvention and reinvigoration, but this is a step too far and it doesn’t bode well that Acme thought its problems with the Paradise came from its white walls – which they’ll be painting grey apparently – and its eternally cool name and branding. The old menu with the watercolor on it and the delicate typeface remains light years ahead in “cool” of any graphic design and branding Acme is churning out. Goodbye, Paradise. I’ve really loved you, and I will certainly miss seeing you and your beautiful glowing neon sign.