The Good Lion Folks Are Opening a Bar at the Montecito Inn

••• Misty Orman and Brandon Ristaino of the Good Lion Hospitality empire are making their way into Montecito: they’ll be opening an “elevated lounge” in the former Coast & Olive space inside the Montecito Inn. There’s no name yet, but they aim to have it ready by year end. From the release: “The upscale lounge will feature a chic design and warm ambiance, steeped in the elegance of a bygone era, where the clinking of cocktail glassware mingles with jazz music and the chatter of locals and visitors.” As for food, we can expect “a curated menu of delicious bites” from chefs Tyler Peek and Ryan Simorangkir of the Sama Sama restaurants, with whom Good Lion have partnered on Strange Beast in Ventura. The pivot toward more of a bar could turn out to be clever counterprogramming, what with the many new restaurants slated to open in Montecito.

••• My understanding is that the owner of 2000 De La Vina Street (at Mission)—the lot that’s home to Derf’s Café (which just closed) and the Farmacy shop—is talking to prospective tenants for the restaurant space—and there are no plans to tear it down and replace it with a parking lot, as rumored.

••• According to the Coastal View News, the owners of The Palms building in Carpinteria went before the town’s Architectural Review Board with conceptual plans for “a restaurant and market/cafe/retail area on the ground floor, a banquet/event space on the second floor, and a covered bar and uncovered dining area on the roof [….] The first-floor addition would also be replaced with 804 square feet of covered patio dining and landscape planters along the sidewalk. The exterior staircase on the south side would be demolished for a new landscape planter area, and the exterior wood staircase on the west side would be replaced by a new staircase to the roof.”

••• Local is no longer open for lunch during the week.

••• “The beloved Santa Barbara Greek Festival returns for the first time since 2019 this summer,” but it’s moving to Chase Palm Park. The event is June 28 and 29. —Independent

••• Michael Ableman sent over an update on Fairview Gardens Farm: “Yes, you are correct that we have launched a capital campaign to re-vision and re-build Fairview Gardens. As is often the case, the campaign will not go fully public until we have raised half of our total campaign goal. While we are making good progress, it is still early, and we have not yet reached that half-way point. There is also a signifiant amount of work being done on planning and design and the myriad of requirements for obtaining permits to move forward. The website does have a link to  our digital campaign brochure which has all contact information, but you are correct that the website itself does not. We will add that information.”

••• No word yet on when Seven Bar & Kitchen will open in its new location (in the former Neighborhood Bar space at Montecito and Bath), but it now has a “funky vacation rental” upstairs called The Hutch.


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Tom S.

Having encountered many of the patrons that often frequent CVR, a cheeky companion name for this new bar could be…”The Good Cougar”.


I like the part about offering Sama Sama food. That would be a good addition to Montecito restaurant world.


Skip the bar/lounge …. I would really like to see a Sama Sama or Secret Bao go into the space. We need a good ethnic ( other than Mexican ) restaurant along CVR ! P.S. The “Good Cougar” is brilliant !!!


I agree. Very sad that the Empty Bowl restaurant on CVR (where local is now) didn’t succeed. We loved being able to sit at tables and get their great Thai food. Less hectic than the public market.


Is Good Lion (Cougar) a pick up joint for cougars and cubs? That’s news to me :)


We are Sama Sama regulars so if the “The Good Cougar” (as I will only refer to it now, no matter what the name ends up being) ends up with a menu similar to their “Strange Beast”, we would be very happy campers: Now if only the Empty Bowl replaced the tired China Palace, we could be in pan-Asian heaven!


I’m with you, Jill. From this point forward, “The Good Cougar” will be its unofficial official name.