Thomas Keller to Run the Coral Casino Restaurant

••• Huge news for Montecito’s restaurant scene: Thomas Keller, one of the world’s most famous chefs (French Laundry, Per Se, etc.), will run the food and beverage program at the Coral Casino, and as previously reported, the restaurant will be open to the public. Not word yet on when the club will reopen, though. —Montecito Journal

••• Wylde Works posted a plea for financial help. You can donate here.


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••• Press release: “Richard Lambert, chef and founder of National Tamale Day, will teach the tamale-making class and demonstrate techniques he uses to make his award-winning tamales and salsas. This 90-minute class is set for Saturday, July 22, at the Free Methodist Church of Santa Barbara at 1435 Cliff Drive. […] Each attendee will be served a variety of tamale samples and be shown how each flavor can be created at home. Additional class handout materials include Chef Lambert’s recipes, a listing of ingredient sources, plus tamale reheating and storage guidelines. Attendees also receive the ebook version of Chef Lambert’s cookbook, Preheat to 350 Degrees, featuring 100 recipes along with personal anecdotes. Suggested donation for the class is $55 per person.” More info and tickets.

••• Thanks to S. for the tip that Sama Sama is adding an 18 percent service charge. The question is whether the servers say it’s in lieu of a gratuity or encourage you to tip on top of it…. UPDATE: “Sama Sama went from a 20% gratuity that went straight to the servers mostly after Covid,” said @LastCall_SB. “They changed their pay scale to higher hourly for all employees plus benefits for full time employees. The automatic 18% service charge added to the check that now goes to the business or restaurant. The additional gratuity is optional, if given additional gratuity is left on top of 18% service charge then it is given to the bartender or server.” UPDATE 7/16: Sama Sama explained that it “opted for this pay structure for several reasons. (1) To minimize the wage gap between the front and back of house, (2) to provide our staff with a higher living wage, (3) to provide full healthcare, and (4) contribute to our employees retirement funds. This does not eliminate the pay gap between front and back of house by any means, but it certainly minimizes it. All additional tips will go directly to the staff.”

••• The menu for R&D Local Kitchen, popping up Friday through Sunday evenings at Brekkies in Solvang, looks quite good. (Pictured below: pork cannelloni with béchamel and manchego.) I do wonder how long it’ll be till they heard from these folks….

••• “The California Wine Festival returns to Chase Park for two days of coastal tasting events on Friday, July 14 and Saturday, July 15. Throughout the two days, guests will be able to sample pours from winemaking regions across California, paired with gourmet appetizers from many of Santa Barbara’s top restaurants. The event also includes live entertainment and lifestyle exhibitors.” —Independent

••• And the Downtown Summer Brew Fest is July 23: “Take a trip to beer paradise and embrace the summer vibes as you sample a wide selection of unique and refreshing craft brews from some of the finest local breweries in the idyllic backdrop that is Casa De La Guerra. Breweries include; Institution Ale, Night Lizard, M Special, Wylde Works, Draughtsmen, Figueroa Mountain, Validation Ale, Brass Bear, Calidad—and more!”

••• If you need something to help recover from all that fun, I highly recommend the huevos rancheros at Corazón Comedor. Breakfast service doesn’t start till 9 a.m., so sleep in.


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Mark Egan

Can’t imagine the coral opens in 2023 given the magnitude of staffing and well Ty being a bit eccentric. Still, it is easy to see why they insisted it be open to the public! We only hope as members we can get in…


Seems like kind of an old school pick for chef, but probably right up Ty Warner’s alley. Hopefully Keller will bring on people that reflect Californian cuisine and all its multicultural aspects. Going to be expensive…


It’s very disheartening to see Santa Barbara following the excessive fees that restaurants are placing on customers similar to Los Angeles and SF. I won’t be going to any restaurants that do this. Please reach out to your representatives to support Senate Bill 478 (SB 478) to ban junk fees in California.


I won’t be going to Sama Sama anymore. Extra “service charge” aka junk fees, aka “I’ll rip you off because you’re dumb enough to pay it”. Get real

Linda Smythe

I totally agree instead of charging the 18% for a higher wage for employees. Go ahead and raise your prices. Let the Restaurant go Waze decide if they want to pay the price.


As someone who was in the service industry for 30+ years and now has a kid in the industry, I do not support this 18% service charge. I too will not go to Sama Sama.


Mandatory service fees are a cash grab, especially when it’s going to the restaurant and not the employees. That means it’s a disguised 18% increase in menu costs. The trend to advertise a price but then tack on fees at checkout is a con job that needs to stop. Increase the menu prices by 18%, don’t make me decide if I need to add another 20% (tip) to my bill on top of the mandatory 18%. The 38% (or more) that is now expected makes me do mental math gymnastics to understand the affordability of an establishment and creates a very negative experience at the end of the meal.

What’s next? Fork and knife fees? Napkin fees? Standing is free, chairs are $2? Charge a fair price up front and don’t make me subsidize your operations.


“Pictured below: pork cannelloni with béchamel and manchego.”

That does not look interesting or even appetizing.


You’re at the wrong table- it looks & sounds scrumptious to this diner

Dan O.

Christine & Christine, you look like the Girl Scouts in the bar scene in, “Airplane.”


I’m still confused if the Sama Sama charge is in lieu of gratuity? Can someone clarify?


I’m sure they are hoping you don’t notice and include the gratuity too. I skip all restaurants that do this, even the small “heart of house” fee that Shalhoob adds after your total. Completely dishonest.

BTW, the Wylde Works Instagram link is dead. Seems the 900/30000 they raised was not enough to save whatever this company did (bees or something?)


Wylde Works is a meadery. I didn’t know they were having trouble. The place always had at least some people in it, if it wasn’t packed, whenever I walked by.