••• Yet another big change for Montecito: Via Vai‘s lease is not getting renewed. The restaurant, which opened in the Upper Village in 1994, has through April. Owner Pietro Bernardi says that the landlord wants something more like what you’d find on Coast Village Road. As for Pane e Vino, Bernardi doesn’t know what the future holds, but he hopes to keep the restaurant going, if only for the employees who have been with him for so long. There’s no word yet on a new tenant for the Via Vai space.
••• I heard more from Little Alex’s about the new incarnation aiming to open in the Five Points Shopping Center on upper State Street in March. Much will be the same as it was at the Montecito Country Mart: the restaurant will be counter service, and open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. But there will be more outdoor seating, and they’re excited to offer local beer on tap. The website has an email signup form for updates.
••• Brunch Monkey, run by the folks behind The Shop on Milpas, is now serving weekend brunch (8 a.m. to 1 p.m.) at the Handlebar Coffee Roasters on De La Vina. The menu includes a breakfast sandwich, a rolex, salmon toast, avocado toast, chilaquiles, and even a smash burger.
••• Wexler’s Deli says it may have to push its opening back a week. Stay tuned.
••• Cookie Plug‘s grand opening is February 10. It’s on State between Canon Perdido and Carrillo.
••• Montecito Journal‘s cover story is about the new general manager at Lucky’s, Larry Nobles. I was surprised that the only mention of former GM/executive chef Leonard Schwartz—who was at the restaurant since 2007—was in the penultimate paragraph.
••• My husband went to Yetz’s Bagels in Isla Vista as soon as he read about it here, and we both thought they’re rather good—while the inside can be a little bready, the outside has real chew. But don’t take our word for it: “Tried Yetz and it’s amazing!” commented Pete. “Just what we needed!” Maybe the Eddy will start carrying them.
••• Bell’s is trying something new on Thursdays in February: “We will be offering an abbreviated $65 three-course pre-fixe menu (excluding service fee and tax).” This is as opposed to the standard five-course menu for $110, which will also be available. “Starting with our dinner salad and bread and butter course. Then a choice of entree from that night’s menu selections as well as choice of dessert. When you book on Tock you don’t need to note anything—we will be ready for you with both menus.”
••• Montecito’s Casa del Herrero has grown far more active in recent months, hosting events such as a book club, yoga, film screenings, painting workshops, a sound bath, and more. Of special interest: “Casa del Herrero now offers High Tea afternoon luncheons on the Loggia for groups of 8, 16, or 24 people.” I include this because I genuinely think it sounds lovely, not simply because I need to point out that they mean afternoon tea, not high tea. You learn some things working at Town & Country magazine….
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