Thursday, October 8 , 2015, 1:42 pm | Fair 80º

Eureka! Burger in Santa Barbara Off to Hot Start

The new Paseo Nuevo location draws in a steady stream of customers with its gourmet burgers and craft beer menu

The Eureka! Burger restaurant at 601 Paseo Nuevo in Santa Barbara has enjoyed steady customer traffic since it opened Sept. 10.
The Eureka! Burger restaurant at 601 Paseo Nuevo in Santa Barbara has enjoyed steady customer traffic since it opened Sept. 10.  (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

By Gina Potthoff, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @ginapotthoff |

A gourmet twist on the average hamburger and a wide selection of local brews are drawing big crowds into Santa Barbara’s new Eureka! Burger joint.

Customers intrigued by an All-American menu and the warm atmosphere of the small California burger chain have been frequenting the location at 601 Paseo Nuevo since it opened Sept. 10.

Eureka! General Manager John Giammanco said the gourmet salads, one-of-a-kind, grass-fed Angus chuck beef sandwiches, and a distinctive assortment of the best craft beers and whiskeys are responsible for the restaurant’s success so far.

“We’re doing great. We’ve been steadily busy,” Giammanco said. “Our slogan is, ‘Gourmet burgers and craft beer.’ That’s our headline. The only thing missing from that is bourbon. It takes the average hamburger to a new level.”

The addition of Eureka! to the Paseo Nuevo shopping center filled the space that had been vacant since Ruby’s Diner closed five years ago, said Mary Lynn Harms, marketing manager for Macerich Company, which manages Paseo Nuevo.

That lengthy of a vacancy is rare, Harms told Noozhawk, since the center is typically full and has stores waiting to move in.

One of Eureka! Burger's signature Angus chuck beef sandwiches. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)
One of Eureka! Burger’s signature Angus chuck beef sandwiches. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

“It was kind of sad to have a big area like that, especially a big restaurant on the corner, empty,” Harms said. “It was already somewhat designed for a restaurant. We were really looking to fill it with another restaurant. (Eureka!) was a good fit for the center; something unique to center and downtown as well.”

Eureka!, which was founded in 2009, has five other restaurants throughout the state. San Luis Obispo is the closest other location.

The Santa Barbara location has been gutted and remodeled from its old self.

Giammanco couldn’t provide sales figures, but he said lines consistently form at the restaurant on the corner of Chapala and De la Guerra streets. 

“All we carry is craft beer,” he said, noting that servers suggest similar local brews when customers request name-brand alcohol. “If you don’t like it, I’ll gladly buy it for you. I’ve never had one person send it back.”

Giammanco said the restaurant is still settling into its new role as a unique downtown dining experience.

“We’re doing something different and something new,” he said. “We just put it all together. You can’t find what we have anywhere else in Santa Barbara. We are what we offer.”

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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