Friday, November 27 , 2015, 4:03 am | A Few Clouds 44º

BizHawk: Los Agaves Owner Buying Baja Grill in Goleta’s Camino Real Marketplace

McConnell's Fine Ice Creams expands into L.A., Figueroa Mountain Brewing acquires valley transport van and Spudnuts Donuts opens in Isla Vista

The owner of Baja Grill in the Camino Real Marketplace is selling the business to Los Agaves, making it the third area location for the Santa Barbara-based mexican cuisine restaurant.
The owner of Baja Grill in the Camino Real Marketplace is selling the business to Los Agaves, making it the third area location for the Santa Barbara-based mexican cuisine restaurant.  (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

By Gina Potthoff, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @ginapotthoff |

[BizHawk is published weekly, and includes items of interest to the business community. Share your business news, including employee announcements and personnel moves, by emailing [email protected]]

Los Agaves Restaurant is in escrow to buy Baja Grill in Goleta’s Camino Real Marketplace, an eatery owned by Natural Café founder Kelly Brown.

Baja Grill, which opened in 1999, would effectively become the fourth Los Agaves location after a brief remodel at 7024 Marketplace Drive.

Los Agaves owner Carlos Luna opened the popular original location at the corner of Milpas and Cota streets in Santa Barbara six years ago, with a second spot opening a year ago at 2911 De la Vina St. A third location is set to open this fall in the Shoppes at Westlake Village.

Luna and Brown penned the sale agreement this week, pending transfer of a liquor license.

Brown also owns Camino Real’s Kahuna Grill, which he plans to keep, and didn’t have more details about transitioning staff or other potential changes.

“We really want to refocus on the Natural Cafes and growing that company,” Brown told Noozhawk. “Baja Grill needs to be remodeled. It needs a menu update.”

Los Agaves will do just that, and most likely won't reopen for at least two months, said Mitch Stark, the restaurant’s real estate broker.

Stark said the restaurant has been grateful for the community’s patronage.

McConnell’s to Move Into L.A. Market

McConnell's Fine Ice Creams will soon expand by opening a location in the Grand Central Market in downtown Los Angeles — its first out-of-area move.

The ice cream company, founded in 1949, is set to open there in July, mirroring the concept of McConnell’s State Street shop with a full bakery and fine coffee program, according to Michael Palmer, who bought McConnell’s with wife Eva Ein in 2012.

Palmer touted McConnell’s as the oldest artisan ice cream brand in the country, and one happy to move into the historic L.A. area at 317 S. Broadway.

The Ein-Palmer family owns the flagship location at 728 State St., while two other shops — on De la Vina Street and in Ventura — are independent licensee stores.

“For some time, we've thought about extending our reach beyond the Central Coast, but the right opportunity only came along in these last several months, when The Grand Central Market opportunity arose,” Palmer said. “For McConnell's, it's a tremendous opportunity to participate in this transformation as a heritage brand in our own right. It's a great fit and we're really looking forward to bringing a little piece of the Central Coast to our neighbor to the south.”

Figueroa Mountain Brewing Starts ‘Valley Loop’

Buellton-based Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co. has begun providing a free shuttle service for its customers wanting to safely enjoy the great food, beer and wine throughout the valley. 

Starting Friday, the “Valley Loop” shuttle will loop around the Santa Ynez Valley with six stops in the towns of Buellton, Los Olivos, Santa Ynez and Solvang. 

The 13-passenger shuttle van begins its first pickup at Fig Mountain’s Buellton Taproom (45 Industrial Way) at 11 a.m. every Friday through Sunday, with additional departures.

Seating is first-come, first served. There is no proof of purchase required to board the shuttle, but customers who provide a receipt from a Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co. taproom will receive priority seating.

Shuttle stops include Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co.’s Buellton Taproom, Avant Tapas & Wine and Pea Soup Andersen’s in Buellton; Fig Mtn Brew’s Los Olivos Tasting Room at “The Cottage” and Refugio Ranch in Los Olivos; Roblar Winery in Santa Ynez; Succulent Café in Solvang.

Spudnuts Donuts Opens in Isla Vista

A new Spudnuts Donuts is scheduled to open Monday in Isla Vista at 6530 Seville Road, Suite 101.

The shop hosted a soft opening event a week ago, but will reopen at 7 a.m. Monday, according to owner John Chang.

Chang, a Santa Barbara native, also owns the Spudnuts in Old Town Goleta at 5718 Hollister Ave. No. 101, and family associate owns the downtown Santa Barbara location on Carrillo Avenue.

Holdren’s Grill Closes

Holdren’s Grill at Goleta’s Camino Real Marketplace has closed its doors.

After spending nearly four years at 6920 Marketplace Drive, the restaurant closed for good last Saturday.

The restaurant posted just a short message, sans explanation, on its website.

“Closed for business. Thank you to our customers that supported us.”

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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