The local Ridgeback shrimp season is open now through the end of May, and that means these large shrimp are served at the Santa Barbara Shellfish Co., the bustling, local, family-owned restaurant at the end of Santa Barbara’s iconic Stearns Wharf, for a limited time.
Also known as “Santa Barbara Shrimp,” the shrimp are caught by local fishermen off the Santa Barbara coast then boiled in water mixed with beer and spices and served immediately. They will be available in limited quantities this summer.
“I love all shellfish, but these are my favorite,” said Adam White, who co-owns the restaurant with his father, Tom White. “This is a throw-the-shells-on-the-ground kind of meal. It is a total throwback, old-time local meal.”
Tom White started the restaurant with his wife in 1980 and later brought his son into the operation.
Over the years, the Santa Barbara Shellfish Co. has shifted from a wholesale store to a restaurant, but never lost its local, small-town focus.
The restaurant’s specialty—seen on its logo—is crab caught year-round by local fishermen off Santa Rosa Island.
“The fishery off of Santa Rosa Island is very healthy,” Adam White said. “Our local crab population is very sustainable.”
— Jennifer Goddard Combs is a publicist representing the Stearns Wharf Merchants Association.