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Monday, March 18 , 2019, 1:55 pm | Fair 67º


Santa Barbara’s Seagrass Restaurant Sold to Chef Robert Perez and Family

Seller Mitchell Sjerven will focus his efforts on his other restaurants, Bouchon and Wine Cask

Local restaurateur Mitchell Sjerven has announced the sale of top-rated Seagrass Restaurant, at 30 E. Ortega St. in Santa Barbara, to Chef Robert Perez and his family of culinary experts, who have recently relocated to Santa Barbara.

With a respected and long-standing history of culinary experience, Perez, along with wife Marianna and sons Ruben and Richard, are seasoned restaurant professionals with a passion for the restaurant business — a team Sjerven said he knew would be the right fit to take over Seagrass.

The restaurant will remain open for business as usual during the transition with only minor updates to the menu.

“The sale of Seagrass provides the opportunity for me to continue my commitment to Wine Cask to bring it back to the level of excellence Santa Barbara expects, and to ensure its continued success,” Sjerven said. “My wife, Amy Sachs, and I knew it was critical to find a new proprietor who was as committed to the same degree that we have been to Seagrass to provide an excellent dining experience. Throughout the sale process, it became clear to us that the Perez family shared our passion for the restaurant business, and have great confidence they will be successful.”

Sjerven said he is grateful to Santa Barbara for three years of support at Seagrass, and is looking forward to dedicating his time and attention to his two other restaurants, Bouchon and Wine Cask.

He and Sachs recognize the Seagrass staff for helping to make it the top restaurant that it is today. Sjerven gives extra thanks to Chef John Pettitt who was integral in the success of Seagrass, which was most recently acknowledged as the No. 1 restaurant in Santa Barbara by the 2011 ZAGAT Survey.

For Perez, cooking has always been a family affair. Most recently, the family owned and operated the critically acclaimed restaurant Citronee Bistro in Nevada City for the past 13 years. Ruben Perez is taking on ownership duties while Chef Perez is chef de cuisine, and his other son, Richard, will be director of wines. Marianna Perez, along with Ruben’s life partner, Erin Gailsdaughter, will share management of the front of the house.

“Finding the right restaurant in Santa Barbara for our family has been a goal for some time now, so when the opportunity with Seagrass arose, we knew this was our chance,” Ruben Perez said. “As a close-knit family, we’re eager to share our ‘art-to-the-eye, art-to-the-palate’ dining philosophy with our guests, and offer the very highest caliber of personalized service. We look forward to meeting our new guests and becoming a part of the Santa Barbara community. We’re thankful to Mitchell and Amy for this opportunity, and for building Seagrass into one of Santa Barbara’s top restaurants.”

For more information about the restaurant, click here or call 805.963-1012.

— Jennifer Guess is a publicist.

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