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Business

BizHawk: American Ale Opens Second Location in Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone

Laplace Wine Shop and Bar to open on lower Santa Barbara Street, local business leader rejoins Maritime Museum, and Sam’s 2 U closes up shop

Union Ale Holdings, the parent company of American Ale, decided to turn Yankee Noodle on 214 State St. into a second American Ale location.
Union Ale Holdings, the parent company of American Ale, decided to turn Yankee Noodle on 214 State St. into a second American Ale location.  (Sam Goldman / Noozhawk photo)

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Though Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone is brimming with beer and wine establishments, the city’s thirst for them has yet to be quenched.

American Ale, which has a location at 14 Cota St., had its soft opening on Independence Day for a second restaurant at 214 State St.

Union Ale Holdings, the parent company, first opened up shop on State Street eight years ago, and reopened Union Ale as Yankee Noodle in February.

Though the restaurant sold plenty of noodles, bar manager Casey Earle told Noozhawk, the demand for American Ale drinks and comestibles was too great.

“We were slowly outgrowing (the Cota) location, which is really small,” Earle said. “And once you get people in there late at night drinking and everything, you can’t really cater to people who are wanting food because you’re so freaking packed.”

The new American Ale serves a full menu of burgers and sandwiches; beer sourced from, among other places, San Diego, Ventura, and Santa Barbara; and an array of cocktails of their own creation, which American Ale hopes to expand to over 30 choices.

Many of the location’s customers come from the Amtrak station across the street and are looking for a quick bite. Ramen noodles, he said, weren’t cutting it for them on a bumpy train ride.

This latest concept got off to a promising start, with the establishment taking in more money on Monday than it had during Yankee Noodle’s tenure, he said.

“The Fourth of July comes around, you serve burgers, beer, and awesome cocktails — people flock to that stuff. It was really cool to see the patio out here just full of people. Here, we want to be more of a late-night Funk Zone, having the burgers,” Earle said.

Other Funk Zone establishments “close at 10:30 — that’s their last call — they’re not going to stay open much later than that. Our license goes until 1:30 here to sell liquor, so we can be more of the late spot for the Funk Zone.”

Laplace Wine Shop and Bar prepares to open in the Funk Zone

A taste of the foreign is soon coming to Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone with Laplace Wine Bar and Shop, which is preparing to open within the next month at 205 Santa Barbara St.

“It will be an extensive collection of wine — local, domestic, and, of course, imports from all over the world,” owner Betty Dunbar told Noozhawk.

The establishment, named after the 18th- and 19th-century French scholar Pierre-Simon Laplace, will be half wine bar and half retail, with a small lounge with love seats, a patio with cushioned bench seating, short tables, and high tops. There are also plans for a fire pit. 

Laplace’s wines come from, among other near and far-flung places, France, Italy, Spain, Austria, Germany, Oregon, Washington, Sonoma and Napa. Domestic wines, Dunbar said, span the full range of chardonnay, sauvignon blancs, pinot noir, syrah and Rhone blends.

Laplace Wine Shop and Bar will be half wine bar and half retail, with a small lounge, a patio and a fire pit. Click to view larger
Laplace Wine Shop and Bar will be half wine bar and half retail, with a small lounge, a patio and a fire pit.  (Sam Goldman / Noozhawk photo)

Dunbar, who has her own collection of wines, has been in the business for 35 years as, among other jobs, a statewide and nationwide wine importer and distributer as well as the person behind the Santa Barbara Public Market’s Wine + Beer.

“With all that experience and all that traveling and understanding the lifestyle of Europe,” she said, there was always the desire to start “a wine bar that would reflect that.”

The bar and shop, which will be decorated in an “Old World, Mediterranean” style, will also serve champagne by the glass and small snacks like cheese plates and French-import food items.

Indispensable to Laplace’s creation has been Dunbar’s business partner, Dennis Peterson, who does the financial operations and allowed her “complete liberty to do this project.”

Dunbar said Laplace should be open by the tail-end of July, give or take a week or so.

Cindy Makela returns to the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum board of directors

Local business leader Cindy Makela has returned to the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum’s board of directors.

Makela had previously been on the museum’s board and has chaired its annual fundraiser, said the museum’s executive director, Greg Gorga.

Businesspeople bring to the museum “an understanding of financials and how important raising funds are to the success and growth of the Maritime Museum,” Gorga told Noozhawk.

They also have valuable connections to the greater community, he said.

Makela is currently the chief marketing officer and principal of Goleta-based health and beauty company Oleavicin LLC and was previously the owner and vice president of the Santa Barbara Olive Company.

Several of the museum’s other board members work in the business community, in industries ranging from real estate to wealth management to commercial fishing.

“We depend on sponsorships and support from our local business community, so they bring those connections and experience as well,” Gorga said.

Sam’s 2 U sells its last sandwich

Sam’s 2 U, a sandwich establishment at 5979 Hollister Ave. in Goleta, closed up shop June 24 “due to the economy.”

“It has been a pleasure knowing and serving all of you special customers for many years,” the restaurant wrote in a letter to patrons.

“We appreciate your patronage and it was fun getting to know all of you over the years,” the letter read.

In addition to a wide variety of sub sandwiches that came in different sizes, Sam’s 2 U featured a Persian menu that included kabobs, ghormeh sabzi, fesenjoon, and shami, as well as catering and delivery.

Noozhawk staff writer Sam Goldman 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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