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BizHawk: Goa Taco Brings to State Street a Diverse Twist on an Old Favorite

Five new merchants are joining Paseo Nuevo, and the Hotel Californian goes on a hiring spree

Goa Taco opened June 14 in the home of the former Gandolfo’s at 718 State Street in Santa Barbara. Click to view larger
Goa Taco opened June 14 in the home of the former Gandolfo’s at 718 State Street in Santa Barbara.  (Sam Goldman /  Noozhawk photo)

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Tacos can be found in any number of places in Santa Barbara, but likely only one serves them in paratha, an Indian flatbread.

On June 14, Goa Taco opened its doors at 718 State St. Owner and chef Duvaldi Marneweck characterized his paratha as “the buttery, flaky lovechild of the tortilla and croissant.”

Originally from New York, the restaurant serves tacos inspired by South Asian and Mediterranean flavors.

Once a Brooklyn food market stand, Goa Taco picked up rave reviews in its hometown publications, and migrated to two Manhattan shops of 200-to-300 square feet, before adding a weekly pop up at Los Angeles’ Smorgasburg food market.

Goa Taco takes over the spot of the former Gandolfo’s New York Deli, which closed late last year. Marneweck’s new digs are like a mansion compared to his East Coast establishments.

“We figured out here, I wanted to do something a little bit bigger where it can fit the slow-paced life out here, where people can sit down, take their time or just come in for a drink,” the native of South Africa told Noozhawk.

With a business partner taking care of his New York operations, Marneweck moved out west to focus on his new venture, which has been a hectic, non-stop process.

“I’m definitely here 24/8,” he said.

Paseo Nuevo welcoming five new tenants

Santa Barbara’s Paseo Nuevo is welcoming five new tenants to its shopping center.

The outdoor mall is reporting a fully leased property, with the exception of the 141,000-square-foot Macy’s that closed earlier this year.

“Our team has been working diligently to find new job opportunities and the right new offerings following the Macy’s closing,” said Steve Plenge, the managing principal of Pacific Retail Capital Partners, which oversees all operations and renovation at the shopping center.

In April, Yes Dance began offering an array of classes and weekly social dances for salsa, zumba, belly dance and tango, as well as yoga and meditation.

Opening this month is 2bella, a young women’s clothing store with three other California locations, and Santa Barbara Souvenir and Apparel, which has two other stores.

This summer, Paseo Nuevo will welcome Saje Natural Wellness of British Columbia, which has a number of North American locations. The PokeCeviche restaurant next door is slated to open in the fall.

Several other Paseo Nuevo businesses have also recently moved around to other storefronts within the shopping center.

Hotel Californian hiring 200 employees

In preparation for its summer opening, the Hotel Californian of 36 State St. is in the process of hiring some 200 people to run the 248,000-square-foot development.

Director of human resources Marianela Atencio told Noozhawk that roughly 60 positions still need to be hired. A second recruiting event will be held June 27 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Chase Palm Park Center, targeting retail, spa, housekeeping and culinary employees.

The Hotel Californian will be onboarding new hires at the end of July, Atencio said.

The finished product will be a complete reconstruction and expansion of the site’s once-dilapidated 1920s-era hotel.

The 121-room, Spanish Colonial-style hotel is maintaining the building’s original façade, and will feature a rooftop event deck and pool, paseos, gardens, plazas, fountains, a ballroom, meeting and event spaces, a fitness center, a fashion boutique and a “Moroccan-inspired” spa and salon.

The building on the original Hotel Californian site will be four stories tall and host 62 rooms, a deck, the spa and the fitness center. Two three-story Mason Street buildings will contain 58 rooms, the lobby and the fashion boutique.

Another building across State Street will feature a deck, a plaza lawn and a 1,700-square-foot presidential suite.

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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