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Wednesday, January 23 , 2019, 6:56 pm | Fair 55º


BizHawk: Los Arroyos Restaurant Spicing Things Up with Renovations, Menu Updates

El Encanto Hotel hires new general manager, Fit Angel Apparel launches locally and Maps.com earns awards

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Free fresh-baked tortilla chips, eight kinds of salsa and a long list of menu favorites have earned Los Arroyos Mexican Restaurant plenty of loyal Santa Barbara patrons since 1999.

With nearly two decades total under its belt, and 10 years since moving into a second location in Montecito, the family-owned restaurant and take-out plans to renovate its space at 1280 Coast Village Road and has hired a new chef who hails from Mexico to spice things up.

Customers love the menu too much to change much, but chef Juan Vaca will focus attention on presentation as much as the eatery already values quality, locally grown ingredients and homemade cuisine, according to owner Tony Arroyo, who grew up locally and started his own restaurant after working his way up from a teenage dishwasher, also from Mexico.

Vaca, who has conjured up new tapas-like dishes and salmon tacos, will serve as regional director for kitchens in all restaurants — downtown Santa Barbara, Montecito and a Camarillo location that opened six years ago in the Camarillo Premium Outlets.

After renovating the bathrooms in Montecito, Arroyo said the kitchen, patio and dining room were next.

“It’s still a casual restaurant,” he said. “It’s not a fancy restaurant. We always make everything fresh.”

As part of its upgrades, Los Arroyos just launched “Taco Tuesdays” in Santa Barbara, offering $2 tacos all day in a promotion that will soon reach all locations, along with a happy hour from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday (launching soon in Montecito) and breakfast service from 9 a.m. to noon beginning sometime in December.

El Encanto Gets New Manager

El Encanto Hotel has hired Ojai Valley Inn & Spa general manager Shaun O’Bryan to take over a similar position at the Santa Barbara hotel.

Former general manager Laura McIver, who helped spearhead El Encanto’s reopening in March 2013, left her post in September to become vice president and general manager at Miraval Resort & Spa in Tucson, Ariz. A reason for her departure was not available.

O’Bryan will start the new job Dec. 1.

El Encanto Hotel, located at 800 Alvarado Place, reopened in spring 2013 after being closed for six years during extensive renovations.

Locals Launch Fit Angel Apparel

Two local fitness gurus have launched their own clothing line called Fit Angel Apparel.

Founders Alisa Wilcox, who owns Social Status Media, and Heidi Biggs, a hair stylist at Cheri Bibi Hair Salon who also owns Heidi Biggs Hair Design, launched an online store for their brand of tank tops promoting fitness this month.

The Santa Barbara residents and workout gurus became friends after competing for years in National Physique Committee amateur bodybuilding shows, which is how they came up with the idea to create their own signature tanks with thoughtful anecdotes, the most popular of which is currently “I sweat love.”

Wilcox said Fit Angel Apparel has sold more than 100 shirts so far, with plans to pursue an online store only at this time.

Maps.com Earns Awards

A map-producing product launched by Santa Barbara-based startup Maps.com has received three awards since its release in June.

Field Trip Library has earned an excellence award for outstanding education technology from national education trade magazine, Tech & Learning Magazine. The Map Industry Association of peers gave Maps.com a silver award for using location-based technology for the same product.

The company’s product also received a special achievement in GIS (SAG) Award at the Esri International User Conference in San Diego.

Maps.com has recently signed large-scale agreements with publishing giants like Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and McGraw Hill Education. Field Trip Library is available to Santa Barbara County schools as part of subscriptions to Maps101.

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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