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BizHawk: Mesa Burger Combines Gourmet, Fast-Casual Concepts in New Santa Barbara Restaurant

MacSuperstore becomes iMechanics, Nikka Ramen opens in Goleta, and local banks expand management teams

Owners Cat Cora and Chris Chiarappa want Mesa Burger to serve gourmet food in a family-friendly setting. Click to view larger
Owners Cat Cora and Chris Chiarappa want Mesa Burger to serve gourmet food in a family-friendly setting.  (Sam Goldman / Noozhawk photo)

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Thought up on a surf trip, brought to life with star power and offering an artisanal menu, Mesa Burger strikes one as a quintessential Santa Barbara establishment.

The restaurant, which opened Monday at 315 Meigs Road in the city’s Mesa neighborhood, is the creation of friends and owners Cat Cora and Chris Chiarappa.

Mesa Burger’s menu is based around sustainably-sourced ingredients and handcrafted burgers, and includes salads, a kids’ menu, local craft beer and wine, shakes and McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams.

The restaurant took over the former home of Mexican Fresh Taqueria, and underwent extensive renovations to perfect an open-air layout facilitated by wide roll-up garage doors.

“This was thought about on a surf trip a couple years ago with a bunch of friends, talking about what we thought the Mesa needed,” Chiarappa said.

In addition to being the first female Iron Chef on the Food Network’s Iron Chef America, Cora, a nationally renowned chef, is the mastermind behind several restaurants around the country and has hosted her own cooking programs.

Opening up the new restaurant was not a simple task, she said, and required studying up on its geographic location, its audience and what sells in the city.

“I had to find a fine balance between what the neighborhood restaurant would be, what the food would look like, what a craft-burger restaurant would look like, and what’s going on out in the industry,” she said.

“We wanted to create an environment that was gourmet, that was craft, but that was family friendly, that was open and airy,” Chiarappa added.

Cora called their first week in business “gangbusters.”

Mesa Burger is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Santa Barbara’s MacSuperstore becomes iMechanics

MacSuperstore of 216 E. Gutierrez St. in Santa Barbara has become iMechanics, the computer and networking arm of Santa Barbara-based technology services company SecurePRO.

iMechanics also took over the MacSuperstore in San Luis Obispo.

The Apple repair store had specialized in data recovery, took walk-ins and repaired a product for pretty much any reason.

SecurePRO president and CEO Abe Schryer told Noozhawk that the company will keep the basic MacSuperstore model, but expand the location’s services while keeping most employees.

Starting Monday, the company began adding 20 new tech employees to its iMechanics stores.

Schryer said SecurePRO saw the takeover as an opportunity to bring in more Apple customers and expand its services, which also include computer repair, home and business networks, security installation, home automation and electrical services.

Nikka Ramen opens in Goleta

Nikka Ramen opened its doors at 5701 Calle Real in Goleta at the end of November.

The Japanese restaurant comes from the owners of Sushi Teri, which has a location across the street, and one each in Santa Barbara, Carpinteria and Lompoc.

Nikka Ramen takes over the spot in the Calle Real Shopping Center from the India Club restaurant, which closed this summer.

Also included in Sushi Teri’s family of establishments is Nikka Fish Market & Grill, which has locations at 5722 Calle Real and 825 N. H St. in Lompoc.

Heritage Oaks Bank and Rabobank expand local management teams

Paso Robles-based Heritage Oaks Bank named Joseph Audelo as first vice president, commercial relationship manager for its Santa Barbara commercial lending team at 1035 State St.

It was also announced Tuesday that the parent company of Heritage Oaks Bank is being acquired by Irvine-based Pacific Premier Bancorp Inc. in a deal valued at more than $405 million.

In Carpinteria, Leo Fortunato was named a banking services manager for Rabobank N.A.’s 5030 Carpinteria Ave. location.

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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