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Monday, March 18 , 2019, 5:56 pm | Fair 65º


BizHawk: The Little Door Prepares to Unveil New Restaurant

Merged banks to take the American Riviera Bank name, Halloween store takes over G by Guess and SBMenus.com expands to Montecito

Emma Recher, right, will operate The Little Door Santa Barbara Music Lounge restaurant with chef Stephen Goularte, who is staying on after helping open the Piano Gastro Lounge in the space last year.
Emma Recher, right, will operate The Little Door Santa Barbara Music Lounge restaurant with chef Stephen Goularte, who is staying on after helping open the Piano Gastro Lounge in the space last year.                      (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

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The restaurant space at 129 E. Anapumu St. in downtown Santa Barbara has been a lot of different concepts over the past few years — the French Table, the Piano Gastro Lounge, the Piano Riviera Lounge — but new owners hope to bring a bit of stability, along with the name of a Southern California romantic dining hotspot.

Emma Recher and her cousins, Nicolas and Fréderic Meschin, bought the eatery in April with the intent of turning it into a third The Little Door location. The Meschins opened the original in West Los Angeles nearly 20 years ago, adding a second eatery in Santa Monica last year.

Recher hails from France, as do her cousins, whose restaurant consistently takes home most romantic setting awards and accolades for Mediterranean, French and worldly cuisine.

“Nighttime, daytime, it’s always beautiful,” Recher said of the new spot across the street from the Santa Barbara County Courthouse Sunken Gardens.

After less than a year under the Piano Riviera Lounge banner, the name changed in April to The Little Door Santa Barbara Music Lounge, a reference to the eatery playing live jazz music every night, with comedy night on Thursdays.

After the space is renovated — adding a second front entrance, moving the beer and wine bar so it’s half inside and outside, level with the large outdoor patio — it can earn The Little Door name, mirroring the original menu with a Santa Barbara twist on specials.

Recher, a dietitian, kept most staff and chef Stephen Goularte to build a strong local team. This week, the restaurant began serving lunch Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., with dinner from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.

She’s hoping for a December opening, when the eatery will stay open seven days a week.

Merger Chooses American Riviera Name

The union between Santa Barbara’s American Riviera Bank and The Bank of Santa Barbara will operate under the American Riviera Bank name.

Both banks announced the official name choice this week after completion of a branding study — nearly a month after revealing plans to merge and become the second largest community bank based in Santa Barbara with assets over $400 million. That deal is expected to close Jan. 1, 2016.

The union creates an expanded footprint including four branches in Santa Barbara, Montecito and Goleta, as well as full-service mortgage and small business administration lending departments.

G by Guess Closes

The G by Guess store at 820 State St. in Santa Barbara has closed, but seasonal retailer Simply Halloween has already claimed the space.

Simply Halloween, which has been popping up in Santa Barbara ahead of Oct. 31 since the 1970s, will take over the former trendy clothing chain.

Simply Halloween used to temporarily occupy 400 State St. every year, but that space has since been filled more permanently with a Big Dogs retail store.

SBMenus Expands to Montecito

SBMenus.com has expanded its delivery service to include Montecito, with a footprint that now extends from there to Goleta.

SBMenus bills itself as providing a convenient, easy meal option for business professionals, groups, senior citizens and more.

The local company recently a free, user-friendly app making it possible to order restaurant delivery and takeout from any mobile device — complete with order tracking.

SBMenus offers food from more than 80 of Santa Barbara’s favorite restaurants — like Los Agaves, McConnell’s, Joe’s Café and more — and will soon be connecting with Montecito restaurants.

Santa Barbara TOT Increases

In the first month of the new fiscal year, the city of Santa Barbara collected more than $2.2 million in Transient Occupancy Taxes, resulting in a growth of 5.6 percent over the same month last year.

The number of weekend days in a month directly affects lodging revenues and the city’s TOT, and July this year had one extra weekend night.

Zugan Health Hires Director

Santa Barbara-based Zugan Health is growing its patient services by hiring Alex Torres, MD, as medical director.

Zugan Health is a progressive urgent care clinic and wellness services provider that offers patients access to urgent care and general healthcare as well as progressive wellness services such as hydration and vitamin therapy.

Patients can receive service in the clinic, at home or at work through Zugan’s mobile care services unit, and the clinic also offers “telehealth” video consultations.

Dr. Torres brings 20 years of sports medicine experience, along with 15 years practicing as a family, occupational, urgent care and integrative medicine physician. He previously served as the team physician for the USA Volleyball National Teams.

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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