Tuesday, November 21 , 2017, 1:36 pm | Fair 80º

 
 
 
 

Business

BizHawk: ‘World-Class’ Somerset Restaurant Prepares to Open in Downtown Santa Barbara

The city’s Julienne and Gandolfo’s restaurants close, and American Riviera Bank welcomes new VP

Somerset, featuring ‘progressive California cuisine with rustic French and Italian influences, will open Dec. 9 at 7 E. Anapamu St. in Santa Barbara. Click to view larger
Somerset, featuring ‘progressive California cuisine with rustic French and Italian influences, will open Dec. 9 at 7 E. Anapamu St. in Santa Barbara. (Sam Goldman / Noozhawk photo)

BizHawk is published weekly, and includes items of interest to the business community. Share your business news, including employee announcements and personnel moves, by emailing [email protected]

Steve Hermann fell in love with Santa Barbara after moving to Montecito seven years ago, but had one objection: “My big complaint with it is I just don’t think the food tastes very good.”

After the Arts & Letters Café closed last year in downtown Santa Barbara, the designer of high-end celebrity homes in Los Angeles went all out reconstructing the site for his second venture into the high-end hospitality business.

“We’ve spent millions of dollars and two years completely rebuilding the entire facility, ground up,” he said.

On Dec. 9, Somerset, featuring “progressive California cuisine with rustic French and Italian influences,” will open at 7 E. Anapamu St.

Hermann even convinced the chef of his favorite restaurant, A.O.C. in Los Angeles, to lead Somerset’s kitchen.

The goal, Hermann said, is a “world-class” restaurant that won’t compete with its fellow Santa Barbara establishments, but “against the best restaurants in the world.”

The designer’s first foray into the hospitality industry was in Palm Springs with L’Horizon Hotel and Spa.

Somerset’s interior will have a “classic type of feel to it” with a mid-century-modern twist, he said, while the courtyard, bolstered by 500-year-old olive trees craned in over the roof, will feel like a “great, grand café in London.”

“Step into the back and you could be in Tuscany, you could be in old Greece,” Hermann said. “It’s very hard to determine where you are because you feel like you’ve been transported to another place and another time.

“The space is absolutely gorgeous — gorgeous to the point where we expect we should win multiple design awards against the best restaurants in the world.”

Julienne closes its doors after eight years

Julienne, at 138 E. Canon Perdido St. in Santa Barbara, closed its doors on Nov. 12 after eight years.

In an email to patrons and fans, Chef Justin West said he is selling the restaurant to focus more on his family and Wildwood Kitchen, another restaurant of his at 410 E. Haley St. that opened last December.

According to West, Julienne will continue offering fixed menus on select days — reservation required — as he looks for a buyer.

The gourmet establishment, which utilized ingredients from local farmers markets, garnered wide acclaim during its time.

In 2013, the restaurant won best dish over dozens of other restaurants around the country at the James Beard Foundation’s Local Dish Challenge.

Gandolfo’s has likely served its last sandwich

Gandolfo’s, a New York-style deli, is no longer serving up sandwiches at 718 State St. in Santa Barbara.

The franchisee had to close down for personal reasons, said Dan Pool, Gandolfo’s CEO.

The windows of the restaurant were recently papered over, and Pool said he doesn’t expect it to reopen.

“We don’t currently see the situation changing,” he said.

Gandolfo’s was founded in 1989 in Utah and grew into a national chain. The closest location is now in Oxnard.

American Riviera Bank welcomes new VP

American Riviera Bank has a new vice president and commercial banking officer in Bryan Smith, the bank announced this week.

“He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in the construction, development and commercial real estate area,” American Riviera executive vice president and COO Joanne Funari said in a statement.

Smith has worked in the Santa Barbara banking industry and in local real estate for 30 years, according to the bank.

American Riviera has locations in Santa Barbara, Goleta and Montecito.

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.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click here to get started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.



Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >

Meet Your Realtor Sponsored by Village Properties


Patricia Griffin
"I am very hands on and feel that each transaction is special and different. My clients goals are foremost in what I do to bring about a successful transaction."

Full Profile >