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Coffee Cat Restaurant in Santa Barbara Will Close at Month’s End

Popular spot across the street from County Administration Building and Superior Court serves up coffee, sandwiches and crepes

Coffee Cat will permanently close its doors on Aug. 31 due to financial struggles, owner Krista Fritzen said. Click to view larger
Coffee Cat will permanently close its doors on Aug. 31 due to financial struggles, owner Krista Fritzen said.  (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)

After more than 20 years of business, Coffee Cat nestled on the intersection of Anapamu and Anacapa Streets across from the Santa Barbara Courthouse, will serve its last cup on Aug. 31.

“We would like to thank our amazing customers and staff for your loyalty and friendship, we will miss our Coffee Cat family,” owner Krista Fritzen wrote on a sign posted on the front counter. “It has been an honor to be apart of this special community.”

Coffee Cat, at 1201 Anacapa St., will permanently close its doors after financial struggles, according to Fritzen.

“The shop needed a financial investment,” said Fritzen, who bought Coffee Cat in 2003 and co-owns the shop with her husband. “It’s hard to close it.”

Barista America Estrada said the 10 employees were devastated by this week's announcement.

“It’s disappointing to see local a business shut down,” Estrada said. “I’m sad and customers are too. Coffee Cat will live in our hearts forever.”

Estrada worked at Coffee Cat for more than a year, and said the cafe functions as a favorite spot for locals. But despite its popularity, there are no plans to revive the shop in another location. 

“We have a lot of regulars and people have been coming here for years. People come here to work, study and relax,” Estrada said. “Everyone is one big family and we are all separating.”

Coffee Cat serves up a number of coffee items and dishes, including espresso drinks, teas, smoothies, specialty sandwiches and crepes. The Santa Barbara-based Green Star Coffee known for its signature organic coffee roastery and fair-trade blends was offered to customers.

Coffee Cat offers bags of the Santa Barbara-based Green Star Coffee for sale along with its coffee drinks, sandwiches and crepes. Click to view larger
Coffee Cat offers bags of the Santa Barbara-based Green Star Coffee for sale along with its coffee drinks, sandwiches and crepes.  (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)

“We also make our own vanilla here, so it tastes different than other places,” Estrada said. “People usually don’t realize how much time it takes.”

The 22-year-old also said the goat cheese, spinach, tomato and pesto crepe was a popular customer’s choice.

Santa Barbara resident Joan Fairfield said the cafe has become a popular hangout for the local neighborhood scene and coffee lovers. For 37 years, she has worked across the street at the county District Attorney’s Office.

“Coffee Cat is a gathering place. It has always been the spot for people who work nearby to come let loose after a long day,” Fairfield said. “It’s a great place and devastating that it has to close down. The staff is always friendly and I’ve watched some of them grow up since it first opened.”

Coffee Cat houses a small outside courtyard seating area, inside tables and booths. Local art surrounds the intimate space, and at noon on Thursday, the cafe had a small line for the lunchtime rush and midday coffee pick-me-up.

“It’s a lively atmosphere,” Estrada said. “We were busy during the morning and lunch.”

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland 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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