Maiz Picante Taqueria.
Bienvenidos, Maiz Picante Taqueria. The new Mexican restaurant is opening soon on Santa Barbara’s Upper De la Vina Street. Credit: Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo

Another Mexican food restaurant is headed to Santa Barbara.

Maiz Picante Taqueria appears close to opening at 2714 De la Vina St. The restaurant has a new sign posted above the doors, and the windows are taped up.

The restaurant also launched an Instagram page this week with the post:

Modern Mexican Taqueria COMING SOON … #tacosalpastor #tacosdebirria #mexicantacos.

Santa Barbara has experienced a wave of new Mexican restaurants in recent months. At the top of bill is Corazon Comedor, at 29 E. Victoria St., which is owned by entrepreneur Ramon Velazquez. He has a popular restaurant and coffee spot inside the Santa Barbara Public Market.

Then there’s Elena’s Kitchen, at 738 State St., owned by Maria Elena Rangel. The family also owns City Hats and SB Sweets, an ice cream and candy store, in Paseo Nuevo mall.

Also recently opened is Azul Cocina, 7 E. Anapamu St.

Coming later this year is a restaurant that will feature traditional Mexican street tacos by Carlos Luna, the owner of Los Agaves and Flor de Maiz. The restaurant will take the spot of the former Dunkin’ Donuts, 3771 State St.

Rug Store Closes

Aga John Oriental Rugs.
Aga John Oriental Rugs on Hope Avenue in Santa Barbara has been mostly demolished. Credit: Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo

The former rug store on Hope Avenue is now mostly just a pile of rubble.

Noozhawk spotted the half-demolished site Wednesday night, and returned Thursday morning in full daylight to find the Aga John Oriental Rugs letters still hanging on one concrete wall and a “Store Closing, Huge Sale” sign on another wall.

In between and all around the walls, however, were stacks of wood debris, mangled rebar and steel beams.

The site, at 15 S. Hope Ave., is fenced off and it appears to have been that way for at least a few days. Public records scoured by Noozhawk for the address show an approved 41,187-square-foot, mixed-use building with an underground parking garage for the site, one detached residential unit and 48 bicycle parking spaces. It’s unclear whether that’s the project underway.

New Hires at Westerlay Orchids

Carpinteria-based Westerlay Orchids has hired two new executives, Bradley Blaes and Nick McCoy.

Nick McCoy Credit: Courtesy photo
Bradley Blaes
Bradley Blaes Credit: Courtesy photo

Blaes, who will serve as key account manager, has worked with major retailers to bring potted plant programs to market throughout the United States, according to a news release.

“Brad brings experience, insight and expertise to Westerlay,” owner and president Toine Overgaag said in a news release. “As a respected executive in the industry, he’s the perfect person to work with our much-valued customers. He will be a dynamic contributor to our continued growth.” 

Braes worked as national accounts sales manager and general manager for The Pinery.

Sales specialist McCoy will work as an account representative. According to a press release, his experience includes retail operations, implementing and maintaining corporate merchandise guidelines, perishable product and corporate programs, managing quality assurance, and monitoring sales programs to drive sales and profits.

“Nick is a proven sales deliverer and will be an excellent addition to our team,” Overgaag said. “His years of experience in the floral industry give him an understanding of the unique needs to drive business in this industry.” 

Bank Expansion in Santa Maria

American Riviera Bank has opened a branch in Santa Maria.

“We recognize Santa Maria’s importance to the Central Coast’s economy and identity,” said Jeff DeVine, president and CEO of American Riviera Bank. “We are thrilled to support this growth and development by offering true community banking opportunities that will support the ongoing expansion of the region.”   

According to a press release, the new commercial banking center will meet the diverse banking needs of a region experiencing rapid economic and community growth. Products and services will support businesses, retail operations, mortgage and more, a news release stated.

It also will provide loan options for individuals looking to open new businesses, expand current operations, build, or renovate homes.

The new location is expected to open Monday at 2605 S. Miller St., Suite 108, in downtown Santa Maria.

Pet Care on Saturdays

The San Roque Pet Hospital is now open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays for pet urgent care.

No appointment is needed, and people can walk in until 4:30 p.m.

“Just like humans, some things just can’t wait! That’s what URGENT CARE is for,” according to a news release.

Joshua Molina

Joshua Molina, Noozhawk Staff Writer

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at