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Alessia Guehr didn’t mind talking to a reporter on Thursday morning, as long as the reporter followed her while she worked. When starting a business, there’s not a lot of time to stand still.
The restaurant owner isn’t the type of manager who points and watches her employees. She puts in the work herself. While stirring hot toffee cooking on the stove, Guehr explained the passion behind her craft.
“I was born into it,” said Guehr, whose parents have owned restaurants since the 1980s. “It’s in my blood. I really had no other choice but to go down this path.”
On July 1, Guehr will launch her own restaurant, Alessia Patisserie & Cafe, at 134 E. Canon Perdido St. in Santa Barbara. The restaurant is a modern, European-inspired bakery.
“The food is a little bit European-inspired, but more just an American cafe,” she said.
Guehr worked at the Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore after she graduated from Dos Pueblos High School, moving up from summer helper to assistant pastry chef. After about nine years, she worked at Bouchon, then moved to the Bay Area, where she worked at a bakery. She came back to Santa Barbara and helped her father open up the Nook, at 120 Santa Barbara St.
Now, it is her time.
“I didn’t want to go back to a hotel,” Guehr said. “I didn’t want to work for anybody else. The next step for me was to have my own space.”
She will sell French-inspired pastries. Her speciality is croissants. Her shop also will sell candy, truffles, muffins, scones, cookes and other items.
“It’s just taking simple ingredients and elevating them,” Guehr said.
She said pastries and baking are second nature to her. She prefers to work with her hands.
“This is not like coming to work,” Guehr said. “It’s like my life.”
On Thursday, Guehr was busy cooking and preparing for the opening next week.
She said she knows her food will make people happy.
“My goal is for people to come and taste desserts and have food here that brings them back to a time in their life,” Guehr said. “There’s a lot of enjoyment in pleasing people. If someone has a bad day and they come in here and have a cake and it changes their day, that ultimately makes us feel like we are doing our job right.”
Return of an Icon
There’s nothing fishy about this news.
Carlos Maldonado of Something’s Fishy has acquired the Hibachi Steak House & Sushi Bar at 502 State St. in Santa Barbara, and he plans to reopen in mid-July.
“I owned Something’s Fishy in Woodland Hills for the last 17 years, and will operate Hibachi Steak House with original Something’s Fishy standards,” Maldonado said.
The Hibachi Steak House & Sushi Bar was known for its grilling in the middle of the restaurant for all to see. It closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, but it appears that this fish will swim again.
New Funk Zone Store Opens
Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone is now home to Sbmidmod at 223 Anacapa St.
The store features a curated collection of rare finds and unique pieces.
Antique dealer Tracey Strobel has more than 20 years of experience sourcing, researching and restoring pieces, according to a news release.
“She has an eye and a passion for art and functional objects that can be used in everyday life,” the news release states.
The grand opening is set for 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday. Its regular hours are noon to 5:30 p.m. Thursdays and 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and by appointment.
Business Survival Update
The COVID-19 pandemic wasn’t good for many businesses across the nation and along the South Coast. Yet, some entrepreneurs were comfortable navigating the treacherous ledge.
A year ago, as reported in BizHawk, Anthony and Cynthia Estrella launched a local brand 9Round gym in the Target Shopping Center. Despite the indoor gym closures laid down by Gov. Gavin Newsom twice during the pandemic, 9Round gym is still kicking. It temporarily moved to an outdoor location during the pandemic, but is back in business indoors in Goleta, at 6831 Hollister Ave.
A year ago this week, Zizzo’s at 370 Storke Road closed its doors. The drive-thru coffee shop is sort of like real estate gold in Goleta. New drive-thru spots are no longer permitted. The owner of the property, John Price, plans to keep an unidentified drive-thru coffee shop at the site, and build a four-hose gas station on the site. He also plans to demolish and rebuild the existing car wash farther back on the property.
Also a year ago in BizHawk, Montecito’s Coast & Olive at 1295 Coast Village Road opened amid the pandemic — and is still going strong.
Romanti-Ezer, the longtime Mexican food restaurant on the corner of Ortega and Chapala streets in Santa Barbara, wasn’t so lucky, closing its doors a year ago this month.
Oakberry Acai Bowls opened a year in Paseo Nuevo, at 819B, and is still serving up healthy meals.
— Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at email@example.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.