Architect Jeff Shelton designed the new Augie’s slated for 700 State St. in Santa Barbara. A soft opening for the restaurant/tequila bar is planned for July.
Architect Jeff Shelton designed the new Augie’s slated for 700 State St. in Santa Barbara. A soft opening for the restaurant/tequila bar is planned for July. (Courtesy rendering)

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As the COVID-19 pandemic nears an end, the restaurant world is heating up.

Several new spots are in the works and under construction in Santa Barbara.

Among them is Augie’s, a high-end tequila bar set to open at 700 State St. It’s a Jeff Shelton building, and the former site of Panera Grill, Left at Albuquerque and other unsuccessful restaurants. 

The restaurant’s general manager, David Peszek, spoke with Noozhawk this week. He said he was excited to bring the restaurant and tequila bar to downtown.

He promises agave spirits, cocktails, “California fresh and healthy cuisine,” and great service.

“It’s a Jeff Shelton space, so it will be funky and fun, with very high-level finishes,” Peszek said. “We will have hundreds of agave spirits behind our 36-foot bar. Culinary will be California fresh, local, healthy with Mexican flavors. And we will be looking to deliver fine dining levels of service, but without the white tablecloth and the stuffiness.”

He’s planning a soft opening for the week of July 11 to benefit various nonprofit organizations.

Peszek said he is also looking to hire and build a “high-performance team that works well together, that is a family, and that is highly compensated at all job roles.”

He said he’s offering benefits to all staff who work more than 30 hours per week and that Augie’s can be a career job. 

Mas Tacos

A new taco place by Los Agaves owner Carlos Luna is coming to the former Dunkin’ Donuts site at 3771 State St.

A new taco place by Los Agaves owner Carlos Luna is coming to the former Dunkin’ Donuts site at 3771 State St. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)

At 3771 State St., another new restaurant is in the works.

Carlos Luna, owner of Los Agaves, plans to open with a simple menu of gourmet tacos.

He’s working with the city on interior renovations of the property, most recently occupied by Dunkin’ Donuts.

The idea is to sell authentic tacos at a reasonable price. There’s no word yet on when the restaurant will open. 

Montecito Opening

On Coast Village Road, Lucky’s brand entrepreneur Gene Montesano is opening Oye Vey Maria’s Jewish Italian Delicatessen.

His catchphrase is, “Wise guys eat here.”

The new restaurant is under construction at 1150 Coast Village Road.

Montesano let people know about his latest business endeavor via Instagram.

Broadway Star Returns

Former Broadway star, professional dancer and fitness model Cristy Candler has returned to Santa Barbara and has launched a new business, Of Sound Body.

Cristy Candler

Cristy Candler (Courtesy photo)

“Of Sound BOdy is the synthesis of decades of somatic work I have done as a dancer, yogi and mover,” Candler said in a statement. “My intention is to embody and share grounded practices for healing. I believe we each have the potential to right ourselves, to find alignment in our bodies and harmony in our surroundings. I see my work as a way to help each person discover and unlock the healer within.”

Candler has a bachelor’s degree in dance and theater from Loyola Marymount University. She has performed in Broadway hits such as “Aida,” “Wicked,” “Chicago” and “Rock of Ages,” according to publicist Jennifer Goddard Combs. She has also made appearances at the Super Bowl, the Tony Awards, Madison Square Garden and at The Kennedy Center. She has also modeled for Yoga Journal, Body & Soul and Real Simple magazines.

She holds certifications and accreditations in advanced crystal sound energy, restorative yoga, jivamukti yoga, laughing lotus yoga and interior alignment.

No Longer Rockin’

Once-popular frozen yogurt place Rockin’ Yogurt has closed its doors at 620 State St. in Santa Barbara.

The shop was a good spot for a treat after a movie at the Metro Theatres next door.

New Restaurant on State Street

Mezze Santa Barbara is coming to 413 State St., the site of the former JJ’s Diner. 

An Instagram post calls it a “Mediterranean Street Kitchen.”

The website says the restaurant is “coming soon.”

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at jmolina@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Joshua Molina

Joshua Molina, Noozhawk Staff Writer

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at jmolina@noozhawk.com.