Sri Lanka-native Rajesh Selvarathnam
Sri Lanka-native Rajesh Selvarathnam is the co-owner of Masala Spice, which opened earlier this month in the Calle Real Shopping Center in Goleta. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)

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Masala Spice is Goleta’s newest restaurant. 

The Indian cuisine eatery has opened at 5796 Calle Real, at the site of the former El Pollo Loco in the Calle Real Shopping Center.

Sri Lanka-native Rajesh Selvarathnam is the co-owner, along with his friend, Laxman Perera. Selvarathnam, the executive chef, moved his wife and daughter from San Francisco to open the restaurant on Jan. 2.

“I have never lived in a small town,” he told Noozhawk. “This is a really good town.”

The menu features a variety of traditional Indian dishes, such as Classic Chicken Curry, Chicken Tikka Masala and Lamb Seekh Kebab. Selvarathnam has worked as a chef all over the world, from India to Abu Dhabi and the Royal Caribbean cruise lines.

Selvarathnam said he decided to move to the Good Land to take a chance, and felt like he could serve the best Indian food in the area. The South Coast, he noticed quickly, is not a hotbed for Indian chefs.

“All the Indian chefs are in Los Angeles, and they want $6,000 a month, plus accommodations,” he said. 

So Selvarathnam decided to go at it himself and serve as executive chef.

The restaurant is open from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. for lunch, and then re-opens again from 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. for dinner.

Its offerings include vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free dishes. Masala Spice is closed on Mondays. 

He said he uses 100 percent local ingredients and fresh vegetables. The restaurant’s business has been booming, he said, and he is grateful to the Goleta community.

“The people are very quiet and polite,” he said, noting that the city is much different than the fast-paced life in San Francisco, where there are good Indian restaurants everywhere. 

In some ways, Goleta sort of feels like home. 

“In Sri Lanka, I grew up with a beach nearby,” he said. “I love the smell of the beach.”

Alan Griffin Joins Raymond James & Associates

The Santa Barbara branch of Raymond James & Associates, a financial planning management company, has hired Alan M. Griffin as branch manager. 

“I’m happy to partner with an experienced team of professionals at Raymond James,” Griffin said. “I was looking for a firm with in-depth client resources and a boutique atmosphere, and I’ve found that here.”

He previously worked as a branch manager and financial advisor at D.A. Davidson & Co.

Griffin also worked for 15 years at Dean Witter, 18 years at Smith Barney as a branch manager; and nine years at D.A. Davidson & Co. As an advisor he serves a diverse clientele, including families, businesses and retirees.

The Santa Barbara branch of Raymond James is in the Granada Building, 1216 State St., Suite 500.

Griffin has lived in Santa Barbara for the past 44 years. He is a board member of the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara, and has served on the boards of the American Red Cross and the Family Service Agency.

The Marc sells

Santa Barbara’s first high-density housing apartment project, The Marc, has sold for $56.2 million.

At 3885 State St., the project was approved by the Santa Barbara City Council under the city’s Average Unit-Sized density-incentive program, which allows developers to build high-density apartments to help meet the city’s need for rental housing.

Two bedroom units at the project are advertised as high as $3,900.

Marcus & Millichap brokered the sale on behalf of the sellers, Los Angeles-based The Kor Group, REthink Development and Westport Capital Partners LLC to Realty Center Management.

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at 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