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2017 was a rough year for many South Coast businesses.
High rents, the success of Amazon as an online shopping destination, and the heavy presence of homeless people put a headlock on many State Street businesses, and some of them got squeezed out.
One of Santa Barbara’s best-known downtown restaurants, Tupelo Junction, was one of the latest casualties of the morose business environment. The restaurant closed its doors in late November, and moved to Newport Beach.
The windows of the former eatery at 1218 State St., next to the Granada Theatre, were papered up, even though the canvas sign with the faded name still hangs above the vacant building.
The year saw the end of numerous restaurant on State Street and throughout the South Coast. Barbarians Pizza, Aldo’s Italian Restaurant, The Mex Authentic, Blush and Bucatini were among the prominent restaurants on State Street that took a dive in 2017.
While each one had a unique reason for closing its doors, they all suffered from a decline in foot traffic on Santa Barbara’s most well-known street. The flourishing of the Funk Zone has also attracted many tourists and locals from State Street.
A half-block off State Street, Somerset, 7 E. Anapamu St., closed its doors in October. It re-opened in November, with a more affordable menu, nothing over $20.
The business exodus was not confined to State Street or restaurants. Glenda’s Party Cove in Loreto Plaza disappeared after more than 30 years in business. Victorian Vogue & Costume Shoppe at 4289 State St. announced plans to close.
Goleta also saw its fair share of business demise.
Just this week, Dickey’s Barbecue Pit in the Hollister Village development shut its doors. National chain Outback high-tailed it out of the Calle Real Shopping Center in November. The restaurant is apparently looking for a new location in the area, but a rent increase forced its departure.
In the same shopping center Papa John’s Pizza closed in August and Paloma Mexican Restaurant fizzled in January.
Across town, Sage & Onion in Old Town Goleta went out of business. Zizzo’s Coffeehouse had unceremonious demise in the Hollister Village, near Smart & Final, and a few doors down from Dickey’s.
The year also saw the end of the venerable Burger Bus, which blamed excessive city of Santa Barbara regulations for rolling out of town in June.
The year, however, was not all bad for entrepreneurs looking to take a chance on a dream.
Sharkey’s Woodfired Mexican Grill opened in June in Hollister Village. Cajun Kitchen in July opened another location at 6025 Calle Real, at the site of the former Rusty’s Pizza.
In late summer, two German-Italian men, Marcello Bisignan and Marco Coccia, opened Ukreb at 413 State Street, where they specialize in selling the German and Turkish street food, Donor Kebap.
Beau Lawrence opened Ace Rivington, 1114 State St. #25. The men’s denim clothing store is named after a fictional character hatched in Lawrence’s mind.
Rivington is an adventurous pilot who travels the world in denim jeans. Ace is a cool pilot’s name, he said, and Rivington is a combination of “A River Runs Through It” (Ace is also an accomplished fisherman) and Remington guns.
Craft Ramen, 436 State St., in September opened at the site of the former Bucatini Italian restaurant. Sunny Korean restaurant also opened at 532 State St. in September.
Guichos, fast-casual Italian food, opened in Carpinteria, as did Heritage Goods & Supply, a homesteading business at 5100 Carpinteria Ave.
And there’s more hope on the way, particularly for people looking for another family-style restaurant.
Islands in La Cumbre Plaza, at the site of the former Marmalade Cafe, is set to open this spring.
— 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.