After 16 years, Chad’s on Chapala will soon be closing. The quaint gourmet restaurant is known for its specialty drinks, live music, young crowd and signature pink Victorian building.

Owner Chad Stevens on Monday gave Noozhawk a letter he recently sent to friends announcing the decision he and his wife, Michelle, made to sell the property at 625 Chapala St.

“You may have known we have been in the process of building an addition onto Chad’s,” he wrote. “We have been working on this process for the last four years. During the end of this process we sat down and asked ourselves, ‘Are we committing ourselves to the best decision for our family’s future?’”

Stevens, who also owns Sambo’s on Cabrillo Boulevard, did not say in the letter when Chad’s would close, but noted it would remain open “until escrow closes.” Nor did he say who is purchasing the property. Radius Group Commercial Real Estate represented Stevens, and the 2,100-square-foot property was listed at $1.8 million.

He did say he has no current plans to close Sambo’s, which was co-founded by Stevens’ grandfather, Sam Battistone Sr., in the 1950s.

Sambo’s mushroomed into a nationwide chain in the 1970s, but by the early ‘80s had shrunk back to one location, the original restaurant on Cabrillo.

The Victorian building that houses Chad’s was built in 1876, according to the restaurant’s Web site. It was built by local businessman and politician Charles E. Sherman, who raised cows and ran a butcher shop.

“This house is known to be haunted by the ghosts of cows,” the Web site says. “The cows have become our friends here at Chad’s. If you see a spirit, please notify the management.”

The restaurant has received the “Best Happy Hour” award from the Santa Barbara Independent for six years running.

“Please know that this has been the hardest decision for us to make,” Stevens wrote in the letter. “But as sad as we are, we also have so much excitement about what might await us around the next corner.

“Life is short and we want to live every day to it’s fullest.  Wish us luck in our new adventures.”

Rob Kuznia, Noozhawk Staff Writer

— Noozhawk staff writer Rob Kuznia can be reached at