SANTA BARBARA — Local restaurant Paradise Café, at 702 Anacapa St., will move forward with a new concept.
Acme Hospitality, which purchased the restaurant in November 2019 from former Santa Barbara City Councilman Randy Rowse, released a statement last week that said “it’s now time to reimagine the future” of the iconic location.
“We remained open as the Paradise Café for two months after Acme took over on January 1, 2020,” the statement read. “We cleaned up the space and kept the menu largely the same while improving the food quality standards, but it wasn’t working.”
The COVID-19 pandemic “gave us an opportunity to pause and reimage the restaurant’s future,” read the statement, issued by Acme Hospitality Owner Sherry Villanueva.
“The pandemic has demanded a reshaping of the entire restaurant industry and forced us to reevaluate our business models as we desperately work for long term sustainability. During these extremely challenging times, all of our local restaurants are counting on the community’s support,” Ms. Villanueva said. “Our new concept will pay homage to the property’s stories past and retain its familiar old-school vibe while celebrating its long history serving our community. Stay tuned for exciting details to come.”
Prior to last year’s sale, Mr. Rowse had been involved with the restaurant since its inception in 1983.
The restaurant is located in a 1915 vintage brick and stucco building that once housed an Italian bakery. La Paloma Café opened at the location in 1938, specializing in Mexican food. Mr. Rowse took over the lease in 1981 and opened in the spring of 1983.
Acme Hospitality also owns several spots in the Funk Zone, with restaurants like The Lark, Loquita, Helena Street Bakery, Tiger Tiger and Pearl Social.
— Mitchell White