End of era for longtime Santa Barbara restaurant; Enterprise Fish Co. also among closures
After 75 years of serving delicious German fare to Santa Barbara and Goleta locals, the beloved Dutch Garden restaurant at 4203 State St. will serve its last meal this Saturday before closing its doors for good.
Open since 1945, Dutch Garden has remained a local favorite by serving up delicious dishes including schnitzel; German sausages like weisswurst, bratwurst and knockwurst; sauerkraut; and a variety of sandwiches.
Each meal could be washed down with a huge assortment of lagers, pilsners and ales from Germany and Belgium.
Although many businesses have been forced to close up shop due to the financial strain of the COVID-19 pandemic, commenters on Facebook and a Santa Barbara area blogger, The Restaurant Guy, have reported that the owners were planning to retire next year anyway.
It seems that the pandemic brought their decades’ long journey to an end earlier than intended.
The more than 150 commenters on the Dutch Garden’s Facebook page are saddened by the news, and they shared memories and comments about their favorite qualities about their favorite “hidden gem” and “secret local spot.”
“Terrible! I LOVED that place! Yet another heartbreak in SB,” commented Billy Gill.
“Heartbroken. Next to La Tolteca, the worst delicious cultural loss I can remember,” said David Palladino.
Many commented that they will try to visit for the first time before the restaurant closes, while other longtime customers said they would stop by for a meal and a drink one last time.
One commenter mentioned that the restaurant has been busier than ever following the news.
Dutch Garden is far from the only Santa Barbara-area staple to close its doors permanently amid the coronavirus crisis. Along with favorites like Endless Summer Bar & Cafe, Chuck’s Waterfront Grill and Zizzo’s Coffee in Goleta, it has been reported that Enterprise Fish Co. at 225 State St. will not reopen after closing in March due to COVID-19.
Although the restaurant has not made an official statement, employees have said plans to reopen have been canceled, according to local blogger John Dickson, also known as The Restaurant Guy.
The restaurant’s website still greets visitors with a “temporarily closed” notice, and attempts to contact the business via phone are met with a disconnected message.
Open since 1977, Enterprise Fish Co. launched a GoFundMe campaign in March to assist its employees during the pandemic. Found at https://www.gofundme.com/f/1xlh37kg5c, the fundraiser had reached $4,434 of its $15,000 goal by June 25.
“All of us here at Enterprise Fish Co Santa Barbara are so grateful for the relationships we’ve built over the course of 42 years,” read the campaign message. “We cannot thank you enough for allowing us to be of service to you.”