Dining increases at Coast Village Road restaurants
Restaurants on Coast Village Road are back to business, and customers are back to dining in person.
After more than a year of constant changes and pivots, eateries such as Tre Lune, Lucky’s and Ca’Dario are again seeing crowded weekends and bustling weekdays.
Gene Montesano is the owner of a myriad of businesses in Montecito and Santa Barbara including Tre Lune Restaurant, Lucky’s Steakhouse, Joe’s Cafe, Lucky Brand Jeans, D’Angelo Bakery, Bucatini Restaurant and more. He told the News-Press that people are loving the closure of State Street to vehicular traffic as well as the outdoor dining adaptations.
And, Mr. Montesano said, the numbers prove it.
“It’s like a Renaissance, which I predicted would happen,” he said.
He described both Tre Lune and Lucky’s as “on fire” with the numbers of customers showing up, and Tre Lune is back to pre-COVID numbers and even exceeding them on some nights.
“I think a lot of it has to do with outside dining that we’ve been able to do with the parklets,” Mr. Montesano said. “I hope that we can keep them because if we can, I don’t see why business would slow down, and if it doesn’t, it’s going to go back to the way it used to be. People are loving being outside and sitting in these parklets. I’m hearing that from lots of other businesses where they’re able to do that.”
While Ca’Dario’s Coast Village Road location opened quietly during April 2020, customers who frequented the other locations in Santa Barbara and Goleta are showing up to support the new Italian restaurant on Coast Village Road.
“We’ve been blessed with a lot of return customers, generally local people that have really been the backbone of our business since we opened,” Fernando Gomes, the general manager of the Coast Village Road Ca’Dario, told the News-Press.
The manager said it’s not only the weekend and dinner crowds coming back, but even the early afternoon lunch crowds too. And with a greater seating capacity outdoors than indoors, most people prefer to dine outdoors.
“(But) it’s a funny proposition — some people insist on indoors, and other people are insulted at the mere suggestion (of indoor seating),” Mr. Gomes said. “You can’t win sometimes, but for the most part, we’re able to accommodate both.”
Meanwhile, it’s more seats the merrier at Mr. Montesano’s establishments compared to pre-COVID times.
“Our regulars have more seating so now you have more people coming to fill more seats,” he said. “We have the weather for it. Even though this was a pretty cold winter, there was no slowing down. We had the heaters, and everyone was comfortable.”
In addition to the regulars, Coast Village Road businesses are seeing many visitors from Los Angeles and other parts of the state and country. Mr. Montesano said that with the addition of outdoor dining, the region is gaining a European feel. He added that many decades-long customers are returning to dining inside as well.
“I always think we’re going to swim with other fish,” Mr. Gomes of Ca’Dario said. “I’m hoping that once school is out and people are more able to enjoy leisure travel, I think we’re definitely going to see an uptick.”
Mr. Montesano shares Mr. Gomes’ enthusiasm.
“I think Coast Village Road is on fire. People love it. We have people from all over,” Mr. Montesano said. “I predicted the people who want to be more careful would stay home and the people who want to live will go out, and it’s turning into that.”