New owners maintain Funk Zone restaurant’s popular elements
Michael and Lisa Amador have continued the recipe for success at The Nook.
They purchased the popular restaurant in Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone in September from longtime master chef Norbert Schulz.
The Nook consists of a food stand and kitchen made from two shipping containers and located inside the Lama Dog Tap Room + Bottle Shop.
Located at 116 Santa Barbara St., The Nook is open seven days a week from 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
The restaurant’s new co-owner and head chef, Mr. Amador, is well-known in the local culinary scene. He is the owner and manager of Uncorked Kitchen in Santa Barbara and is known for his previous role as food and restaurant manager for San Ysidro Ranch in Montecito and the Canary Hotel in Santa Barbara.
The Nook was originally opened by Mr. Schulz.
“When we purchased the restaurant, he was ready to retire,” Mr. Amador told the News-Press. “I think he was looking for somebody who might not change it too much. We came in and saw what a stable business he created: quality food, quality service and a great reputation.
“It was an easy thing for us,” Mr. Amador said. “We have one restaurant right now, and we saw this as an easy addition without having to put a lot of effort into it. We added in some specials that we change up weekly. It was our intention to kind of keep things as they were and keep the formula that Norbert had created.
“We were a little nervous purchasing the restaurant right during COVID, not knowing what the next progression was going to be,” Mr. Amador said. “But we were pleasantly surprised to see it take off and stay strong throughout this last year.”
The Nook is connected to a repurposed warehouse with a winery, brewery and a taproom. The Nook is the building’s food element.
“The idea was to create a nicer, but casual, elevated bar food program. The kitchen is built out of two shipping containers,” Mr. Amador said.
Some of the signature dishes include the spicy fried chicken sandwich and lobster mac and cheese. Some of the signature burgers include The Nook Burger; Topa Burger and Lama Burger. The Topa Burger and Lama Burger are named respectively after a brewery and, as mentioned previously, the tap room that contains The Nook.
The Lama Burger, by the way, includes black angus beef (chuck patty), large roasted Anaheim chile stuffed with mozzarella cheese, beer braised onions, candied bacon strips, house and barbecue sauce, tomato, and romaine, all on a brioche bun.
Sounds like a recipe for success.