Longtime Owners Sell Paradise Cafe

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Longtime Owners Sell Paradise Cafe
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Paradise Cafe (courtesy photo)

By edhat staff

The longtime owners of Paradise Cafe have recently sold their business to Sherry Villanueva and the ACME Hospitality Group.

The initial tip was reported by The Restaurant Guy and followed up by John Palminteri of KEYT.

Owner and former Santa Barbara city councilmember Randy Rowse opened the business on the corner of Ortega and Anacapa Streets 37 years ago. The iconic restaurant with a bright neon sign is in a 1915 vintage brick and stucco building that once housed an Italian bakery.  Attached to the main building is a Victorian structure that served as the proprietor’s residence.

In 1938, La Paloma Cafe opened in the same spot serving Mexican food to residents as well as the servicemen who were based at what is now UC Santa Barbara during WWII. It's rumored that 1940's movie star Leo Carrillo visited the establishment after the Fiesta Parade and was known to tie up his horse in front of the cafe, according to Paradise Cafe's website.

ACME Hospitality Group owns a number of restaurants in the recently gentrified Funk Zone. The boutique food and beverage owns The Lark, The Lucky Penny, Helena Avenue Bakery, Loquita, Tyger Tyger, Monkey Shine, Notary Public, and the Santa Barbara Wine Collective.

The new plans for Paradise Cafe have yet to be announced.


[Editor's Note: An earlier version of this article included Dart Coffee Company which is not part of ACME Hospitality]

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dabbsie Nov 20, 2019 10:59 AM
Longtime Owners Sell Paradise Cafe

Hey Roger- I know I’m not alone in saying I appreciate all you do. I’d be happy to buy you a burger or lunch at the Paradise Cafe. I can arrange for payment. I just emailed EDHat and included my phone number.

Roger Nov 20, 2019 01:00 PM
Longtime Owners Sell Paradise Cafe

Thank You very much DABBSIE but I don't go out anymore because I don't have teeth, I really Appreciate the offer it's very nice of you...

aragorn Nov 19, 2019 10:09 AM
Longtime Owners Sell Paradise Cafe

I wish it was still La Paloma Cafe. One of the best Mexican Restaurants a long time ago. The long time restaurants that are left is Arnoldis, Rose Cafe (on the 400 block of E. Haley) The Breakwater, Sambos, Moby Dick's, The Harbor Restaurant, Joes Cafe, Harry's Plaza Cafe, the Tee Off and the Dutch Gardens. If I forgotten any on my list, please come up with some that any of you know. Between the 30's and early 60's that still exist.

kids Nov 19, 2019 09:12 AM
Longtime Owners Sell Paradise Cafe

I'm with Factotum. Our family has enjoyed both Paradise Cafe and Dutch Gardens for decades. Thank you Randy and Janet for all those years! Happy Retirement!

Roger Nov 19, 2019 05:08 AM
Longtime Owners Sell Paradise Cafe

I never went to Paradise Cafe, or Joe's, or the Fish Enterprise, or Brophy's, none of the greats now I have no teeth I look like Mr. Bill when I smile I cannot chew oh well..

a-1576166187 Nov 18, 2019 10:43 PM
Longtime Owners Sell Paradise Cafe

“Another one bites the dust.” Hopefully it won’t be like all the restaurants they own in the “drunk zone”.

a-1576166187 Nov 18, 2019 10:20 PM
Longtime Owners Sell Paradise Cafe

Wonder if Randy will blow town after the sale is final? Frank Hotchkiss left pretty quick once he wasn't on the dais any more.

Factotum Nov 18, 2019 10:24 PM
Longtime Owners Sell Paradise Cafe

Mayor Murillo has that effect on people. Where is that ex Deckers CEO who promised he would stick around after he lost to Murillo too?

AdamVant Nov 18, 2019 03:47 PM
Longtime Owners Sell Paradise Cafe

"the recently gentrified Funk Zone" Yeah, better it remain a vagrant-infested, run-down industrial park.

a-1576166187 Nov 18, 2019 01:22 PM
Longtime Owners Sell Paradise Cafe

I’m positive that Acme Hospitality will do a great job with the Paradise, and grateful for all the memories shared with family and friends over the past 30 + years at one of Santa Barbara’s most iconic spots...! And FYI , DART COFFEE CO. Is owned by Dr. David Dart and his wife Erika Carter

a-1576166187 Nov 18, 2019 12:42 PM
Longtime Owners Sell Paradise Cafe

While I'm sad another historic restaurant is closing, Paradise Cafe food was not good. It was 15 years ago, but I ate there two months ago to try it again and it was the most average food I've ever had. Nothing special, nothing great, just edible and ok I guess. Really wish they would have stepped up their culinary game.

Factotum Nov 18, 2019 01:06 PM
Longtime Owners Sell Paradise Cafe

Paradise offered comfort food - consistent, well priced and predictable. That works too in this town. Dutch Gardens is another go-to spot for predictable comfort food - a good formula and they don't tamper with it. Same with Paradise. Hats off to them for a long and splendid run in this fussy town. Good grub.

Seabird Nov 18, 2019 12:09 PM
Longtime Owners Sell Paradise Cafe

Enough with this Acme Hospitality Group, already. I see a couple of their businesses constantly hiring on craigslist, which doesn't bode well for their reputation as a good employer.

Bug Girl Nov 18, 2019 11:24 AM
Longtime Owners Sell Paradise Cafe

Maybe this will pave the way to a more tolerant base of support for Food Trucks in the city? I can only hope.

Factotum Nov 18, 2019 09:54 AM
Longtime Owners Sell Paradise Cafe

The very best burger in town. Get it while you can. Before the sticks and weeds crowd takes it over and offers bug burgers instead.

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