Longtime Owners Sell Paradise Cafe

Paradise Cafe, Santa Barbara, California

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]

Edhat Staff

Written by Edhat Staff

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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

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