Restaurant Roundup: Fresco Cafe and Crush Bar Close for Good

By Lauren Bray, edhat staff

Two beloved local establishments close their doors for good while new restaurants are swinging their doors wide open.

Dive in below:

Fresco Cafe Shuts Down Shortly After Moving Downtown

Fresco Cafe before opening their downtown Santa Barbara location in September 2022 (courtesy)

Last Fall I reported the popular Upper State Street eatery was moving from their home of over 27 years in the 5 Points Shopping Center to downtown Santa Barbara. 

“But why?!” Upper State Streeters decried. Owner Mark Brouillard stated the non-local mall owners increased their rent to about $22,000 per month forcing him to look elsewhere. He found the El Centro Building next to the Lobero Theater at 23 E. Canon Perdido, the former home of the shortlived Sevtap Winery, offering about half that in rent. Fresco Cafe Downtown officially opened at the end of September last year.

As of today (May 30, 2023), edhat reader Stray sent in a copy of a note on the door announcing their closure for good. It reads:

Fresco Cafe Is Closed

In the twenty-eight years we have been in business, we have made many friends and served thousands of customers. We remain very grateful for the opportunity to serve Santa Barbara for these many years. We have been fortunate to work with the best group of people anyone could hope for.

We ask that you continue to support small businesses here in Santa Barbara, as they are the center of the community that connects all of us.

Best wishes from the Brouillard Family and the Fresco Staff

I will forever miss their salmon salad and housemade hummus.

Crush Bar Closes After Two Years

Drag show at Crush Bar (courtesy)

Santa Barbara’s only Queer bar and genuinely inclusive LGBTQ+ space has closed after two years. 

From the creator of Crushcakes & Cafe came Crush Bar & Tap at 1129-A State Street, the same courtyard that hosts CorePower Yoga and the former Peet’s Coffee, now Mosaic Locale. It opened in May 2021 by owner Shannon Heaton in the former wine bar space as Armada Wine Merchant.

It immediately became popular with the local and visiting LGBTQ+ community with regular karaoke nights, drag shows, drag bingo, and social mixers. 

In an interview with KEYT, Heaton stated she doesn’t have the time and energy the space needs.

The business was listed for sale earlier this year and closed its doors this month.

Former Cava Space to Become Clark’s Oyster Bar


The seafood chain has two other upscale restaurants throughout the U.S., one in Austin and the other in Aspen with 1212 Coast Village Road in Montecito to soon join the ranks.

The Austin location describes itself as “a small chic” neighborhood spot with a “great raw bar, house-baked sourdough, fresh fish, lobster rolls, pan-roasted hamburgers, and tasty libations.

The Santa Barbara City Architectural Board of Review is holding a meeting for the project’s design approval this afternoon for a facade renovation and “tenant improvement to an existing restaurant and adjacent office building” with minor changes to parking to remove two diagonal parking spaces which will be relocated elsewhere on site.

A few other project notes: no changes are proposed to the hotel building (yet), indoor and outdoor seating including, and a separate bakery area.

The design architect for the project is noneother than Santa Barbara’s very own colorful innovator, Jeff Shelton.

Learn more about the project, including rendering designs, here.

Los Altos Mexican Restaurant Opens Second Location

Burrito and enchiladas (courtesy photo)

The Milpas Street restaurant has opened its second location in Old Town Goleta at 5892 Hollister Ave, the former home of the Natural Cafe.

Owner Alberto Gonzalez uses his hometown of Jalisco, Mexico as inspiration fro his menu and daily specials including barbacoa, octopus, sopes, oysters, and more.

The restaurant is now open from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Go to to learn more.

Corner Tap Plans to Reopen With New Menu


Corner Tap, located at the appropriately named corner of Cliff Drive and Meigs Road in Santa Barbara’s Mesa neighborhood, closed on April 24 for renovations.

According to their website, the restaurant is planning for a new chef who is introducing a new menu, new management team, updated look, and “some amazing plans for making this place one of the great entertainment spots in Santa Barbara.”

Corner Tap 2.0 is expected to re-open their doors by early June. Learn more here.

Chick-Fil-A Temporarily Closed for Renovations

New Chick-fil-A drive through rendering at 3707 State St. (Courtesy photo)

The vehicle plagued Chick-fil-A will be temporarily closed for a few months while it renovates its 3707 State Street location to accomodate more vehicles.

Back in September we reported the popular fast food chain won the approval of the Santa Barbara Architectural Board of Review for it’s new drive-thru design aimed at quelling traffic issues. The new construction will create three separate drive-thru lanes with one allowing vehicles to bypass the drive-thru and park in the lot. This will also involve restructuring the exterior space to include widening the driveway entrance by 10 feet, removing landscaping and sixteen parking spots, and relocating handicapped parking spaces to the exit side of the building.

The restaurant hopes to reopen in August of this year.

A second Chick-fil-A restaurant is going through the county’s planning process to open set to open on Calle Real off Turnpike, near Starbucks at the previous IHOP location.


Written by lauren

Lauren is the Publisher of She enjoys short walks on the beach, interesting facts about bees, and any kind of homemade cookie.

What do you think?


0 Comments deleted by Administrator

Leave a Review or Comment


  1. We drove by Chick-Fil-A yesterday and their project to improve the ordering lanes and parking is in full swing. I thought that the project would have not started until the new location in the old IHOP building was open for biz. Could not find info on when the Calle Real/Turpike location is going to be open (not soon enough!). Also, I have not heard official word yet on the CFA to be built on South Milpas. Hopefully, the Milpas location will have adequate parking and ordering lanes as that area is already fairly congested. Amazing that CFA will have three locations in such a small market (Starbuck’s has something like eight or nine locations here and they all seem to be full at all hours of the day and night).

  2. Almost the entire building that housed Fresco at 5Points is now empty, and has been for some time. I believe the tax laws for large commercial landowners make it advantageous to keep such spaces vacant. I like the idea of a vacancy tax – ding the landowners if a commercial property is vacant for more than 6 months! Even putting in some popups is better than having a whole building just sit there empty.

    • Yes, but 1) the tax savings from a deducted loss comes from the loss offsetting gains, and the benefit it provides you is the tax savings on that gains being offset, which is your tax rate times the deduction/loss. Would you rather make $100 and pay $20 in additional taxes, or take a $100 loss and save $20 in taxes? and 2) you’re assuming the entire Five Points Shopping center operates at a loss and this vacancy adds to that loss, but really this vacancy is just reducing their gains. There are also depreciation tax benefits in real estate, which the owner would receive regardless of whether a space is occupied or not.

    • What I’ve heard is they’ll sometimes let a space stay empty rather than lower the rent, for fear that a lower rent in one space might pull down rents in other nearby properties they own. This is probably a side effect of letting a few people own too much real estate in one area.

    • Commercial leases are long-term, signing a lease for a space at one rent now won’t impact another new lease years down the road. Five Points rather quickly re-tenanted the space and Little Alex and Five Points were able to reach an agreement on what a fair and market rent was. There are many other major deal points in a lease besides rent, but I understand how the “greedy landlord” is an easy refrain for people that don’t know the intricacies of commercial real estate.

  3. It is paticularly heartbreaking to hear that a long-time, beloved restaurant that made it thru the pandemic, greedy landlord & the expense of a move (which included a remodel) had to close less than a year later 🙁 …..We had hoped that this years tourist season would give them a boost. Thank you Mark & Fresco staff for many years of consistently well-prepared food and all of your warm welcoming smiles. We will miss you and wish you well.

  4. There seems to be a noticeable increase in the numbers of outdoor pop-up kitchens that set up shop nightly throughout several areas of town. Most recently, one of these has been occupying and clogging up the newly completed bicycle lanes at the corner of Mission and San Pascual. Does anyone have information on the legality of these operations?

Turnpike/Hollister Pursuit?

USPS Post Box on Las Palmas Drive Removed?