Two New Restaurants Prep for Santa Barbara Harbor Openings
By Lauren Bray, edhat staff
Two new restaurants, "SALTY at the Beach" and "CHOMP on the Rocks," plan to open soon at the Santa Barbara Harbor.
Restaurateur Aaron Petersen plans to launch the new restaurant and bar establishments within the next month. He currently owns and operates three Solvang-based eateries CHOMP | Burgers, Fries, Shakes; brekkies by CHOMP; and The Coffee House by CHOMP. Petersen opened the three CHOMP family Solvang businesses between 2013 and 2019 and is also co-owner with his siblings of Solvang’s Mortensen’s Danish Bakery, which celebrates its 45th anniversary next year.
The two eateries are taking over the former homes of Chuck's Waterfront Grill and Endless Summer Bar & Cafe that closed in April. The restaurants are located in the Waterfront Center Building, the former historic Naval Reserve Armory building, which is also home to the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum.
“The history of this building definitely won me over, with its ties to Santa Barbara’s place in naval history,” said Petersen.
Drink and dining options at SALTY at the Beach (Photo: Matt Dayka)
SALTY at the Beach will be located on the second floor with waterfront views able to host 100 guests on two outdoor patios with seven flat-screen TVs. The owner plans for an "upscale beach setting" focused on California-style tavern cuisine with an award-winning wine list, and cocktails to include the previous-fan-favorite “Endless Summer Mai Tai”.
Menu items include will range from snacks to big plates, featuring a deviled egg trio; popcorn rock shrimp with house-made rémoulade; warm pretzel bites with sea salt, smoked gouda and cheddar sauce, and spicy honey mustard; “Birria-style” chicken nachos; the restaurant’s rendition of a French dip sandwich; and a rock shrimp po’ boy.
SALTY at the Beach is also retaining some of the Endless Summer Bar Café staff. It's expected to open later this month.
CHOMP on the Rocks will have alfresco seating for another 50 guests on its lower-level, harbor-front patio designed in a retro-inspired, modern take on a diner with black and white tiles, red leather booths and stool-tops, and additional seating at the shiny aluminum counter.
It focuses on family-friendly crowd-pleasers like dressed-up burgers, Nathan’s Famous hot dogs , traditional sandwiches, fish offerings, onion rings and chili cheese fries. They'll also offer a hearty list of desserts including handmade shakes, malts, floats, sundaes, and an old fashioned banana split. They hope to open in October.
Aaron Petersen (Photo: Matt Dayka)
Both establishments will serve daily lunch and dinner service, daily Happy Hour deals, late-night Happy Hour upstairs, and plans for weekend brunch service in 2021.
Petersen is joined in the new ventures by Solvang residents Max and Laura Hanberg, who own the 55-year old Solvang Shoe Store, as well as long-time Santa Ynez Valley residents Ken and Ronna Sorenson, owners of 31-year old business Sorenson & Associates. Also joining the team is Southern California native Scott Gold, with a decades-long career in the hospitality industry, and Gold’s family, as well as Petersen’s daughter and son-in-law, both Navy Lieutenants stationed in San Diego.
The restaurants state all COVID-19 safety and sanitation measures will be in place upon opening, and indoor dining will resume once allowed as per Santa Barbara County guidelines.
SALTY at the Beach and CHOMP on the Rocks are located at 113 Harbor Way in Santa Barbara. Both establishments’ initial opening hours will be Sunday through Thursday, 11:30 AM to 9:00 PM; Friday and Saturday, 11:30 AM to 10:00 PM.