SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Even during challenging times, Mesa Burger says it is ready to serve up more meals. A third restaurant has now opened.
It's at 1209 Coast Village Road in Santa Barbara. That site used to be a Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf and before that Tutti's.
Co-owners Chris Chiarappa and TV's Iron Chef star Cat Cora say plans for this restaurant were in motion when the COVID-19 crisis hit, but construction continued.
They hope the restaurant is a casual dining stop for local residents, visitors and the beach crowd nearby.
As soon as the doors opened Tuesday, a mix of customers filled the tables including local workers looking for lunch, and families.
The menu features craft burgers with localized names including the Montecito, the Shoreline, the Goodland and the Funk Zone. The Coast Village Road site also has a slider flight. The orders come with a solid scoop of fries.
Local beers will be for sale soon.
There are also salads and specialty sandwiches for chicken and fish lovers.
Employees were cross trained at the other locations and some new faces are on the team for a seamless start. "That says a lot about our staff and our management and Chris my partner as well," said Cora. "We can promote people from within. We can bring people in."
The veteran chef says the restaurant business is facing tough conditions during the current economic slump. "A lot of my friends and across the country are closed," said Cora. "We are very lucky and blessed."
The site came up just as they were exploring options in the area for many months. There were other offers but Cora said the new site is "the right space."
She especially enjoyed seeing tables in the new parklet filling up at a time when indoor seating is not allowed.
"It is a game changer to be able to bring chairs into the parking area and to bring chairs to the sidewalk," said Cora. Looking up and down the street where outdoor dining under colorful umbrellas dot the views she says, "it makes it vibrant."
Cora says the site has a unique feel to it. "We really want to be here. We just love this village. We love the people. It is such a great community," she said.
While mingling with customers, she was handed a welcoming bouquet of flowers.
The area is at the transition from Santa Barbara to Montecito.
For more information go to: Mesa Burger