SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — For over 20 years, Chuck’s Waterfront Grill and the Endless Summer restaurants anchored the dining scene within the Santa Barbara Harbor.
That ship has sailed away, as new owner Aaron Petersen has officially opened Salty at the Beach within the location above the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum.
"We've got eight flatscreen TVs, so we'll be having sports, we'll be doing events, hopefully some live music when we can,” Petersen said. “We've expanded the menu, more than just a bar menu, we have a couple steaks on it, we have some fish, we have chicken and things like that."
Petersen is an experienced local businessman from Solvang who has been involved in the restaurant industry.
He currently owns and operates three restaurants in Solvang including Chomp, The Coffee House by Chomp, and Brekkies by Chomp.
He is also co-owner and operator of Mortensen’s Danish Bakery located in downtown Solvang.
Originally, he planned on keeping the two original restaurants running throughout the summer season before planning on closing them down for rebranding and renovations this fall.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic changed everything until Salty at the Beach debuted with outdoor dining last night.
"Gave me a chance to think through our design and what we were going to do,” Petersen said. “We took out some booths, added more tables, chairs and made it more of a fun open area."
Most customers seemed to enjoy the new restaurant.
"Because they have these patios, this is already a built-in great outdoor space with amazing views,” Megan Hilton said.
“The pricing is good, the food is good, great service and it’s a great place,” Ken Stokes said.
Some signature items from the older restaurant remain, such as the famous ‘Endless Summer MaiTai’.
"Endless Summer was great but this is definitely an upgrade,” Santa Barbara local Karim Kaderali said. “It looks awesome, views are good, the drinks are good."
Salty at the Beach is also providing jobs to some former Endless Summer Bar Cafe employees.
“We’ve hired all the local kids,” Petersen said. “I’ve got 85 high school and college kids up in Solvang working for me and we're probably going to have more than that down here once we get Chomp open.”
In three weeks, Peterson plans to open CHOMP on the Rocks down on the building’s lower level.
On Thursday through Sunday, Salty at the Beach is open from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. On Friday and Saturday, the restaurant is open from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
For more information on Salty at the Beach, visit its website.