A slew of new businesses have recently opened their doors this Fall in downtown Isla Vista, including Crushcakes & Café, Pizza My Heart, Chase Bank, Habit Burger Grill and Angry Wings.
Located within the 8,000 square feet of designated retail space on the ground floor of the Loop, Crushcakes & Café offers gourmet cupcakes and café fare such as coffee, sandwiches, burritos and breakfast foods served all day. The restaurant, which opened on Sep. 19, is Crushcakes’ third location following establishments in Santa Barbara and Carpinteria.
According to store manager Tahnie Benitez, Crushcakes & Café has quickly gained a strong following in the area and is poised to monopolize the cupcake market in I.V.
“[The fact that] within five years of opening, we already have a third location is very successful,” Benitez said. “We are the only cupcake place in I.V., as far as I know.”
Benitez said the storefront has been bustling in its first week of business and hopes that planned events such as an “open mic night” and a “poker night” will make it somewhat of a community gathering place for students. Crushcakes will also soon add a limited menu on weekends from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. to capitalize on late night crowds.
The Crushcakes menu features 16 unique flavors of cupcakes, high-quality coffee and a range of Panini’s, salads, burritos and breakfast foods, and is available for delivery and catering.
Also located in the LOOP is Pizza My Heart, a Santa Cruz-based, surf-themed chain that will open within the next few weeks alongside Crushcakes. Pizza My Heart I.V. will mark the 31-year-old chain’s 20th location and customers will have the option to order their award-winning pizza as a whole pie or by the slice.
Chase Bank recently opened in the 1,700-square-foot space previously occupied by the Isla Vista Surf Company and is Isla Vista’s first full-service bank since the Bank of America that was famously burned down by student riots in 1970.
According to the minutes of a South County Board of Architectural Review board meeting in November 2011, Chase was advised to build the bank in an artistic style that suits the Isla Vista atmosphere.
“[This is a] great opportunity for Chase to embrace Isla Vista and its culture and provide a strong design direction at a key corner of the downtown area,” the record stated. “The less the corporate identity is revealed, the more successful the building.”
Even so, External Vice President Rhandy Siordia said the corporate bank does not fit in well with other I.V. businesses, most of which are locally owned.
“Personally, I hate the Chase Bank, I really do … I liked the Isla Vista Surf Company a lot more and I feel like it added a lot more to I.V. culture,” Siordia said. “I know that in the past, there was a conscious effort to keep privately-owned, local businesses in Isla Vista and I don’t know what happened to that.”
The Habit, a Santa Barbara-based chain hamburger restaurant with four other locations in the area and many more across the state, will be located in the property that used to house Dogtown on Embarcadero Del Norte.
Angry Wings will open its only location down the street on Pardall Road in October in the space formerly occupied by Chino’s, and will feature Buffalo wings, beer, sandwiches, wraps and burgers.