Three restaurants on Embarcadero del Mar are stirring things up, as Sushi Teri is closed temporarily, The Cantina has cut back on its operating hours and business has started cooking at the town’s newest restaurant.
Sushi Teri owner Laxman Perere said the Japanese eatery has been shut down for approximately three months and will remain closed while the restaurant’s head chef recovers from cancer. Tommy Rouse, an employee at The Cantina, said the Mexican restaurant started closing early because two of the eatery’s regular chefs went to Mexico on vacation. Samrat Bhosle, the manager of Naan Stop, said business at the Indian restaurant has been good since it opened in January, even though the restaurant has not been in I.V. long enough to establish the same kind of customer base that restaurants like Sushi Teri and The Cantina have.
Perere said he plans for Sushi Teri to return to normal business hours, but he said he is not sure when the restaurant will reopen. He said the eatery, located on Embarcadero del Mar, closed right before Winter Break because the head chef was diagnosed with cancer.
“Our main chef over in Isla Vista got sick, so he’s been dealing with cancer,” Perere said. “We want to keep the same guy and he wants to come back, so we’re waiting for him.”
Perere said the chef is currently undergoing chemotherapy treatments and will return to work once he is physically able. Perere said Sushi Teri typically makes a good deal of money in I.V., but he said he is willing to wait for the chef to recover before reopening because it is too expensive to train another person.
“It would cost me a lot of money to train a new guy to take his place,” Perere said. “The Isla Vista location is lucrative, but he wants to come back.”
Rouse said The Cantina will resume regular operating hours once two of the restaurant’s regular chefs return from vacation.
“Two of our cooks aren’t here, they’re on vacation in Mexico,” Rouse said. “They’ll be back this month.”
Rouse said the eatery will resume its regular hours when the two vacationing chefs return.
“Once our two chefs come back we’ll go back to our old hours,” Rouse said.
Naan Stop, a new restaurant featuring Indian food and boba tea, opened Jan. 4. in the space next door to The Cantina that previously housed Boba Tea House. Bhosle said business has been fairly good for the new restaurant even though Naan Stop’s management chose not to put a great deal of effort into advertising it.
“We haven’t had any publicity,” Bhosle said. “Instead of jumping in, we are slowly organizing the restaurant. We’re starting to have more and more customers – things are going well.”
Bhosle said Naan Stop chose to keep the tea selection from Boba Tea House to supplement the new menu of traditional Indian cuisine.
“We bought Boba Tea House and kept their menu and items along with what we’re serving,” Bhosle said. “We’re slowly building, but it has been good.”
Bhosle said business has been steady considering the lack of publicity, but he thinks that business will improve rapidly once Naan Stop establishes a reputation like I.V.’s other popular eateries.
“I think only about 20 percent of the people around here know about us,” Bhosle said. “The other 80 percent don’t know we’re here.”
Goleta resident Andrew Henkin said he is a frequent customer at Naan Stop, and he said he enjoys the restaurant’s food and service.
“Everything here is awesome,” Henkin said. “I love the food, it’s great.”
Michael Hassan, owner of Isla Vista Deli Mart on Pardall Road, said he thinks it is generally easy for restaurants to succeed in I.V., especially during the school year. He said business is typically only very slow during holidays and vacations.
“We basically work seven months of the year,” Hassan said. “The rest is holidays and summer, and we don’t have much business then.”