The newest owners of Giovanni’s, Sean Doucet and fiancé Kimberly Burns, have fixed up Isla Vista’s pizza, pasta and sandwich eatery to offer not only a fresh look, but extended happy hours and more live entertainment.
Despite the change in ownership, Doucet said the menu will remain the same but with changes to combo deals and prices. Doucet, who graduated from UCSB in 1995, said he jumped at the chance to return to I.V. after a brief stint in the corporate world.
“I graduated from UCSB a while ago, so it was like a homecoming,” Doucet said. “And in addition to coming back to the place we love, we are able to run a great place,”
December was a rough month for the eatery, Doucet said. With the campus closed and most students and residents gone, Giovanni’s was forced to cut back its hours over winter break, he said, giving the owners an opportunity to fix the restaurant up.
In addition to the aesthetic changes, the restaurant’s stage is currently undergoing renovation to create a more “music friendly” environment, and Doucet said they plan to install new, flat screen TVs throughout the eatery.
“We are the only place in I.V. able to provide great live entertainment,” he said. “We want to showcase local bands, and open mic night will begin again in a few weeks.”
In an effort to become more involved with the university, Doucet said, Giovanni’s hosts events with clubs, groups, athletes, sororities and fraternities, and hopes to increase delivery to campus. It has also started taking reservations from large groups; a feature not found at most I.V. eateries.
“We both grew up here, and love the community,” he said. “Getting more involved with the university and students is important to us. Our goal is to create a friendly atmosphere that people can come and hang out [in]. We want people to be stoked when they come here. We love food. It makes us feel good to serve great food.
Although the eatery has extended its happy hour, Doucet said he and Burns will be vigilant in avoiding alcohol violation citations such as serving alcohol to a minor.
“We want Giovanni’s to be a safe environment, and we want everyone to have a good time,” he said. “But we haven’t had any alcohol violations yet, and we don’t want any.”