Santa Barbara Chicken Ranch – Fairview
163 N. Fairview Ave, Goleta
Phone: (805) 692-9200
Hours: Mon-Sat 10:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m., Sun 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m.
Price: $10

You may recognize the Santa Barbara Chicken Ranch from its commercials. You know, the ones with the little kids in cowboy gear arguing about barbecue? Right. Well, aside from serving little kids who apparently come from the 1850s, the Chicken Ranch also makes for an excellent quick bite when college students are out in Goleta.

The restaurant, which has a one-room style similar to national chain restaurants, is in fact far from it. The menu features Mexican-style barbeque dishes, focusing on chicken and steak, and offers many delectable choices.

“The most popular dishes are the quarter-chicken or tri-tip plates and the burritos,” employee Zenin Bravo said. Thus, it only seemed natural to order one of each.

The quarter-chicken plate, coming with nicely marinated grilled meat, tortillas, and rice and beans, was an excellent and filling meal. The strength of the barbecue was the skin, which was as crispy and delicious as any barbecue aficionado could hope for. The tortillas, as well, were a nice touch. They came warm and fluffy, and added a bit of extra deliciousness to the meal.

The burrito, meanwhile, featured copious amounts of tri-tip to fulfill its barbecue credentials. While Mexican food is something Isla Vistans have plenty of options for, the quality of steak was a steep step up from more local joints.

The food came very quickly, and while seating inside the restaurant was plentiful, Santa Barbara Chicken Ranch is also a great option for takeaway. Feeding a hungry apartment could be a quick car ride away, and for a fairly inexpensive price.

As for the clientele served, the chicken ranch prides itself on its broad appeal.

“[We get] every kind of people,” Bravo said. “All different races… even people from out of town.” According to Bravo, the store has even attracted people all the way from Bakersfield. That’s quite a following.

Filling up on Mexican barbecue will cost you under ten bucks, and it comes with all the fixings to make for a fantastic meal.