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The Daily Nexus On the Menu Team wants to ring in the new year by highlighting some recent changes in Santa Barbara’s restaurant scene. A recurring theme in our local restaurant coverage is documenting how the pandemic has made restaurant ownership more difficult for owners facing challenges such as supply chain issues and difficulties in hiring employees. From the shuttering of I.V.’s beloved Study Hall bar to restaurant openings that should draw more traffic to State Street, there are several new culinary developments in Santa Barbara County. 

I.V. Pizza and Pub takes over former Pizza My Heart space

Last summer, Southern California’s only Pizza My Heart location closed. The same restaurant space is now home to I.V. Pizza and Pub which promises the “Same Great Taste & Same Great Manager” via a banner on the restaurant’s exterior. I.V. Bagel Café Founder Doron Friedman shared on Facebook his decision to buy the space and Pizza My Heart’s recipes in an effort to keep New York-style pizza in I.V. The new pizzeria’s menu includes Pizza My Heart favorites such as the Big Sur and Maui Wowie. 

A new coffee shop is set to open on Pardall Road

KOZY Craft Coffee has announced its opening on 6560 Pardall Road where the Eco Vista Collaborative operated for months prior. Their website promises the use of high quality, local ingredients and a friendly social environment. They have not set an opening date yet.  

I.V. celebrates the opening of The Farmacy, its first cannabis dispensary

Back in 2019, The Farmacy became the first, walk-in recreational dispensary in the City of Santa Barbara. The Farmacy’s Isla Vista location held its grand opening at 6555 Pardall Road on Dec. 15, 2022, which included a ribbon-cutting ceremony with Glass House Brands President Graham Farrar and local government officials plus a table with samples from local cannabis brand Happy Chance

Elena’s Kitchen opens downtown 

Elena’s Kitchen is bringing Mexican comfort food to downtown Santa Barbara at 738 State Street. The family who owns SB Sweets, a dessert shop in the Paseo Nuevo shopping mall, opened their second establishment in December. Their menu includes traditional Mexican dishes such as enchiladas, tacos, carne asada, chilaquiles and more. The restaurant also offers French toast and other brunch items.

Isla Vista’s The Study Hall closed 

After 26 years, I.V. dive bar The Study Hall has closed its doors for good — and will surely be missed. The Study Hall is requesting past patrons to share any memorable photos that they’ve taken at the bar on their Facebook

Rascal’s soon to reopen in a new location

Much to the dismay of Santa Barbara’s vegan community, Rascal’s closed their doors back in 2022. Rascal’s owner and head chef Dalan Moreno quickly went to work, running pop-ups throughout Santa Barbara, including a weekly spot at Municipal Winemakers. Now, thanks to community efforts and money raised through a GoFundMe page, Rascal’s is going to anchor down once more at a new location in downtown Santa Barbara on Haley Street sometime in February.

Azul Cocina and Cantina opening soon  

Azul Cocina and Cantina, a new restaurant offering “authentic Mexican cuisine and mixology,” is opening soon on Anapamu Street in downtown Santa Barbara. Be sure to check out their delicious menu and give Azul Cocina and Cantina a try once they open! 

A version of this article appeared on p. 10 of the January 26, 2023 version of the Daily Nexus. 


Stephanie Gerson
Stephanie Gerson is a fourth-year Art History major and On the Menu Co-Editor. She can usually be found taking long walks, wandering about museums or grocery shopping.