Might as well go for the Ricardo Zarate three-peat. After word spread through the restaurant world today that Paiche was closing up shop in Marina Del Rey, followed by news of Zarate's flagship Mo-Chica also calling it quits, it's still a bit of a shocker to learn that his Santa Barbara eatery Blue Tavern is also wrapping up by the end of the year.
Official word has finally started leaking out from the restaurant itself as of last night, with staffers learning of the change a couple of weeks ago. Service will run through the end of December at the barely year-old restaurant, before the lights go out permanently. Apparently the whole Blue Tavern operation has been sold off — no surprise, really, given Zarate's ongoing troubles and split with Stephane Bombet — to new investors, who plan to shutter the space and reemerge with an entirely new, unnamed concept.
Blue Tavern's fall marks an incredibly steep descent for Zarate, who was Food & Wine's 2011 Best New Chef but has been rumored to be more interested in building his personal brand of late, rather than helming the stoves at one of his area restaurants. Zarate's last stand may well come at Picca, though it seems unlikely to last given the shaky nature of everything else in the once high-flying Zarate Restaurants group.
119 State Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93101