Babu Ji chef Jessi Singh and partner Jennifer Singh will open a new Santa Barbara, California restaurant, wine bar, and bottle shop called Bibi Ji. The restaurant should open by early 2018 with Jessi Singh’s signature playful and innovative approach to Indian cuisine. The Singhs are partnering with talented wine expert Rajat Parr, who helped build restaurateur Michael Mina’s group and establish the now-closed RN74 as one of the nation’s premier wine destinations.
The new Santa Barbara restaurant will be located in the heart of the Central Coast city’s downtown, with a recent Loopnet listing revealing a 2,256 square feet space that was formerly Relais de Paris. The French eatery seemed to have closed in late 2016.
The similarly named Bibi Ji is named after an endearing Hindi term for women in the family, intended to pay homage to the women in both Jessi and Jennifer’s lives.
The Singhs just closed their celebrated Babu Ji restaurant last week in San Francisco after about a year of operation, though apparently the space will still be available for private events and catering. The duo opened the highly regarded Babu Ji in NYC’s East Village back in 2014 to wide acclaim before it ultimately shuttered. The Singhs were hit with two wage lawsuits in the past year wherein the couple allegedly withheld tips and overtime pay. They settled for $130,000 without admitting wrongdoing.
Jessi and Jennifer Singh reopened Babu Ji in New York City in July 2017 after partnering with Jeffrey Chodorow, and it’s still in operation.