SeaLegs Santa Barbara Approved For Vacant Restaurant Space On Goleta Beach | Local News
The Beachside – a popular destination for local celebrations and date nights, business lunches and sunset drinks – closed earlier this year, victim of the COVID-19 crisis.
Last week, however, supervisors approved a 10-year deal with the Huntington Beach-based company. PRJKT Restaurant Group, who plans to open SeaLegs Santa Barbara at the vacant restaurant at 5905 Sandspit Road. The deal includes an option for three five-year extensions.
PRJKT – which operates seven restaurants in Huntington Beach, including Sea legs at the beach there – is not unrelated to Santa Barbara.
SeaLegs Santa Barbara will be owned by Omar Khashen, vice president of operations of PRJKT, and Joe “Diggs” Dies, a University of Santa Barbara alumnus with more than 20 years of experience in the hotel industry.
The two met while Dies was playing football at UCSB and Khashen, then a student at UCLA, frequently visited friends in the area.
After college, they both pursued careers in hospitality and developed their brands individually, both with the goal of returning to Santa Barbara with what they had learned. This is the first time that Khashen and Dies have teamed up.
“It’s touching and very humbling to have an opportunity like this,” Dies said.
SeaLegs at the beach, at Bolsa Chica State Beach, offers dishes like the SeaLegs smash burger and Korean tacos asada. Khashen described him as a “House of Blues on the beach ”, in reference to the concerts that are organized there.
At Goleta Beach, Khashen and Dies plan to incorporate local aspects to deliver an upscale dining experience that is also price-conscious and accessible.
“Although SeaLegs is an established name… we’re just two normal guys,” Dies said. “It’s a small business.
“We know the atmosphere of Santa Barbara well; we know what Goleta wants.
At first, say Khashen and Dies, SeaLegs Santa Barbara will create around 100 to 125 jobs, and that number will increase as the restaurant grows as well.
The Goleta Beach location, at the foot of Goleta Pier to the east of the UCSB campus, has an indoor restaurant, snack bar and outdoor patio that was previously used for the storage.
Khashen and Dies say they plan to renovate the snack bar and turn it into a milkshake shack inspired by the Crystal Cove Shake Shack in Orange County, formerly known as Ruby’s Shake Shack. They said they hope to partner with McConnell’s Fine Ice Cream for the milkshake shack.
According to Khashen and Dies, the restaurant’s main menu will feature Californian cuisine featuring local seafood and local produce. The beverage menu will focus on wineries, breweries, and liquor distilleries across Santa Barbara County.
“We always want to pay tribute to the region we are in,” Khashen said.
Since Goleta Beach is a county park, Khashen and Dies have teamed up with the county for this restaurant.
To operate the previously vacant storage area, a special use charge applies at the same percentages as the base charge, or $ 4,000 per month, whichever is greater.
If catering for special events takes place, there will be a special usage fee of 12.5% of gross sales and 15% of gross alcohol sales for each event.
In addition to these fees, Khashen and Dies have also negotiated with the county to create an account specifically for the maintenance and improvements of the Goleta Beach Park, which will account for 1% of the restaurant’s monthly gross sales.
The two partners have both expressed their enthusiasm for opening the restaurant and joining the local community, as well as “bringing some life back to the park,” Khashen said.