With an innovative collection of food and beverage concepts, Acme Hospitality is behind Santa Barbara favorites Loquita, The Lark, La Paloma, and seven other restaurants and wine bars centered around Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone. Despite the group having multiple businesses located in the same neighborhood, they are successful due to their unique concepts, with a variety of menus sure to please anyone. With many of Acme’s restaurants having a rich history rooted in Santa Barbara culture, here are three of our favorites.
“Our restaurants are distinct in their offerings and work really hard at that, considering they’re so geographically close together,” Managing Partner/Owner Sherry Villanueva said. “We had to make them feel different because we did not want to compete with ourselves.”
From the colorful tiles to the tapas-style menu, Loquita showcases authentic Spanish food that includes seasonal paella, jamon iberico, and wood-fired grilled seafood and meats. The wine lists at each Acme restaurant are unique and have no overlap, Loquita’s lengthy list comprises nearly all Spanish wines. A perfect place to spend a warm summer evening, grab a Costa Blanca (a kaffir lime-infused gin and tonic with blood orange) while you enjoy some bocaditos with friends.
A former fish market turned vibrant dining space, The Lark has a trendy, laid-back vibe that prides itself on its locally sourced and responsibly grown menu. Using the highest quality seasonal ingredients found along the Central Coast, its family-style portions are meant to highlight the area and its many outstanding local producers. The locally sourced Halibut Crudo with California peaches, Santa Barbara sea urchin emulsion, fresno chiles, and red shiso are not to be missed.
Previously the iconic Paradise Cafe, La Paloma is a thoughtfully crafted California barbecue with heavy Central Coast, Baja, and Chumash influences. With artsy vibes and ample patio space, the menu celebrates the cuisine of the Californios – early California settlers who incorporated Spanish and Mexican influences into indigenous ingredients cooked over fire. The Santa Maria-style Snake River Farm Wagyu Tri-Tip with ranchero salsa, creamy horseradish, and bbq pinquito beans is an Ebbin Group favorite.
SANTA BARBARA & BEYOND
The future is bright for Acme as its concepts and team members have won numerous awards and accolades from local, regional, and national sources – and they continue to grow and expand their vision. Villanueva and her team have ventured upstate to work their hospitality magic on two landmark hotels, The Holbrook and The National Exchange, in Nevada City and Grass Valley. The group’s keen eye for style and reliable deliciousness is sure to be a success as they continue to branch out.