Jeannine’s With a View: Expansion Pays Off for Beloved Eatery
Quickly and quietly opening in time to capture the summer tourism rush, Jeannine’s at the Shore, which opened early July, is the latest – and the largest – outpost opened by Alison Hardey of the Hardey Family, who have operated the locally-owned family bakery business for over 30 years.
“We’ve always wanted to be at the beach, and we inquired about this space many years ago, but it never worked out until now,” Hardey told us of 1 State Street, which is located on a prominent corner across from Stearns Wharf.
“Just look at this view,” Hardey mused when we toured the bustling bakery earlier this week.
With up-close views of the ocean, the pier, sailboats, and the iconic dolphin fountain, the location is quintessential beachfront Santa Barbara, and has thrived since the doors opened, drawing locals we well as tourists who are staying at nearby waterfront hotels. The large eatery can house around 200 seats, with multiple dining areas and patios. The property backs up to Mission Creek with a thoroughfare giving direct access to guests of the Harbor View Inn, which is owned and operated by Hardey’s landlord, Mark Romasanta.
The property has been family owned and locally operated for 30 years. In fact, Mark’s parents and Alison’s parents knew each other during their college days at UCSB.
“Our moms were sorority sisters,” Hardey laughed. “The Romasantas are invested in keeping the property maintained and well-run. We both have family-owned businesses. There was an understanding of one another, which is why it came together so quickly.”
Hardey signed the lease in May of this year, got the keys June 1, renovated, and opened for business on July 10. The Romasantas were operating State Street Coffee at the location since the closure of Gene Montesano’s Due Lune in January; prior to that the space was the home of Eladio’s (also run by the Romasanta family) for many years.
“There is something natural about us being at this location. It just works,” Hardey said, adding that the success of the business has exceeded expectations.
In addition to the popular breakfast, brunch, and lunch menus, Jeannine’s at the Shore offers a full liquor offering, which includes brunch favorites like a Bloody Mary, Margarita, and Corkscrew, best to be enjoyed on the expansive patio overlooking the beach. The restaurant is open daily from 7:30 am to 2:30 pm and draws a mix of locals and tourists.
“Parking is plentiful, with multiple parking lots nearby, and lots of street parking in the West Beach area,” Hardey said.
Before opening the new location, Hardey and her family were reeling from the closure of their downtown location in La Arcada, which they shuttered in January after 12 years in business; a casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing stay-at-home order which was in effect the majority of 2020 and into early 2021.
“It was the hardest location to pivot into only to-go orders. We tried everything: we built a gorgeous parklet, we added retail… we just knew we had to get out from underneath at least one of the restaurants,” Hardey said, adding that the eatery’s clientele was mostly local professionals from the nearby courthouse and business district, who were working from home during the height of the pandemic.
The majority of the seating was also inside, which was not compatible with state regulations.
“We just didn’t have the staying power as a small, local business to stick it out. It was a hard decision, but it was the right decision.”
Hook & Press Hand Crafted Donuts is slated to open at the former Jeannine’s location (15 East Figueroa) later this fall.
The family’s three other locations – in Goleta in Hollister Village, on Ontare/State, and on Coast Village Road – are thriving once again, despite challenges with staffing. Hardey calls the economic implications from the pandemic “crushing,” as the family was negotiating with four different landlords, while furloughing longtime employees, and navigating the PPP loans.
“We were in survival mode, like all other small businesses,” she said.
Jeannine’s beloved Montecito location has been in business for 20 years, and is busier than ever thanks to increased tourism, as well as the parklet that adds additional outdoor seating.
“The thing about Jeannine’s that is unique: we have this tradition and connection to community that matters a lot to us. From fires, to floods, or a global pandemic, we aren’t going anywhere,” Hardey said. “We can count on our customers to show up and support us, and they can count on us to offer consistent, yummy food and friendly service, year after year.”
Opening Jeannine’s at the Shore was a leap of faith that Hardey says has paid off. The location is both ideal for a special meal as well as a meeting place for coffee and pastry. The eatery is open daily from 7:30 am to 2:30 pm, offering breakfast favorites like the eggs benedict and French toast, as well as an array of scratch-made baked goods like cakes, cookies, croissants, muffins, and more, a full coffee and espresso menu, and retail items including prepackaged artisanal snacks, tee-shirts, liquor and sparkling wine, and more.
Jeanine’s at the Shore is located at 1 State Street. For more information, visit www.Jeannines.com.