Harbor Restaurant Sells

By Kelly Mahan Herrick   |   March 15, 2022
The Harbor Restaurant, including Longboard’s, has sold to new owners who are seeking to transform the eatery into a destination for locals and tourists alike

The Harbor Restaurant/Longboard’s Grill, one of Santa Barbara’s most recognizable waterfront dining destinations, sold last week, according to Hayes Commercial Group, which brokered both sides of the deal. 

The iconic restaurants on Stearns Wharf have been operated by the Scott family along with longtime Santa Barbara restaurateur Dave Perry for more than four decades. The sellers will continue to own and operate their other popular eateries, Harry’s Plaza Café in Loreto Plaza and the Tee-Off restaurant on Upper State Street. 

According to documents filed with the City’s Waterfront Department in November, new owners Eugenio Sanchez and Frank Ibanez plan to re-establish the eatery as a local institution. They plan on transforming the restaurant into a revitalized space, with multiple eatery concepts in different areas. The menus will be re-created and enhanced, featuring high-quality seafood, as well as local, fresh, and seasonal ingredients, new beverages, local craft beers, and cocktails. The food menu will be categorized as New American Cuisine, which the new owners say is designed to attract a wider demographic and provide unique and inspiring culinary options for a diverse range of guests. There will be a new and improved bar program that will be curated to highlight a rotation of cocktail offerings, local and international wines, spirits, and microbreweries. 

The plans include utilizing both the Harbor Restaurant (downstairs) and Longboard’s (upstairs) to offer distinctly different areas, which will include enhancement of the outdoor deck and the indoor restaurant and bar areas, as well as a to-go service window, a new lounge area, and a new coffee, pastry, and gelato shop. The renovations of the 12,000-square-foot space will be phased over time, allowing for continuous operation of the restaurant, according to the report. 

The new owners have ample experience in the restaurant space, with Ibanez owning and operating four restaurants in Southern California, and Sanchez involved in seafood production, importation/exportation, sales, and distribution for over 30 years. 

The Harbor Restaurant was first opened in 1941, and over the years has become known as a destination for romantic dinners, weddings, party venues, and charity events. 

The sale was brokered by Dan Moll of Hayes Commercial Group.


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