Local Opens in Montecito

By Kelly Mahan Herrick   |   April 26, 2022
Owner Michael Sheldon gets ready to open his new Montecito eatery next week

Montecito’s newest restaurant, Local, opens next week, located on the lower level of Coast Village Plaza (1187 Coast Village Road). The new, vibrant eatery is the brainchild of owner Michael Sheldon, who retired from his role as CEO of Goleta-based Curvature in 2017. “I’ve always loved food, cooking, wine, and the experience of eating in nice restaurants,” he told us recently. “I figured now was the time to take my first foray into restaurant ownership and create something amazing here in Montecito. When this space became available, I knew I had to have it.” 

Sheldon has assembled a stellar team to help bring his ideas to fruition, including three high-level chefs to create the seafood heavy, Mediterranean-style menu. Jonathan McDermott, formerly from Sear Restaurant in Solvang, Jason Carter from Pure Joy Catering, and Adam Sanacore, formerly of The Lark, have been busy putting the finishing touches on the menu, which Sheldon said was crafted from memories of the 50 best meals he’s enjoyed during his travels worldwide. After living in London, Switzerland, and New York, and traveling heavily during his career, Sheldon says he fell in love with food and wine. “We started with a list of my favorite meals ever, and then tailored it for cohesion,” he said. “Everything on the menu is exemplary for what it is, and there is an incredible attention to detail.” 

The all-day menu features lunch and dinner favorites including an array of salads and sandwiches, fresh fish, cioppino, steak frites, brick chicken, and more. The menu will be enhanced by nightly specials featuring the freshest ingredients. A raw bar will feature crudo, oysters, and other delicacies, and there are small plates, appetizers, and plentiful dessert options. “Eventually we’ll be open on the weekends for brunch as well,” Sheldon said. 

The eatery offers a wine list featuring local and European options, as well as vintage champagnes from the ‘80s and ‘90s, an array of high-quality varietals, and house wines by artisanal winemaker Paul Lato. A diverse liquor menu will feature scotches, aged bourbons, and more, as well as carefully curated cocktails. 

Local has utilized both lower-level spaces on the property, one of which is the former home of Khao Kaeng (formerly Here’s the Scoop). That entire space has been transformed into the restaurant’s massive kitchen, which allows elbow room for multiple preparation and cooking stations. The other space, at one time home to medical offices, has been turned into an airy restaurant that showcases a stunning bar, complete with a baby grand piano and flanked by a wine room and private dining space. With bi-fold doors leading to the large patio area, the restaurant has an indoor-outdoor feel, capitalizing on the mild climate and beach house vibes of the furniture and décor. The patio, which is partially covered, can host 60 guests at once, while the entire space will eventually accommodate about 140 patrons. 

Sheldon envisions that the restaurant will operate from 11 am to 11 pm, and at 8:30 pm, the space will turn into a New York-style cocktail lounge, featuring live music. “I really thought about what the Montecito crowd would enjoy after a nice dinner,” Sheldon said. “It’s pretty clear that there is very little to do at night here, and I wanted to create a place to offer some nightlife.” From piano players, singer/songwriters, duos, and jazz musicians, Sheldon hopes to eventually offer live music most nights of the week. 

“While we will appeal to tourists at local hotels, we really want to welcome the locals, and give them another wonderful dining option here on Coast Village Road,” Sheldon said, adding that the restaurant offers many gluten-free options, as well as a kids’ menu. “It’s really for everybody and is a place you’d want to dine for both special occasions and everyday meals,” he said. 

Local opens to the public next Tuesday, April 26, and is open 11 am to 11 pm daily, located at 1187 Coast Village Road. For more information and for reservations, visit localmontecito.com.


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