With almost two dozen recent and planned openings, there’s no shortage of reasons to see firsthand what all the buzz is about.
With leisure travel at a virtual standstill for much of the past year, it’s understandable that many entrepreneurial hoteliers, restaurateurs, winemakers, and others postponed plans for new or expanded business operations. But the Santa Ynez Valley continues to buck that trend, with no fewer than 20 visitor-related businesses opening their doors since the pandemic began, or moving forward with plans to open soon.
Among them, five new lodging properties, seven new restaurants, six new wineries & tasting rooms, and four other businesses ranging from a specialty coffee shop to an electric vehicle rental provider are ready to welcome the much-anticipated return of visitors to the Santa Ynez Valley.
“Opening or expanding a small business presents challenges at any time, but particularly during the events of the past year, so my hat goes off to those individuals in the Santa Ynez Valley who have persevered in pursuit of their dreams,” said Shelby Sim, President & CEO of Visit the Santa Ynez Valley. “The support of these and other businesses from locals in the form of staycations, takeout meals, to go wine sales, and more, has been overwhelmingly positive, but it is the return of leisure and eventually group travel will truly help them thrive.”
Following is a list of the businesses that have opened their doors in the Santa Ynez Valley in recent months, or plan to do so in the coming months:
Hotel Ynez — Located at the crossroads of Solvang & Santa Ynez and situated on two private acres, Hotel Ynez boasts 18 spacious guest rooms, extensive gardens, a pool, bonfire pits, and a rustic outdoor pavilion for nights under the stars.
The Winston — From the same Highway West Vacations team behind three other Santa Ynez Valley properties including The Vinland, Flying Flags, and Sideways Inn, The Winston has been renovated from head to toe and boasts 14 individually decorated rooms beneath the property’s iconic clock tower in the heart of Solvang.
Vinland Hotel & Lounge — Located in the heart of Solvang where Copenhagen’s charm meets California’s climate, the completely remodeled Vinland Hotel & Lounge boasts 82 rooms overlooking Hans Christian Andersen Park.
Zaca Creek Inn — Originally built by the founding Buell family of Buellton, Zaca Creek has recently been re-imagined and the Zaca Creek Inn boasts six unique suites each with its own distinctive charms and delights.
The Inn at Mattei’s Tavern — Opening Fall 2021, The Inn at Mattei’s Tavern – An Auberge Resort respects the history of this landmark destination while blending the simplicity of modern farmhouse design with the eclectic textures and patterns of nearby ranch life.
- DINING & RESTAURANTS
The Tavern at Zaca Creek — A seasonally-inspired California chophouse, The Tavern at Zaca Creek showcases the best of what Santa Ynez Valley has to offer by supporting local farmers, ranchers, and fishermen. The allure of the original Tavern bar is captured by a spirits & cocktail program that highlights old and new alike.
Peasants FEAST — As one of the first businesses to open in the Santa Ynez Valley during the pandemic (April 2020), peasants FEAST features seasonal comfort foods from longtime restaurateurs and husband and wife Michael & Sarah Cherney. Centrally-located in downtown Solvang.
Nella Kitchen & Bar — From Chef Luca Crestenelli and the hospitality team behind S.Y. Kitchen, Nella Kitchen & Bar features Italian-inspired dishes and quality foods simply prepared using only the finest locally-sourced ingredients. Located in Los Olivos, alongside the Fess Parker Wine Country Inn.
Bob’s Well Bread — The new Ballard location of this popular Los Alamos mainstay features the same signature special daily breads, homemade pastries, all-day breakfast & lunch, and bread & bakery take-away case that have made the pilgrimage to Bob’s a daily routine for many.
Coast Range & Vaquero Bar — A Central Coast steakhouse and seafood restaurant with full bar, Coast Range & Vaquero Bar in Solvang is a collaboration between winemaker, sommelier, and James Beard Award winner Rajat Parr, and celebrated chefs Anthony Carron, Lincoln Carson, and Steven Fretz. Opening Spring 2021.
Bar Le Cote — This new sister restaurant of Daisy and Greg Bell’s popular Los Alamos eatery Bell’s, Bar Le Cote is described as an upscale seafood tavern housed in the former Sides Hardware & Shoes space in downtown Los Olivos. Opening Spring 2021.
Sear Steakhouse — An elevated and genuine farm-to-table Solvang steakhouse, Sear is the longtime vision of Demetrios and Karen Loizides who previously operated K’Syrah Catering & Events from the completely reimagined space. Opening March 2021, Sear is a partnership between the Loizides and mixologist Alberto Battaglini.
- WINERIES & TASTING ROOMS
Clean Slate Wine Bar — Featuring limited production wines, craft beers, and small plates focusing on family farms, independent winemakers, and local producers. Highlights include 50 Wines by the Glass, 10 beers on draft, and small plates influenced by Spanish-style tapas, local farmers, and Chef Melissa’s Louisiana Roots.
Arrowsmith’s Wine Bar — A friendly European bar in the heart of Solvang, Arrowsmith’s is a “home away from home” run by two Europeans, specializing in small-batch local wines as well as a delicious worldwide selection of fantastic wine and European beer.
McClain Cellars — The McClain Cellars Winery, Barrel, and Tasting Lounge in Buellton is a tribute to the four pillars that keep the family focused, driven, and alive: family, friends, faith, and freedom. At McClain Cellars, they believe that every day is a gift to be enjoyed with those you love the most.
Stolpman Fresh Garage — Located in the garage and patio space adjacent to their Los Olivos tasting room, the Stolpman Fresh Garage features wines made from grapes that are natively fermented, un-crushed, and whole, served chilled in an open air setting.
Storm Wines — Rooted in the hills of the Santa Ynez Valley, Storm Wines emphasizes old world influences and new world techniques. The Mediterranean climate, diverse soils, and exciting new opportunities in this budding Central Coast wine region have combined to drive Ernst Storm’s passion for producing his wine and sharing it with visitors to the winery’s Los Olivos tasting room.
Grimm’s Bluff — Best known for their 246-acre ranch and vineyard in the Happy Canyon AVA, the new Grimm’s Bluff tasting room in Los Olivos showcases the handcrafted wines and Italian varietal olive oil produced from its certified biodynamic and organic vineyard.
- SPECIALTY, ACTIVITIES & OTHER
Queen Cup Coffee — Skyler & Alyce Barrick’s love for great coffee and the motivation to share their life experiences with others in the community inspired them to create Queen Cup Coffee. Located next to The Lucky Hen Larder in Santa Ynez, Queen Cup Coffee opened in Jan. 2021.
Moke Experience — Solvang — A whole new way to see and experience Solvang and the surrounding areas, Moke Experience Solvang features a lineup of stylish, colorful, and sought-after electric vehicles that are a zero-emission alternative for visitors wanting to explore the valley in style.
Tin City Cider — A collaboration between two winemakers looking to fill their time following harvest and crush, Tin City Cider opened its second taproom location in late September 2020 in downtown Los Olivos. Together, they produce a full line-up of carefully crafted ciders made with the best California apples.
Enjoy Bagels + Sweets — The latest offering from Kevin & Amber Vander Vliet, who have operated Enjoy Cupcakes since 2009 and were motivated by a need to diversify during COVID-19. Features 8 unique bagel flavors, 8 cream cheese schmears, and 10 bagel sandwiches in addition to a full sweets line at their bakery facility in Buellton.
For more information on new or planned lodging, restaurant, winery, and other openings, or to research attractions, book lodging and activities, and create a custom travel itinerary, visit VisitSYV.com. For the latest updates on travel restrictions, modifications, and operations, please visit Traveling Safely in the Santa Ynez Valley.
About the Santa Ynez Valley:
Barely two hours from Los Angeles and a scenic four-hour drive from San Francisco, the Santa Ynez Valley is home to six distinct towns each with its own culture, vibe, and menu of experiences. Blanketed with fruitful farms and vineyards, the California Central Coast wine region’s temperate weather allows for year-round activities of all sorts, spread throughout the historical communities of Ballard, Buellton, Los Alamos, Los Olivos, Santa Ynez, and Solvang. Destination dining and world-class wines await, accompanied by lodging at every level, all painted into atmospheric backdrops that colorfully mesh Old World and Old West. Visit more than 100 wineries, feast on chef-driven cuisine, and enjoy festive events and design details from Victorian-era to mid-century to modern Danish. For more information, including a listing of wedding venues, restaurants, wineries, tasting rooms, and events, go to VisitSYV.com.