More News

Santa Barbara News-Press: Losing its sizzle: Longtime Goleta eatery calls it quits

December 19, 2012

Losing its sizzle: Longtime Goleta eatery calls it quits.

The Sizzler restaurant at 5555 Holister Ave. in Goleta closed its doors Monday. The steak-and-seafood eatery was a fixture at Kellogg Square Center for 25 years. RAFAEL MALDONADO/NEWS-PRESS
Santa Barbara, Calfornia – Published 12/19/2012
Santa Barbara News-Press
Losing its sizzle: Longtime Goleta eatery calls it quits.
By Steve Sinovic, News-Press Staff Writer

Losing its sizzle: Longtime Goleta eatery calls it quits.

Santa Barbara-area Sizzler fans will no longer be able to head to Hollister Avenue to enjoy the restaurant’s famous steaks, seafood and Endless Salad Bar.

The longtime eatery at 5555 Hollister Ave. in Goleta quietly closed its doors Monday, confirmed a spokesman for the Mission Viejo-based chain of 180 restaurants, which are mostly located in the West.
The lease ran out at the steakhouse – located off the 101 and 217 freeways – which was best known for its all-you-can-eat buffets and reasonable prices.

“The employee count was approximately 16 people,” said Brad Ritter, a spokesman for the chain. “It was a lower-volume restaurant than most Sizzlers,” he added, referring to the smaller staff.

However, a new eatery may soon take over the space, according to an executive at a local commercial real estate firm, which already is entertaining interest in the 7,600-square-foot property that anchors the Kellogg Square Center.

“We’ve talked to a couple of prospective restaurant users, but no one is ready to ink (a deal),” Bob Tuler, principal and broker at Radius Commercial Real Estate and Investments, told the News-Press.

No demolition is expected at the site, but Mr. Tuler anticipates that extensive interior renovations will be undertaken by any new tenant.

“When I was a freshman at UCSB, the property was called the Blue Ox,” said Mr. Tuler. “It’s been a Sizzler for over 25 years.”

While Mr. Tuler couldn’t comment on the financial viability of the shuttered Sizzler, he said that the business model, in his opinion, had grown stale and “a little tired.”

If you’re going to have a beef-oriented menu, doing business in a place like Santa Barbara is a high steaks endeavor.

“Sizzler didn’t have the same pop as white cloth” purveyors like Holdren’s and Chuck’s, said Mr. Tuler, especially for UCSB parents taking their kids out for a nice dinner on visits to town and others out for special occasions. Nor did it have the charm of affordable neighborhood spots popular with locals, such as Harry’s Plaza Cafe and The Tee-Off Restaurant & Lounge, both of which have solid meat-and-potatoes menus, said Mr. Tuler.

Mr. Tuler characterized the interest from potential tenants as “one-third local” restaurant operators and the rest out of area – mostly restaurateurs with 3 to 6 stores.

Smaller establishments might find the current footprint too much, said Mr. Tuler.

“It has to pencil out for them” to justify the investment, he said of any future tenant. In addition to UCSB, Mr. Tuler said the housing tracts between Turnpike and Fairview offer a new business a solid demographic filled with parents and kids.

Other vacancies in the Kellogg Center have also attracted potential new tenants, he added. A national retailer has shown interest in the space formerly occupied by Lemos Feed & Pet Supply, which has a new home in Goleta on Calle Real.

In some locations around California, Sizzler has closed both company and franchise-owned stores, reopened and rebranded them to reflect newer menu preferences and spiffed-up decor.

“There are no immediate plans for a replacement (restaurant) in Santa Barbara County, but Sizzler has done well in the area over the years,” said the Sizzler spokesman Mr. Ritter.

“The company is keeping its eyes open for a good site and is always interested in expanding with the right franchise partner,” he added.

Recent News