Micromanaging restaurant patrons beware: Spare Parts Bistro functions in a world where menu alterations do not exist. In fact, neither does a physical restaurant location. Spare Parts eschews guidebooks and restaurant lists for “pop up” dining, a contemporary culinary concept that is defined by mobility and impermanence. While attendance does in fact mean you are going out to dinner and having your food cooked by a professional chef, this is not a restaurant.
What’s the deal?
After more than 10 years of cooking in town — including most recently as sous chef at Julienne — Chef Weston Richards and restaurateur Alvaro Rojas cofounded Spare Parts earlier this year. “Our model allows us to ‘pop up’ in a variety of locations and to craft a complete experience for our guests, without being constrained by the brick and mortar of any one venue,” explained Weston.
What does a Spare Parts experience include?
Each weekly dinner has approximately 20 people in attendance. Weston creates a five-course menu inspired by local, seasonally available products of the thought-provoking, lesser-known variety. So you won’t find chicken breast, but there might be crispy potato gnocchi, white corn, green onion, white truffles, etc. Said Weston, “We ask diners to leave their experience entirely in the hands of those crafting the experience for them.”
Where do you sign up?
Guests can find out about Spare Parts’ dinners and new menus by joining their mailing list (sparepartsbistro.blogspot.com). To attend, you must RSVP and receive confirmation of an available spot, as seating is limited. Upon confirmation, directions are sent out to the evening’s event. A cash donation of $75 per person is requested, which includes a festive pre-dinner drink and gratuity. That’s your ticket to Santa Barbara’s guerrilla dining scene.