The Lark, Lucky Penny and the Caveau Wine Bar & Merchant poised for June opening in Santa Barbara’s Funk zone

Three innovative concepts – The Lark, Lucky Penny, and Caveau Wine Bar & Merchant – are about to change the face of Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone, the burgeoning arts district of this Central Coast city when they open to the public in June 2013.

The businesses are the vision of local resident Sherry Villanueva, formerly the co-founder and principal of the boutique branding and marketing company Twist Worldwide, who sees a brilliant future for this historic warehouse neighborhood. The Funk Zone is home to the Urban Wine Trail tasting rooms, surf shops, bike shops, art galleries and boutiques. Villanueva has been developing the project over two years imagining a space that will further enhance the urban renaissance of this 16 block area, contribute to the community as a collaborative gathering space and attract visitors to Santa Barbara.

Villanueva has recruited a formidable team of talent in the hospitality field possessing training and experience with some of the most respected professionals in the industry. Together they are building the foundation for three businesses in a 10,000 square foot historic warehouse at 131 Anancapa Street in the heart of the Funk Zone and steps from the beach and Stearn’s Wharf. The largest is The Lark, 130 seat full service restaurant located in the former Santa Barbara Fish Market owned by the Castagnola family since the 1920’s. The Lark pays homage to the nearby train station and is named for the sleek overnight Pullman train of the Southern Pacific Railroad that serviced Santa Barbara from 1910 -1968. Outdoors is Lucky Penny, a free standing restaurant that will offer take away artisan bakery goods and coffees, pizzas from a wood burning oven, fresh pressed juices and snacks with an inviting open courtyard. And finally, Caveau Wine Bar & Merchant, a stellar wine bar with a retail selection of wines from small and interesting producers from Santa Barbara County and Europe designed for discovery by both the wine novice and connoisseur.

The culinary team for The Lark and Lucky Penny includes Executive Chef Jason Paluska, whose

resume includes positions under Chefs/Owners Mitch and Steve Rosenthal of Town Hall, Salt House and was most recently Sous Chef at Michael Mina’s RN74 in San Francisco. Executive Sous Chef Nick Flores is an accomplished pastry chef whose seven year career in pastry includes Aqua, Fifth Floor and RN74 in San Francisco. Menus for both The Lark and Lucky Penny will be locally sourced and responsibly grown, using seasonal ingredients based on the abundant bounty available on the Central Coast. The Lark’s full bar will feature classic as well as craft cocktails using the finest in artisan spirits, mixers and seasonal fruits and vegetables.

Caveau Wine Bar & Merchant is operated by two rising stars in the wine industry, managing partners Brian McClintic, a Master Sommelier featured in the documentary film, SOMM, which chronicled his journey to the elusive Master Sommelier title, and Eric Railsback, winner of Wine & Spirits magazine Best New Sommelier 2010.

Overseeing operations for The Lark and Lucky Penny as General Manager is Dan Russo, a veteran of the Levy Restaurant Group, the acclaimed Girl and the Goat in Chicago and most recently RN74 in San Francisco. Comfortable with both gastropub and fine dining models, Russo will bring his 19 years experience in hospitality to the project.

Leading the design is restaurateur and designer Doug Washington, owner of the acclaimed Town Hall and Salt House in San Francisco along with three other operations in San Francisco and Portland. This is his first venture in Santa Barbara. In designing the exterior and interiors, Washington brings his singular urban style integrating vintage and repurposed materials for a sophisticated yet casual sensibility. Washington is collaborating with AB Design Studio and Young Construction of Santa Barbara.

By bringing this circle of passionate individuals to Santa Barbara, Villanueva hopes to help lead in the area’s diversity and honor the historical integrity of the neighborhood that she’s watched develop with fascination and care. “We want to provide a connection for people coming together for an adventure, discovering the magical link between our past history and the future that Santa Barbara offers, “ states Villanueva. “The Funk Zone captures it all with a variety of personalities, talents, creativity and tradition. In the end, we hope to create an environment that captivates a wide audience and brings them together in an exceptional space.”As a Santa Barbara local, she’s committed to making a worthwhile contribution to the city and preserving this community of neighbors, friends and businesses.

The Lark, Lucky Penny and Caveau Wine Bar & Merchant

131 Anacapa Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101

For updates on the openings the public can soon visit:,,,


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