They are two of the finest restaurants in Santa Barbara Wine Country, each offering a unique and unforgettable dining experience. While the menu is the main attraction, The Willows and Root 246 also offer a superb wine selection that complements each and every dish. It’s no surprise both restaurants are now being recognized by Wine Spectator Magazine for offering one of the best wine selections in the country.

The 2013 Restaurant Wine List Award winners span the entire United States and 76 other countries and territories, along with 11 cruise ships. This year, 2,870 restaurants earned the Award of Excellence. Both The Willows and Root 246 are on the 2013 list.

Award of Excellence

The Award of Excellence recognizes restaurants with a wine list that offers an interesting and diverse selection by quality producers. Typically, these lists offer at least 100 selections that are well presented and complement the restaurant’s cuisine.

“The awards validate our commitment to wines locally and worldwide,” says Bill Cheek, Director of Food & Beverage for the Chumash Casino Resort.

The Willows

Located inside the Chumash Casino Resort, The Willows restaurant specializes in mouthwatering prime steaks and seafood. The elegance and high level of service places The Willows in a category all its own among restaurants in Santa Barbara County. This Four-Diamond-award-winning restaurant also features 150 wines.

“Every single wine is tasted and measured against the needs of the list and current seasonal menu; as the menu changes, so does the list,” explains Bill Cheek, the Resort’s food and beverage director. The Willows places an emphasis on local and West Coast wines. Among the wines you’ll find on the list are a variety of Central Coast Pinot Noir and Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.

Root 246

As soon as you walk into Root 246, it’s apparent that wine plays a major part in the menu. A glass enclosed wine wall is located near the entrance, showcasing bottles from floor to ceiling. There are 300 wine labels to choose from at Root 246, including 50 Pinot Noirs. Root 246 Assistant Restaurant Manager Beau Armenta says between 85 to 90 percent of their wines are local, “with having so many different options in our area, we chose to select wineries that offer a unique and great product.”

Root 246 is located in Solvang, just off Hwy. 246 on Alisal Road. The focus is serving food that is farm-fresh, delightfully simple and most importantly, delicious!

“We put a lot of focus into our wine list so that we are able to satisfy every customer need as well as complement the menu,” Armenta says.

To book a reservation at Root 246 call 805-686-8681 or visit For reservations at The Willows please call 805-686-0855 or log on to chumashcasino/resort/dining/willows. Both restaurants are owned by the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians.


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