The S.B. Questionnaire: Warren Butler

Talking Optimism and Hard Work with Santa Barbara’s Event Manager Extraordinaire

Warren Butler (Nov. 20, 2015)..
Paul Wellman

It’s so fortuitous that Warren’s last name is Butler, for his career has always been about attending to people’s wants and needs. His current raison d’être is to organize and oversee parties of all sizes that are thrown at one of his many event centers, including locations in Goleta (the former Sizzler), Montecito (the former Café del Sol), upper State Street (former Downtown Brewing Co.), and, most recently, Warren B’s in De la Guerra Plaza.

With more than 20 years of dining management and entertaining experience, Warren Butler exudes a personality that is perfect for hospitality: He’s detail-oriented, charming, and personable.

He puts down the party planner to answer the Proust questionnaire.

What is your most marked characteristic?

Hard work. Not many people can outwork me! Practice, practice, practice!

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

How you doing? Where’s the party? What’s for dinner?

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

To be here now, healthy, full of energy, and part of a great community, able to be very involved in the hospitality industry, doing something that I enjoy!

What do you like most about your job?

Helping people celebrate some of their most special times in their life with their friends and family. Being part of organizing events that will remembered for a lifetime!

What is the most difficult or exciting project you’ve ever done?

Opening of a restaurant. Especially one that turned out to be the busiest restaurant in Hawai’i. I had to interview over 1,000 people and hire 300. Whenever things got tough, I would look out over the ocean and say to myself, “It’s not so bad!”

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Surrounded by friends and family, enjoying our love and friendship. Celebrating all the things that we have to be grateful for! Sharing that love with the community with the hope that it spreads endlessly.

What is your greatest fear?

That I will lose the positive outlook I have on life. That I will be affected by the negative realities in the world.

Who do you most admire?

My brother Rick, who, with his wife, Vivien, has raised two wonderful kids. One is graduating from Stanford University this spring, and the other is graduating from high school and off to college next year. He is my older brother of seven siblings. He has worked hard to do well for his family!

What is your greatest extravagance?

Vacation would be nice. A trip back to Boston to visit family and friends. Until then, a nice steak dinner with a glass of wine with great company before a good movie of course.

What is your current state of mind?

Feeling fortunate for all the great experiences I have had, using them to prosper in this wonderful place, settling down here in Santa Barbara, making a difference in the community.

What is the quality you most like in people?

Integrity, especially when things are tough. That’s when you see one’s true character.

What is the quality you most dislike in people?

Laziness, lack of effort. It affects so many things that make up a person. It’s the root of so many other problems. Get some energy, work hard, and get after it. You will enjoy the fruits of your labor!

What do you most value in friends?

I love to be around positive people who bring me up. Plus true friends always have your back. I value that.

Which talent would you most like to have?

To be able to sing and dance. Love to watch people dance well, especially salsa … so sexy!

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

Better memory. I forget the simplest things sometimes. Would love to be able to remember everyone’s name the first time I meet them!

Where would you most like to live?

Santa Barbara is a great place to live and settle down. I still like to go visit some of my old places I have lived like Hawai’i, Atlanta, Miami, New York, Los Angeles, and of course where I grew up, Boston. Santa Barbara is the place I have decided to be. If you are not happy in Santa Barbara …

What is your most treasured possession?

My friends and family! And my health … knock on wood!

Who makes you laugh the most?

My old buddies from Boston, when we get together and joke about the past.

What is your motto?

You only live once — make the most out of it!

Which historical figure do you most identify with?

President John F. Kennedy. I identify with most of his beliefs, but wish I was half as charismatic and inspirational. A couple of his sayings which still ring true today:

“My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”

“Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.”

On what occasion do you lie?

I don’t recall … I always tell the truth even when I have to make it up!

Okay, maybe when asked how young I am.


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