Les Marchands' Chef Weston Richards | Credit: Paul Wellman

After six reportedly successful years in business, Les Marchands Restaurant & Wine Shop will be shutting down soon to make way for a new concept being launched by the owners, Acme Hospitality. 

Acme also owns the three establishments attached to Les Marchands — The Lark, Helena Avenue Bakery, and the Santa Barbara Wine Collective — as well as the nearby Loquita and Tyger Tyger. The combined Acme restaurants greatly elevated dining options in the Funk Zone, the waterfront neighborhood where wine tasting rooms have proliferated over the past decade. 

“Sales at Les Marchands have been solid and steady for the last six years,” said Acme’s principal Sherry Villanueva, who explained that the primary driver of the decision was the new, still unannounced concept. “It was a tough decision because so many people really love Les Marchands (including me), but I think it will be good for everyone.” 

Opened in August 2013, Les Marchands was part of the initial development of the former Bay Café building along with The Lark. It was the brainchild of celebrated sommeliers Brian McClintic and Eric Railsback; the latter left in 2014 and McClintic departed in 2016. 

Villanueva said that the Les Marchands wine clubs will continue to exist and that they will be adding international wines for sale at the collective next door. Chef Weston Richards and Sous Chef Collin Wade will also remain with the company, and the other employees have been offered the opportunity to pursue other positions within the Acme portfolio.

“As you know, part of this business is innovating and staying relevant, so we’re just having fun with that,” said Villanueva. “It’s a positive move all around, and we are all excited!”

Les Marchands will be open on abbreviated hours for the next few weeks while also hosting a series of goodbye events, including the Follies Drag Brunch on August 25 and the White Party Dinner Show with Tina Schlieske on September 10, which is the last day for Les Marchands.  

The new concept will be unveiled in October.


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