Name: Leslie Dinaberg
You wrote every single Best Of entry this year. (Thank you!) How’d it go? Did you survive okay? Why start small when it’s so much better to “go big or go home!” After almost two decades of writing for just about every publication in Santa Barbara (including, sadly, many that no longer exist), the ginormous Best Of project was actually my very first story for the Independent. There were a LOT of moving parts to make the whole thing come together, but the best part was how happy every single person was to hear that they’d won the Best Of honors. Giving people good news was about as close as a journalist can hope to come to Oprah’s “you get a car, and you get a car” moment!
What’s something new or unexpected you learned from talking to all these local businesses? As someone who still hangs out with my own family at many of same restaurants I went to with my parents as a kid (Harry’s, Pepe’s, Petrini’s), it was really quite heartwarming to see how many longtime, local, family-owned businesses are still going strong in Santa Barbara.
Outside of the Independent, where can we read more of your work? I’m currently working on some stories for the UCSB Current, 805 Living, and editing the new Santa Barbara Visitors Magazine (and a bunch of stories for the Indy’s upcoming “Schools of Thought” section). I’ve also just begun a work of fiction, a murder mystery set in Santa Barbara. I’ll keep you posted on that one!