After teaching music to students in Korea, Turkey, and Vietnam for more than a dozen years, Ron Fairbanks developed an affinity for the different breakfasts of the world and wanted to share that array with others. So in March, with his wife, Jade Fairbanks, he opened 4 Eggs & Pizza in the former Scarlett Begonia location in Victoria Court, serving an eclectic and ever-evolving menu of egg dishes, salads, noodles, burgers, pizzas, and more.
“Why can’t we go somewhere and eat pho at eight in the morning?” explained Ron, who grew up in Goleta, graduated from Dos Pueblos High in 1981, and then studied music at the University of Utah. “I wanted to bring something different to Santa Barbarans.”
Pho is especially meaningful, as Ron met Jade in Vietnam, where she was raised and working as an accountant. But that job was causing her health issues due to the high stress, so the couple entered the restaurant business about three years ago by opening a franchise of Pier 49 Pizza in Utah. They eventually broke away from the corporate menu by serving pho, which was Ron’s recipe, not something passed down through Jade’s family.
“I always had to cook for myself,” said Ron, who was single from age 18 to 52. “I’m picky, and I’ve learned a lot. She’s like my taster — I make it and she tastes. I still can’t make her eggs perfectly, but I’m working on it.”
The couple, who have 4-year-old twins, knew they wanted to serve an even wider range of foods, but the franchise agreement wouldn’t allow that. So they found a new space in downtown Santa Barbara. It became a homecoming for Ron, who’s been running into old friends ever since. “It’s good to be back in Santa Barbara,” said Ron, whose father passed away in 1991. “My dad’s been calling me back for a while.”
The restaurant’s name is a nod to “four continents,” which Ron lists as Asia, Africa, Europe, and, with creative license, the Americas. The menu bounces from Asian (pho, banh mi, rice plates) to Mexican (carnitas taco) to English (back bacon and black pudding with eggs and beans) to French (cocottes, omelets), Tunisian shakshuka (eggs in tomato sauce) to a Turkish breakfast plate with jams, spicy sausage, salty cheese, and a small salad. Then there’s a wide range of pizza, of course, and a handful of hamburgers to round out the menu.
The Fairbanks don’t plan to stop there, wanting to add Turkish and Korean street foods to serve at night when the live music fans file out of SOhO upstairs, plus a range of sausages, perhaps some chicken soup, perhaps pozole. “What doesn’t sell? Say goodbye,” said Ron of his menu-testing regime, later adding with a hearty laugh, “We don’t sell eggs on pizza — that’s what we don’t do!”
The restaurant’s casual vibe is matched by a colorful decor, which is sparse but developing. When I visited in late April, it reminded me of those cafés you find in foreign countries that serve various international foods to appeal to both tourists and locals, with large pictures of every menu item posted on the wall.
They’re keeping prices modest, with eight-inch pizzas starting at $8, small pho at $9, burgers around $8, and breakfasts running from about $10 to $14 for the full English spread to $22 for duck hash and eggs, a dish Ron proudly invented. To Jade, this formula should also work for families or even friends whose tastes aren’t similar.
“It’s hard for families to find one place to go!” she said. “So we focused on doing everything, but everything good.”
Ron plans to start playing his keyboard and singing in 4 Eggs & Pizza when live music comes back too, combining his professional pursuits under one roof. But offering breakfast all day remains a top priority. Said Ron, “Some people really want breakfast at two in the afternoon.”
1221 State St., Ste. 10; (805) 770-5996; 4eggsnpizza.com
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