The ambitious plans to re-envision and remodel the popular Beachside Cafe at Goleta Beach and reopen as The Ellwood became far more complicated once owner Omar Khashen and his team started work on the 80-year-old building.
“When we started doing some discovery and pulling back drywall and opening up the floors, we found a ton of rot in the building and many structural things that needed to be addressed,” said Khashen. “We took on that larger scope of work. It doubled the whole budget.” That required a search for more investors, which they have since secured.
In the meantime, the County of Santa Barbara, which owns the property, is replacing the roof and an old sewer line that serves the entire park. Those upgrades are very much welcomed by Khashe — “the county has been a good partner to us,” he said — but they made it difficult to work directly on the restaurant itself for about six weeks.
That work did restart about a week ago, said Khashen, who helped build the successful Sea Legs restaurant group in Huntington Beach. Though Sea Legs was initially a partner on this Goleta project, Khashen decided to part ways and develop The Ellwood on his own. He’s since bought a home and moved to Goleta.
Khashen believes work will be back “in full swing” in a few weeks — getting a good crew to come back after a work pause is challenging — and now hopes to open the restaurant by January 2023.
“It’s taking a year longer to get this open, but at least we’ll have a building that won’t malfunction on us,” he said. “If anything, we’re more committed than ever. We plan on being there for 25 to 30 years at least. Now we’ll have a building and the infrastructure to get us to that point.” Khashen encouraged anyone with questions to email him directly at email@example.com.