Charles Sciutto at Santa Barbara Regenerative Health Clinic

Acupuncturist Charles Sciutto is a consistent winner in this category. | Credit: Ingrid Bostrom

Consistently earning Best Acupuncturist in Santa Barbara honors, Charles Sciutto has provided untold hours of active pain relief and mitigation of fear and anxiety through his acupuncture practice, working closely with his wife, Joy, at Santa Barbara Regenerative Health Clinic. In addition to acupuncture, an ancient Chinese treatment used to treat ailments such as back pain, knee pain, hair loss, diabetes, weight loss, infertility, and others, the clinic also offers treatment for neuropathy and degenerative eye conditions. 

Runner-Up: Jetta Harris, S.B. Family Wellness

Art/Craft Supply Store

Art Essentials

Serving Santa Barbara with an impressive selection of products since 1987, Independent readers give high marks to Art Essentials with comments like, “Great customer service and a great attitude,” “A great place for all art supplies with very helpful staff,” and “They fit a wide variety of essential art and craft items within the store. The helpful and down-to-earth staff are a relief from ‘in your face’ salespeople. And I also appreciate the art educator discount!” 

Runner-Up: Art From Scrap


Montecito Bank & Trust

[See Housing: Mortgage Company] 

Runner-Up: American Riviera Bank

Cannabis Dispensary

The Farmacy Santa Barbara

What do you want to say to those who voted for you? “From the bottom of our hearts, thank you! We wouldn’t be here without you, and we hope to make you proud in everything that we do,” say Graham Farrar and Leia Cail, owner and manager, respectively, of The Farmacy. “It means the world to us that we have been awarded three years in a row, and we promise we’ll always keep innovating, improving, and earning your trust.”

Runner-Up: Coastal Dispensary

The Farmacy | Credit: Daniel Dreifuss (file)

Herbalist/Holistic Practitioner

Pura Luna Apothecary

Winning the Best Of award for Herbalist/Holistic Practitioner for the fifth year in a row, Pura Luna Apothecary won high praise from our readers. Comments like: “You can walk in and ask about just about any ailment. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable.” “Beautiful space, knowledgeable practitioners, plus an environment that’s welcoming to all!” and multiple mentions of their “beautiful gift items and unique jewelry” are but a few of the many reasons Pura Luna has become a Santa Barbara success story. 

Runner-Up: Healing Heart Herbs and Acupuncture


Barry Family Chiropractic

“Providing high-level, individualized health care has been trickier than usual these last few years,” say Dr. Neal Barry and Dr. Nicole Barry, when asked about the post-pandemic significance of being named Best of Santa Barbara®. “We’ve worked really hard to maintain a healthy and safe work environment, and a place that patients know that they can come to for relief from the crazy stressors that we’ve all been experiencing. We are excited to see so many of you thriving and doing so well with everything that the world has thrown at you since 2020. Congrats to you as well.”

Runner-Up: Goodland Chiropractic

Computer Repair

MacMechanic / TechEase Computer Repair

“Small, locally owned businesses have been hardest hit during the pandemic, and we’ve been saddened to see some of our favorite restaurants and shops close in recent years. But when we contemplate our vote for our favorite car mechanic or cappuccino in the Independent Best Of, we are also lifting up some of our local treasures during a difficult phase. With that in mind, in our 20th year for TechEase and our 25th year for MacMechanic, it’s a huge honor for everybody on the team to be included again among some of our very favorite neighborhood businesses,” says co-owner Evan Asher. “A heartfelt thank-you to our neighbors for your trust and continued support over the years; we’ll do our best to keep earning it for the next 25!”

Runner-Up: AS Consulting


Dr. Thomas Blake

“The whole dental office team at Thomas Blake, DDS, is incredibly honored to have received this award. As a solo practitioner office, it means a lot to us to be recognized by the community,” says Dr. Thomas Blake. “Like all businesses in our area, we were challenged by the changes that the pandemic brought to us. We implemented a new set of protocols to ensure the safety of our team and our patients. As an office, we continue to focus on our incredible relationships with our patients and delivering the highest quality of dental care possible.”

Runner-Up: Kendall/Rohde & Associates


Chaucer’s Books

Owner Mahri Kerley, Greg Feitt, Sarah Prindle, Gretchen Brinser, Paul Rail, Suzanne Rorick, Britta Phillips, Dionne Elsey, Greg Philson, and Barbara Utman | Credit: Brian Kuhlmann (file)

There’s so much to love about Chaucer’s. A local treasure since 1974, this incredibly well-stocked (reportedly 150,000 volumes) independent bookstore is a reader’s paradise. It’s also a thriving literary hub, thanks in large part to the book-loving staffers who are always eager to help you find your next great read. Chaucer’s regularly books authors for talks and signings (finally back in person after much-appreciated Zoom writer talks for many months) and generously helps raise money for area schools.

Runner-Up: The Book Den

Frame Shop

Santa Barbara Art & Frame Co.

“We want to take this opportunity to thank all of our incredibly talented customers for allowing us to care for their artwork,” say Juan and Talissa Gil, owners. “Since taking over the helm of Santa Barbara Art & Frame during the pandemic, we’ve taken strides to offer a better experience when dealing with framed decor — whether helping with  an exhibition, a business, or decorating a home.”

Runner-Up: The Frame-Up

General Practitioner

Dr. David Phreaner

“I would love to thank my amazing group of patients that voted for me. With this pandemic, I think it’s been the toughest two and a half years of my 25 years practicing medicine,” says Dr. David Phreaner. “I would like to thank the warriors that have been taking care of our sickest patients in the hospital. At the same time, outpatient care has been challenging as well, particularly for our awesome staff. … They are having to work so much harder to get each patient into and out of our doors. There is much more work on infection control and keeping both the patients and themselves safe. … Bottom line, if you get a chance to thank your doctor’s medical assistant and receptionist for surviving these past two years, please do!” 

Runner-Up: Dr. Laurel Bliss

Gift Shop

Paradise Found

“Many years have passed since we opened our doors in 1986, but our original intentions have remained the same: to provide heartfelt service to our customers; to foster the awareness of conscious living; to be a focal place in the community for people to network, share ideas, resources, and information; and to be a positive and healing energy point in our community,” says Teresa Taylor, owner of Paradise Found. “After the challenges of the past three years, this was a most-welcomed love infusion that filled our hearts to overflowing. We are so full of gratitude and appreciation for this community and are inspired to continue serving you.”

Runner-Up: Skin Deep

Law Firm

Mullen & Henzell LLP

Representing clients involved in a broad range of personal, business, and professional endeavors since its founding in 1953 — as Cavalletto, Webster, Mullen & McCaughey — Mullen & Henzell prides itself on combining the benefits of a personable small-town setting with the sophisticated legal practice and depth of experience more often found in large metropolitan areas. Many of the firm’s clients have business involvements throughout California and the U.S., and Mullen & Henzell emphasizes both the quality of their legal work and their involvement in the community in which they live and work.

Runner-Up: Fauver, Large, Archbald & Spray, LLP


Eye & Vision Care

“We are so honored and love being part of this community for the past 40 years,” says Dr. Tiffany Corby, O.D., optometrist at Eye & Vision Care. “The best part for us is getting to know our patients and their families and caring for all their vision and eye care needs. We thrive to provide high-quality care in a warm and welcoming environment using the latest technology.”

Runner-Up: Bream Optometry

Licensed Massage Therapist

Deep Tissue Massage Center

Asked if being named Best Of had any special significance after what they’ve been through with the pandemic, Patient/Client Advocate Jill Silverman says, “When we first heard that we would have to close our center in 2020 because of COVID, we were stunned. Of course we worried about the future of our business, but we also were concerned for our many clients and how they would get the treatment they needed. We are so blessed that our clients stood by us and remained loyal because they value the help we give them. We are forever grateful.” 

Runner-Up: Spa Escape


White & Grube Orthodontics

Nothing but beautiful smiles from the supportive team at White & Grube Orthodontics | Credit: Ingrid Bostrom

“Winning this award is always satisfying for us, but especially since the pandemic, as our protocols and how we interact with our patients and their families changed significantly,” says Dr. Brett Grube. “We always take great pride in communication and conscientiousness, which required special consideration during the pandemic as we were not able to see patients in the same manner we had previously. We were focused on keeping patients emotionally and physically healthy while keeping them on schedule with treatment. Our team remained flexible and compassionate with the needs of our patients, and this award is another confirmation that we were able to navigate these interesting times in a manner our patients appreciated.”

Runner-Up: Ferris Orthodontic Group

Physical Therapy

Hayashida Physical Therapy

“Thank you to everyone who voted for us,” writes Dr. Maury Hayashida. “Our core values are dedicated to becoming and providing the ‘Best’ orthopedic and sports physical therapy to our community, so your votes, in this way, help us know we’re doing that. We all know Santa Barbara is a special community to live in. For us, what’s great about doing business in a close-knit community like this is that we get to see and live among our patients and clients outside of our business as well.”

Runner-Up: Elite Performance & Rehabilitation Center

Place to Work

University of California, Santa Barbara

Illustration by Ben Ciccati

“UC Santa Barbara provides a dynamic environment in which to live, learn, and work — an environment of inclusivity, curiosity, and innovation. A commitment to our mission of teaching, research, and public service, and a dedication to shaping the next generation of national and international leaders, is at the heart of everything we do,” writes Spokesperson Kiki Reyes. “Thriving on cutting-edge research, academic exploration, and the vital exchange of ideas, our campus community of faculty, students, and staff comprises a culture of interdisciplinary collaboration and is devoted to the needs of our multicultural and global society. We are grateful to the extraordinary South Coast community that so many in our workforce call home.”

Runner-Up: Procore

Retirement Residence


The luxurious senior living community of Maravilla is a unique retirement campus with something for everyone. With beautiful architecture and stunning grounds, residents can enjoy the spa and heated pool, or unwind with a massage or exercise in the fitness center. With housekeeping, laundry, and meal service available, Maravilla also provides assisted living and memory care services when needed.

Runner-Up: Valle Verde

Travel Agency

AAA – Automobile Club of Southern California

This award has special significance for AAA, especially after all that the travel industry went through with the pandemic. Branch Manager Chris Olvera says, “For us, it meant closing for two months and sending our Travel Advisors home for close to a year. The cruise industry came to a crashing halt, and the hurdles that our Advisors went through to get people to destinations was unprecedented. Through it all, they continued to assist members.” On a lighter note, he also shared the funniest thing that ever happened: “We had a member who wanted to drive to Hawai‘i.”

Runner-Up: Santa Barbara Travel Bureau

See all of the winners in our “Best of Santa Barbara® 2022” cover here.