Three Pickles owner Clay Lovejoy said he’s planning on opening up their new Chapala Street location sometime in mid-March after they freshen up the store and put their stamp on it. | Credit: Callie Fausey

Now that South Coast Deli has moved out of its former location at 1436 Chapala Street, another Santa Barbara sandwich shop is primed to move in. Three Pickles Subs and Sandwiches will be taking over the Chapala spot, which will be its third store in the county.  

Three Pickles got its start in Santa Barbara in 2006 with its first location on 128 East Canon Perdido (the current site of Handlebar Coffee) before opening a second shop in Goleta in 2009 and moving across the alley into their current digs at 126 East Canon Perdido shortly after. 

“I was like, ‘Shoot, get the third one,’” Three Pickles owner Clay Lovejoy said. “Three. Pretty excited.”

Rewind to 15 years ago, and Lovejoy said the 1436 Chapala space was originally offered to Three Pickles, before South Coast Deli set up shop. The location’s landlord, John Holehouse, knew Lovejoy’s father, Bob Lovejoy, the co-creator and former co-owner of Three Pickles who died in 2018. At the time that it was originally offered to the Lovejoys, they were in the process of opening their location in Goleta, so they couldn’t go through with it. 

South Coast Deli had been renting the spot since 2008, up until Holehouse decided not to renew their lease in December last year and gave them until the end of January to move out. Lovejoy had been looking into opening up a shop in the Public Market when Holehouse offered him the space. 

“It was sometime near the end of December, I ran into the landlord again, and he said, ‘I’m not renewing their lease anymore. I’m gonna put it up if you don’t want it,’” Lovejoy said. “I’ve always liked the location. It’s got great traffic. I thought it’d be a little better to be outside the Public Market, so I chose that one instead.” 

When the news that South Coast had lost its lease at 1436 Chapala hit the community in January, many local fans of the deli expressed their disappointment, saddened to hear that one of the staple lunch spot’s locations would be closing after nearly 15 years. 

Clay Lovejoy pictured at The Pickle Room | Credit: Paul Wellman (file)

A yellow banner has recently been seen hanging in the storefront’s window, with “Three Pickles COMING SOON” printed across it. Lovejoy said he’s seen some negative comments online about Three Pickles moving into South Coast’s old spot ever since residents caught wind of it, but that he is not to blame for South Coast moving out.

Holehouse could not be reached for comment for this story. However, South Coast owner Jim St. John expressed in January that he and Holehouse’s landlord-tenant relationship had been rocky, a sentiment that he iterated when commenting on this story.

“We took a nothing corner and turned it into a destination and, after 15 years of paying our rent early, we were told to f*** off two weeks before our lease was set to expire,” St. John said. “We’ve recovered, and our business is stronger for it. We wish everyone involved the best of luck.”

Lovejoy emphasized that he had nothing to do with Holehouse’s decision not to renew South Coast’s lease, and if he hadn’t taken the offer, the space would’ve just gone to someone else. 

“It’s not like it was a choice between me and them,” Lovejoy said. “It’s not like I forced somebody out of their location; I just took an empty spot … I’m sorry that people are hurt by it. But I’m just a small business in town trying to survive also, and people love my stuff, so I’m opening another place. 

“Hopefully it all blows over soon, and everybody does well,” he continued. “I don’t wish anybody ill luck.” 

Lovejoy said he’s planning on opening up his new shop sometime in mid-March, after they freshen up the store and put the Three Pickles stamp on it. Plans for the new location include offering breakfast options, such as breakfast burritos and breakfast sandwiches, in addition to their classic lunchtime deli menu.

“We can cater breakfast out of that location, which won’t put a strain on the other ones,” Lovejoy said. “It will help us expand just a little bit.… I was actually in there painting, and I had a couple cars drive by and say, ‘We can’t wait for you to open!’ So that’s nice to hear.” 

Credit: Callie Fausey


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