LA Weekly Covers the Santa Barbara Restaurant Scene

5 New Reasons to Eat in Santa Barbara

by LA Weekly Magazine

Click here to read the full article

“A third new restaurant to open recently in the Funk Zone, the Nook is the eat to Lama Dog Tap Room’s drink. Bright and airy, long communal tables fill the refurbished shipping container, and there’s a patio, too, that’s perfect for pets. It’s just one of the community gathering spots inside 120 Santa Barbara Street’s Waterline, an industrial warehouse that’s been freshly re-envisioned as a place for food, beer, wine and an artisan collective.”

Lama Dog and Nook Interior

Exciting stuff to see our local eateries getting some out of town coverage! We hope to continue this trend with some upcoming projects, stay tuned.

Guilded Table Opens in the Funk Zone!

More coverage of our Waterline project in Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone

Check it out here as Noozhawk covers the opening of the Guilded Table Artist Collective which shares the space with Lama Dog Tap Room, The Nook, Topa Topa Brewery and Fox Wine Co.

The Guilded Table is a place for artisans and artists to create their work within the Funk Zone. We that this support of the arts community is a critical component of the fabric of the community and helps to maintain the authenticity that draws so many people to the Funk Zone. I hope you have a chance to come and check out the popular space at 120 Santa Barbara St, stay for a drink and some food!

Guilded Table

The Nook Featured in 805 Living Magazine

Some kind words about our latest creation in Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone The Nook and Chef Norbert are featured in this months 805 Living. Its great to see Norbert and his crew getting the recognition they deserve, they are consistently putting out great innovative food like lobster mac’n cheese (my kids favorite). When you pair this great food with the beer and wine options provided by Lama Dog you have a combination that is hard to beat, a fact that many people agree with judging by the crowds! The Waterline will be adding Topa Topa Brewing and a wine tasting room for Blair Fox Wines in the next few months!


Matador Network says Waterline is a must visit!

The travel publisher, Matador Network includes The Water Line, The Nook and Lama Dog Bottle and Tap Room in one of the must visit spots in Santa Barbara! Check it out below! Then head down to the Funk Zone and enjoy some great food and drinks!

“The Waterline, located in the Funk Zone, is a one-stop shop for enjoying Santa Barbara’s local merchants and artisans. Start your afternoon at Topa Topa Brewing or Lama Dog for some of Santa Barbara’s best craft beers, then head to Nook for a late lunch or dinner — try their rockfish soft tacos, seafood burgers, or purple potato waffles with fried chicken. You can walk off your meal by checking out the talent at The Guilded Table, an artist collective with tons of private studios and a large common space where artists, craftspeople, photographers, jewelers, and designers come together to collaborate and share their work with the public.

The best part? The team at the Waterline works together to make their various tasting and dining menus cohesive and complementary, so going from spicy jidori chicken wings to a strong IPA makes perfect sense.”

The Waterline gets some press!

Lama Dog Interior

Phase one of The Waterline project opened in May of 2016 which includes an eatery The Nook and Lama Dog taproom and bottle shop. The two businesses share a portion of  two old warehouse buildings located at 116 and 120 Santa Barbara Street in the Funk Zone of Santa Barbara.

So far the public response has been overwhelming and these projects have been featured in the following publications.

The Waterline Drops into the Funk Zone

Waterline Project Rises in Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone with Collection of Beer, Wine, Food and Art

For us at KMA the payoff for us is seeing our clients successfully open their business and exceed even their best projections. We couldn’t be happier for them and it has been great seeing them thrive. It’s important that customers are attracted to the space that we have created but it’s equally significant when our clients are excited to work In the kitchen or behind the bar. Recently, in an interview, Norbert – 30+ year veteran to the restaurant  world – was quoted as saying “This is the first really happy place I’ve worked in a long time,”  which to us is all we can hope to create.
I’d like to think one reason for this happiness is the way we positioned the kitchen and created transparency to allow Norbert to see the customers reactions and to allow the customers to see the action on the cook line. Additionally a mix of ages young and old sitting together at the communal table or the wide open bar creates a richer experience for everyone. We’ve had many people tell us that “it just feels good in here.” The energy of the customers and Pete’s and Norbert’s love of their craft mixes to create a space where everyone wants to be and come back for more. We hope you have had a chance to visit and try The Nook and Lama Dog, let us know what you think!

photo by John Goodman

photo by John Goodman

Funk Zone Restaurant Progress

Check out the latest photos from our Santa Barbara Funk Zone restaurant progress!

Interior View

Interior View

Lama Dog and The Nook

Lama Dog and The Nook


The exterior is not far away from being complete, the doors and windows are in and the new siding is being prepared for installation. We have selected cedar siding with a charred finish as an accent around the outdoor bar. This is a traditional Japanese practice called Shou Sugi Ban, which is created by charring the wood with a large propane torch. Below you can see the variety of finishes that this technique can impart. We are very excited to see this installed and finished it will be a very unique element.

charred wood samples

The interiors are well on their way as well. All the framing is complete and drywall is going up, electrical lines are in and lighting is ready for installation.


Check back in and we should have some more images of the siding installed and the shipping container being installed for the kitchen area!

Funk Zone Restaurant Approved!

funk zone wine tasting

Our Funk Zone Restaurant building permit was issued!

A new restaurant is underway in the Funk Zone neighborhood of Santa Barbara. While we can’t share the name yet we are very excited to see this project moving ahead. The demolition is underway and the space will be prepared for the brand new bar, seating and kitchen. The exterior changes include a new patio for dining with an outside bar to take advantage of the incredible weather. The restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner and promises to be a great addition to the growing food culture of Santa Barbara. The bar area will not only serve beer and wine but will also offer bottled beer for sale. Customers will be able to select from the handpicked brews on display or in the walk-in cooler. Many thanks to our project team Ashley & Vance Engineering and Kamran and Company for working hard to get this project thru the demanding City of Santa Barbara planning and permitting process.

warehouse restaurant remodel

Raw warehouse space, a great canvas

The new restaurant and bar is very exciting but that’s not all that is happening here. This permit also includes work elsewhere in the 8,000 s.f. building to prepare three other spaces for future tenants. The overall concept for the building is to have additional restaurant use mixed with other creative tenants producing interesting artwork and other handmade products. Glass walls and openings will allow for visitors to see and wander thru these spaces creating a layered experience that will continue to evolve over time. The building will be getting a new name and branding, the interior design will be cohesive throughout the warehouse like space. New exterior seating and dining areas will be constructed along with a new entry.


Temporary shoring and wall demo for the new windows and bar

The project is in the very capable hands of South West Construction who has completed restaurant build outs throughout Santa Barbara including Farmer Boy. Check back for more updates!

We love designing restaurants!

Give us a call and let us show you what we can do for you!



LA Times explores the Funk Zone

AVA Winery

AVA Winery

The Funk Zone getting some love in the Los Angeles Times. This happens to be the location of our Funk Zone Lofts, our Beer and Wine Tasting Room and a few other projects early in the design process.

“Let’s be honest. Do you want to spend a weekend in a place called the Funk Zone? The first time I heard the name, I wrinkled my nose. It sounds like something from the ’80s that smells — or looks — distasteful. When I found out it’s a tourist zone in the otherwise perfectly lovely town of Santa Barbara, I thought it needed a name change, at best. Most non-Santa Barbara residents I mentioned it to agreed. “Why did they name it that?” people wondered. 

So I asked a dozen Santa Barbara residents who live or work in the zone and got a dozen different answers. But all said they thought the name fits. And certainly the Funk Zone’s success story seems to indicate that people who visit it don’t mind the name. In just a handful of years, the area has become the hottest neighborhood in town, the place celebs go to dine and where everyone else goes to hang out. Its wine-tasting rooms, art galleries, restaurants and shops overflow on weekends and holidays. In fact, the area has become so hip, said a city official, that “businesses outside the zone pretend to be inside it. Or call themselves Funk Zone-adjacent.”

That’s an amazing compliment for a place that most people admit isn’t very pretty. Sandwiched between the beach and Highway 101, the Funk Zone is full of warehouses, manufacturing plants and industrial operations. Streets dead end, railroad tracks crisscross the area, paint is peeling from buildings that look abandoned. Some of these onetime businesses may account for the area’s odd name. When I asked locals the origin, one replied, “There’s mostly industrial stuff there that’s pretty funky”; an artist told me it was named for “the fish processing places that make it smell.”

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Funk Zone Lofts Santa Barbara modern contemporary architecture

Funk Zone Lofts Exterior

funk zone wine tasting

Interior View of Tasting Room



New Project in the Santa Barbara Funk Zone

We have a new project underway in Santa Barbara’s evolving Funk Zone! If you are not familiar with this area it has a mixture of uses and architectural styles and has become a destination in itself for wine tasting, high quality restaurants and shops. For Santa Barbara Architects the Funk Zone is a special place, it allows for experimentation and creativity in a city known for a particular style. It is also home to our live work / mixed use  Funk Zone Lofts project on the corner of Yanonali and Gray.  This new project will add to this mix as a new beer and wine bar with a full kitchen coming in the future. This project will add to our growing list of restaurant design projects which are fun to be involved in. With this design we are looking to take advantage of the character of the existing structure and are trying to add layers of texture and color while opening up the walls to allow light in. We are also opening up the wall to allow for indoor and outdoor service a the bar for the small outdoor seating area. Take a look and let us know what you think!

Funk Zone Beer and Wine Bar

Interior rendering and inspiration photos