Five years is a good run for some restaurants. Tenth anniversaries are fairly rare. But on Christmas Eve last year, the Montecito Café celebrated a whopping 25 years at the same location. Stability is what proprietors Mark and Margaret Huston do. Married thirty years, they met while attending the California Culinary Academy and have been linked to and by food ever since. Their three children grew up working at the café and now run Jane on State Street, the three-year-old restaurant baby of the family. Margaret says their success is built on an uncompromising commitment to quality, service, consistency and value. Who else has free valet parking and charges nothing for splitting entrées?
The menu, a collection of the “tried and true,” changes little, says Margaret, because their many loyal patrons like it as it is. Favorites include fresh local seafood, superb steaks (try the black angus filet mignon), chicken with Anaheim chilies, nightly burger specials, alderwood-planked salmon, goat cheese pancakes and their signature coconut cake and super-light cheesecake. You won’t find “architectural” desserts or unpronounceable ingredients, but rather, real, finely prepared food made with the best ingredients and no shortcuts: everything from stocks to burger buns and desserts is made on the premises.
Despite their longevity, the Hustons aren’t resting on their laurels. Even after all those years, Margaret says, “We’re thankful every day for our customers and to be part of this community. We know that everybody who comes to the café has expectations, and it’s our job to work hard to exceed them.”
1295 Coast Village Road, Montecito