Santa Barbara- S County

Montecito gets a boost with upper village businesses reopening

Many were slowed by two disasters

Montecito's upper village shopping and dining area is getting a comeback after two disasters. (John Palminteri/KEYT photo)

MONTECITO, Calif. - After road closures and weather impacts, Montecito's upper village has reopened bringing new life to an area that was hard hit over the last six weeks.

While it is standing, around the location at East Valley Road and San Ysidro Road, the hills were on fire in December and the streets were full of muddy water in January.   The location was not a target for the tons of boulders that hit multiple canyons.

Sealed off by damage in several areas the village became a command post for fire crews, and law enforcement.

Now, restaurants like the Montecito Wine Bistro are greeting guests again, and trying to reset the cozy neighborhood feeling it has had for years.

Friday night employees said the tables were full of residents sharing their stories of being evacuated and getting through the disasters.

Some residents said they were especially coming out to help businesses that need the spike in cash flow again to keep the lights on and the workers employed.

"You gotta be here and take care of the businesses because the have taken care of you," said Tom Shaffer who moved here from the Central Valley and has supported the local economy for several years. 

"We are ready to have you come on in," said Johnny Noonan at the door for the lunch crowd.

He said many customers have been talking about the recent evacuations "and tell their stories and share their emotions while they eat some good food and have some good drinks."

Many customers throughout the shopping zone and plaza area were aware of the setbacks the businesses have faced.

"We are trying to help the businesses here and everyone is digging in," said Bruce Defnet who arrived with a group of friends for lunch.

Special signs were up at the Wendy Foster store to welcome back customers and some businesses had home made signs and decorations to show that the area is alive again.

One part of the small grass area around the street corner was damaged by mud but work crews were digging it out.  Aside from that everything else looked clean and welcoming.

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