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A taste of old Santa Barbara

10 Oct 2012 8:23 AM
A taste of old Santa Barbara

With its locally produced food and trend-setting restaurants, Santa Barbara has garnered a reputation as a bastion of modern cuisine. However, that is not the only side of the city's foodie culture. Those who know where to look can find a more traditional, time-honored dining experience in this scenic region.

One of the best examples of this is the Cold Spring Tavern, located at 5995 Stagecoach Road. Like the street it's on, this classic tavern and steakhouse harkens back to a bygone era when dining was about food made with high-quality ingredients, simply prepared dishes, and a strong drink or two.

A meal at Cold Spring Tavern is about much more than the food, however. Residents of the nearby luxury homes stop by the historic establishment for a chance to experience a slower pace of life and savor the ambiance and atmosphere. Cold Spring has been serving up steaks, chilis, ales and fresh-baked breads for generations. Diners have come to expect a certain timelessness and quaintness from the tavern in the intervening years. According to the Santa Barbara Indepdendent, this has helped the restaurant become one of the region's landmarks.

The building has been in use since 1865, and operated as a tavern since 1941. Because of this, tradition is clearly an integral ingredient in Cold Spring's success. Its current owners, Joy Ovington Wilson and her husband Wayne, understand the importance of the restaurant's legacy, and they work hard to protect it.

"It's a tremendous responsibility but we will do our best," said Joy, according to the restaurant's website.

Although the tavern is known best for its large and well-crafted dinners, it also offers a crowd-pleasing breakfast. Like the evening fare, breakfast dishes at the tavern are sure to keep you full all day. Venison sausage, whole wheat french toast and blueberry flapjacks help early risers greet the day in a classic fashion.