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Embermill Set to Open at Old Aldo’s Site on Santa Barbara’s State Street

Release Date: July 18,2019

Embermill, a Caribbean Creole themed restaurant at 1031 State St. in downtown Santa Barbara,
Embermill, a Caribbean Creole themed restaurant at 1031 State St. in downtown Santa Barbara, is expected to open in the next few weeks, replacing the defunct Aldo’s. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)

It's almost here.

People who stroll along State Street in Santa Barbara may have noticed the sign: Embermill, at 1031 State St., at the site of the old Aldo's Restaurant.

It could be next week, it could be a few weeks, Chef Harold Welch told Noozhawk on Thursday.

After several years of working through the city's permit process on the city landmark building, Embermill is expected to burst into life any day now.

"I am very excited," Welch said. "It's a pretty awesome location, and the vibe I feel here is really good. This block is a really nice block to be on. It's been one of my dreams for a long time to be on State Street."

The restaurant will have a Caribbean Creole theme, much like Welch's Solvang restaurant, Hummingbird

He bought a wood-burning oven from Italy that he said will be the star attraction of the restaurant because people will be able to see it light up from the street when they walk by.

"It was a hustle to get it over here," he laughed. 

Welch is originally from Barbados, and came to Santa Barbara 25 years ago. He's a former chef at Citronelle, La Cumbre Country Club, and several other restaurants. 

The property, which is also the site of the historic Copper Coffee Pot, is enriched by a large open patio fronting State Street. Welch said he plans to sell coffee in that area on the street, as way to attract people in and enjoy a meal also at the restaurant. He'll also have some lunch items under $10. 

He's waiting anxiously for the inspectors to give final notice and say they can open. The "Embermill" sign went up earlier this week. Welch said he's trying to create a buzz.

"It could be happen next week," he said. 

"I just have a great feeling about it, it really should do well," Welch said.