Bet you didn’t know Santa Maria California is the largest city in Sana Barbara County…this factoid comes as a surprise to many people who automatically assume Santa Barbara to be the largest city in the county that shares its name. But in fact, it is Santa Maria that has emerged over the past decade as the tail that wags the proverbial dog. And besides being the largest city between Ventura and the Bay Area, the Santa Maria/Orcutt area combines with nearby Lompoc, Los Alamos, and Santa Ynez Valley to become one of the top areas in California for wine-tasting in the world.

In the Santa Maria Valley, there are 12 vineyards all of them open to the general public. Each and every one of these 12 properties boasts a uniqueness not only in terms of its aesthetics, but each property’s “vibe”. And needless to say each grape producers hand-crafted wines are quintessentially independently terrific. And Santa Maria isn’t only known for its assortment of fine varietals, but also world-famous for its “Santa Maria Style BBQ,” with some of the best tri-tip served up anywhere. The Old Orcutt area, located roughly 5 miles outside Santa Maria, is home to a variety of family-owned restaurants, wine bars, tasting rooms, spas, and also what is commonly believed to be one of the oldest bars in California. And you all of this with a classic old-town vibe.

Santa Maria is at its core a family-oriented city of 100+ thousand, however it also boasts options for sophistication. For patrons of the arts, for example, the PCPA theater company offers some of the most entertaining theater in California.But let’s not ignore one of the most simple of basic facts, Santa Maria is home to some of the most dynamic agricultural production and operations in the Western United States. From lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, cilantro, and bell peppers, one crop that gets more than its fair share of attention are the strawberries…where each year thousands from around the state visit Santa Maria to attend its famous annual strawberry festival. Come for the wine, stay for of myriad of other fun and delicious reasons.

Snow white chicken north china, santa maria, ca

Authentic Chinese Cuisine – Santa Maria, CA

By Donna Polizzi I have been to countless Chinese Restaurants throughout the years. Many of them good. When it comes to authentic Chinese cuisine, the North China Restaurant, located at 113 N. Broadway, stands above the rest and is a Keys 2 the Coast favorite. Let’s just say it’s a good thing they have an…

Cubanissimo Cuban Coffee House and Cafe in Orcutt, Ca

By Donna Polizzi I recently stopped at a new coffee shop in Orcutt and was treated to not only a heartwarming, and inspirational story, but a quintessential American success story. Before I go onto just how fabulous the coffee is, allow me to take a quick detour. Once upon a time on the small island…

atari ya restaurant counter

Atari Ya – Top Spot for Japanese Food in Wine Country

By Pam Adkisson I have had the pleasure of visiting Japan twice in my lifetime, but long before I ever went, I had the sense that this Japanese Restaurant captured the essence of Japanese culture and flavors. And I was right! Now in their 34th year on the Central Coast, Atari Ya Restaurant is hailed…

New Things are Brewing in Old Orcutt…and it’s a “Blast”!

By Pam Adkisson Some exciting changes are afoot just in time for summer in Old Town Orcutt. About an hour north of Santa Barbara, and 35 minutes south of San Luis Obispo, this small town enclave is experiencing a renaissance, yet maintains its small–town spirit. This month, Rooney‘s Irish Pub will become Blast Brewery at…


Chances are if you’ve arrived at an airport in most major cities throughout the United States, you’ll find a Radisson Hotel. Santa Maria is no exception. The Radisson in Santa Maria is situated on the Santa Maria Airport’s airfield. This makes the Radisson ideal for the recreational flyer but perhaps especially for the corporate flyer.…

The Garden Mediterranean Restaurant and Cafe, A New Flavor in Town – Santa Maria, CA

By Gaby Mendoza So many culturally different restaurants are popping up on the Central Coast and all of them aspire to become some of the best restaurants in the area. A lovely, Mediterranean style restaurant, definitely qualifies to be in that category. The Garden Mediterranean Restaurant and Café, is making a name for itself in…