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The Santa Inez Band of Chumashi Indians is hoping that the new Willows restaurant in the casino will pique the taste buds of customers with a Tuscan-style appealing atmosphere. The restaurant opened on Mar. 8, 2004.
"We're going to do some great things here in the valley, and it's going to be a memorable dining experience for our guests," David Brentz, chief financial officer of Chumasi Casino, said at a press preview Friday.
Part of the restaurant's atmosphere is an outdoor patio with a view of the rolling green hills of the Santa Inez Valley and an indoor dining room rich in natural light.
The restaurant will also satisfy private parties and celebrities who want to be out of the public eye in the comfort of one of Willows' three private restaurants. A private restaurant can accommodate groups of two to 16 people, and each has an elevator, so guests do not have to enter through the main restaurant. The restaurant seats 155 customers and employs a staff of 18 chefs.
Decorations include colorful cherry wood walls and ceiling trim, soft pastel colors, works by local artists, and elegant bars adjacent to Maitreya Station.
"I think it's an advantage to have another place in an area like this," said John Blair, director of fine dining and catering.
Blair says restaurants have high-end menus in an environment where he hopes to emphasize comfort rather than glamour and the need to dress. He said menus have been taken since June to be developed.
Among these menus are lamb, filet mignon, and New York strip steak, which was cooked by veteran chef Thomas Meyer and his staff. The appetizers include coconut shrimp, crab cakes, and pat/. In addition to these menus and appetizers, the Willows will also serve soup, salads, seafood, pasta, and desserts.
As for the dining environment, Blair said the idea is in play once the Willows are in operation. There's talk of jazz and classical musicians serenading customers at Friday and Saturday night parties and setting up another menu with local empty spots serving wine.
"About 85% of the wine on the menu comes from the region, but Germany, France and other imported wines will also be stocked," Blair said.
Saturday, February 3, 2024