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This Just In: The Wine Cask in Santa Barbara closes?

February 20, 2009 | 11:25 am

Winecask The Santa Barbara Independent reports that the venerable Wine Cask has closed. Calls to the restaurant and wine store Thursday and today were unanswered. Here's what the Independent says:

One of Santa Barbara wine country's most historic and influential businesses closed its downtown doors for good, as the owners of the Wine Cask restaurant and wine store -- as well as the Intermezzo wine bar -- told their employees that there'd no longer be jobs for them. The surprise shutdown comes less than two years after longtime owner Doug Margerum sold the business to senior care mogul and Los Angeles area restaurateur Bernard Rosenson. According to the landlord, SIMA Property Management, the closure resulted from an eviction.

According to the Santa Barbara Independent, Rosenson was unavailable for comment. Times restaurant critic S. Irene Virbila reviewed the Wine Cask's restaurant last year after Rosenson "spruced up the place a bit" and installed John Pettitt, former chef de cuisine at Melisse, as the new chef. Among the changes noted:

Shortly after his purchase, Rosenson cut down the shaggy eucalyptus tree that had anchored the Wine Cask's courtyard patio for decades -- a move that hasn't endeared him to locals. For the new owner, the tree had a certain nuisance factor, shedding leaves and droppings on the patio, so off it went to that log pile in the sky.

Maybe that tree had been good luck.

-- Betty Hallock