By Pamela Dozois
Jamie Gluck has sold his Bell Street Farm restaurant in Los Alamos to pursue opportunities in Los Angeles, and local residents Daisy Freitas-Ryan and Greg Ryan, both experienced restaurateurs, plan to open a new eatery in the landmark location this spring.
Gluck launched Bell Street Farm Eatery & Market nearly seven years ago. He recently announced that he had sold the building and restaurant contents and will pursue potential opportunities for the Bell Street Farm brand in other locations.
An “Appreciation Party” was held on Jan. 20 to bid adieu and to introduce the new restaurant owners to their patrons. The event also raised money for the Santa Barbara Firefighters Benevolent Fund.
More than 300 people attended the farewell party, where wine and hors d’oeuvres were overflowing. There was barely room to move, both inside and on the patio, as well-wishers spilled out onto the sidewalks on both Centennial and Bell streets.
The outpouring of affection for Gluck and his husband, John Wentworth, was palpable. Everyone seemed to want one last hug and to wish them the very best in their new adventure.
The party started at 3 p.m., and by 4:30 p.m. more than $5,000 had been raised for the Firefighters Benevolent Fund with 2 ½ hours left in the event. Guests extended their gratitude to the firemen and women who were in attendance for their incredible work during this intense and arduous fire season.
Bell Street Farm opened its doors in August 2012 in Los Alamos, where Gluck and Wentworth had previously bought a weekend home. Within a couple of years the eatery ranked No. 6 on Yelp’s list of Top 100 U.S. Places to Eat after making the list for four consecutive years. Bell Street Farm also received national and international attention from The New York Times Magazine, Food & Wine, Oprah, Rachael Ray, The Los Angeles Times, Sunset Magazine, Westways and more.
“I could not be more grateful to my customers, far and wide, for making a restaurant kid’s dream come true and exceeding my expectations at every level,” Gluck said. “With a talented and dedicated staff, I was able to conceive and launch a cozy place where people could come for yummy food, a glass of delicious wine, and a hug. The community of Los Alamos, where we own a home, for 10 years now, has been so supportive and embracing. It feels like the right time to harness our current success and see what’s out there.
“It will be hard to move on and hand over the keys, but these keys are going into the hands of a remarkable couple with restaurant résumés that impress and intimidate me,” he added. “Daisy and Greg, with experiences at terrific restaurants in Austin, New York and Los Angeles, make me feel so comfortable that my customers, and John and I, will have an amazing place to eat in Los Alamos,” he added.
“We have come home to the Santa Ynez Valley, where Daisy attended Dunn School and where her parents, Brent and Suzi, have lived for over 25 years. We recently had a son, Henry, and knew that we wanted to return to where Daisy grew up and set down roots,” Ryan said.
“We have always loved Bell Street Farm and after getting to know Jamie and John, we appreciate and love the impact and indelible mark that they have made on the community and food scene in Los Alamos and the Valley,” he added. “We bring with us a combined 25 years of restaurant experience and we will continue the passion for great food and hospitality that Jamie helped establish in Los Alamos. We will soon be announcing our name, concept, and opening date.”