Word has spread about new Buellton bistro

By Pamela Dozois

The joint was jumping, as they say, on a recent Friday night at La Botte Bistro.

It seems that word of the new Italian restaurant in Buellton has gotten around already. The restaurant was filled to capacity and a line of people formed outside, waiting for a table.

The owner, Francesca Agate, served hors d’oeuvres to those waiting in line, as jazz music by Andrew Beal and the AMC (Authentic Musicians Collective) wafted through the evening air.

“Going out for a casual dining experience turned into an extraordinary one … Wow!” said Karen Brown.

Pictured, from left, are Amayzing Agate, Francesca Agate, Caterina Agate, Nick Agate, Francesca’s son Josh White, and Andrew Beal from the Authentic Musicians Collective.
Photo by Devyn Marseilles

A Buellton resident, Agate opened La Botte Bistro on July 7. If the name sounds familiar it is because her parents, Nick and Caterina Agate, have owned and operated Lompoc’s well-known La Botte Restaurant.

Agate moved to the Santa Ynez Valley seven years ago from San Diego. Commuting from Buellton to Lompoc daily, she learned the restaurant business and the authentic Italian recipes her parents have been preparing for the past 36 years.

Initially known for her successful winemaker dinners at her family’s restaurant, incorporating local wines paired with her gourmet dishes, she eventually decided she wanted her own wine label, “La Botte Wines.”

With the help of Flying Goat, Scott Cellars, and Pali Wines, she has produced a delicious pinot noir and a sangiovese and is working on a syrah.

Each of her wines has a moving story behind it. What makes this endeavor different is that Agate uses her wines to barter for what animal sanctuaries need most for their senior dogs. One hundred percent of the sale of her pinto noir, “Amayzing,” goes to help senior dogs, pit bull sanctuaries, and other animals in need.

“I contact groups who manufacture the things that I need for these animals. Two hundred dollars’ worth of wine, let’s say, can trade for flea medication or food for a number of dogs,” she said.

Agate then opened her own catering company, “La Botte Bistro Catering,” using her parents’ restaurant kitchen. It got to be too much for the restaurant to handle and she decided she needed her own facility.

One day while driving on McMurray Road, she noticed a man sitting outside a restaurant next to a catering truck. They began talking and he mentioned that he owned the sandwich shop, which wasn’t doing very well. She asked him if he would be interested in selling the restaurant, and a deal was struck.

She had to install a full kitchen using electric appliances rather than gas, she said, because gas emits unhealthful fumes. Then she and her daughter, Amayzing, got to work and decorated the inside.

“It is a boutique-type restaurant,” Agate said. “If you have special needs or are allergic to certain foods, I can accommodate you. We can cook whatever you want or need.”

The kitchen is overseen by Chef David Berroteran, who worked at La Botte Restaurant in Lompoc and was trained by Chef Renzo Merotto, Chef Jose Valdes, and Chef Nick Agate, who have been mentoring him on the family’s recipes and Nick’s secret sauces.

“I wanted to learn how to prepare fine Italian food and expand my skills. Cooking is all in the detail and the taste,” said Berroteran. “I feel blessed to be a part of this adventure.”

The menu features a wide selection, and all the ingredients are organic, locally sourced and made fresh daily.

“I start making my sauces at 4:30 a.m. I would rather run out of food than serve anyone something that is not freshly made that day,” Agate said.

“Eating at La Botte Bistro is an amazing experience – Francesca personalizes this place. It is filled with love, respect and kindness for the food and its patrons. I love coming here,” said Peggy Morris of Vandenberg Village.

“I do quite a bit of traveling so I have eaten in a lot of restaurants. Wherever I go I ask people for their recommendations. When I come to Buellton, La Botte Bistro is a must! I love the feel of this place. It is a healthy, happy place where everyone is warm and friendly, and the food and wine are fabulous, and affordable, and the desserts … oh my, unbelievable,” said Pete Morris of San Diego.

“We have been here at least six times since its opening in July, and we love it,” said Landa Parisi. “Though with the music, it has been the most fun.”

“I enjoyed the fine food, people, music, friends, and I love the owners,” said Karen Miller.

La Botte Bistro is also available for private parties, and there are no corkage fees. There is live music every Friday night.

The restaurant, at 225 McMurray Road, Suite A, is open Wednesday through Sunday from 5 to 9 p.m.

For reservations, catering, private parties, or more information, call (805) 693-2154 or (805) 325-3625.