Timbers Roadhouse History
If walls could talk, the Timbers restaurant on the north side of Highway 101 at the west end of Goleta could tell quite a tale. On Feb. 23, 1942, shortly after the U.S. entered World War II, a Japanese I-17 submarine shelled an oil facility west of Goleta. This was the only attack on the American mainland in more than a century. While it caused near panic in Santa Barbara, “Their marksmanship was rotten,” said the owner of a nearby roadside inn. The shells hit an oil derrick, a catwalk, and the Ellwood pier – but mostly fell harmlessly on the ranches.
Ten years later, Tex Blankenship and his wife Emma purchased 21 acres that were once part of the historic Dos Pueblos land grant known as “Goleta 7” – originally envisioning the land to be used to build another Knott’s Berry Farm.
Around this time, Sunray Oil Co. was dismantling the nearby shelled Ellwood pier. Blankenship salvaged & hauled these 12×15 inch pine timbers, some scarred by shrapnel, to the location of what we now know as The Timbers. Now intending to build a restaurant, noted stonemasons John & James Rezzonico were brought in to build the dining hall’s massive fireplace, using stones from the Cachuma Lake Project.
Sadly, Blankenship’s dream of opening The Timbers as a restaurant was never realized, and the building sat empty for a decade until it was purchased by successful restaurateur Sam Villiotes.
After years of turnover, new names, new owners & even being used as a place of worship for a Lutheran congregation, The Timber’s name was resurrected some 40 years ago as a popular Goleta eatery, only to close once again in 2003.
In 2021 Kim and Gino Stabile, 5th generation Santa Barbarians with over 50 years combined hospitality experience, reopened this historic restaurant and local Landmark as Timbers Roadhouse, continuing the original dream that was started over 60 years ago.