One of California’s most famous roadside destinations suddenly closed this week, although diners looking for a bowl of pea soup may one day find it again in Buellton.
The century-old restaurant Pea Soup Andersen’s — popular for its namesake soup, quaint windmill and Scandinavian-style dining options — has closed one of its two remaining locations, but according to several company representatives, the Buellton restaurant could return after redeveloping its website.
For the record:
11:11 a.m. Jan. 11, 2024An earlier version of this article stated that the Pea Soup Andersen’s Inn next to the Buellton Restaurant would be closing. The hotel is separately owned and is not affected by the closure of the restaurant.
Pea Soup Andersen’s continues to operate its restaurant, market and banquet hall in Santa Nella, where employees were informed Tuesday of the closure of its sister location, which was first reported SantaBarbara.com.
“What we know from our corporate headquarters is that the Buellton site is actually being torn down and rebuilt; “I’m not sure how long this will take,” said Rose Palomino, a Santa Nella restaurant manager who has been employed for about 35 years. “You never suggested we were going to close any time soon…You’re ruining this [Buellton] downwards, especially due to age; The wear and tear is pretty damaged.”
The Buellton location has seen countless guests since June 1924.
Danish-born chef Anton Andersen and his wife Juliette founded their popular restaurant as a roadside rest stop called Andersen’s Electric Café, selling coffee, sandwiches and other light fare. Juliette from France was an excellent soup maker and as demand increased, especially for her pea soup, the two named their restaurant “The Home of Pea Soup”.
The Andersens built a hotel onto their restaurant and renamed it appropriately. In the 1930s, her son Robert joined the family business and helped establish its iconography – including the restaurant and hotel’s famous roadside billboards depicting cartoon chefs (Hap-Pea and Pea-Wee), who split peas with wooden hammers and chisels.
In 1965, the Andersens sold the property and brand to actor and rancher Vince Evans, who expanded the operation to Santa Nella. The brand has changed hands several times since then, but in 1999 Buellton was acquired by Milt Guggia Enterprises, followed by Santa Nella in 2007. The company also operates AJ Spurs Steakhouses, Cracked Crab Seafood Restaurants, Crumbles Café & Bake Shop and several other California restaurants in the Near the coast
“We know it is temporarily closed for remediation,” said Krista Guggia, property manager for Milt Guggia Enterprises, who noted that no further details are available at this time. “As for our Santa Nella location,” she added, “they remain open.” [with] Normal business hours and days as always.”
Canned pea soup, available online, at select grocery stores and at Santa Nella Restaurant, is sold through a separate company and is not affected by the Buellton closure. Other items such as spice mixes, Andersen’s brand Danish cookies, dried soup mixes and merchandise may also be available ordered online.