Top-Level Changes at Wine Cask

Longtime Proprietors Doug Margerum and Mitchell Sjerven Leaving Famed Restaurant

Wine Cask Bar Cafe

Paul Wellman

Wine Cask Bar Cafe

Doug Margerum and Mitchell Sjerven are leaving Santa Barbara’s Wine Cask after nearly a decade of being the public faces for the iconic restaurant.

Margerum’s family founded the restaurant, wine bar, and (former) wine shop in 1981, but sold it in 2007 to Bernard Rosenson. That led to nearly two years of tumultuous changes, a decimated wine inventory, and a war of words between Rosenson and the landlords, SIMA, which eventually evicted him.

In 2009, Margerum stepped back into the fold with the restaurant expertise of Sjerven (who also owns bouchon on West Victoria Street) and the financial/strategic backing of Anda Ashkar, who then worked for SIMA. They resurrected the Wine Cask and rebuilt its reputation as a place for fine dining with an award-winning wine list. That arrangement held tight until July 2017, when Margerum and Sjerven sold their interest to Anda Ashkar, now with AJE Holdings. But the two men agreed to stay on as consultants for the transition.

As of this week, the two will no longer be consulting for the restaurant, and that news was broken to the staff on Monday. No other change in operations has been announced by Wine Cask ownership.

Sjerven plans to focus his time on bouchon, while Margerum will continue to focus on his wine projects. He is opening a new Margerum tasting room at the Hotel Californian early next year, and then shift his tasting room in El Paseo to focus on his Barden brand.

Askhar is excited to enter a new chapter, with Chef Jeremy Van Kralingen at the helm of the kitchen. "The success of the brand has always centered around the support of the community, really great food, and a stellar staff that define the word 'team,'" she said. "They are the true owners, the face and essence of Wine Cask and Intermezzo."

Read more:

Rebirth of the Wine Cask | Former owner Doug Margerum teams with Mitchell Sjerven to re-open restaurant and tasting room.