A family-owned Lompoc restaurant is set to shut its doors for the final time this weekend, a little more than four years after opening.
Scratch Kitchen, located at 610 North H St., will serve its final meals on Sunday, Aug. 18, according to co-owner/manager Augusto Caudillo. The closure of the restaurant, which is owned by Caudillo and his sister and brother-in-law, was announced on social media this week.
“It’s just a lot of hours, a lot of time,” Caudillo, also a chef, said Wednesday about running the restaurant. “I just had a baby and I don’t get to spend any time with him, and, honestly, Lompoc is a very hard town to do business in.”
The establishment will continue with its normal hours of operation through the final day, Caudillo said. That will include its regular brunch from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, which will be followed by the final dinner service from 5 to 8 p.m.
The restaurant opened in May 2015 with a mission to provide locally sourced food prepared from scratch, hence the name. It quickly gained acclaim, at least locally, and was chosen as the recipient of the Economic Vitality Award from the Lompoc Valley Chamber of Commerce in 2016, and was the winner of the Chamber's Small Business Excellence Award in 2018.
“It was something that we wanted to do and bring a good restaurant to Lompoc — something that Lompoc could be proud of and that would represent our community,” Caudillo said. “I never really wanted my own restaurant, but the opportunity presented itself and there was a need to bring some good food to Lompoc. We did it, and we’re very proud of that and the work we did for the last four to five years.”
Michael Carroll, a past chairman of the Lompoc Valley Chamber of Commerce, said Wednesday that he felt the eatery left its mark on the city.
“Augusto and the Caudillo family should be lauded for their efforts in bringing a higher level of fine dining to Lompoc,” he said. “I’m sure that whatever comes next for them will be a success, but Scratch Kitchen will be sorely missed.”
Amber Wilson, the president/CEO of the Lompoc Chamber, said Chamber officials were sad to see the restaurant shut down.
“We wish Augusto and his family best wishes in their next endeavor and urge the people of Lompoc to support local businesses in an effort to promote a thriving community,” she said.
Caudillo noted that several factors played into what he described as a hard decision to close for good.
Among those was Lompoc’s economic climate. Caudillo pointed out that Lompoc doesn’t have any specific major attractions to draw in tourists, so the restaurant’s owners found it difficult to expand their customer base.
“There’s really no traffic other than our locals, and they have thankfully supported us since Day One,” he said. “We’re able to pay our bills and do our thing, but it’s hard to make any more on top of that. We just need some time off; we need a break.”
Caudillo, who trained at Le Cordon Bleu and has worked as a chef at several upscale restaurants, said that he and his partners will take some time away to “de-stress” before deciding on their next move.
While his next steps may not be clear, Caudillo said he was grateful for everyone that contributed to the Scratch Kitchen experience over the past four-plus years.
“We have met some amazing people and made some amazing friendships and I’ve learned so much about our town and so much about our industry,” he said. “I’ve just learned so much from all the people that have visited us. Ultimately, the only thing we can say is, 'Thank you for the support.'”