The couple runs the pop-up restaurant Sparklehorse (www.facebook.com/sparklehorsewok). They describe Marjie's as a casual spot that will serve dishes inspired by the roadside barbecue they discovered while traveling in Thailand, Vietnam and Laos last year. The couple met while working at Herbsaint, where Jacobs was the executive sous chef and Carney works as a server.
For two years with Sparklehorse, Jacobs has used a mobile grill to prepare dishes such as grilled ribs and chili and garlic-tinged Gulf shrimp for bar patrons and at outdoor parties. He named the grill Lucy and uses it to make Santa Maria-style barbecue, a method common in Santa Barbara and on California's Central Coast, where an iron grate is adjusted to different levels over open coals to control the cooking temperature of different cuts of meat.
Jacobs says Marjie's will offer a large selection of slow-grilled meats, including lamb, chicken, pork and beef, as well as flash-grilled seafood and vegetables.
The menu isn't final but it will incorporate Southern and region- al dishes and local, seasonal ingredients. Jacobs describes one dish as "somewhere between New Orleans-style barbecue shrimp and Malaysian curry." In it, Gulf shrimp are wok-fried in a fiery beer-based curry sauce and finished with butter and spices. Slow-grilled beets are smashed, tossed with Steen's vinegar and molasses and topped with sesame seeds. Charred mustard greens are drizzled with citrus and topped with shaved Gulf bottarga.
Jacobs says he expects to use a lot of fresh herbs, chili, garlic, fish sauce, lemon grass and local honey.
They plan to open the restaurant in late November or December. It will serve lunch and dinner.
The space, formerly occupied by the Latin restaurant Lupita's, has been vacant since 2014. The dining room will seat 40, and there will be space on the patio for 30 people.
"We want it to feel like a neighborhood restaurant, or like you're your coming into our backyard," Jacobs says.