Grasshopper for Grandpa: the Story of Jimmy’s Oriental Gardens

Posted on May 29 by SEASONS Magazine

Tommy Chung, courtesy photo.

Tommy Chung, courtesy photo.

The Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation (SBTHP) presents a public screening of Grasshopper for Grandpa on Thursday, June 1 at 7 p.m. at the Alhecama Theatre (914 Santa Barbara St.)

Grasshopper for Grandpa is a short documentary by local filmmaker Casey McGarry that premiered at the 2015 Santa Barbara International Film Festival. It tells the story of Jimmy’s Oriental Gardens, a celebrated restaurant and bar in Santa Barbara that first opened in 1947 by Jimmy Yee Chung. During the late-19th and early-20th centuries, Chinese and Japanese communities thrived in the area in and around the Santa Barbara Presidio, which was then known as Chinatown. Jimmy’s Oriental Gardens closed in 2006 with the retirement of owner Tommy Chung, but was restored to its 1947 form and reopened in 2013 by regular patron Bob Lovejoy and his son Clay. It is now the last visible remnant of Santa Barbara’s Chinatown. Grasshopper for Grandpa explores how the team at Jimmy’s Oriental Gardens formed lasting relationships with the community that are still nurtured and cherished today.

The opening reception is in front of the Alhecama Theatre from 6:30 to 7 p.m. A panel discussion and Q & A with McGarry, members of the Chung family, and Jimmy’s patrons will follow the screening. Admission is free for SBTHP members. For more information, call 805/965-0093 or visit

—Victoria Tai Murphy


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