Sometimes it can feel like we’re spoiled here on the Central Coast, and that’s because we are. With the glistening Pacific Ocean stretching out towards the West and picture-perfect wine country spreading throughout the East, we’re nestled in one of the most beautiful and bountiful corners of California. Famous for our San Luis Obispo Farmer’s Market, we take pride in our local farmers and the fruits of their labor, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. From Paso Robles to Arroyo Grande, our agriculturally rich area offers an abundance of locally grown and produced farm fresh cuisine at farm-to-table restaurants all over the Central Coast. These culinary kitchens are continuing to pop up all over the county, giving travelers plenty of dining options to choose from during their time on the Central Coast. In celebration of Restaurant Month, we have chosen to highlight some of our favorite new restaurants that you simply have to taste to believe! These new kids on the block certainly have the chops to keep you coming back for seconds.
1. Thomas Hill Organic Kitchen (San Luis Obispo)
A Paso Robles favorite, this farm-to-table local organic bistro has recently opened the doors of it’s brand new San Luis Obispo location, which can be found near the corner of Monterey and Chorro in the newly renovated upstairs promenade. Dedicated to serving creative, fresh food and highlighting unique wines from the Central Coast, Thomas Hill Organics crafts bold, original dishes that are sourced from a vivid array of fresh ingredients. Working with local purveyors, all of their fruits and vegetables are provided by nearby farmers while their poultry, lamb, fish, grass-fed beef, and exotic meats are regionally-produced. If you crave honest food and believe in the significance of organic food, Thomas Hill Organics has the perfect menu for you. The new 4,400 square-foot location, called Thomas Hill Organic Kitchen to differentiate itself from the original Thomas Hill Organics, features dining room and patio seating, a large kitchen, an indoor pizza oven, and a few more menu options than the Paso Robles location. With a sophisticated ambiance and down-to-earth food offerings, Thomas Hill Organic Kitchen represents the beautiful blending of Central Coast lifestyles.
2. Marston’s 101 (Atascadero)
Another expansion project, Marston’s 101 is the offspring of San Luis Obipspo’s Marston’s Bar & Grill. Located in Atascadero, this upscale family restaurant features a full bar with craft cocktails, craft beer, and local wines. This modern, wine-country eatery opened in late July and has been serving fresh California cuisine to Central Coasters since. Because the menu uses local ingredients, the dishes offered are rotated seasonally, but their wood-fired oven is operated year-round, offering diners more than just toasty flatbread pizzas to choose from. Wood-fired appetizers, entrees, and meat dishes provide guests with a wide selection of farm-to-table options. With it’s industrial feel and covered patio, Marston’s 101 is the ideal spot to celebrate with family and friends while enjoying an authentic Central Coast experience.
3. Flour House (San Luis Obispo)
Priding themselves on simplicity and authenticity, Flour House SLO delivers pure Italian cuisine to California’s Central Coast. The Flour House is a modern eatery located on Higuera Street in downtown San Luis Obispo with a menu boasting delicious house-made pasta, aperitivi, and of course, pizza. However, what makes the Flour House so unique is their specialization in pizza napoletana. A precious heritage style, pizza napoletana is guarded by Italian law to be simple, light, flavorful, fresh, and delicious. The Italian-rooted husband and wife duo who own the restaurant have perfected their craft, transforming simple ingredients like flour and water into pizza and pastas that will leave you craving more. Their expertise with authentic Italian cuisine coupled with locally sourced produce and a unique wood-burning pizza oven make the Flour House so much more than your average pizza place. In fact, their pizza oven itself is an authentic Stefano Ferrara wood-burning pizza oven imported from Italy and is the only one of it’s kind between Los Angeles and San Francisco. The Flour House’s menu is rooted deeply in Italian pride, reflecting the way real Italians have been preparing and enjoying food for generations. Take one bite and your taste buds will travel from SLO to Italy without the cost of a plane ticket.
4. Flavor Factory (Morro Bay)
Only one year old, Flavor Factory is known for it’s gourmet burgers that are house-ground daily from their Chef’s special blend of hormone-free quality cuts. Each burger is nestled on a freshly toasted Pretzel bun which are delivered daily and accompanied by house-made bread & butter pickles, and your choice of either home-made macaroni salad or freshly cut steak fries. The Flavor Factory also offers sandwiches, soups, salads, has six beers on tap and offers seven local wines. All of the produce featured within the salad bar is locally sourced and everything from the macaroni salad to the salad dressing are made from scratch. A true “flavor factory,” the owner’s avoid anything processed, so you can order with the peace of mind knowing that all of your food was prepared in-house. This comfort is also translated through the Flavor Factory’s relaxed atmosphere. The eclectic restaurant features an open kitchen right next to the ordering counter, while a raised ceiling gives the dining room a spacious feel, whimsical art by local artists brings warmth to the room, and tin siding along the walls gives the restaurant an industrial touch. If you’re looking for a juicy, hand-crafted burger, the Flavor Factory is waiting for you in Morro Bay.