SLO County Restaurant Report

Posted on Aug 30 by SEASONS Magazine

Scallop salad from Cello Ristorante & Bar, courtesy Allegretto Vineyard Resort.


Cheers to these four new or recently revamped restaurants in San Luis Obispo County. Located in Grover Beach, Paso Robles and Cayucos, these eateries are worth diving into.

Cello Ristorante & Bar 
Set among sprawling vineyards and orchards in Paso Robles wine country, Cello Ristorante & Bar feels like an escape to Italy, serving creative Mediterranean-inspired dishes at the upscale Allegretto Vineyard Resort. This is a place that works just as well for a casual flatbread and glass of wine with friends as it does for a romantic candlelit dinner for two or a larger celebration. Try the Black Angus filet mignon grilled over oak or the fresh fish or risotto of the day. The spotlight is on produce and herbs from regional farms and the chef’s garden, along with a well-curated domestic and international wine list, including a selection sourced from the surrounding estate vineyard. Whether you sit inside or out on the patio, you’ll soak up views of the rolling hills and vineyards. Cello is open for breakfast, lunch, small bites and dinner. Leave some time to explore the lovely grounds. 

2700 Buena Vista Dr., Paso Robles, 805/369-2503,


Thomas Hill Organic’s goat cheese sandwich, courtesy Thomas Hill Organics.


Thomas Hill Organics 
The name lets you know right up front that this is a restaurant committed to showcasing local organic ingredients. Thomas Hill Organics‘ corporate executive chef Kurt Metzger furthers the vision of owner and founding chef Debbie Thomas, using fruits and vegetables from nearby farms, meats from local purveyors and bread from the town’s artisan bakers. Wine, beer and ciders from the region are also featured. Located one block from the city square in this popular wine-tasting town, the casual-chic eatery buzzes with locals and wine-trail sippers. Starters include seared day boat scallops with pea puree, tendrils and garlic crisp; and Di Stefano Burrata with Windrose Farm golden apples, cherry panzanella and arugula. Inventive dinner entrees range from roasted branzino with lemon herb stuffing, olive-chili tapenade and speck to Caribbean-spiced rubbed pork shank. Cheese selections are from Fromagerie Sophie in San Luis Obispo. Thomas Hill Organics serves Sunday brunch, plus lunch and dinner daily.  

1313 Park St., Paso Robles, 805/226-5888,


Oak grilled pawns at The Grill at Cass House, photo by Deborah Denker.


The Grill at Cass House 
A meticulously restored 1875 home is now the Cass House, a boutique bed and breakfast in the quiet little beach town of Cayucos. A casual pavilion next to the historic house provides a unique dining venue for lunch and dinner with an open-air feeling. Chef Cory Bidwell presides over an outdoor kitchen with oak-fueled grill, oven and pizza oven, turning out memorable dishes made with ingredients sourced from local farms and the Cass House garden. Seasonal plates are designed for sharing, from the cauliflower empanadas and house-made spaghettini carbonara to oak-grilled prawns and Moroccan-spiced tri-tip. Locals and visitors gather at the popular Community Night every Monday from 5 to 8 p.m. for a bite to eat, glass of wine, corn hole and live music. A new Tapas Hour on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 3 to 5 p.m. offers discounted draft beer and wine, along with a small plates menu, including local artisan cheeses and charcuterie. 

222 N. Ocean Ave., Cayucos, 805/995-3669,


Fried chicken and sourdough waffles from the Spoon Trade, photo by Rebekah Venturini,  Atomic Graphics.


The Spoon Trade 
Don’t let the casual, hip and friendly vibe fool you, the Spoon Trade turns out seriously good scratch cooking, upping the dining game in Grover Beach. The menu gives traditional comfort food (think fried chicken, house-made pastas and meatloaf, and upside-down cakes) a contemporary twist as Chef Jacob Town puts his distinctive stamp on each dish. Sit inside or on the dog-friendly heated patio and dig into Sunday brunch, lunch or dinner. Don’t-miss dishes include the fried chicken and sourdough waffles, savory cheese bread pudding, and lunch fave house-made bologna sandwich, served hot with American cheese. Sip a craft beer or glass of small-production wine. Dessert winners include brown sugar pot de créme with shortbread cookies or summer fruit upside-down cake. The Spoon Trade has also just opened Grover Beach Sourdough, a bakery and retail business across the street, for more space to bake their to-die-for breads and biscuits for the restaurant. 

295 W. Grand Ave., Grover Beach, 805/904-6773,

Nancy Ransohoff


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