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Great Breakfast near 101 in SLO-Atascadero-Paso Robles?

I'm driving from the Bay Area to Santa Barbara tomorrow morning and am looking for a great, homey breakfast place not far from 101. We're looking to stop somewhere in the San Louis Obisbo area. Any ideas?

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  1. In SLO, try Big Sky Cafe - get off at Marsh, come up (it is a one-way street) to Broad, turn left and park in the first public lot you see. Big Sky is across the street on Broad. Creative, fresh local produce.

    Or there is Margie's, a homestyle diner with giant portions - get off at Los Osos Valley Road and make an immediate left onto the freeway frontage road. I think there is a sign.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Snackish

      Thanks for the suggestion, snackish. We tried Big Sky Cafe, which was perfect -- exactly what I was looking for. Loved the coffee cake.

      1. re: sfmags

        You are welcome. I lived in SLO for 20 years and it was my favorite place. I always stop back by when I visit.

    2. My favorite breakfast spot is Bon Temps Creole Cafe.
      1000 Olive St, San Luis Obispo, California 93405-2362
      You can find it at tripadvisor.com and other places on the web.
      It's very close to 101 and the "Coon Ass Breakfast Skillet" is the best! You won't need to eat again for hours.

      Another good spot is The Budget Cafe at 3121 S Higuera St Ste J, San Luis Obispo, CA. A typical, popular breakfast place in a little strip mall.

      1. The Apple Farm Restaurant is a popular breakfast choice and my favorite. It's located just off of Highway 1 at 2015 Monterey in San Luis Obispo. The phone number is 800-374-3705.

        Apple Farm has a wonderful country charm. Everything's fresh, lots of flowers, and fabulous food. The last time I went I had the best quiche I've ever eaten. It was topped with diced ham and melted cheese and served with fresh fruit. They have an extensive gift shop and a hotel as well.


        3 Replies
        1. re: howefortunate

          I have to disagree on the Apple Farm. The food is mediocre and somewhat overpriced. The clientele is made up primarily of tourists.

          1. re: godvls

            Yes, it is only average. And they pretty much MAKE you wait a certain time period in the gift shop, if I remember correctly, even if there are empty tables.

            1. re: godvls

              And, I have had similar repeat experiences at Big Sky. Nice atmosphere, not just tourists, but really - the food is NOT worth it. Every time I get talked into going there I think I should give it another chance, but I have never had anything even mediocre there. Also, neither of these places are in Atascadero!

              Big Sky Cafe
              1121 Broad St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

          2. Panolivo is nice in Paso Robles.

            1. Ok...gotta say it. Took the advice of all Chowhouders...BIG SKY sucked (for me)last week. I did breakfast--that's the meal everyone says is the best there. The Devils scramble was oily, and the potatoes were undercooked and had that wrinkled been-lyin'-around awile look and texture. Good coffee cake though. I'm guessing by the equal amount of raves to ho-hums to lousies--BIG SKY is inconsistant.

              5 Replies
              1. re: orangeplow

                I've been to Big Sky a couple of times in the past 2 years and my meals were similar to yours, orangeplow. Not bad, but I was expecting better, according to the posts I read. The eggs were done nicely, but the potatoes were as you described and some of the bacon was freshly-cooked, while some of it looked day-old. Not too appetizing and I ended up leaving most of it on the plate.

                Since then, I've researched breakfast in the area and Panolivo sounds by far the best to me. But how ironic that the newer Panolivo in SLO does not serve breakfast! SLO could use more full breakfast options, so I hope they will change their mind on that soon. Meanwhile, I'm going through the area again next week -- but I'll be breakfasting somewhere else this time.

                1. re: Moka

                  Before you give up on SLO, I would have breakfast at Bon Temps Creole Cafe as mentioned by a previous poster here.
                  Their breakfast is awesome, especially if you have a fondness for Cajun/Creole food. Even if you don't, their eggs and hash browns are excellent as are their biscuits.

                  Hubby and I lived in SLO and this was hands-down our favorite breakfast in the area. We were never that impressed with Big Sky because of consistency issues.

                  1000 Olive St
                  San Luis Obispo, CA 93405
                  (805) 544-2100

                  1. re: glazebrookgirl

                    Thanks GBG, you must be reading my mind. I thought Bon Temps sounded pretty interesting too. Haven't found a menu yet, but it's not every day you find Eggs Sardou or Coon Ass skillet, whatever that is. ;>) Is the chef a CIA grad?

                    I'm also considering breakfast outside on the old stone patio at Gardens of Avila (talk about controversial), but I've always wanted to check the place out. Even if the food's a little more basic, it would be ok if the setting is woodsy and charming. Decisions, decisions...

                    1. re: Moka

                      You know, I've never found a menu for them online, but it is divided up into two main sections: one is your choice of eggs with various cajun delights,i.e. fried green tomatoes, sausage, etc. The other is a section of skillet breakfasts where you get a skillet filled with various cajun things all served together. The egg breakfasts come with potatoes and either cornbread or biscuit. The skillets come with cornbread or biscuit. Then there is the pain perdu (lost bread) which the cajun version of french toast.

                      You can also sample chicory coffee (not my favorite but some people like it), along with the regular breakfast beverages. You can also order a beer and no one would blink an eye.

                      I don't know the chef, but I don't think he is a CIA grad, but I could be wrong.

                      About the Gardens of Avila, I don't think you will be overwhelmed by any of the food, but it is decent. The atmosphere is really beautiful, so I am sure you could enjoy your meal just by looking around. I have never had breakfast there, only dinner.

                2. re: orangeplow

                  I have to agree with other posters here regarding Big Sky. I had some pretty yummy stuff for breakfast there, but I had some pretty mediocre stuff, too.

                  I lived in SLO for a number of years and I really wanted to like Big Sky. I liked the idea; I liked the ambiance; I liked the poeple that worked there. But ultimately I stopped going because the food just wasn't consistently good. The potatoes were usually dry and lacking flavor and overcooked. Some of the entrees (lunch and breakfast) were also bland. "Sucked" is too strong of a word to describe my experiences; I'd say I just lost interest.

                  I think the idea of Big Sky is part of the reason some people like it so much. It's different than other places in SLO. Good food places like Margie's Diner or Hobee's deserved their reputations because they had good tasting food, but they also served typical breakfast fare; Big Sky, on the other hand, had something different (my favorite breakfast--a black bean patty with a fried egg and tomatillo salsa--is not something you can get at most breakfast diners).

                  Big Sky reminded me of the kinds of places I used to eat breakfast at when I lived in Seattle. And I suspect there are breakfast places in the SF Bay Area that are similar to Big Sky. That appealed to me, and I suspect it appeals to many others.

                  But a cool, earthy vibe isn't enough when the food is hit-or-miss.

                  I'd point to Cantina Panaderia in San Diego as an example of what Big Sky could be but isn't just yet.

                3. Del Monte Cafe off near the railroad station:

                  (805) 541-1901, 1901 Santa Barbara Street

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: jrmint

                    I like the Del Monte Cafe too. Nothing earthshaking....casual and tasty.

                  2. Glazebrookgirl, there's no reply button at the bottom of your last post, so hope you find this down here. Appreciate all your good info! Now we're well-prepped to make what will probably be a spontaneous decision as we roll thru town--I'll report back.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Moka

                      Great! I hope you like it. I look forward to your report.

                    2. Ok I have lived in SLO for a very long time. GREAT Breakfast=
                      Breakfast Buzz-------> Pretty Much anything is good and cheap
                      295 Santa Rosa St
                      San Luis Obispo, CA 93405
                      (805) 784-0232

                      Louisa's Place-----> Giant Omelets, over all one of my favs.
                      964 Higuera St
                      San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
                      (805) 541-0227

                      Those are if you want to start off your day right. Big breakfast. Enjoy.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: DAdoff

                        Louisa's is my favorite home-cooked style breakfast. Their linquica & eggs tastes so dang good:)

                      2. In SLO, Monday through Friday my choice is Neon Carrot on South Higuera not far from Tank Farm Rd. Just a few doors down from Coastal Peaks Coffee Roasters (fmly La Donna's). Breakfast burritos, fried egg sand with basil and creme freche, homemade pastries, etc. Good coffee.

                        Other days it's Del Monte Cafe on Santa Barbara St. near the train station. Debbie's son is now in the kitchen and is doing some great specials. Another place which sources locally.

                        McClintock's Saloon in both the downtown SLO and Arroyo Grande Village locations does very good traditional breakfasts. The Shell Beach location along 101 is only open for dinner.

                        Del Monte Cafe
                        1901 Santa Barbara Ave, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

                        8 Replies
                        1. re: toodie jane

                          The Seaside Cafe in Shell Beach is quite special for this weekend resident. Their coffee is Illy. Their pastries are fresh baked and light. The waffe/pancake dishes are loaded with fresh fruit as is their oatmeal. But most of the time, I can't get past their eggs benedict-terrific. Ambiance, however, is at best rustic (all outside), and service is generally slow. Expansion is coming, and I believe it now has a liquor license.

                          1. re: BigGreener

                            where is it? where Zorro's Cafe was on Shell Beach Rd in SB? Can't place it...outside dining would be no fun in the rain...

                            1. re: toodie jane

                              Next to the Post office. Don't go in the rain. Future expansion is supposed to increase inside space.

                              1. re: BigGreener

                                Ah Yes! this place is tiny but the food quality is good. Interesting to hear they may expand. Hubby used to have antiques in the open patio to the side, with a couple of tiny indoor rooms. Maybe that's where the expansion will take place? I wonder if it has changed hands--the couple who ran it seemed to like the low-key feel and pace. I found a wonderul copper tea kettle there once. Thanks for reminding me about it again. Will stop in to see what's hapening.

                                1. re: toodie jane

                                  Food will not disappoint. Was there Sunday, after the rain. Expansion is supposed to be on the side and to the rear. Talk to Tim, co-owner. He is quite open/friendly.

                                  1. re: toodie jane

                                    Met Tim, who I assumed was the owner on our recent visit. Loved the Greek Eggs Benny, can't wait to try his traditional version next visit.

                                    It's between Wawona and Esparto

                                    Seaside Cafe & Bakery
                                    1327 Shell Beach Dr.

                                    1. re: PolarBear

                                      Landmark: the Shell Beach post office is on the corner, just next door.

                                      1. re: PolarBear


                                        Seaside Cafe & Bakery
                                        1327 Shell Beach Rd, Pismo Beach, CA 93449

                                        McClintocks F Saloon & Dining House
                                        133 Bridge St, Arroyo Grande, CA 93420

                                        Neon Carrot
                                        3536 S Higuera St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

                            2. As long as we're updating, I'd throw Hush Harbor into the mix.

                              Hush Harbor Bakery
                              (E side 101, N of Traffic Way exit)

                              Hush Harbor Bakery
                              5735 El Camino Real, Atascadero, CA 93422