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Jul 1, 2006 02:39 AM

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 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.