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Mar 2, 2008 03:09 PM

Paso Robles Rehearsal Dinner

We're getting married in Paso Robles in September and we need to find a rehearsal dinner venue for a Friday night. We want a place that is relaxed, can accommodate 50 or so people, and most importantly, serves tasty regional food such as ribs and tri tip. We are thinking of McLintock's. Suggestions? Casual is fine.

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  1. If you are looking for a restaurant to handle everything, there are many. Check the link at Castoro Cellars below for other restaurants in the area. There are also great caterers in the area if you prefer. The upcoming Zinfandel Fest would be a great chance to do some recon.

    Tri-tip and ribs have a history of being Central Coast style meals, with Alex's BBQ (circa 1950's?)in Pismo and with McClintock's bringing Santa Maria's Tri-Tip up into the SLO coastal area with their dining rooms established in the 70's. I'm not sure you could accurately call trip tip and ribs Paso Robles style dining, but it is certainly a Central Coast mainstay now. I think wine country ecclectic (emphasis on wine pairing) is more the style for the Paso Robles area.

    McClintock's has a casual cowboy-themed dining room with lots of western decor. Paso certainly had a history from the mid 19th to mid 20th century as cattle country. There were many huge ranches to the east along the foothills of the Temblor Range. McClintock's does a good job with meats, but serve a very carb heavy pre-main selection. Sort of a more-is-more philosophy. Don't think you could get better pricing than here.

    McPhee's Grill in Templeton (5 minutes south of Paso on 101) is a relaxed, classic bistro. Templeton is a very pretty small country town. Friendly, very nice staff. The meals are pricier but more memorable than McClintock's. They do a lovely brunch on Sunday if that is in your plans.

    Some of the wineries have dining venues and you can't beat that for atmosphere. Some have dining rooms, others could accommodate outside caterers. Evenings in September should still be warm enough for patio dining.You might want to contact the vintner's ass'n for suggestions.

    One of my favorite venues is North County is Castoro Cellars on 46 West; they have a beautiful garden and patio. And the staff couldn't be nicer. Check out their list of caterers and other specialists.

    Congratulations to you!

    2 Replies
    1. re: toodie jane

      The suggestion of Castoro is a good one - it is a gorgeous spot. And, they have good wines that won't break the bank.

      1. re: toodie jane

        Some outdoor dining chow-related weather tidbits for PR:

        Average daytime highs in Sept are in the low 90's.

        Nightime lows (hits around 3-5 in the a.m.) are in the low 50's.

        Sun sets between 7:15 and 7:30 in September.

        **from The Weather Channel

      2. How exciting! Where's the wedding going to be? Friday night is tricky, even in September. I don't think I would recommend Castoro because it would a LOT of work. A rehearsal dinner should be pretty easy, because everyone will working their butt off on the wedding day. Also, they don't have a dining room, just the patio which can get pretty chilly any time of year. (The temp drops about 50 degrees once the sun goes down, and evenings can get pretty breezy). There is a great restaurant at the new Courtyard by Marriott. The chef (Paul Johnson) is formerly from Seattle, where he was very involved with the sustainable fishing movement there, and he has worked at The French Laundry among other fine dining establishments. He seems like a nice guy and he will work with you. Cool Hand Luke's has a very big space and might accommodate a party of 50 if you book far in advance. They are a small chain owned by a Central Valley family. They raise their own meat and the most expensive meal is like $25 bucks! They also serve locals wines and full bar. Mc Clintock's is the old standby and rehearsal dinners are a specialty of theirs. If you want to do something different and cool, call Dallas or Caren at 10th Street Cafe and have a Basque dinner. I've been to a few birthday parties there, and they were great!

        1. Thank you all so much for your suggestions! We are having our ceremony and reception at Robert Hall. We are getting married in the cave and having our reception in the Meritage Room. We want the rehearsal dinner casual and really fun- but who doesn't?! I agree on the reception not being too carb-heavy part too.... I don't want the guest to fall victim to onion rings and fries- unless they are amazing

          1 Reply
          1. re: Wining Mike

            Well, I am going to stick by my recommendation for Cool Hand Luke's. It sounds like it would be able to accommodate your large party, and the price is right. Here's a link to a local review (as Toodie say, 'local fish wrap') certainly not an upscale restaurant, but it's not sizzler either. You should check about their corkage, if the price is right, you might consider bringing in your own wine, although they do have a nice selection of local wines and their markup is not outrageous.

          2. Congratulations on your upcoming marriage. My husband and I got married at Silver Horse Winery in 2005. We rented out the back room and patio at Villa Creek for the evening. Cris Cherry (owner) and Tom Fundaro (Head Chef) did a fabulous taco bar. We had a white and red wine available to all our guests. It wasn't a sitdown dinner, but more of a mingle thing. We opened it up to any guests that wanted to stop by and say hello. To keep cost down....if our guests wanted a cocktail they went to the bar and bought their own drinks. I have to say it was just a fantastic evening. So this might be something you would want to consider. The number to Villa Creek is 805-238-3000 and I think Eric would be your contact. Hope this helps.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Jpaso

              I don't think they can get 50 people on the patio. And you certainly won't get ribs or tri-tip. They do a good party, I've had several small gatherings there over the past 10 years with 3 different chefs. My favorite was the female chef who did an AWESOME antelope steak. I wasn't really impressed with Tom Funaro at Trumpet Vine, but he does a good job at V.C.

              1. re: Jpaso

                Hey JPaso - We are planning our wedding next June in Paso. Haven't picked a place yet (we are going up this weekend to check out a few places - including Silver Horse). Anyway, this rehearsal dinner sounds perfect and exactly what we are looking for. How many people were they able to accomodate? We actually have a reservation at Villa Creek for Saturday night dinner, so I will definitely inquire with them as well. Thanks for the great suggestion!!

              2. I would consider Eberle for a rehearsal dinner. They will take care of everything you need for a sit down dinner and then have Cahoots Catering do a BBQ menu. They are also pretty close to Robert Hall so you won't have far to go.