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up the 101 to santa cruz

Heading up to Santa Cruz area wondering of any suggestions along the way that would be a good stop for lunch.
Usually stop in San Luis Obispo or Paso Robles at whatever is near the exit.
Dive to Nice it will be a weekday
Always stop at the Madonna Inn for a glass of wine and to use the fabulous bathrooms but not sure about the food as the main room is never serving when we stop.
Santa Cruz area recs welcome as well
thanks folks

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  1. I'm heading up to Santa Cruz with the family next week. I posted on the "California" Board and had some choice responses:


    Been really busy but hoping to properly respond to the SC Hounds soon...

    1. Johnnyshungry...I have been making that trip for fifteen years and, like you, typically stopped around SLO...If you like pizza and or an excellent Italian deli I would stop at Giuseppe's Express on Price ST(the main drag) in Pismo...great slices, the crust is a bit thicker than i prefer but its excellent..you can order pies thin crust,though....excellent sandwiches,salads,desserts etc...You can use the bathroom at Madonna Inn afterwards...Giuseppe's, the full restaurant is across the street...WFO, good crusty bread, Italian food...but the deli is excellent!

      1. when in santa cruz, i love Saturn Cafe on Laurel.
        they serve terrific vegetarian food.
        open all day and they stay open very late.

        1. I LOVE Phil's Fish Market in Moss Landing!!


          Great specials and huge portions!

          1. If you like steak please check out Jocko's in Nipomo, just north of Santa Maria. Take the Tefft Rd. exit and head right. They specialize in Santa Maria beef, a subtle spice rub grilled over oak logs served with salsa and pinquitoes. There will be a line at dinnertime, but lunch and off hours shouldn't be too bad. Definitely worth it for carnivores.

            1 Reply
            1. re: ebethsdad

              Definitely agree with Jocko's.
              But they don't fire up the oak grill until dinner time around 4:30pm.
              No spice rub--black pepper and garlic salt is all.
              They specialize in Santa Maria style BBQ. If you're referring to Santa Maria beef as tri-tip...Jocko's does not serve tri-tip.

            2. Bon Temps Creole Cafe at the s/b entrance to 101 off Hwy 1.

              Bon Temps Creole Cafe
              1000 Olive St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93405

              1. For breakfast, you might try Hoover's Beef Palace in Templeton. Northmost exit, go around to the right, and look for it on the left.

                Mexican restaurant in San Miguel. Just off the 10th St. exit across from the gas station. Very good tamales.

                Another good Mexican restaurant on Spring St, in Paso Robles near 10th or 11th St. (next to the old, boarded up theatre. Good food, breakfast or lunch.

                Castroville: Central Texas BBQ on the main street.

                Aptos. There is a fairly new pizza/bbq place on the Frontage road between the Freedom, and Rio del Mar exits. Only had the bbq there (best in SC), but the pizzas look very good.

                Hoover's Beef Palace Restaurant
                401 N Main St, Templeton, CA 93465

                2 Replies
                1. re: stan D

                  RE the Spring St. Mexican place in PR, could it be at 14th:

                  Los Robles Café – al pastor, camarones, green chili omelet
                  1420 Spring St

                  And thanks StanD, any other recos for the little place in San Miguel?

                  Los Robles Cafe
                  1420 Spring St, Paso Robles, CA 93446

                  1. re: PolarBear

                    Your're right it is14th. I was mentally counting from the square, and went the wrong way..

                2. One of my Santa Cruz favorites not already mentioned is Ristorante Avanti on the west side, Mission Street. All local, organic, sustainable, eclectic. Fresh pasta, desserts made in-house, great wine flights, and cheeses.

                  Ristorante Avanti
                  1711 Mission St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060

                  1. Haven't updated this Google map in a couple years, but has some places I've tried along the route to Santa Cruz.

                    1. I recently have been stopping at the Madonna Inn south of SLO for their Copper Cafe and can report the food is very good - more classic American food but if you crave a good BLT and some really good blue cheese salad dressing that is practically a meal in itself then this is the place - I order their half sandwich/salad plate and the BLT is stacked with their special bacon so one half is a pretty good portion. And their pies are worth a stop too just for them alone. Weird, funky , but also good for food and fun too. There is a lot of pride in this place, even in the quality of the over the top decor. It was a surprise for me too.

                      Salinas - Bahama Grill in downtown - key lime pie

                      Pismo Beach - Mo's BBQ for Philthy Phil ribs, Doc Burnsteins for Ice cream and Hotlix for coffee flavor taffy

                      Pismo Beach - McLintocks at the bar (only) for their potato skillet and steak pieces appetizers

                      Madonna Inn
                      100 Madonna Road, San Luis Obispo, CA 93405

                      1. Weekdays, a top new spot in SLO is Neon Carrot, just about "across the freeway" from Madonna Inn. Take the Los Osos Valley Rd exit and turn right (east) one block to S Higuera St, go left (north) to the stripmall on the left next to Meathead Movers, about a block north of Tank Farm Rd traffic light.

                        Owned and run by chef Meghan Loring; all the sandwiches and salads are top notch and very reasonable. All local produce, Hearst ranch beef, local seafood when available, house-made desserts (try the chocolate/peanut brittle pudding)

                        Open M-F only for b'fast and lunch (8:00 to 3:00) and Friday afternoon/evening from 4-7 for a happy hour with tapas.

                        1. Thanks Folks,
                          Sadly at the very last moment the trip has been cancelled Just made the cancellation in time for the hotel whew no fee.
                          Now I have the info for the next time much appreciated.