Arroyo Grande might be a relatively small town, but it sure is big on local flavor. Between the chef-driven restaurants serving up creative cuisine made with produce sourced from the region’s organic farms, the award-winning cool climate Central Coast wines and the family-run artisan cafes and bakeries, foodies will find no shortage of delicious culinary adventures to get into here. Add fresh catch sourced from local waters, craft brewers and vibrant farmers’ markets, and you’ve got a recipe for time well spent and savored.
Coffee and shopping in the Village
Begin your culinary adventure at Mule Bakery & Cafe, located in the heart of the Village. Started by a brother-sister duo, this go-to local’s spot is equally revered for its coffee drinks as it is for the baked goods—think scones, croissants, muffins, turnovers, cookies, cupcakes and more. Mule uses Counter Culture coffee beans and carries the Smith line of fine teas. Once your order is ready, settle in at one of the outside tables and watch the world go by.
Pop into Hive Supply Co. to browse their selection of lifestyle wares, including bar accessories, mixers and shrubs and locally made gourmet goods like Paso almonds and Cayucos hot sauce. Don’t forget to buy a bottle of their Joyful Honey to bring home.
A taste of the town
If you’re in town on a Saturday, make your next stop the Saturday Farmers’ Market, which runs from noon ‘til 2:30 p.m. in Olohan Alley. Browse what’s in season and meet the farmers as you collect a few items to bring home.
Then embark upon a walking wine tour in the Village. Start your tasting journey at Timbre Winery on Branch Street, where you can grab a seat on the back patio. Do a tasting flight to sample the diverse wines made by Joshua Klapper, who sources his grapes from sustainable Santa Barbara County vineyards. A short stroll down Branch Street will take you to the Verdad & Lindquist Wines tasting room. You can try their biodynamic and organic wines by the flight or glass.
If you’re feeling peckish, break up your tastings with lunch at Rooster Creek Tavern. The lively restaurant is known for its standout local wine list as well as the quality cuisine. It’s also a prime location to spot Arroyo Grande’s wild roosters that roam free near the creek.
Dinner and a show
After a break from wining and dining, head to “country chic” and family-friendly Mason Bar and Kitchen, located in a historic building dating back to the early 1900s. Pause to snap a photo of the building’s huge mural, a public art piece that shares a history lesson about the town and its people. Once inside, choose from either the main dining room or the restaurants adjoining fast-casual bar area. Start dinner with the popular lobster corn dogs or brussel sprouts. Meat lovers will love the pork chop or Wagyu steak. Plant-based eaters will appreciate the variety of options to choose from including oven-roasted sweet potatoes, fresh and local organic smoked carrots or mushroom ravioli.
Depending on the season, you can follow dinner with a show at Clark Center for the Performing Arts. Their dynamic cultural calendar features stand-up comedy, theatrical productions, music of all genres and more entertainment.
Perk up with coffee then visit a farm stand
Start your next day at Tribe Coffeehouse, where you’ll find excellent coffees and tasty pastries. Add a bag of Cacti Coffee Roasters’ coffee beans roasted in nearby Santa Margarita to your growing AG souvenir stash.
Head to Peacock Cellars & Farmstand on Los Berros Road. Browse their colorful displays of tomatoes, herbs and apples grown right on site. They also sell baked goods, dried fruits, nuts, eggs and cheese plates. If you are ready to start sipping, settle in for a wine tasting on the patio—they are known for their chardonnay and pinot noir grown onsite as well as a few warmer climate varietals grown in San Miguel.
Wine tasting and views
Keep your vineyard hopping going with a wine tasting at nearby Laetitia Vineyard & Winery, known for their sparkling wines and pinot noirs. Take advantage of their picnic area, play a round of bocce and stroll along their walking trail with ocean views.
If you’ve got another tasting in you, head for the hills to scenic Talley Estate. Their special “A Taste of Terroir Experience” features an educational flight of six single vineyard pinot noir and chardonnays. Or you can opt for a standard seated tasting and take in the sweeping vineyard views from your indoor or outdoor perch.
Note: If you prefer to let someone else do the driving, book a guided wine tour with a local company like 101 Wine Tours.
A local favorite
For the grand finale of your trip, treat yourselves to cocktails and incredible cuisine at Ember. This local favorite eatery has been featured in magazines like Forbes and Travel+Leisure. It’s so popular, reservations are absolutely recommended to ensure you can get a chance to try Central Coast native Chef Brian Collins’ cuisine. If you didn’t plan ahead, no worries—bar seating is available for walk-ins.