local eats…Jocko’s


125 North Thompson Avenue

Nipomo CA 93444

(805) 929-3565


This place hasn’t changed since the 70s and it hasn’t had to. Cowboys and ranch hands still grab a pint after work (and at lunch!) and the locals dine on the barbecue they will, happily, defend. Don’t expect any frills or terribly great service as Jocko’s is all about great SLO bbq. They offer breakfast, lunch, and dinner to quench your Jocko’s craving. No joke, you mention this place to a local and they’ll tell you it’s the bees knees. You have your choice between SLO bbq (bbq sauce) or Santa Maria bbq (salsa on the side) and it’s all served with a breadstick/cracker basket and salsa (to dip the crunchies, of course).

The last time we were there we enjoyed their sandwiches for lunch and the meat was cooked perfectly and on a grill you can see through the large windows. Steak that is tender and flavorful between garlic bread? YES, PLEASE! This is quintessential SLO eatin’ and it always hits the spot. At dinner you can order a “small” steak that covers the entire plate. Our favorite part of watching our dinner being cooked? Seeing the outdoor grill covered in meat with ribs, a la the Flintstones, ¬†hanging off the sides. Your server may be a bit salty but that could be due to the awesome Jocko’s Mix steak seasoning they sell, perhaps it has worked it’s way into their veins or because she’s worked there for 30 years. Either way, she’ll deliver the best steak for you to enjoy after you fill up on the breadsticks, crackers, salsa, and salad that comes with your meal! Thinking of coming for dinner Thursday through Sunday? MAKE A RESERVATION!!! It isn’t uncommon to wait 2 hours for a seat at dinner.


  • Bang for your buck proportions
  • Interesting ambiance
  • Options of meat cuts and sizes
  • Cowboy sightings


  • Long wait for dinner without a reservation
  • Service may leave you wanting more (but you’ll forget it once you bite into your steak, promise!)
  • Parking in the dirt lot when there aren’t any more spots in the paved lot


local eats…Branch Street Deli

branch street deli

Branch Street Deli

203 E. Branch St.

Arroyo Grande, CA 93420

(805) 489-9099

We are repeat customers at this great restaurant. It is the most consistent place to eat in the Arroyo Grande Village and is affordable to boot. They have a great outdoor dining area that you can rent out for parties and they also have live music every now and then. Inside the restaurant are a lot of tables and a couple TVs to watch sports. The burgers and sandwiches are huge. You can, easily, share an entree with someone but you don’t have to! I don’t! The burgers are super juicy and not greasy. The sandwiches are loaded up on fresh bread. I’m not too into the fries and onion rings as they aren’t anything special. They do have great potato salad and offer entree salads that I haven’t tried yet.

The service is quick and friendly. My favorite part of sitting outside would be the Hawaiian music they pump out, it makes for such a serene setting. Be aware that between 2-4 the middle schoolers and high schoolers come to hang out. Yup…a lot of tween and teen convo and rowdiness. Oh no…I knew this would happen…now I’m in a deep craving for Branch Street Deli…


  • Quality of food
  • Affordable prices
  • Ample free parking in the public lots throughout the Village
  • Outdoor patio seating
  • Service is fast and friendly


  • Kids on the patio when school lets out


jaz signature

local eats…Guest House Grill

guest house grillGuest House Grill

8783 El Camino Real

Atascadero, CA 93422

(805) 460-0193

After visiting Charles Paddock Zoo we stopped in at Guest House Grill in Atascadero¬†for lunch. The day was so nice that we chose to sit outside in their covered patio area. They newly renovated the patio area as well as an area just a few steps down that is uncovered and has a neat rock feature. Finding the restaurant was difficult because it is in the rear portion of an older retail set up that has rows of “strip mall” type structures. We were looking for signs and, luckily, we had 2 sets of eyes in the search because these 2 newbies would have been lost and SOL.

We tried the meatloaf sandwich and the bbq burger. They were okay, better than some other burgers we’ve had in the county but the meatloaf sandwich was super salty, lacked flavor, and the bbq burger needed…well…more bbq sauce (easy remedy). We started with water to drink but it tasted like hay and immediately ordered a couple sodas. The sodas tasted like hay as well and we deduced that the ice was the wheaty culprit. Perhaps we should have had some whiskey neat, next time. Our server was okay but she seemed to be the only one for the place and although it wasn’t slammed the service was slow and at times nowhere to be found. Looking over the menu, lunch is affordable but dinner seems a bit pricey, especially for the area.

The setting was really nice and we are going to give this place another chance. They had a small tiny stage inside and we were told that it gets pretty hoppin’ when the live music is playing so that’s when we’ll come back for dinner. If we’re happy with dinner then we’d seriously contemplate having a party in their new outdoor space because it is really nice. If you were getting married in Atascadero, I would look into celebrating your rehearsal diner in this new space.


  • Setting and Ambience
  • Different food choices
  • Ample free parking
  • Outdoor patio seating
  • Service is polite and helpful when available


  • Service can be lacking if not staffed properly
  • Food seasoning needs a bit of adjusting
  • Hard to find the first time