San Luis Obispo’s answer to Bourbon Street has new digs.
After two decades on Olive Street, Bon Temps Creole Café has moved across town to Osos Street near the train station. The new location was previously home to several other restaurants — most recently Lotus Asia’s Best, now located in downtown San Luis Obispo.
“This is more of a stand-alone spot, and it’s got a great track record, said Phil Lang, who owns Bon Temps with his wife, Julie. “It gives us some extra space and we really like the area. It’s got a great neighborhood feel.”
As part of the historic Railroad District, the N’awlins-themed café is an easy drive from downtown and the south end of Broad Street. There’s also foot and bicycle traffic from the overpass across the railroad tracks that links to the Terrace Hill neighborhood.
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The new Bon Temps location opened in May 2016 with a refreshed look to the Mardi Gras-inspired décor that celebrates all things purple, gold and green. The festive interior benefits from high ceilings and a dining area that opens onto a relaxing outdoor patio.
Fans of the restaurant’s Big Easy cuisine will be happy to know nothing has changed on the regular menus. You can still start your day with a three-egg French Quarter omelet with Cajun sausage or settle into a lunch of shrimp Creole served over white rice.
For dinner, jump into an appetizer of frog’s legs Lafayette. Then choose an entrée salad with blackened salmon, or go big with filet mignon medallions topped with Cajun shrimp demi-glace and served with collard greens.
“We’re putting a bit more emphasis on dinner specials,” Lang explained. Some recent offerings have included a soft shell crab appetizer, chicken stroganoff and blackened albacore.
Potent potable options have expanded as well. There are two Abita Brewing Co. beers on tap, and the addition of a distilled wine akin to vodka has made Bon Temps bloody Marys possible.
“They’re classic bloodies made with our housemade mix of horseradish, cocktail sauce, Worcestershire sauce and, of course, Tabasco sauce,” Lang said. “They’re a good fit — spicy drinks with spicy food.”
Note, however, not that all of Bon Temps’ food is inherently spicy, nor is it all meat-centric.
“People have those perceptions,” Lang said, adding that much of the Bon Temps menu is appropriate for non-meat eaters.
Pescatarians can enjoy seafood gumbo, trout meunière or fried catfish with hushpuppies. Vegan dishes include jambalaya with mushrooms and red beans and rice. Vegetarians can opt for meatless muffaletta sandwiches, fried green tomatoes and eggs Sardou — a version of eggs Benedict atop artichoke hearts instead of an English muffin.
Of course, if you really want to “laissez les bon temps rouler” and geaux all-in with a spicy taste of Louisiana, this restaurant can serve it up. Just grab one of the dozens of various hot sauce bottles sitting on the tables and shake it all over your crawfish popcorn and alligator etouffee.