The historic Way Station in Cayucos is once again home to a fine dining restaurant – Lunada Garden Bistro.
Located in the longtime home of Hoppe’s Garden Bistro, the new venture held its grand opening on Mother’s Day.
Lunada is ably run by a trio of cousins whose industry experience belies their ages. Pablo Favila, Jorge Lopez and Marco Lucatero grew up working at various restaurants in Cambria before deciding to open their own place with the support of their families.
“We’re all good at different things,” Lopez said. “So we thought we’d get together and give it a try ourselves.”
Favila’s sister, Jessica Fabila, added her restaurant experience to the mix as well. She operates Luna Coffee Bar, located directly behind Lunada.
In addition to providing all the freshly baked breads and desserts for the bistro, the Luna offers more casual menu items such as sandwiches, breakfast items and grab-and-go pastries and cookies.
A lot of family effort went into the two-month remodel of Lunada’s interior. A bright, but understated color palette and white linen tablecloths set the fine dining tone, while subtly placed antique store discoveries add just the right touch of nostalgia for a building constructed circa 1896.
The layout of the restaurant remains the same. Relax in the graceful main dining room, or cozy up to the wine bar or settle into a seat in back amid the serene gardens devotedly maintained by Henry “Hank” Eisemann. He and his wife, Mary Ellen Eisemann, have owned the Way Station since 1974.
For Lunada’s lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch menus, the restaurant’s owners are serving up a successful mix of approachable and upscale.
Lunch offers several burgers served on freshly baked brioche buns. Among the most popular is the apple pie option, topped with sweet onion-apple relish and sharp Cheddar cheese.
And the decadent half-pound Lunada truffle burger? Well, that speaks for itself.
Other sandwich choices are a roasted vegetable muffaletta and a grilled salmon BLTA. You can also reel in fish ‘n’ chips with housemade tartar sauce or strips of calamari steak ‘n’ chips.
Among the lunch appetizers also available at dinner are crispy lobster avocado eggrolls, oysters on the half shell and Cayucos Rose abalone served on wasabi potato hash browns. Other starters include from-scratch New England clam chowder or a warm duck salad with cranberries and smoked blue cheese.
For dinner, tuck into a generous serving of seafood pasta linguini, a rack of lamb with mango chutney or Central Coast quail served on mushroom leek risotto. Beef lovers will appreciate several cuts of steak, plus surf-and-turf combos. For additional seafood dishes, look to king crab legs or grilled sea bass with Sambuca-tomato au jus.
Among the Sunday brunch choices are omelettes, eggs Benedict and, after 11 a.m., several selections from the lunch menu. All are served with a bottomless glass of champagne and a side of live music.
And don’t forget about the decadent housemade desserts from Luna Coffee Bar. Some recent temptations were blackberry chocolate cake, New York cheesecake and – Lopez’s favorite – carrot cake.
“We’re really committed to the quality of service and food,” Favila said.
Lopez agreed, adding, “We’re all doing what we love to do. We want people to leave here happy.”
Katy Budge is a freelance writer from Atascadero. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lunada Garden Bistro
The scene: The historic or historical? venue offers relaxing seating inside and out, and the idyllic garden area is dog-friendly for well-behaved pups. (The grounds are also available for special occasions such as weddings.)
The cuisine: Upscale, approachable dishes run the gamut from burgers and fish and chips to abalone, rack of lamb and steaks.
Expect to spend: Most lunch entrées $13 to $18, most dinners $25 to $35, brunch $12 to $20
Luna Coffee Bar
Hours: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday and Wednesday through Saturday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Closed Tuesday.
The scene and cuisine: A more casual option located behind the bistro, offering sandwiches, breakfast items and fresh baked pastries and cookies.