Granted, you can’t do girls’ night out at The Girls, but from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., seven days a week, you can order up hearty breakfasts and lunches at this friendly eatery.
The Girls opened in Arroyo Grande in 1973, and owners Scott and Cindy Harrigan have been there almost as long. Both started working there in 1974; Scott as a dishwasher, Cindy as a bus girl, and they were “wonderfully mentored over the years by supervisors Vic and Dee Holland.”
In 1993, changes in the parent company shuttered The Girls for six months, but the Harrigans were able to buy the restaurant and reopen that December.
Because it was already an integral part of the community, there was never much doubt about keeping the name.
Having worked their way up the ranks themselves, the Harrigans knew how important a solid staff would be, and they definitely landed some keepers.
“Our cooks have been with us since the day we opened,” said Scott, “and our servers have been with us a long time also. Debbie’s worked along with us for 30 years; Pearl, our weekend manager, has been here for 35 years, and her daughter Norma was actually on the opening crew back in 1973.”
Over the years, the Harrigans’ own kids have worked there as well, and their son, Ryan, and his wife, Jennifer, are currently assistant managers.
With a firm footing in family and food, The Girls doesn’t need fancy frills. It’s quite content with its neighborhood diner décor — booths along the walls, a long row of stools at the busy counter, and a separate dining room that’s in the process of becoming the “Eagle Pride” room in honor of Arroyo Grande High School.
Like most restaurants in this tradition, breakfast is served all day long.
Order up your eggs how you like ’em and paired with everything from bacon to spicy beef machaca, Cattaneo Brothers linguica to country pork chops, thick ham steaks to country-fried steak topped with housemade gravy.
Egg-filled breakfast sandwiches and burritos are available, as are eggs Benedict, one of the newest additions to the menu along with a tri-tip and eggs plate and a three-egg omelette stuffed with housemade chile verde and topped with plenty of melted cheese.
Of course, pancakes, French toast, and both plain and Belgian waffles are also on the menu. You can even get a waffle with bacon bits in it, or “Piggies in a Blanket” — pancakes wrapped around sausage links.
For lunch, you’ll have to choose from more than four dozen options. Sandwiches include housemade tuna salad or oven-roasted turkey, French dip or tritip, grilled Arctic cod or a triple-decker club with country ham. The thirdpound, flame-broiled burgers run the gamut from Mexicali, to pastrami, to “Ol’ Fashion” with American cheese.
Veggie and turkey burgers are available too, and Scott noted that “we’ve added wraps and several new salads such as oriental chicken, chicken Caesar, a traditional Cobb salad, Ca jun tri-tip, and a chef salad.”
Anyone over 55 looking for some lighter fare shouldn’t be shy about checking out the smallerportioned and -priced “Senior Breakfasts.” Likewise, have a look at the “Senior Dinner Menu” that’s available for lunch. It offers such dishes as grilled liver and onions, a breaded veal cutlet, and spaghetti with meat sauce.
All those lunches are served with soup or salad, sides, and a small dessert, by the way, so nobody has to worry about leaving The Girls hungry — no matter which side of 55 you’re on!
Katy Budge is a freelance writer from Atascadero. Contact her at ktbudge@ sbcglobal.net.