Since 1999, Gretchen LeMiere has served up delectable cuisine via her In Good Taste catering company. Recently, that business was given a literal brick-and-mortar incarnation when Taste Catering and Eatery opened in San Luis Obispo.
Situated at 2900 Broad St. in a historic 1907 building that operated on and off as a brick plant for almost 60 years, the location was most recently home to Utopia Bakery before LeMiere transformed it into Taste.
“People had been pushing us to do something like this for years,” said the San Luis Obispo native, though she admitted that she hadn’t really developed any concrete plans to do so. “I kept driving by the (vacant) building, and really loved the brick it kind of just happened.”
Working with the building’s high ceilings and exposed brick walls, the interior was completely gutted and remodeled with a warm color palette and sleek fixtures that give the restaurant a clean, modern ambience. Several tables offer indoor seating, and a few outdoor spots let you relax and watch the hustle and bustle of Broad Street go by.
Upon entering Taste, you’ll be greeted by a display case filled with the day’s enticing dessert options, which might range from freshly baked cookies to key lime pie to flourless chocolate torte.
If you have the willpower to get past that point, the eatery’s main bill of fare is posted on chalkboards above the counter where you’ll be ordering, or you can grab one of the printed copies and peruse it at your table.
Divided into the categories of Sharing, Salads, Sliders, and Mac & Cheese, Taste’s menu invites a mix-and-match concept so diners can enjoy a wide range of tastes.
That approach came about “because I wanted something totally casual that would still work with the catering business,” said LeMiere, and “because when I go out I can never decide what I want to eat.”
Arguably, LeMiere and chef Matt White haven’t made the decision process much easier, given the array of tastes from which to choose.
Plates available for sharing include a cheese plate, hummus dip, or an order of any four bruschetta flavors such as Brie with chutney, smoked salmon with capers, or arugula with sun-dried tomato and feta.
Salads run the gamut from mixed greens to Caesar, basic berry to Baja chicken, quinoa to salmon Cobb.
For sliders, you can put a couple together with salad/soup/mac combos, or just have three sliders to an order. The dozen or so selections range from beef to bratwurst, pesto chicken to Caprese, salmon to a BLT.
For the Mac & Cheese lineup, pick two to go with a salad, or go for three servings of large elbow macaroni adorned with sharp cheddar, blue cheese, pepper jack, smoked mozzarella and various other accompaniments.
As with LeMiere’s original catering company, Taste’s culinary approach revolves around “from-scratch” and “locally grown,” so it certainly helps that there’s a weekly farmers market just up the street.
Creations with seasonal ingredients are particularly showcased in daily specials such as lamb sliders, a shrimp mac and cheese, or mushroom chowder.
LeMiere also noted that the Taste menu lends itself to any time of day, an aspect that’s helping to define the eatery as a place “where people are hanging out and having some food and a glass of wine or beer. We really view it as a neighborhood café, and we’re very happy with the way it’s being received.”