Since Rooster Creek Tavern opened in January 2012, people have been crowing about the new spot in Arroyo Grande.
Located on East Branch Street at the far end of the Village, the Tavern combines several elements into its ambiance. It’s part sports bar, part family-friendly place, part neighborhood hangout for adults.
“We love the Village, and we wanted to create a full-service place where we would want to go,” explained Debbie Schiro, in charge of events at Rooster Creek and one of eight business partners involved in the venture.
Another partner, general manager Daryl Cope, agreed, noting that “it’s a place where you can take the kids, or meet friends after work for a drink, or watch football — all in a comfy setting.”
Rooster Creek’s spacious main dining area is accented with high ceilings, exposed brick walls and dark wood furniture. It offers seats at the long bar or at several low-top and high-top tables, and there are nine flat-screen televisions throughout. However, in keeping with the desire to appeal to a broad audience, the audio isn’t sports, but music that’s set at a level that allows for easy conversation.
Adjacent to the dining room is a separate, smaller banquet area dubbed “The Velvet Room,” which has three flatscreens that can be tuned to sports or hooked up to AV wiring for business presentations.
There’s also a patio area that on most days will demonstrate how Rooster Creek got its name. The Tavern sits just a short distance from Arroyo Grande Creek — and yes, those are loudly crowing roosters you’re hearing. Feral chickens have been pecking around the Village for years, gaining such status that they even have their own website and Facebook page (but oddly, they scratch a line in the sand at Twitter).
Some restaurants that try to appeal to a wide range of customers have sprawling menus, but Rooster Creek manages the task in just two pages. The full menu is served all day until 10 p.m. (pizzas are available until midnight on the weekend), plus daily specials such as prime rib Mondays.
Appetizers cover all the bases and then some for a sports bar, including hand-cut fries, loaded black bean nachos, and wings with your choice of four sauces including Saigon Sizzle or Nuclear. Amid the lineup of sandwiches are the barbecued pulled pork seared ahi, and the Rooster Burger with mushrooms and bacon.
The wood-fired pizzas — made from housemade and hand-tossed dough — range from standards such as smoked ham and pineapple, to buffalo chicken and gorgonzola, or pesto, pear and arugula. The most popular salad is the red and yellow beet, or go for an Asian chop, pan-roasted salmon salad, or the Wedge, which has the blue cheese dressing generously tucked between all the lettuce leaves.
Even the dozen or so hearty entrées are available all day, so you can always order dishes such as the Taco Trio (your choice of carnitas, pollo asada, or fish), the steak filet, or the crispy fried chicken, which — either ironically or appropriately — is one of Rooster Creek’s most popular dishes.
Though it would seem that the Rooster Creek partners have in large part accomplished what they set out to do in terms of ambiance and menu, Cope noted that “I don’t think we’ll ever be done fine tuning. We always want to listen to our customers — they’ll tell us where to go next.”