No matter which team you’re rooting for, or whether you’re rooting at all, Super Bowl Sunday is Super Snack Day. One of the most popular munchies — chips, salsa and guacamole — can be made with all local labels if you opt for Taco Works chips, San Luis Salsa and avocados from Morro Creek Ranch.
When Ty Bayly opened his Taco Works restaurant in San Luis Obispo in 1976, chips and salsa were a key component of the menu. Little did he know that he would someday be producing 2.5 million bags of them a year.
“We make about 900 pounds an hour, and we work four 16-hour days a week,” Bayly said.
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The Taco Works lineup has four flavors: Original, Salsa, Hot Nacho (those three are yellow corn chips) and the Montaña de Oro white corn chips.
All of the chips are produced at the Taco Works facility on Sacramento Drive, a location Bayly has occupied since 1982. The brand enjoys widespread distribution in local grocery stores, and can also be found in such places as Petaluma, Santa Barbara and Bakersfield.
Online case ordering is also available, and Rob Bayly (Ty’s son) noted that “we get calls from all over the country, from people that lived here or visited here, and can’t get anything like (the chips) at home. It’s really amazing how much this company has been able to blossom from just getting a start locally.”
San Luis Salsa Co.
“All my recipes started as just a hobby,” admitted Torri Holdener, a native of San Luis Obispo and founder/owner of San Luis Salsa Co. She started making salsas for parties, then to give away as gifts to friends, and eventually decided to make a side business of it.
San Luis Salsa was originally launched in 1998, but Holdener opted to pull back due to family obligations. In 2009, she brought back the label, which currently has four flavors: original (mild), medium, habanero and a green jalapeño/tomatillos. She’s also working on adding a fifth recipe, probably a fruit salsa such as mango.
The salsas are available locally at most major grocery stores, several gourmet shops and wineries (a full list is on the website). Because of the production volume, San Luis Salsas are made by a co-packer out of the area, but the face and energy behind this small business is definitely Holdener herself.
Morro Creek Ranch
Americans love their guacamole for Super Bowl Sunday and go through an estimated 70 million pounds of avocados that day alone. Luckily for locals, some of the best available are the premium Hass avocados grown on the Central Coast, including at Morro Creek Ranch on Highway 41.
Part of the original Morro y Cayucos Spanish Land Grant, the 348-acre ranch was started in 1978 and currently has more than 27,000 trees in production.
Still family-owned, the ranch operations are overseen by Bob Staller, the resident co-managing general partner.
Avocados are available for purchase at the Morro Creek Ranch country store, also known as “La Palapa” and managed by Cindy Piper.
The store is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and also sells other products, such as the ranch’s avocado oil.
Typically, you’ll find avocados in various stages of ripeness, from just picked ones to those found in the bin marked “Guacamole Tonight.”