If enjoying year-round great weather, fun beach activities and terrific food are your cup of tea, then you’ve probably already visited Avila Beach.
All year long — even when other coastal towns are fogged in — the unique geography of the coastline helps make sunny Avila Beach one of the premier attractions for locals and tourists alike, with sandy beaches, a fun business center and kid-friendly parks.
But the coastal community is also known for its wine-tasting bars, its quirky coffee shops and its food.
At the crown of the oceanfront business center lies the classy yet laid-back Ocean Grill, a dining experience perfect for casual lunch, a date night or a large dinner party. And there are some exciting changes at the Avila Beach favorite.
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Since taking over the kitchen in April, executive chefs Spencer Johnston and Julie Simon have made plenty of changes to the menu that complement their diverse styles while also staying true to the seafood-heavy fare that customers favor.
The husband-and-wife team draws on Johnston’s classical training and Simon’s eclectic mix of cuisines to create a menu that’s elegant yet casual. And the portions are big, the prices fair.
General manager Eric Kunkel said he was looking for chefs who could create less of a fine dining menu and bring the grill back to its casual roots.
“It’s been a night-and-day difference,” Kunkel said.
The culinary couple has spent years in the restaurant industry, both in and outside San Luis Obispo County, and created a following among their happy patrons. But working outside of the county they both call home took its toll.
“We missed being in this area and were looking for a change of pace,” Simon said. “It seemed like we had walked away from all we had built.”
When the Ocean Grill came calling, the couple jumped at the opportunity.
“This is a beautiful community. It’s a tourist destination but with a mellow feel,” Simon said. “It’s not a bad place to be.”