Restaurant News & Reviews

Fig brings fresh, bold flavors to Atascadero

Fig’s Mediterranean pasta salad and Israeli couscous with cucumbers and tomatoes.
Fig’s Mediterranean pasta salad and Israeli couscous with cucumbers and tomatoes.

Want to give your taste buds a treat? Then check out the fine fare at Fig Good Food in downtown Atascadero.

Recently launched by Christina Dillow and Greg Perello, Fig offers everything from savory to sweet, appetizers to entrées, sides to dessert.

This cozy eatery on Traffic Way sports only about a dozen seats, but things are well-geared toward takeout, and the restaurant has made an effort to find and offer Earth-friendly to-go containers.

“We’re a tiny place serving up big flavors,” Dillow explained, and Perello added that “we offer quick food, but not fast food, and it’s healthy.”

If Dillow and Perello’s names sound familiar, it’s because they have long and successful ties to the Central Coast restaurant scene.

Dillow and her husband, Dennis, ran the distinctive Harmony Pasta Factory in that community’s historic creamery, while Perello and his wife, Molly, were the most recent owners of the popular 1865 Restaurant in San Luis Obispo, where Dillow once also worked.

In recent months, both Dillow and Perello were independently looking to reestablish themselves in restaurant situations. As luck would have it, they coincidently ran into each other a couple of times, shared their plans, and decided they might as well join forces. Fig opened soon afterwards, spurred by the considerable support of Dillow’s brother and local foodie Don Dockstader.

The regular menu at Fig was designed to be fairly compact, “so it can flow easily and particularly so that we’ll have a lot of room for specials,” explained Dillow.

Those specials change daily depending on time of year, availability and the creative whims of the kitchen, but the tasty “regular” dishes can certainly hold their own. Choices include soups, salads, sandwiches and pastas — always with vegetarian options, such as the fettucine alfredo or the slow-roasted ratatouille.

Salads include a Peruvian chicken salad with roasted banana aioli or an Israeli couscous with cucumber and tomato.

Sandwiches run the gamut from the “Frenchie” with fig chutney and brie, to a top sirloin roast beef with chimichurri aioli, to a Cuban pulled pork with “mojo braised pork” and apple-cabbage slaw.

“We invite people to mix and match all the flavors — add chicken or roast beef to one of the salads, or get some of the roasted meats with a side of chutney,” said Dillow.

About those roasted meats: The kitchen at Fig sports a busy rotisserie that’s turning out a number of succulent, citrus-glazed (and sustainably raised) Rocky Jr. chickens every day, and Perello noted that “we’re putting a lot of prime rib, lamb and pork in there too.” Those meats appear on the daily specials board, and trimmings from all of them provide a rich start for the savory homemade soup stocks.

The pastas at Fig are also homemade, as is everything from the salad dressings to the sauces, and almost all of the freshly baked breads.

The restaurant gets sourdough from a nearby baker, but that’s all part of the plan to “source locally whenever possible,” said Perello. Indeed, the names of their current purveyors are listed on Fig’s blackboard, from farms and farmers right down to a local goat cheese maker.

Though sourcing local food is a vital part of Fig’s philosophy, Dillow and Perello hope to further the restaurant’s connection to the community.

Dillow jumped at the chance to secure the Traffic Way location “because it’s a casual, artsy neighborhood where you can park and really walk around and explore, and we felt that was a draw to locate here. We really feel we’re on the forefront of something here, and we already feel like a part of the neighborhood.”