Restaurant News & Reviews

Old Cayucos Bakery & Deli is worth the search

Greek fettucini with sautéed prawns and feta cheese.
Greek fettucini with sautéed prawns and feta cheese. Jayson Mellom

Though it opened in June 2009 and is situated in the heart of town, many people have yet to discover Old Cayucos Bakery & Deli.

Often the easiest way to find the bakery and deli is to look for Mary Ellen Eisemann’s 1949 Chevy Deluxe, which is usually parked outside. She and husband Hank bought the abandoned Ocean Avenue property in 1974, restoring some of the buildings and the gardens (Hank’s pride and joy). They also opened The Way Station restaurant, home to Hoppe’s Garden Bistro and Wine Shop since 2000.

For many years an old cottage stood where the new bakery is, a reminder of the Pedraita family.

The family purchased the property in 1876 from Capt. James Cass and ran the Cottage Hotel, where Lillian Pedraita and staff hosted such luminaries as the “pre-castle” Hearst family and Ignace Paderewski. Originally, the Eisemanns and their son, Mark, who owns Eisemann Construction, considered restoring the cottage as well, but that project proved unfeasible.

“When we took down the cottage, we wondered what would fit best in the town,” explained Mark. The family didn’t want to directly compete with existing establishments, so “we thought of a bakery and deli.”

Though the Eisemanns always planned to have three generations of their family involved day-to-day, they needed someone to bolster the restaurant side of the equation.

Enter chef Joe Bolster, a Central Coast resident since 1985 with an extensive résumé — including his Blue Moon restaurant in Atascadero a few years ago.

He brings the know-how to do everything from baking, to cooking, to catering. As a result, pretty much “everything but the bagels” is made from scratch, including the fresh whole fruit pastries, house-made Italian sausage, and “sourdough that tastes like San Francisco sourdough used to taste like 30 years ago,” said Bolster. “It’s got that crisp ocean taste.”

Breakfast options obviously include an array of baked goodies, plus buckwheat pancakes, bacon and eggs, seafood omelets, and a breakfast burrito.

Lunch and dinner revolve around burgers, sandwiches, pastas and pizzas, but the choices are eclectic for such a small establishment.

Choose from a chicken salad sandwich or a portabella sandwich with blue cheese, fettuccini with prosciutto and mushrooms or with seafood and a red Thai curry sauce, or a burger made from beef, ostrich or buffalo.

You can build your own pizza from a variety of toppings, and rotisserie items are also available for dinner, With summer approaching, Old Cayucos Bakery & Deli is offering full-service dinners on Friday and Saturday nights with entrées such as steak Oscar with crab and béarnaise, Greek fettuccini with sautéed prawns and feta cheese, and grilled pork loin with sun-dried cherry compote. Holiday brunch menus typically feature classics like eggs Benedict, prime rib and French toast.

At first glance, this doesn’t look like a spot that could serve full-on dinners and brunches.

The front entrance off Ocean Avenue winds through one of Hank’s serene gardens areas and ends up in a typical deli-type area with very little seating. (Indeed, much of the deli’s business is takeout, but all of the packaging and utensils are either biodegradable and/or compostable.)

However, if you keep winding around the small, idyllic property, you’ll encounter a covered courtyard dining area complete with a bubbling fountain, heaters and a large flat-screen television.

It’s all brand-new construction, but there’s also a piece of the old town that remains.

When the Eisemanns dismantled the Pedraitas’ redwood cottage, they painstakingly took it apart “board by board” so it could become the distinctive fence that runs along the side of the Old Cayucos Bakery & Deli property.

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