Linn’s Restaurant in Cambria opened its doors in 1989 and quickly became a destination spot for both locals and visitors, but the family behind it isn’t about to rest on their olallieberries.
There’s a longer account of the Linn family story on their newly revamped website, but here’s the very short story:
In 1977, John, Renee and their young family moved to a farm on Santa Rosa Creek Road.
By 1985, Linn’s Fruit Bin was a popular local farm stand and a burgeoning food and home-style products company, especially when it came to olallieberry preserves and pies. (The berry is best described as a cross between a blackberry and raspberry.)
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Linn’s Main Bin opened in Cambria’s East Village in 1989, combining retail space with a breakfast, lunch and dinner restaurant.
An Easter morning fire gutted the building in April 2006, so in order to maintain a storefront presence while rebuilding, the Linns opened the Easy-as-Pie Café and the Gourmet Goods store around the corner on Bridge Street.
After 20 months, Linn’s Restaurant finally reopened in December 2007, welcoming patrons to an elegant but casual eatery accented with antique oak furnishings, high ceilings and vintage-style fixtures.
Behind the scenes were a bigger kitchen, streamlined logistics, and — thanks to the decision to keep retail in the Bridge Street locations — “80 percent more seating area,” said the Linns’ son, Aaron, who oversees the restaurant’s day-to-day operations.
Hearty breakfast items still included everything from freshly baked muffins, to eggs Benedict, to Belgian waffles with seasonal berries, while lunch offered comfort food classics such as a Reuben sandwich, Dungeness Crab Louie Salad, and fish and chips.
Though they had served dinner from day one, said Linn, that menu started getting more attention, combining the restaurant’s casual ambiance with touches like white linen tablecloths.
In November 2010, the Linns adjusted their restaurant focus again by bringing on Matt Beckett as executive chef. A graduate of the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, he’s also a veteran of the Ritz Carlton in Laguna Niguel and locally of the San Luis Obispo Country Club and the former Corner View Restaurant on Marsh Street.
Adding Beckett to the team will “allow us to keep our home-style dishes, but add some more culinary flair and change up the menu seasonally,” said Linn.
Classics such as the Down Home Meatloaf, Roasted Berry Chicken and the signature pot pies certainly won’t be going anywhere, “but we’ve also added things like an Asian seared ahi salad, macadamia-crusted mahi-mahi and rack of lamb.”
Beckett agreed, adding that “it’s inspiring as a chef to see what they’ve done here, not only in regards to their own farm but also the networking they’ve done with all of their neighbors. One of the main appeals to come here was being at a true farm-to-table restaurant. I get to work with amazing ingredients, and we’re using healthier and sustainably raised proteins (such as wild-caught salmon, organic/free-range/hormone-free chicken and Hearst Ranch beef).”
That farm-to-table aspect of the restaurant is slated to expand even more significantly, explained Linn.
He’s got his eye on some more available space at the family’s property and is hoping to “to produce even more from the farm. I’m just really lucky to be able to have this place to do business,” he said. “My mom and dad laid down a great foundation, and I’m just so thankful for that and for their continuing wisdom.”