Restaurant News & Reviews

Feeling peckish? Try Roost in Templeton

Fresh, local ingredients star at Roost in Templeton, from the tomatoes and avocados in the BLTA sandwich to the ranch-fresh eggs in the quiche Lorraine. Read more »
Fresh, local ingredients star at Roost in Templeton, from the tomatoes and avocados in the BLTA sandwich to the ranch-fresh eggs in the quiche Lorraine. Read more » The Tribune

There’s a new Roost in Templeton, but it’s not for chickens — unless you want the chicken roasted to crisp, juicy perfection and served with fingerling potatoes.

Developed by Jim Griffin (also the owner of Griff’s Pizzeria & Bistro next door), Roost has been open only a couple of months, but it’s already found a comfortable perch in the community. That’s exactly what Griffin had hoped would happen.

“I thought there were some needs up here, especially here in Templeton,” he said. “I wanted a place with an actual baker, and a coffeehouse where people could gather, could ‘roost.’ I also wanted it to be a place where you didn’t have to be dressed up. Where you could go in shorts, a T-shirt and flipflops, and still get an incredible meal at a good price.”

To achieve that atmosphere, Roost assumed the casual approach of a café or bistro. There isn’t fullon table service; place your order at the counter and your food is brought to you. However, there aren’t a lot of tables — though some additional patio seating is in the works — so takeout might best fit the bill sometimes.

To achieve the culinary standards Griffin was aiming for, he assembled an impressive kitchen team headed up by Elizabeth Eggen, Randy Miller, Ronnie Lezniak and baker Richard Shopshear. Between them, they can boast experience at such well-regarded local spots as Lido, Giuseppe’s, McPhee’s, Hoppe’s, the Madonna Inn and Old Country Deli.

The rest of the staff has some chops as well, said Griffin, and “we’ve got some great young talent back there who are coming up with some great ideas.” In addition to that, “our baristas really live their craft — they treat their coffee like fine wine!”

The makings of breakfast start at 3 a.m. when Shopshear typically arrives to begin making and baking his array of fromscratch goodies for the day.

By the time you get up and get to Roost, you’ll be able to choose from treats like cinnamon rolls and coffee cake, bear claws and blueberry Danish, cranberry muffins and Black Forest ham and aged Swiss cheese croissants. All the croissants, by the way, are rolled out by hand, said Griffin, “(Shopshear) won’t even use a machine roller.”

Hot lunch options might include a braised pot roast sandwich with blue cheese horseradish crème sauce, a charbroiled chicken breast sandwich with roasted poblano and Havarti, or a hand-formed burger with caramelized onions.

In addition to daily quiches, the lunch lineup always includes housemade egg or tuna salad sandwiches, plus specials like a turkey club on a croissant, and daily European-style “farmer’s sandwiches” — baguettes with ingredients as simple as butter, Prosciutto and pepper or fresh Mozzarella with tomatoes and basil.

Roost also recently started serving dinners, the de tails of which will change according to seasonal ingredients and the creative whims of the kitchen team.

However, you can usually count on that roasted chicken with root veggies, as well as ablue cheese crusted meatloaf. From there, daily specials will also include pork, steak, and seafood dishes — even creations such as Creole shrimp and grits.

Since Roost wants to be a part of the community, it also showcases local ingredients such as “tomatoes from Rocky Canyon, avocados from Morro Bay, ranch-fresh eggs, and local beef for our burgers,” said Griffin.

“We always want to exceed expectations, whether it’s with innovation or with quality, “ he added, “but we also always want to maintain that attitude of comfort — to be authentic, sincere and friendly.”

Katy Budge is a freelance writer from Atascadero. Contact her at

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