Restaurant News & Reviews

Templeton restaurant Kitchenette offers quick, quality food

The signature Kitchenette Cheeseburger at Kitchenette in Templeton features nitrate-free bacon and beef from Charter Oak Style Meats in Templeton.
The signature Kitchenette Cheeseburger at Kitchenette in Templeton features nitrate-free bacon and beef from Charter Oak Style Meats in Templeton. dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

Though small in size, Kitchenette in Templeton is mighty on flavors.

The eatery, which opened Sept. 1, is the second restaurant for the Kobayashi family, who launched Artisan in Paso Robles in October 2006. While Kitchenette has an entirely different personality than its upscale sister property, it maintains the same approach to sustainably grown ingredients and thoughtfully prepared cuisine.

“At Kitchenette, we wanted to offer a quality breakfast and lunch that was more approachable and quicker than fine dining,” said Chris Kobayashi, executive chef at both restaurants.

“We’re able to do that here because of our informal counter service,” added his brother, Mike Kobayashi, who handles front-of-the house duties at the restaurants. Kitchenette patrons order up front and food is brought to their table, he explained.

Kitchenette is nestled in the former Roost restaurant on Main Street. The interior was designed by Chris Kobayashi and a close family friend, Los Angeles-based designer/photographer Rob Stark.

The décor mirrors Templeton’s vintage charm and rural warmth. Sleek subway tiles, wooden furniture and slate blue wainscoting combine for a look that is at once cozy cottage and no-frills functional.

This tiny eatery embodies the very definition of “kitchenette.” Between the lively inside and the cozy shaded patio, there are slightly more than a dozen tables.

Takeout is always an option, and there’s a tempting assortment of housemade grab-and-go treats in the display case. Those range from savory quiches and deli salads to sweets such as bear claws, dried cranberry scones and chocolate mousse. Offerings vary considerably from day to day, so there’s always something new to try.

Breakfast also runs the gamut from savory to sweet. Go for beer-braised corned beef hash or croissant French toast, chilaquiles with housemade soy chorizo or a crème fraiche waffle topped with organic bananas. Sample soft scrambled eggs with La Quercia prosciutto or buttermilk pancakes with Vermont maple syrup.

For to-go items, try the breakfast burrito made with organic eggs, the Cr’q Monsieur with kurobuta ham and gruyere cheese, or the morning glory sandwich featuring a folded omelet, American cheese and housemade turkey sausage on a freshly baked English muffin.

At lunch, stay with the morning theme and have a fried egg BLTA with nitrate-free bacon, lettuce, tomato and avocado (also available at breakfast). Or go with one of several salads — such as winter spinach, spicy Vietnamese with glass noodles or butter lettuce with house-roasted beets and candied walnuts.

Though listed as a salad, the vegan/gluten-free quinoa and black bean tostada is a hearty lunch option. Other no-nonsense choices are the slow-roasted lamb dip sandwich with pimiento goat cheese, the Kitchenette cheeseburger with beef from Templeton’s own Charter Oak Style Meats and the grinder sammy with mortadella, salami and capicola.

Be sure to check out the specials board as well. Daily inspirations include a hillbilly eggs Benedict with tasso ham, a Thai chicken sandwich or mushroom barley soup.

Kitchenette’s local concept extends to beverages.

A chalkboard map in the back shows which county wines and beers are on tap. You can also sip beverages from Bristols Cider in Atascadero and Whalebird Kombucha in San Luis Obispo.

In addition to sourcing seasonal produce from the Kobayashi family’s organic farm in Templeton, Chris Kobayashi is a regular presence at the Templeton farmers market on Saturday mornings.

All those quality ingredients are showcased with bold flavors, solid techniques and creative concepts that have earned the unassuming chef some significant recognition. In addition to mention in numerous nationwide publications, he’s received semi-finalist nominations for the James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: Pacific in 2009 and 2011.

However, both Kobayashi brothers humbly and heartily agree that their success is due in part to their great staffs.

“There’s no way we could do this without them,” Mike Kobayashi said. “We’ve also always loved Templeton, and the local support for Kitchenette has really been great.”

Katy Budge is a freelance writer from Atascadero. Contact her at ktbudge@sbcglobal.net.

Kitchenette

105 S. Main St., Templeton

400-1006 or kitchenettetempleton.com

Hours: Breakfast 8 a.m. to noon daily (coffee and pastries from 7 a.m. Monday through Friday; lunch 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily.

The scene: A tiny eatery with a handful of indoor and outdoor tables; the casual approach means patrons order at the counter and their food is brought to them.

The cuisine: From-scratch cuisine showcasing local, sustainable, organic and fair-trade ingredients; local beers, wines and kombucha on tap; takeout available plus a full display case of housemade grab-and-go sweet and savory items.

Expect to spend: Breakfast $6 to $12; lunch $8 to $13; desserts, coffees, teas $3 to $5

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