Restaurant News & Reviews

SLO Provisions in San Luis Obispo serves gourmet food to go

Kale and cauliflower salad is one of the menu options at SLO Provisions in San Luis Obispo.
Kale and cauliflower salad is one of the menu options at SLO Provisions in San Luis Obispo.

Originally launched as a convenient spot for from-scratch take-away fare and select gourmet food products, SLO Provisions has evolved into a community touchstone for the Upper Monterey District of San Luis Obispo.

Described on its website as aesthetically “at the intersection of rustic and refined,” SLO Provisions physically anchors the corner of Monterey Street and Johnson Avenue.

Owned by business and life partners Steve Bland and Dwyne Willis, the first phase of SLO Provisions opened in October after an extensive remodel of the former Popolo Catering location. The new space sports a bright, expansive feel thanks to clean lines, white subway tiles and vibrant red accents —including a state-of-the-art, custom made French Rotisol rotisserie.

“We’ve been talking about doing something like this forever, and 13 years later (after moving to San Luis Obispo from Atlanta), we finally did,” Bland said.

Both men have extensive experience in the upscale food and beverage industry, from catering to high-end resorts. However, they still opted to take a months-long cross-country driving excursion to find further inspiration in markets, delis and cafés.

“We were always trying to figure out the center” of what the business would be, Willis said. “When this place became available, we realized the rotisserie would be the center.”

The rest of SLO Provisions’ “Eats & Sweets” menu quickly fell into place.

Among the rotisserie offerings are roasted meat and vegetable specials, plus dozens of crispy, juicy chickens roasted throughout the day (available after 11 a.m.). The chickens are offered by quarters, halves and wholes, as well as in complete dinner options with roasted new potatoes, a side salad and dessert.

Other dinner specials include braised brisket on Tuesdays, mini meatloaf on Thursdays and chicken pot pies on Saturdays. The pies have proven so popular that they’re now available frozen to go throughout the week.

Lunchtime sandwiches range from French and Spanish street-style versions with imported hams and cheeses on baguettes, to sliders made with “oink” (pork) or “moo” (beef) depending on the whim of the kitchen, to daily specials such as roasted leg of lamb with Laura Chenel goat cheese.

An array of deli salads is available as well, as are soups and a daily stew. And don’t forget dessert; try a slice of pie, cupcakes or luscious lemon bars.

For breakfast, pair your specialty coffee drink with quiche-of-the-day, a granola parfait or a breakfast sandwiches. There are also several freshly baked scones and buttermilk biscuits served with cultured butter and preserves.

About those biscuits … Bland and Willis hail from the South, so they not only know their way around a biscuit, but also fried chicken (served on Fridays), deli deviled eggs and housemade salt-and-vinegar potato chips.

The second phase of SLO Provisions was serendipitously unplanned. Just as Bland and Willis were set to open, the owners of Monterey Street Wine Company next door decided they were going to move out. The couple opted to take over that location as well and opened a wall to make one large space.

A full bank of windows in the new area lent itself to a relaxed, open floor plan with various table and chair arrangements. The expansion also allowed Bland and Willis to offer beer and wine that can be enjoyed in a café-like setting, though patrons still order food over at the original counter.

“It presented a nice opportunity,” Bland said of the addition. “We already saw that people wanted to stay, but we didn’t have that much room. That’s turned into an interesting space where people can comfortably hang out.”

“It’s really become a community space,” Willis said, “and we like having a sense of that.”

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

SLO Provisions

1255 Monterey St., San Luis Obispo (at Johnson Avenue)

805-439-4298 or

Hours: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday

The scene: The “rustic and refined” market/café is geared towards take-away, but a new expansion allows patrons to eat in and enjoy beer and wine. Select gourmet products available include local labels such as Cayucos Hot Sauce and Yes Artisan Beverages’ cocktail mixers. There’s a small common parking lot in front, but often the best bet is finding space on nearby streets.

The cuisine: Fresh, from-scratch sandwiches, salads and desserts, plus daily roasted meats and vegetables and rotisserie chicken; specialty coffee drinks, beer and wine available.

Expect to spend: Breakfast items $3.50 to $7.50, sandwiches $10 and under, salads/soups $3 to $14 depending on size, roast chicken dinners $18 or $25.