Restaurant News & Reviews

Figueroa Mountain taproom brews up tasty pub food

The California Classic burger at Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co. in Arroyo Grande comes with avocado, bacon, cheddar cheese and a Hoppy Poppy IPA sauce.
The California Classic burger at Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co. in Arroyo Grande comes with avocado, bacon, cheddar cheese and a Hoppy Poppy IPA sauce. dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

Hoist a pint and enjoy a meal with friends and family at Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co. in Arroyo Grande.

This outpost of the Buellton-based brewery opened nearly a year ago — July 10, 2015 — in a former Applebee’s restaurant on East Grand Avenue. In addition to the original location, which opened in 2010, Figueroa Mountain already had taprooms in Los Olivos, Santa Barbara and Santa Maria; the brewery opened a sixth spot in Westlake Village in December.

The Arroyo Grande taproom has an open, industrial feel that fits right in with the large steel brewing tanks in the back. There’s plenty of seating, mostly at high-top family-style tables. There are also a few low booths situated along one side of the restaurant.

A large bar showcases 20 beers on tap, all from Fig Mountain, as the brewery is often called. Among them are the core brews — including Davy Brown Ale, Danish Red Lager and Hoppy Poppy IPA — plus seasonal offerings and small batch projects. As many as nine drafts are pulled directly from the tanks, and about three-quarters have been brewed on site, general manager Blake Doria said.

You can also enjoy a few beertails. These riffs on classic cocktails are draft beers with a twist; try a Beery-Mary, Hopped-mosa and a tropical-tasting Lounging Lizard, crafted with the brewery’s Lizard’s Mouth Double IPA.

There’s no full bar at Figueroa Mountain, Doria explained, and even though there are several flat-screen televisions often tuned to sporting events, this isn’t a sports bar per se. The taproom still maintains a mellow vibe during games.

“We want people to be able to come in with a group of friends and have appetizers and beers, then come in the next day with the entire family and have just as much fun,” Doria said. “It’s a fantastic feeling to be able to offer both of those experiences.”

As with the Santa Maria and Westlake Village locations, the Arroyo Grande taproom’s menu was developed in conjunction with the Milano Restaurants International Corp. in Fresno. That company operates the franchises of Me-n-Ed’s Pizzeria and Blast 825 Pizza, but Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company exists as its own entity.

“It’s a great partnership,” Doria said. “They know food, and we know beer.”

The focused menu presents a wide spectrum of dining possibilities, many made with Figueroa Mountain beers in sauces, batters, etc. You can nosh on nibbles or tuck into larger plates.

Appetizers include hand-cut sweet potato fries, hot wings and spicy clam chowder, plus three taco choices: tri-tip, fried fish or Coca-Cola spiked pork carnitas. The carnitas also kick up the restaurant’s signature nachos, which are served with beans, pickled jalapeños and cilantro crema drizzled over the top. (Even a half-order is a generous serving, so plan accordingly.)

Entrées range from beer-battered fish and chips and bacon mac ‘n’ cheese to a grilled ribeye with garlic basil butter. Any of the full salads can easily make a meal as well, especially the Santa Maria tri-tip with artichoke hearts and crispy onions or the grilled chicken with fresh berries and housemade citrus-honey dressing.

Two-fisted sandwiches and burgers are also popular orders at Figueroa Mountain. Go for the smoked turkey and bacon, grilled portabella mushroom with arugula or a hand-formed California Classic burger with avocado and bacon stacked on a freshly baked, housemade bun.

“We make everything from scratch and take pride in that,” Doria said. “We want to make things our own, to look around and see people enjoying our product, not somebody else’s. The beer is all handcrafted, so we want to follow that approach with our food.”

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

Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co.

1462 East Grand Ave., Arroyo Grande (at the front of the Arroyo Town & Country Square Shopping Center)

805-474-8525 or figmtnbrew.com

Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. (Earlier opening hours on Sunday during the football season.)

The scene: A family-friendly taproom with flat-screen televisions for sports; plenty of seating for groups of all sizes.

The cuisine: Hearty, from-scratch pub grub includes basics such as wings, tacos and burgers, plus entrée salads and dinners.

Expect to spend: Most items $15 and under, some entrées $20 to 35. Weekday lunch specials (served 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.) include a soft drink for $10.

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