Restaurant News & Reviews

Morro Bay’s Flavor Factory restaurant is big on burgers

A cheeseburger is served on a preztel bun with a side of fries at Flavor Factory in Morro Bay.
A cheeseburger is served on a preztel bun with a side of fries at Flavor Factory in Morro Bay. jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

There’s a new menu in town, but the team behind Flavor Factory in Morro Bay is well known to local diners.

“After 22 years at Taco Temple, we wanted to downsize and do something a little different,” said Adam Pollard, who launched that popular North Morro Bay eatery with his wife, Dawnelle. The couple sold Taco Temple last year.

Flavor Factory is “truly family-owned and -operated,” Pollard said. Daughters Riley Pollard and Camille Pollard are actively involved in day-to-day operations, as is Dawnelle Pollard’s sister, Kitty Knapp.

The new restaurant opened in January after the Pollard family remodeled the former location of Nibble Nook Pizza Parlor on Quintana Road. The footprint is the same, with two distinct spaces parallel to each other.

On one side of the restaurant is an open kitchen and a counter where you place your order. On the other side, the spacious dining room benefits from a raised ceiling and a more expansive feel. Eclectic pieces by local artists impart some whimsy, while corrugated tin wainscoting lends an industrial feel.

The Flavor Factory menu is geared to from-scratch favorites, with gourmet burgers as the main attraction. Rounding things out are sandwiches, daily soup specials and a salad bar.

Beverages include local wines plus six mostly local rotating craft beers on tap.

And of course, no menu from the Pollards would be complete without the famous Dawnelle’s Desserts such as coconut bread pudding and chocolate chip cheesecake. If there was ever a place to eat dessert first, this might be it.

As for the burgers, Flavor Factory goes above and beyond. The hand-formed grass-fed patties are made of meat free from antibiotics and hormones that is ground daily in-house.

» Related: Here are the best burgers in San Luis Obispo County

Among the nine gourmet burgers are some spot-on standards: chili cheese, bacon cheese and the classic with lettuce, tomato, pickles and onion. From there, things shift into high gear with such toppings as housemade bacon jam, a crispy chile relleno or cambozola — a decadent combination of French triple cream brie-style cheese and Italian gorgonzola.

Burgers are served on pretzel rolls delivered daily from Edna’s Bakery in San Luis Obispo.

The bakery also supplies bread for the sandwiches, which include a seared sashimi-grade tombo tuna with pesto and a crispy Sriracha chicken sandwich made with Mary’s Free Range Chicken.

“We also try to have at least one seafood item as a special,” Pollard said. Recently, that was a towering crispy prawn sandwich with housemade lump crabmeat mayonnaise and Morro Bay avocado.

Flavor Factory features a salad bar with fresh local produce. The dressings, pickles, coleslaw, macaroni salad and giardiniera (an Italian-inspired relish of pickled vegetables) are all made from scratch, Dawnelle Pollard noted.

“I really don’t like average food, so we have a hard time buying processed stuff,” Adam Pollard acknowledged. “Even though it’s a small menu, it is a lot of work.”

When Flavor Factory offers a smoked turkey sandwich special, for example, the turkey is smoked in-house.

“We probably will be adding more cold sandwiches like that to the menu, plus some lighter and faster choices like a half sandwich and cup of soup,” Pollard said.

Dawnelle Pollard said Flavor Factory is a work in progress.” “People are still finding us, and we’re getting to know what people want here,” she said. “We’re just going with the flow!”

Which now-defunct burger joints do longtime San Luis Obispo residents miss the most? Here's a look at 4 of the most-loved, long-gone hamburger restaurants in the city of SLO. Is your favorite former burger joint one of them?

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

Flavor Factory

410 Quintana Road, Morro Bay, near Cookie Crock Warehouse

805-772-4040 or www.facebook.com/FlavorFactoryMB/

Hours: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday through Tuesday

The scene: A casual spot to tuck in for lunch and dinner. The shopping center location offers plenty of parking.

The cuisine: Freshly ground gourmet burgers and decadent Dawnelle’s Desserts, plus sandwiches, from-scratch soups and a fresh salad bar; local wine and botted/draft beer available.

Expect to spend: Burgers and sandwiches $9 to 15, includes choice of fries or macaroni salad; soups and salad bar $7 to 9; desserts $7.

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