Business

Splash Cafe named a Small Business of the Year

The line outside Splash Cafe wraps around the building during the 69th annual Clam Festival in October 2015.
The line outside Splash Cafe wraps around the building during the 69th annual Clam Festival in October 2015. dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

Splash Cafe, known for its signature clam chowder, pastries and other artisan baked goods, has been named one of 80 Small Businesses of the Year in California.

It was recognized by state Sen. Bill Monning, D-Carmel, for the 17th District, which includes all of San Luis Obispo and Santa Cruz counties as well as parts of Monterey and Santa Clara counties.

The first Splash Cafe restaurant opened on Pomeroy Avenue in Pismo Beach in 1989. In 2005, Splash added an uptown San Luis Obispo location on Monterey Street. Then in 2013, it added a location in downtown San Luis Obispo, near Downtown Centre Cinemas and Barnes & Noble.

Its famed clam chowder is now sold nationally, distributed in Costco stores and two other restaurants, and owners Joanne and Ross Currie also operate a gourmet catering division. The restaurants offer full breakfast, lunch and dinner menus.

The couple has owned Splash Cafe for 25 years and will be recognized at the 2016 California Small Business Day on May 25 in Sacramento. The Curries bought the business just before the Pismo Beach Clam Festival was held in 1991, according to a news release.

“This honor is a wonderful testament to our great customers and loyal employees,” Joanne Currie said in the news release.

Splash Cafe’s growth has been steady through the years.

Chowder sales have grown from 5,000 gallons a year in 1991 to 40,000 gallons a year now at the three restaurants. The company began selling chowder online in 1998 and now packages and ships more than 1,500 boxes a year.

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