Biz Buzz: Atascadero raves about its eateries

Atascadero leaders and local groups are now in the second phase of developing ways to try to attract more diners to the city’s restaurants.

The first phase, which began in March, developed www.DineAtascadero.com to spotlight participating restaurants, provide links to their websites, show maps and display a calendar with dining specials.

The website and other ideas were born through a new collaboration among the city, local groups and eateries when more than 50 local restaurant owners were invited to share their thoughts on how to make business better.

The campaign continues to develop its efforts from local eatery feedback.

Assistant City Manager Jim Lewis, Atascadero Chamber of Commerce CEO Joanne Main and the city’s promotional partner, Steve Martin of S.W. Martin & Associates, lead the campaign.

Of the 50 eateries invited to meet in the spring, 17 responded and asked for the dining website, that their restaurant menus be placed at local hotels, and that the city contact local service groups to establish special event dining and advertising, Martin said.

“I think it’s terrific the city is attempting to make an effort to help us out,” said John Sidders of Tastee Freez and Wienerschnitzel. “Being part of a small community, it’s important that we all realize that we’re all in this together.”

The chamber also collected menus to assemble into a binder and pass out to local hotels.

The city began working with local groups to host special events and fund-raisers at the restaurants.

Commercials went out on the radio and on the dining website.

“The more information we give them, the more chance we have (for them) to stay in town, stay with us and eat here,” Guest House Grill’s Trevor LaSalle said of patrons and visitors.

— Tonya Strickland

Special-events hearing delayed

A county hearing to discuss how to proceed with drafting an ordinance to regulate events held on agricultural lands has been rescheduled to Aug. 10.

The hearing on the ordinance, which would regulate temporary events such as weddings and festivals held on nonwinery agricultural lands, had originally been set for today.

The Board of Supervisors has been asked to discuss the issue and give the Planning and Building Department direction on how to proceed.

The so-called events ordinance would be a first step in crafting regulations to govern agricultural tourism that the county has been working for several years to devise.

The staff report for the August hearing is expected to be available a few days before at www.slocounty.ca.gov/bos/bosagenda.htm.

Anyone who wants to provide input can attend the hearing or contact Senior Planner Karen Nall at knall@co.slo.ca.us or 781-5606. Nall hopes the events question will be settled by the end of the year.

— Tribune staff report