Colby Jack Café & Bakery is now open at The Carlton Hotel in Atascadero.
Owned by Atascadero residents Jack and Natalie Dorris, the business, featuring the Brie Lauren Bistro, served brunch Sunday and officially opened for lunch Monday. Breakfast selections will be served in about a week, with dinner to follow in about two weeks.
The move “allows us to spread our wings in a larger space and start doing some things we’ve been wanting to do,” Jack Dorris said.
A brewery pub in the lounge is part of those plans, slated to open sometime next year. The Dorrises are also expanding the dinner menu, delving further into bakery wholesale operations and creating more pizza selections.
The move from their former 1,300-square-foot location to The Carlton’s roughly 13,000-square-foot space will also double their work force. The couple brought Colby Jack’s 12-person staff from the previous location farther south on El Camino Real, and plans to hire an additional 16 people.
The ground floor space at The Carlton, at Traffic Way and El Camino Real, has seen two failed eateries in the past few years.
The most recent was Shockley’s, which closed last summer after less than a year in operation.
But the Dorrises are high on the new space, which they’ve been eyeing for about four months. It has a bakery, dining room, lounge and two banquet rooms.
They also redecorated to make it airy, welcoming and family-oriented.
“We want to lighten the mood. (Have it be) not so upscale that it’s unapproachable but to come and relax and wear your blue jeans,” Jack Dorris said.
Their previous location, open for about three years, closed earlier this month.
The business is family-run: Jack Dorris handles general manager duties, while his wife works as the restaurant’s executive chef and banquet manager.
Aspects of their business are named after their two young children — Colby and Brie.
The dinner menu now has steaks, pastas, roasted meats and “a play on some traditional French bistro items with local ingredients to make it our own,” Natalie Dorris said.
The bakery has European-inspired pastries, fresh baked breads and grab-and-go sandwiches.
Small changes are also intended to make the eatery family-friendly. Pizza dough balls will be passed out to kids to mold for play, and a pianist, jazz players and other musicians will also be featured in the bistro.