First of all, I have no pictures of food–or judgement–because the pretzel appetizer and tri-tip deviled eggs we ordered never materialized, and we were closed out without being charged, so… hmmm? My wine glass with a tablespoon of Pinot Noir still remaining was whisked away while neighboring empties and bar-mops were ignored. Loyal readers will understand my fondness for not only Willow Nipomo, but my HIGH regard for Central Market and Market SM as being the BEST dining option Santa Maria has ever seen. Understandably, the long expectation of this restaurant combined with the lineage of these two fine establishments created generous expectations. Let’s be clear: this is not in the grain of EITHER of these other two dining experiences, and–in the realm of restaurant and demographic-marketing–quite possibly could be a great addition to the Pismo Beach dining scene. Face it, Pismo has nothing like this and there is the very real possibility of this being completely popular–and I wish them this success. There were 13 television screens visible from my seat. The wine list is heavy on over-ripe, tourist-pleasing offerings quite unlike the fabulous wines available at either the Nipomo OR (former) Santa Maria locations. Loud cheering from tables directed toward on-screen merit–while shocking to this diner–merely served to break up the classic rock being played loudly over all in the dining room. The interior is stark and hollow, a design theme which makes the inside of a battleship seem warm and inviting. Beautiful weathered open beams and hardware preside over a huge, meandering dining room and bar so devoid of personality a jacket seems necessary to ward off the chill. Grey and cold seem to be the decorator’s theme with ‘Big Screen’ being the focal point of all seating. If you like a warehouse setting with a sports-bar vibe, THIS IS YOUR GIG. It will be interesting to see the dinner and lunch menu evolve from this opening-night experience.
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