barbecue-restaurants1The Santa Maria Valley boasts a number of legendary restaurants that specialize in the local barbecue experience, including several that have been going strong for more than 50 straight years. So don’t forget to bring your appetite the next time you visit California’s Central Coast. Following are some local barbecue favorites:

The Far Western Tavern

The Far Western Tavern was featured on the Food Network’s BBQ with Bobby Flay and has been celebrated in Sunset magazine and elsewhere. The restaurant was founded in 1958. Today, the Minetti family brings two generations and five decades of ownership to the table, serving legendary cuisine that is rooted in local tradition yet suited for contemporary tastes.

The Far Western Tavern
300 East Clark Avenue in Old Town Orcutt

The Hitching Post
The Hitching Post starred in the hit movie Sideways and has been featured in Gourmet and elsewhere. The restaurant was established in 1944 in Casmalia and has been owned by the Ostini family since 1952. The Ostinis opened their second Hitching Post restaurant in Buellton in 1986. An indoor barbecue pit filled with red oak is the secret to the Hitching Post’s signature dining experience.

The Hitching Post
3325 Point Sal Road in Casmalia and 406 East Highway 246 in Buellton

Jocko’s Steak House
Gayot Restaurant Guide calls Jocko’s “a raucous, high-energy haven for lovers of good steak, especially those cooked Santa Maria-style over a roaring, fragrant oak fire.” Established in 1956, Jocko’s is a true American roadhouse specializing in steak, ribs and oak pit pork chops, as well as traditional salsa and pinquito beans.

Jocko’s Steak House
125 North Thompson Avenue in Nipomo

Shaw’s Steakhouse and Tavern
Shaw’s Steakhouse is closed until further notice following a fire in the adjacent building. Established in 1953, Shaw’s Steakhouse boasts an original open oak barbecue pit inside restaurant, enabling you to watch your Santa Maria Style Barbecue sizzle as it’s served. The atmosphere is intimate and the portions are large.

Shaw’s Steakhouse and Tavern
714 South Broadway in Santa Maria

A.J. Spurs
Known for the quality and consistency of its beef, A.J. Spurs employs full-time meat cutters to help ensure a superior dining experience. An old-west atmosphere and massive portions ensure a memorable meal.

1520 North Broadway in Santa Maria
(805) 922-3700

F. McLintock’s Saloon & Dining House
Known for its savory steaks, ocean views and high water pours, F. McLintocks specializes in oak-pit barbecued steaks and ribs, as well as fresh seafood and salads. The portions are legendary, so come hungry! A butcher shop and gift shop are also part of the F. McLintock’s experience.

750 Mattie Road in Shell Beach

Garden Room Restaurant at Historic Santa Maria Inn
The Historic Santa Maria Inn was established in 1917 and counts William Randolph Hearst, Clark Gable, Jean Harlow and Charlie Chaplin among its past guests. The inn’s Garden Room restaurant recently completed major renovations, and the menu includes Santa Maria-style tri-tip with pinquitos and salsa.

Historic Santa Maria Inn
801 South Broadway in Santa Maria

Vintner’s Bar & Grill at Radissson Hotel
Herb-crusted prime rib, New York steak and filet mignon are among the specialties at the Vintner’s Bar & Grill, which also offers an extensive list of local wines.

Vintner’s Bar & Grill
3354 Skyway Drive in Santa Maria

Portabella Bar & Grill at Holiday Inn Hotel and Suites
Portabella offers classic American dishes with an Italian flair, including Santa Maria tri-tip sandwiches and rib-eye steak.

Portabella Bar & Grill
2100 North Broadway in Santa Maria
(888) 465-4329

Santa Maria BBQ To Go
You can enjoy Santa Maria Style Barbecue foods to-go, including hot tri-tip sandwiches, at local venues such as Dino’s Deli in Santa Maria and Old Town Market in Orcutt.

Filipino Community Center Barbecue
Open on Saturdays and Sundays at Smart & Final parking lot at 1721 Broadway.

Barbecue Fundraisers
Barbecue fundraisers often fire up on weekends at the CVC Pharmacy and Lemos Pet Supply parking lots, among other locations in downtown Santa Maria. Just follow the smoke!

P.S. For a complete listing of restaurants in the Santa Maria Valley, please click here.