Not many of us stay in one place for 60 years, but the Ostini family knows how to stick with a good thing. Since 1952 the family has served up their signature barbecue and more at the Hitching Post Restaurant in Casmalia. In 1986, they opened their second Hitching Post Restaurant in Buellton, which was featured in the hit movie, “Sideways.” Both restaurants have enjoyed widespread praise in wine and food media outlets, including Gourmet Magazine, Wine Enthusiast and beyond. We checked in with General Manager Terri Stricklin to learn the latest as the restaurant celebrates its 60th anniversary this year.
What has changed at the Hitching Post during the past 60 years, and what has not?
The menu has changed to include other offerings besides steaks, such as fresh seafood, pork, chicken and grilled vegetables. The way we include multiple side dishes along with an entrée for one menu price has not changed since 1952. Diners are offered shrimp cocktail, a dinner salad, a choice of potatoes or vegetables, ice cream and coffee along with their entrée. Also, the Old West ambiance is still the same since the 100-year-old building has seen few changes in the past 60 years.
What are you doing to celebrate this milestone?
We have a special bottling of the Hartley-Ostini Hitching Post Pinot Noir named “Sixtieth.” When purchased, guests receive a complimentary Hitching Post 60th anniversary logo wine glass, while supplies last. We are also running some Facebook promotions for those who tune into radio stations MEGA 97.1 FM and KSNI 102.5 FM. And, we will feature “in-house” specials throughout the year that can be found on Facebook or on our web site at www.hitchingpost1.com.
With more and more people beginning to embrace regional cuisine, do you think Santa Maria Style Barbecue is more popular than ever?
Absolutely! Santa Maria Style Barbecue is increasingly recognized nationwide as one of the “regional” barbecues. Famous chefs and food writers are taking note of restaurants in our valley which, along with the original Hitching Post and the Hitching Post II in Buellton, have played a large part in putting this cuisine on the national food radar.