Sunday, May 27, 2018     Volume: 19, Issue: 12

Santa Maria Sun / Eats

Ring in 2014 with Restaurant Month


Buttermilk-fried butterfly chicken breast, carrots, mashed potatoes, country-style gravy, and a warm biscuit is one of the dishes on the new menu at Vintner’s Grill in Santa Maria.

January is the most delicious month of the year—it’s California Restaurant Month, a special time to “Splurge, Savor, and Save” in practically every major city in the state.

It’s a promotion created by Visit California to support the state’s position as the top culinary destination in the nation. Go to for a list of all 30 participating cities.

I suggest that you support our local restaurateurs by planning a culinary adventure in our own backyard, as restaurants in Santa Maria, the Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo County have incredible dining opportunities throughout the month.

Santa Maria Restaurant Week is Jan. 19 through 25. Select restaurants are offering a three-course prix-fixe menu for $20.14.

Participating restaurants are the Far Western Tavern, Pasión Comida Mexicana, Rooney’s Irish Pub, Garden Room Restaurant, and Vintner’s Grill.

Local chef and restaurant consultant Ryan Gromfin—who has had a hand in reinventing restaurant menus throughout the Santa Maria Valley—is a proponent of the promotion.

“Restaurant Week is really an amazing event and we are hoping to have huge participation this year,” Gromfin said. “The Santa Maria Chamber [of Commerce] is putting a sizable amount of resources into supporting the marketing efforts, giving restaurants the opportunity to expose themselves to guests that maybe don’t eat at their restaurant on a regular basis.

“Allowing the restaurants to offer spectacular food at a discounted rate, three-course meals for $20.14, it helps fill their seats during January, a month with historically low sales and guests get great food at a great price; win-win!” he said.

Vintner’s Grill’s chipotle chicken and shrimp, tossed with linguini, julienned vegetables, and a light chipotle lime butter sauce is another one of the entrée choices at Vintner’s Grill during Santa Maria Restaurant Week, Jan. 19 through 25.

Gromfin recently helped redesign the lunch and dinner menus at Vintner’s Grill in the Radisson of Santa Maria.

Here is their special $20.14 menu offered during Restaurant Week:

  • Course No. 1: Soup of the day or salad.
  • Course No. 2: Choice of slow-roasted, herb-crusted English cut prime rib, caramelized onion mashed potatoes, seasonal vegetables, au jus, and creamed horseradish; or chipotle chicken and shrimp pasta with linguini noodles, light chipotle lime butter sauce, cherry tomatoes, and julienned vegetables; or buttermilk-fried chicken, a hand-breaded butterfly chicken breast, mashed potatoes, seasonal vegetables, white country-style gravy, and a warm biscuit.
  • Course No. 3: An apple tart with salted caramel and vanilla bean ice cream.

Restaurant Week in the Santa Ynez Valley is also Jan. 19 through 25.

Participating restaurants include the Ballard Inn, Avant Tapas, Industrial Eats, Bell Street Farm, SY Kitchen, Mirabelle, and Succulent Café.

For a complete list of participating restaurants, go to

Farther south, Santa Barbara pairs cuisine with cinema during “Film Feast,” Jan. 30 through Feb. 9. Restaurant Week in Santa Barbara coincides with the 29th annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

Film Feast organizers say, “Forget the popcorn and Milk Duds, going to the movies never tasted this good!”

Event examples include The Big Lebowski Tribute: Donny’s heart attack sliders at Blush Restaurant and Lounge; William Baldwin’s Backdraft Fire Menu at Nardonne’s La Famiglia Pizzeria; True Grit at La Arcada Bistro—dishes inspired by local actor Jeff Bridges; and a menu inspired by The Color Purple at Bistro 1111. 

Apple Tart, salted caramel, and a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream is a dessert offered during Restaurant Week at Vintner’s Grill in the Radisson of Santa Maria.

For complete details, go to

And visit San Luis Obispo County all month long for its seventh annual Restaurant Month, Jan. 1 through 31.

Dozens of restaurants from Paso Robles to Arroyo Grande feature special three-course menus for $30, including Artisan, Thomas Hill Organics, Bistro Laurent, Ocean Grill Avila Beach, Cass House, Black Cat Bistro, Splash Cafe, Big Sky Café, Novo, Giuseppe’s, and Rooster Creek Tavern.

To view the Restaurant Month menus at each participating restaurant, go to

Mark your new 2014 calendar, support our excellent locally owned restaurants, and enjoy memorable meals at the best prices of the year!


Sun wine and food writer Wendy Thies Sell wishes all her readers a Happy New Year! Contact her at

Weekly Poll
Who do you want to see represent California's 24th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives?

Re-elect Salud Carbajal!
Justin Fareed is my guy!
Michael Erin Woody has fresh ideas!
Eh, they all stink.

| Poll Results