Friday, May 25 , 2018, 2:26 pm | A Few Clouds 65º


Donna Polizzi

Here & There

Donna Polizzi: Low-Key Atascadero Rich in History, Culture and Hearty Dining

From historic City Hall and an enchanting Sunken Gardens to breakfast and burgers, San Luis Obispo County’s third-largest city has something for everyone


Great food can make your day, and Atascadero — San Luis Obispo County’s third-largest city — is a great place to spend a casual one, from breakfast to burgers.

Start your morning with a lovely breakfast at the Country Touch Café. This family-owned and operated restaurant is located at 8135 El Camino Real and is run by a mother-daughter team.

The service is fast and friendly, and the place is bustling on the weekends. If you do stop during the morning rush, the homemade applesauce makes it all worth it! Fresh applesauce is made with a perfect amount of cinnamon that’s not too sweet. You’ll want to ask for seconds.

This is home cooking at its best.

“The homemade cinnamon raisin toast is what dreams are made of!” one customer said.

If you thought things couldn’t sound any more delicious, the Country Touch kitchen could turn any omelet into a burrito. If it’s a beautiful day outside, take advantage of the outdoor patio area; it’s spacious and has wrought-iron tables and chairs.

Country Touch’s portions are enormous so breakfast will get you through your day trip adventure.

Roughly a mile north on Highway 101 is Atascadero’s local theater.

The Galaxy Colony Square Theatre, 6917 El Camino Real, is fresh and new with outstanding accommodations. Buying tickets is a breeze, and you won’t have any worries about the typical first-come first-serve because you get an assigned seat.

Are you ready for this? This one-of-a-kind theater is among the very few offering a large selection of beer and wine to be enjoyed during your flick! The perk here is being able to have a beverage of your choice in a public area while seeing a new movie on the big screen.

You’ll also be pleasantly surprised when you see the VIP auditorium that allows only adults 21 and over. The seats have high back chairs that recline to the point where it feels like you’re sitting on a marshmallow. Won’t it be nice to sink into your seat, sip a drink, eat some popcorn and lose yourself in a great movie?

For history buffs, the Atascadero Colony Museum is no more than a six-minute walk from the theater. Stop by and take a look at all of the archives. The museum, at 6600 Lewis Ave., has lots of interesting information dating back to Mexican land grants and the ranchero days. You’ll be taken back in time as you walk into this quaint building surrounded by lush green trees.

Atascadero City Hall is right down the street, at 6500 Palma Ave., and is a section of a beautiful park called the Sunken Gardens. City Hall itself is one of the historical buildings that still stand in this area. It is a sight to see with its striking European architectural influence and a large elegant fountain.

It’s worth going to this area to catch some sun, or just take a seat on the benches and relax. It is also an excellent place for people watching.

When you’re ready for a great burger, saunter over to nearby Sylvester’s Burgers, 6455 El Camino Real. Sylvester’s is well known as one of the best burger joints on the Central Coast, and has additional locations in Los Osos and Oceano.

Not only do the juicy burgers make your mouth water just by looking at them, but Sylvester’s offers you that classic American diner menu: hot wings, milkshakes and beer on tap.

If you want a place with timeless recipes, is a definitive local business, and is a favorite local’s choice, Sylvester’s is the place to go.

If it’s your birthday, you’ll get a free burger and will be treated like royalty. Sylvester’s has an unusual and interesting collection of goofy hats in which to pose for pictures. Birthday photos are the best, and they just might end up on their wall. Won’t it be great when all your friends see you with a huge flamingo hat on your head and Elton John-size glasses?

— Donna Polizzi is a regional travel expert and founder of Keys 2 the Coast, a free Central Coast travel resource providing honest recommendations on the best places that locals want to go. She can be contacted at [email protected]. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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