Serving up freshness at Fig Good Food

Friday, August 29th, 2014

Fig Good Food

Fig Good Food owner Chris Dillow takes customers’ orders one afternoon in her Atascadero restaurant.

Fig Good Food

Fig Good Food celebrated five years of business in Atascadero at 5945 Traffic Way this summer; however, owner Chris Dillow’s experience in the industry goes back much further – all the way back to her childhood when her mother owned an Italian restaurant in Cambria. Though the restaurant was lost in a divorce, Dillow still holds onto the memories of the restaurant, and to her mother’s sauce recipe.

While living in Seattle, Dillow and her now-husband, Dennis, frequented a fresh pasta restaurant, where they’d pick out pasta, top with the sauce of their choice and then take it home to cook. Back in San Luis Obispo County, Dillow saw a hole in the local market – fresh pasta. In her early 20s, she started making and selling fresh pasta at the first Cambria Farmers’ Market in 1985. Her wholesale pasta business, Pasta Luego, was so popular that some suggested she should open a restaurant; the couple opened Harmony Pasta Factory in 1986.

“I opened it on my 23rd birthday,” Dillow said, adding that people couldn’t believe that she, as young as she was, could be the owner.
After closing the restaurant in 1993, Dillow was the front of house manager at Big Sky Cafe in SLO from 1995 to 2007. It wasn’t long before she decided to open another restaurant, this time in downtown Atascadero and specializing in fresh food, from the produce to the pasta. While 50 to 60 percent of the food served at Fig is organic, she strives to serve her customers the freshest and best food that she can – much of which is sourced locally when possible.

“The necessity for gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan is a niche that we have filled,” Dillow said.
Additionally, all takeout containers, utensils and other items are biodegradable; some are made of corn starch.

While the layout and focus of Fig Good Food has changed over the years, Dillow said they have decided to stay in their current location and make any changes fit the space. When the restaurant was initially opened, they expected to do mostly takeout, but found that wouldn’t be the case.

“People loved the atmosphere and the staff so much, so we had to accommodate more tables,” Dillow said. “[Customers] are still asking for more seats – we have some ideas.”

The front dining room has five tables that seat two to four people each and a few seats at the front counter, along with two tables out front and several tables on the back patio.
“We love Fig,” said Stephanie Drexler of Atascadero. “My kids love the pasta and the people are great.”
Niola Cusati of San Jose calls ahead to ensure her favorite menu item – pecan pie – is available.
“I love their pecan pie,” Cusati said, adding that she’s learned from experience that the pie – made by Dennis – tends to sells out.

Check out Fig Good Food, located at 5945 Traffic Way in Atascadero, Monday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Friday from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; closed on Sunday. Occasionally, Fig closes during its regular hours to cater an event. For more about Fig, go to www.figgoodfood.com or call (805) 460-9900.

Heather Young

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