Enjoy chowder, sandwiches, seafood and fresh-baked goodies
Splash Cafe and Artisan Bakery in San Luis Obispo is the result of two very hardworking, passionate business owners. In 1991, Joanne and Ross Currie purchased the newly opened Splash Cafe in the heart of downtown Pismo Beach, when it had only 15 seats. The Curries became very busy and successful, and Splash Cafe’s award-winning chowder took off in popularity among tourists and locals. Their vision grew, and the restaurant expanded its menu.
In 2003, when Splash’s original baker retired, it prompted the owners to invest in a way to bake all of their own artisan pastries and loaves. The Curries were interested in having a bakery of their own, and in 2005, the couple found the perfect location: right on the corner of Monterey St., very close to San Luis Obispo High School and the Cal Poly neighborhood. The building was remodeled and the Curries added a full kitchen, bakery, and cafe.
The SLO cafe uses a lot of baked goods, and goes through hundreds of bread bowls in a single day, and 10,000 to 15,000 gallons of chowder in a year. Splash’s chowder has been so successful, that fans can even find it at Costco stores across California, offered in a convenient box of four pint-sized frozen pouches. Just boil in a pouch and enjoy Splash chowder anytime.
“We love what we do, and we are passionate about our customers,” said Joanne. “We love making tourists welcome to enjoy the Central Coast vibe, and promote our area. We have a very fun place and the feel is super casual and beachy.”
The SLO location has a wide array of espresso drinks in the cafe, which pair great with any of their tasty breakfast options, served until 11. Joanne Currie is the mastermind behind all of Splash’s famous recipes, and her dishes of freshly grilled seafood, salads, sandwiches, and clam chowder amount to absolute perfection. Joanne also offers flavorful food products and sells heirloom Bulgarian carrot pepper hot sauce, lovingly named Raucous Daucus, which adds a little heat and tang to any dish. Her spice mix, Beach BBQ, is perfect for grilling, and makes a wonderful alternative to the Santa Maria style BBQ spices, featuring espresso, cumin, coriander, and aromatics.
Smack dab in the center of the building is the bakery where behind glass, customers can watch as they bake all of their artisan, handmade goods like croissants, danishes, cupcakes, cookies, cakes, sourdough, challah, baguettes, focaccias and more.
Upstairs, the catering kitchen is full of bustling chefs who prepare a separate menu of luncheons and dinners for reunions, memorials, weddings, and celebrations, and prepare all of the custom cakes. Their bakery pumps out a beautiful assortment of cakes for weddings, “Every inch of the building is in motion,” Joanne said. From elaborate multi-tier cakes to simple, elegant and modern they make it all.
Splash gives back to the community on a regular basis and helps sustain tourism while promoting classic Californian culture. They volunteer with local non-profits and donate to events, fundraisers, and school clubs. “Everyone is a customer, and we support the interests of our community as a whole,” said Joanne.
Looking to the future, the couple plans to expand their growing product line, and offer their chowder and sauces to other restaurants. Currently, Joanne is experimenting with a citrus spice blend for fish and chicken. Joanne keeps motivated and said, “We put the hard work in, and think outside the box.”
Splash Cafe and Artisan Bakery is located at 1491 Monterey St. in San Luis Obispo. Hours: 7 a.m.- 8:30 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, and 7 a.m.- 9:30 Friday and Saturday. For more information, call (805)706-8642 or visit www.splashcafe.com.