Paso Robles downtown favorite has been in the same building since 1942
-Ask any Paso Robles local for a restaurant recommendation and they are almost sure to offer up Vic’s Cafe as a suggestion. And for good reason, it’s been a staple in town for as long as most people can remember; in fact, they are celebrating 80 years in business in 2022!
“I think it is a privilege to be 80 years in Paso Robles and 80 years in the same building,” said co-owner Dee Aud. “We love it that three families have continuously operated this restaurant over 80 years.”
Vic’s was originally opened by Vic Buckley in 1942. The restaurant industry at the time in Paso Robles was booming, fueled by many people stationed in and visiting nearby Camp Roberts. Vic passed away in 1972 and the restaurant was purchased by Larry and Jan Eastwood and moved to its current space in 1976. Larry retired from the restaurant, selling it to Brett Skinner and Dee Aud in 2018.
The enduring traditions at Vic’s remain, such as many popular menu items and exceptional customer service, although the restaurant has evolved over the years and has been brought into the 21st century with the addition of things like gluten-free and vegan options. Gluten-free is taken seriously at Vic’s especially since co-owner Brett Skinner has celiac disease. But those seeking a traditional diner experience will find “old-school” fare such as liver and onions, housemade pies, scones, puddings, etc. Other enticing menu options include burgers (vegan options available) salads, breakfast classics, as well as appetizers and light eats.
The COVID-19 Pandemic was tough for local businesses and not everyone weathered the storm in Paso Robles, “We are most proud of surviving COVID-19 shutdowns while minimizing the impact on employees,” says Aud, “We had to furlough for a few weeks in 2020, but quickly received PPP funds and brought everyone back. Brett and I didn’t pay ourselves for over a year to use all PPP funds for the employees.”
Aud says that the post-pandemic era challenges continue, such as the newly installed and hotly debated paid parking program in downtown Paso Robles, coupled with high gas prices. But, despite the challenges, the team at Vic’s presses on optimistically, “We are hoping for a renewed economy that will allow us to pay current competitive wages, purchase high-quality ingredients and remain in business.”
On the horizon for Vic’s will be online ordering for pick-up, and Aud says they are looking into free delivery within walking distance as well as loyalty programs and discounts to encourage more traffic. “It may be ‘grow or die,’” says Aud. Well, we hope it’s growing, and that this Paso Robles haunt will press through as they have for nearly a century, and with a little luck, and a lot of dedication, we believe it will.
Vic’s Cafe is located at 841 13th Street in Paso Robles. They are open daily for breakfast and lunch from 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information or to place an order, call (805) 238-3988 or visit them online at vicscafepasorobles.com.