Magazine article Sunset

Want to Charter a Carriage?

Magazine article Sunset

Want to Charter a Carriage?

Article excerpt

Where the cowboys and Basques eat . . . Guadalupe Guadalupe isn't much to look at. In long afternoon shadows, its lone street and old storefronts conjure up a used--very used--set for a Grade B Western.

But California's central coast residents know that behind the unlikely facade there's mighty good eating. In this tiny town about 30 miles south of San Luis Obispo (70 miles above Santa Barbara), you'll find two large restaurants serving hearty meals and a couple of smaller ones with Mexican or Chinese dishes.

The town sits on the Santa Maria River's wide plain, surrounded by vegetable fields. From U.S. 101 in Santa Maria, head west 8 miles on State 166 to Guadalupe Road. Here, you are greeted by flamboyant winged angels frozen against the sky--monuments, it turns out, in the cemetery.

Stopping a moment, you can read Guadalupe's history in the markers. The angels poise over graves with the Italian names of dairy farmers from the Swiss canton of Tocino, who arrived in the 1880s. Simple stone blocks mark the burial places of the Japanese who worked the fields in the 1920s; others tell that Hispanic families have lived in the region for generations. Turn north on Guadalupe Road; all the restaurants are on this street.

The famous bull's-eye steak

Real Guadalupans don't eat quiche; they eat steak at the Far Western Tavern (899 Guadalupe; open 10 A.M. to 11 P.M. Mondays through Saturdays, 9 to 11 Sundays). Both owners, descendants of Italo-Swiss farmers, are ranchers who wear cowboy boots for good reason. …

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