The calls flood in around 5 p.m.
They’re from young professionals, busy moms, and starving college students strapped for time. Whether driving southbound over the grade or picking up their kids from dance practice, these callers all have one thing in common: a carnal desire for slow-roasted, rotisserie meats paired with farm-fresh fixin’s. Oh, and they don’t want to go through hell to get it.
- PHOTO BY HAYLEY THOMAS
- FAMILY STYLE: From left, SLO Provisions co-owners Steve Bland and Dwyne Willis discovered the joys of rotisserie meats during their travels to France.
At SLO Provisions, this fantasy is within reach.
The first thing you notice when you walk into the clean, bright 1255 Monterey St. location is a shiny, candy apple red custom rotisserie oven imported from France (it perfectly matches a bright red light fixture made of upcycled pipes, which dangles overhead).
Up to 30 free-range, specialty chickens can twirl behind glass at one time, imbuing the air with fat, salt, and crispy skin. Of course, those delectable drippings make their way into a host of other creative menu items, thanks to consulting Chef Jensen Lorenzen, formerly of Cass House in Cayucos. Together with co-owners and partners Steve Bland and Dwyne Willis, a uniquely Southern-American-meets-European dream has emerged in SLO’s burgeoning “mojo corridor.”
- PHOTO COURTESY OF KENDRA ARONSON
- BIG BIRD TO GO: Pick up a full, half, or quarter rotisserie chicken and a selection of farm-fresh sides from SLO Provisions for a hearty meal that requires zero pan-scrubbing.
“SLO Provisions is all about doing the hard work for people who want quality ingredients and delicious dishes, but either don’t have the desire or time to cook,” Willis said. “We found that SLO was behind the curve when it came to rotisserie items. When you go to San Francisco, New York, Boston, and Atlanta, rotisserie is really happening, and we’re not talking about the chickens you can find at your local supermarket.”
Aside from using extremely high quality meat roasted in the optimum spit oven environment, Lorenzen added that the food is truly “refined, but casual,” offering up a much-needed dining option to downtown folks.
“The food is affordable takeout paired with high standards that appeal to more discerning eaters. We’re really interested in fresh, whole food ingredients delivered quickly,” Lorenzen said.
- PHOTO BY HAYLEY THOMAS
- LET’S LUNCH: Sandwich, deviled egg, chips, etc., are a quick delicious meal.
A “family dinner” can feed up to four hungry mouths in a flash and includes a whole rotisserie chicken, roasted potatoes, side salad, and dessert of the day—all for less than $30. Just you and a partner in crime? Order a “dinner for two” and go home with a half chicken meal.
Carnivores should note that “rotisserie meats of the day” include everything from lamb to prime rib. Sides are simple and fresh, including roasted cauliflower and kale and quinoa-legume salad.
“Steve and I traveled the country for eight weeks, going from one place to the other, gaining inspiration along the way,” Willis said of the concept. Truth be told, in North Carolina, the duo followed famed Southern cookbook author Sara Foster from one store location to another in an effort to ask a few questions about her business. Needless to say, they picked up a ton on knowledge on their journey.
The pair moved from Atlanta to SLO in 2002, realizing—to their delight—that the Central Coast trumps Southern hospitality.
This sense of warmth is tucked into each bite created at the eatery, where you can pick up epic rotisserie chicken sandwiches, chicken salad, and fine deli meats and cheeses—think ham, brie, and apple on a buttered baguette (try them with Lorenzen’s from-scratch salt and vinegar potato chips).
Breakfast is like something grandma might make—if she was into arugula and whipped local chevre. Where else can you can get your eggs slapped between two freshly made English muffins or dine on Southern style buttermilk biscuits with butter and jam? Everything is made fresh—from scones and pastries to the market veggie quiche of the day. A few thoughtfully curated retail shelves boast jams, olive oils, honeys, and other goodies from the owners’ old Southern stomping grounds and the Central Coast.
Still, it’s those glorious, succulent chickens that steal the show most often. They truly are a sight—and smell—to behold.
- PHOTO BY HAYLEY THOMAS
“Without even publicizing it, we’ve gotten busier and busier as people call in for whole or half chickens every night,” Bland said. This success is happily welcomed, although there is just one tiny issue that comes along with it.
“We don’t ever know exactly how many chickens to cook,” Bland said. Somehow, I doubt these two are losing any sleep over it.
Hayley Thomas will eat your chicken skin at email@example.com.