- PHOTO BY HENRY BRUINGTON
With dreams of bringing a breakfast of fried chicken and waffles to San Luis Obispo County, Carrie Collins and Ty Vinke opened doors to The Southern Station two months ago, at 22412 El Camino Real, just off the 101 in Santa Margarita.
“We want to get known for them,” said Collins, whose family owns and runs the Del Monte Café. The couple both have backgrounds in the local restaurant business: Vinke spent four years as a manager at the Guesthouse Grill, said Collins, so he manages the front end of the restaurant, and Collins, the chef, handles the back.
“Everything has a Southern flair,” Collins said. “We take things and twist them a little.”
Open every weekday from 6:30 a.m. (7 a.m. on weekends) to 2 p.m. for breakfast, they serve it up big. In addition to fried chicken and waffles, the Southern Station breakfast offers a slow-roasted pork hash, which is served in a skillet over medium eggs; chicken-fried steak made in house with Collin’s secret batter recipe; and a bananas Foster French toast—a classic twist on the classic southern desert, the French toast has a rum extract in the batter and comes topped with caramel, bananas, and pecans.
At lunch they serve up hush puppies, catfish and chips, crawfish, and beefy burgers—but if that’s too heavy for you, order a kale Caesar salad or one of their daily breakfast and lunch specials.
Either way, plan to get something from their house-made dessert menu. Like chess pie (buttermilk custard, occasionally available with a lemon twist), sweet potato pie, or chocolate bread pudding. Don’t worry, they do to-go orders and the entire desert menu is made specially by Collins herself or her mother, Debbie, who’s been cooking for patrons of the Del Monte Café for more than 35 years.
The couple spent four months remodeling before they opened in early February, with the help of Collins’ father Mark, a musician and a carpenter, who helped build the bar in the establishment and is helping them build an outdoor back patio with a stage for live music—something the couple hopes to have ready by June.
Collins said that once the back patio seating area and stage is finished (currently seating is inside only), it will be dog-friendly, feature live music, and The Southern Station will stay open for dinner on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday until 8:30 p.m.
“Since my dad helped build the bar and is helping us build the stage, his band will probably get christen it,” Vinke said.
April is national Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and the county’s sexual assault nonprofit RISE is looking for volunteers to participate in their 12th annual, “Walk A Mile in Her Shoes.” This year they will host two walks, both at 11 a.m., on April 12 in the Paso Robles City Park and on April 26 at the San Luis Obispo Mission Plaza. Volunteers must register by paying $25 for individuals, and $20 for individuals who are part of a team.
Everyone is encouraged and invited to come take part in the event-—men, women and families—so find a pair of high heels you can walk a mile in, and visit RISEslo.org for more details.
Intern Jessica Burge compiled this weeks Strokes and Plugs. Send your nonprofit and business news to firstname.lastname@example.org.