When is the last time that you went out to dinner and didn’t want to sit down because the restaurant had so many interesting things to look at in every single room? That was my recent experience with AJ Spurs location in Templeton, CA., which is located between Paso Robles and Atascadero, off Hwy 101.
The first AJ Spurs location opened in the current building in 1989, which was originally constructed in 1886. Over the last 100 years, the building has been a general store, a bank, a couple other restaurants and a meat market. The brick walls of the main dining area and saloon are part of the original construction. The vibe is an authentic old west feel. It is rustic and takes you back to a different time. The décor is loaded with pieces that bring back the good old days. It is loaded from floor to ceiling with antiques and western-style decorations.
Guests of all ages get the benefit of a field trip and peek at history. The walls are covered with old-fashioned photos, including the previous locations in the same building. It is fun to see the changes that have taken place at the restaurant and in Templeton over the last century, in a friendly setting, along with a truly fantastic meal.
It is also noteworthy, that AJ Spurs is the only place in town that holds a liquor license. So, if you are looking for a stiff drink or a glass of wine, this is where you want to be. Not many places can say that various bluegrass and country musicians fill the air with live music seven nights a week, like this location.
Are you familiar with the term, “Chuck Wagon style dining”? It’s old family-style dining, like the good ol’ days. As soon as you’re seated, a heavy black, cast iron pot full of thick, hearty soup with beef and vegetables, along with a side of flavorful black beans and chunky salsa, will be delivered to your table by dedicated servers, followed by a crisp, green salad, all of which comes standard before you place your order. If you are a meat eater, you will love it. AJ Spurs is an excellent steakhouse.
Let’s talk about the appetizers….be prepared for a lot of food or plan to share with several friends. I have never experienced such satisfying servings from an appetizer menu. The Steak Bites appetizer is huge. You get a tender, 12 ounce top sirloin, cut into perfect bite-size pieces. It is delicious. Plus, it’s served with sautéed mushrooms and a generous dish of rice pilaf. If you order the chicken fingers appetizer, you can expect five huge pieces of crispy, succulent chicken breast. It’s more than enough for a meal or to share with several friends. At this point, most people will be thinking…my entrée has not come to the table and my belly is full.
The BBQ baby backs or beef ribs are a favorite entrée, slathered with tasty barbeque sauce. They also serve tender, fresh fish, and chicken dinners. The grilled artichokes and asparagus are cooked to perfection. At the end of the meal, you also get a complimentary, huge, root beer float or an after-dinner drink. The kiddies will get to pick a toy from the large treasure chest.
General Manager Randy Reina loves his job and the staff warmly refers to him as “boss-man”. Randy runs a tight ship, but his staff is attentive and friendly and the service is outstanding.
General Manager Jerry LeAir shared, “Milt Guggia Enterprises, which privately holds AJ Spurs, caters and offers banquet facilities for up to 100 people.”
Owner Milt Guggia also owns AJ Spurs restaurants in Buellton and Grover Beach. All three central coast locations are famous for enormous portions and really good food. The corporation also owns The Pantry, Crumbles, Pea Soup Andersen’s, Pappy’s Restaurant, The Jetty, Pepper Garcia’s and most recently, The Cracked Crab in Pismo Beach.
AJ Spurs is located at 508 Main Street in Templeton, at the corner of 5th and Main. Hours of operation are 4:30-9:00 pm weekdays and 12:00-9:30 pm on Saturday & Sunday.