Spring Trials 2020
March 28 – April 2

Favorite Spring Trials Restaurants

Looking at flowers all day is hungry work! Here are some choice restaurants where you can get your fill of the local cuisine, as recommended by locals and veteran Trials attendees.

* Indicates Chris Beytes tested and approved

Northern Trials

In-N-Out Burger

Multiple Locations (Visit their website to see if there's one near your hotel or trial stop.)

Recommended by Bill Calkins, Ball Horticultural Company, who says, "There's nothing like a Double-Double 'Animal Style' after a morning of petunia peeking."

*Black Bear Diner, Gilroy

395 Leavesley Road


In front of the Forest Park Inn (which used to be a staple trial hotel, but it’s gone downhill in recent years), this restaurant is a must for breakfast. Just minutes from Syngenta.

Barbecue at the Central Texan in Castroville.

Grillin & Chillin', Hollister

3650 San Juan Road


This casual, fun place has burgers that are made fresh daily, street tacos with marinated short ribs, cheese steak sandwiches—including a 16-oz. bone-in Rib Eye also known as "The Tomahawk."

Maverick BBQ, Hollister

35 Fifth Street


They specialize in everything BBQ and host a "Trivia Night" during the week. Jeannine Bogard of Syngenta said, "They do have a mouthwatering tri-tip and ribs.  Steaks aren’t bad either."

*Phil’s Fish Market and Eatery, Moss Landing

7500 Sandholdt Road


For great seafood, try Phil’s. He’s just minutes from Golden State Bulb Company, and not too far from Pacific Plug & Liner and Syngenta. Phil was recently featured on “Throwdown with Bobby Flay,” cooking his famous cioppino, a traditional Italian fish stew.

Central Trials

Jocko's Steak House, Nipomo

125 North Thompson Avenue

Tel: (805) 929-3565

Recommended by Glenn Anderson of Western Pulp, who says, "Jocko’s is one of those independent restaurants that has become famous from word-of-mouth advertising. [It's] the best tasting steak you have ever had cooked over an open-pit barbeque. From the outside, Jocko’s doesn’t look like much and the same goes for the inside. But when you look at the number of pickup trucks in the parking lot and cowboy hats inside, you know the locals are well aware of how good the food is. Jocko’s specialty is a Spencer steak and I recommend the petite serving because most folks won’t be able to finish it. You’ll want to make reservations unless you have time to sit and wait."

*Mo’s Smokehouse BBQ, Pismo Beach/San Luis Obispo

221 Pomeroy Street/1005 Monterey Street


Almost as good as Central Texan, with several styles of ribs. Just off the pier in Pismo, so it’s convenient to the Sandcastle Inn.

La Super Rica Taqueria, Santa Barbara

622 North Milpas Avenue

Recommended by Jeff Gibson, Ball Horticultural Company: "BEST tacos in the world! Just pop off 101 on Milpas Avenue, head up the street and you're there. Not fancy, but oh my gosh, good!"

Cracked Crab, Pismo Beach

751 Price Street


Recommended by Melissa Main, John Henry: "Buy a bucket of seafood—your choice of crab, slipper lobsters, etc.—along with potatoes and corn-on-the-cob. They put a large sheet of paper on your table, dress you in a plastic bib and dump the bucket on the table. You then proceed to eat with your hands!"

Éclair Bakery, Arroyo Grande

117 East Branch Street


"They have the best cinnamon rolls, lemon bars and chocolate croissants!" says Melissa Main, John Henry.

*Spencer Makenzie’s Fish Market, Ventura

806 East Thompson Blvd.


Hungry for fish tacos, we discovered this place in 2009. Quirky, casual atmosphere and excellent fresh fish served in several ways, including ceviche, salads and tacos.

Guiseppe's Cucina Italiana

800 Price Street


Also recommended by Melissa Main of John Henry: "One of the best olive oil/parmesan bread dips I've ever had!"

*Hitching Post II, Buellton

Grilling over an open fire of red oak at the Hitching Post II in Buellton.

406 E. Highway 246


Located in the central coast wine region, and made even more famous by the movie “Sideways,” the Hitching Post has long been a favorite of carnivores. They grill all their meats over an open red oak fire that you can see from the dining room. They’ve got a few strange menu items, too, like ostrich. The house Pinot Noir is excellent. Expensive, but very tasty.

*Andersen's Pea Soup, Buellton  

376 Avenue of the Flags

(805) 688-5581


It's more than just the Split Pea Soup that has had people coming back—and they've been doing it for 75 years. It's got that wonderful diner-style feel with a menu to match. And after you're done with your meal, you can stop by their bakery for a fresh-baked treat.