Kassi Luja/Mustang News

Granada Bistro & Lounge (above) is one of the participating restaurants for San Luis Obispo Restaurant Month.

Kelly Trom

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Foodies, tourists and residents alike are rejoicing. January signals the start of San Luis Obispo County Restaurant Month, which combines lower prices, expert wine pairings and, of course, exceptional local food.

“San Luis Obispo County Restaurant Month is a unique opportunity to experience great food created by the region’s most talented chefs paired with local wines,” said Stacie Jacob, the executive director of Visit San Luis Obispo County.

Restaurant Month in San Luis Obispo is part of a bigger celebration of California cuisine organized by Visit California. There are more than 30 destinations statewide participating from the coast to the desert inlands.

All different areas of the county will be represented. In San Luis Obispo County alone there are 45 restaurants participating in eight different cities: Arroyo Grande, Avila Beach, Cambria, Cayucos, Morro Bay, Paso Robles, Pismo Beach and San Luis Obispo.

“We have many new restaurants participating this year,” said Kylee Jepsen, the digital media coordinator of Visit San Luis Obispo County.  “That is an exciting thing for us, that this program is really growing and really gaining a lot of recognition.”

Most participating restaurants are offering a three course meal for $30. Participating consumers are encouraged to check the Visit San Luis Obispo County website where prices and entrees can be previewed.

“We have some really great restaurants throughout the county and it’s nice to give them attention and an opportunity to be able to reach a broader audience; to get new people to come in and try their cuisine,” Jepsen said.

Some restaurants are also participating in Wine Wednesday, in which entrees are paired with wines from local wineries for an extra charge. Some will even have winemakers present in the restaurant to talk about the wine and make recommendations.

“(Wine Wednesday) is a nice opportunity for restaurants and wineries to work together,” Jepsen said. “Also, you will notice that a lot of restaurants will feature certain wines from the local wineries so their menu will actually say, ‘We would love to pair this entree or this course with this specific wine.’”

Visit San Luis Obispo is a member-based organization that has more than 500 members from restaurants, wineries and lodging partners. Hotels will be participating along with restaurants and wineries, allowing tourists to take advantage of deals throughout the month.

“January is also a great time to get hotel deals and experience the purity of San Luis Obispo County,” Jacob said. “Take a wine tasting excursion, enjoy an outdoor adventure and indulge in the best cuisine on the Central Coast.”

Those planning in partaking in San Luis Obispo County Restaurant Month should plan ahead to ensure the restaurant is offering their special menu on that day, and that they have enough ingredients to accommodate everyone who will order from the Restaurant Month menu.

“I would recommend that they call the restaurant ahead of time to get a reservation and to make sure that they are noting that they are going to be there for Restaurant Month so that the restaurants have an opportunity to prepare,” Jacob said.

In San Luis Obispo city, there are 18 restaurants participating, including Granada Hotel & Bistro, Novo Restaurant & Lounge, Luna Red, Vieni Vai Trattoria and Big Sky Cafe.

Check out a map of participating restaurants in San Luis Obispo here.

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