Giuseppe’s Cucina in Pismo Beach began as a Cal Poly Senior Project hatched by Giuseppe (Joe) DiFronzo. He took what was a simple assignment and turned it into a bustling restaurant with customers gladly lining up to wait an hour or more for dinner and everyone hosting their corporate and family events in his authentic Tuscan-inspired backyard venue.
Fast forward 28 years (can this be possible?) and DiFronzo unveiled late last year his latest inspired eatery – Giuseppe’s Cucina Rustica in the old landmark Sinsheimer building adjacent to Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa. While we are all anxiously awaiting the re-opening of his first location in the historic downtown Pismo building damaged last year by fire, we are enthusiastically applauding this new second location.
849 Monterey St
San Luis Obispo, CA
With equal parts upscale Italian deli influence and rich, rustic modern flare this restaurant makes dining a treat again. Upon entering you are greeted by engaging hosts behind a seriously cute hostess desk made from a cut out vintage Italian car. Incorporated into the main dining room of the restaurant you will find an open-format kitchen and a take-out area for the downtown urbanites to grab a lunch bite to go or nosh outside at an open-air bistro table European-style. Passing through the main dining room it’s all about crisp linens, amazing rustic lighting, bistro-height tables, cozy booths, fresh tile-work and marble counters. Then enter the outdoor area accented with paver stones and Italian string lights.
And we haven’t even mentioned the food yet! Giuseppe’s was one of the first SLO County restaurants to implement a farm-to-fork restaurant philosophy — and now they have taken it a step further with their very own 12 acre farm in Edna Valley. From San Marzano tomatoes, figs, squash and persimmons to five grape varietals that make up DiFronzo Vineyards brand wines, DiFronzo Farms is sustainable farm-to-table in action. And I can say the results are amazing. All of these locally sourced or personally grown veggies are transformed into fresh Calamari dipping sauce, traditional Pomodoro and Bolognese sauces and scrumptious wood fire pizzas with hand-pressed tomato sauces – just to name a few. Ask your server for pairings with DiFronzo wines or a wide-variety of local and Italian-sourced wines — there really isn’t a bad choice. And don’t fret – if you are steering clear of the carbs then try one of the delicious Steak, Seafood or Chicken entrees that are constantly rotating. Then finish it all with house-made cannoli to die for.
The “Secondi” or “second course” of Giuseppe’s restaurants is not to be missed – for lunch when shopping downtown or a special dinner with your significant other or friends – it will become a regular after your first visit.