Monday, October 11, 2010

A Day With Mom At Arroyo Grande Village

When I was five my folks moved to Arroyo Grande California.  My Dad just graduated from Dental School from Loma Linda University.  They bought a small tract house on Huasna Road.  There were only three houses, all newly built at the time.  I drove back to the old home place and the hills I played in as a child are now covered with homes. 

The Village has changed much too.  I went to Arroyo Grande Junior Academy and walked home from school every day through town on Branch Street.  If we had .25 we would stop at Don's Variety and buy nickle or pennny candies or a small trinket.  We also knew Buzz at Buzz's Barber shop.  His partner was Kelly who belonged to the group that ran the Portuguese Hall.  They would have Soapa Dinners every year and we would go over and serve pop in exchange for meals and sometimes tips.

They used to have back then the Harvest Festival.  It was great fun to go on rides or visit booths and get food or win small prizes.  We loved it. I understand that they still have it. They also have a Farmer's Market but that started after we moved away.

The park south of Branch street has been kept up nicely.  The foot bridge is there and is one of a kind.  I think it was built back in the early 1900's or there abouts.  North of Branch Street are the same old houses that were there when I was a kid.

Mom and I walked the streets and tried to recall what used to be there.  The old church is there and is called the Harvest. East of that is the Doc Burnstein's Icecream Lab. That place used to be Bernardo's Icrecream, I think.  The new owners fixed it up even more and it is a cute and quaint place to get genuinely great icecream. The old sewing and fabric shop is now The Old Village Grill.  They make the messiest and juiciest burgers.  There are tables on the sidewalk and all were full of happy slurrping customers.  Don's Variety is still a variety gift store but Don is long gone.  Don and his wife used to put their baby in a play pen in the window so he could watch the passers by.  The old Commercial Grocery Store is an empty building, or at least it looked that way.  One of the EC Loomis & Sons are still there and the building that I think used to be the lumbar yard is now an Antique store. Dr. Wical's office is now an Italian Restaurant. The Arroyo Grande Pharmacy is now a dress shop. Buzz's Barber shop is a gift shop and a guitar store. The butcher shop is still there but under another name.  The cycle shop around the corner is still there, though I don't know if it is still run by the same family.  The bars are still there. Amazing how those seem to flourish through the ages.

Next to the old church on the west side is a new shopping center with a restaurant called Alphies Broiler.  We sat on the patio and had soup and salad for lunch.  The soup was fantastic! It was vegetable soup that they make there with all fresh ingredients. They make their own vegetable stock from veggies they cook throughout the day.  It makes for a wonderful home made soup base. They make all their own sauces and dressings and just about everything right there and it shows.  Very fresh! Mom had the Salmon Salad and she really enjoyed it though it was a bit much for her.  It was a perfect day for eating on a sidewalk patio.  The owner came out and talked to us.  He bought the place 6 years ago from someone who tried to make a go of it.  He kept the name Alphies and he seems to be successful as most of the seats were full.  He also has a coffee shop two doors west and you can go in and order from there as well and eat lunch while enjoying a great cup of jo. This restaurant rates 4.8 stars out of five and I can see why.  You can check them out on the internet and there is a map to help you get there.  The price was reasonable and the food was great.

 When we were done with lunch we walked across the street to a store called A Sweet Shop Named Desire. They have great chocolates and fudge but the fun part about this shop is that they have a wall in the back that has the old candy bars that we used to be able to get as kids.  UNO chocolate bar was one of my favorites.  I didn't get one but I did get English Toffee because that is one of my Dad's favorites.  The owner talked with us and said they are putting in a wall of Jelly Bean dispensers by Friday of this week.  I will be back in Colorado by then but I do like a good Jelly Bean.  They also have a few antiques there and its fun to browse for unusual items.  The owner said that he does weddings.  Candy "bars" are a raging thing and he needs to do those to make the shop pay.  I liked the ambience and it was fun to see the nastolgia on the shelves.  I'm not sure what the store was before the candy shop went in. It could have been the hardware store.  Not sure. 

A friend of ours told us about a new store going in on the east side of town.  It is called The Chocolate Sheep. The owner is a former school teacher.  She has educational toys that you wouldn't find in places like Walmart.  She said the she and her mom took a Chocolatier Class and learned to make their own chocolates.  She gave us a sample of a chocolate gnache truffle with cocoa powder coating.  It was yummy! I bought a piece of dark chocolate almond bark.  It was equally as good.  I think she is going to put other types of gifts in there too. Besides chocolate she has frozen yogurt.  The store was pretty empty but I think more stuff is ordered and coming to fill it up.  I hope she is successful there.  Very friendly and good treats.

Because I am looking to possibly open a sandwich and sweet shop I am interested in what people have done.  We came across a bakery that I thought was perfect. It's on the north side of the street. Their signature cupcake, Chocolate Covered Cupcake was divine and their eclairs were great.  Thus the name Eclairs Bakery. The girl that served us said the owner bought the store several years ago. She has been working there since then and is loving it.  They make any cake you want.  Their slogan is "you dream it, we make it."  There were only three tables in the store for customers to sit at and two out side on the side walk.  You can go on line at  to see the kind of cakes they make and they are beautiful.   They also do pastries and coffee.  A great little place to visit town folks and sip coffee and nibble pastries.

It was fun to sit at a table on the sidewalk, smell the delicious smells in the candy store, and sit in the town bakery and enjoy good people and great pastries.  All in all it was a great day with my Mom and I am glad we got the chance to do it.  I recommend a day out with your Mom in Arroyo Grande Village or some similar quaint place.  It makes for great memories.


  1. It was a great day...even I learned some things I did not know 'bout those years in AG!!! Thanks, Dear Daughter, for a "memorable" day!

  2. Susie,

    Thank you so much for stopping into our sweet shoppe. I am glad that the Village still holds a special place in your heart. We are so lucky to have bought A Sweet Shoppe Named Desire, as we just love the village and the surrounding community. FYI, we are also listed as Desire Sweet Shoppe, and there are several reviews written about us under both names. Also, our website is and we are happy to ship our sweet treats (candy, taffy, fudge, nostalgic candy and all)anywhere in the world to be enjoyed!

    Thanks again!

    Jamie & Mike