There’s a cafe 100 yards from the beach that I miss greatly. They have the BEST, and I do mean THE BEST, clam chowder I’ve ever had. With October coming up soon, I want to share this little cafe with everyone, because it’s worth the long line to order the clam chowder… or the fried shrimp… or the calamari… or the hefty size sandwiches… oh my! I’m rambling. Let me tell you about Splash Cafe.
Located on the corner of Pomeroy and Cypress, I frequented Splash Cafe at least twice a month. It would’ve been more, but Pismo Beach is a tourist town, and everyone likes Splash Cafe, and being a local, I never wanted to wait in line. I always cheated to get out of waiting in line. I always called in my order or had it delivered to me (I lived 4 blocks away). This corner cafe is in the heart of what all Pismo residents call “Downtown”, though everything beach side Pismo Beach is technically “downtown”. You can’t miss this place! You turn west on Pomeroy Ave, and you have to drive by Splash Cafe to get to the parking lots. [Side note: I highly recommend parking at the end of the Promenade at Park Avenue and walk the Promenade, aka boardwalk, to the heart of Pismo Beach, so you can enjoy everything.]
Back to Splash Cafe: On a regular, non-holiday weekend, the waiting line to get in is about a 15-30 minute wait. The cafe itself can sit about (guesstimating) 30-40 people, and that’s a packed house. The vibe of the cafe is friendly, and you can definitely feel the beach from inside the place. The murals on the walls (outside and inside) are of beach goers – surfers, kids, bikinis – all painted by a local artist. Now, don’t let the wait line deter you from checking the place out! The staff is quick, and I really do say that with sincerity. With a packed house, from the moment you order your food at the counter to the time you pick up your food at the counter is an average of 10 minutes. However, I’ve never really encountered that “long” wait time to get my food. It really depends on what you order, and I always order the clam chowder.
I mentioned earlier that October is coming up, and now that I’m getting ready to talk about Splash Cafe‘s clam chowder, I want to announce that Pismo Beach’s 68th Annual Clam Festival is October 17-19, and Splash Cafe will be in attendance for the Clam Chowder contest. For you 21+ crowd, Pismo Beach is practically in the middle of Central Coast, California’s wine scene, and with 2 (or is it 3 now?) wine tasting locations and with several local (Central Coast) wineries attending the Clam Fest, you can definitely find your favorite. I’m getting off track! Splash Cafe has practically won every year since they began competing in clam chowder competitions, and I’ve had my share of clam chowder from East Coast to West Coast to Gulf Coast to International, and *hands down* Splash Cafe has every location I’ve eaten clam chowder at beat 100-fold. Now, I don’t normally stick to one place and sing praises about them, as I prefer to stay neutral, BUT Splash Cafe is the only exception.
Whenever I go to a new restaurant, and I see clam chowder on the menu, I hesitate before ordering a bowl. Of course, I usually do end up getting a small bowl, and I do eat the whole thing, but afterwards, I find myself saying, “Not as good as Splash.” I honestly don’t know what I like so much about Splash Cafe‘s clam chowder. I don’t know if it’s the big chunks of clam (that they try to keep to local produce) or the light seasoning of the chowder or the natural saltiness that seemingly can’t be reproduce in other locations outside of coastal properties; I just don’t know. All I can say is that once you take that first bite and as much as you tell your dad or boyfriend or friend that you’ll let them have a taste, you’ll hog the cup, the bowl, the bread bowl (whatever size you order) until there’s not a drop of chowder left.
Believe me, it has happened to me more than once. I accidentally dropped a spoonful on the floor before, and Syren cleaned it up. She got hooked on it too. Before we moved out to Las Vegas, Syren and I visited Splash Cafe in Pismo Beach one last time, and as you can see in the picture, she was waiting for me to drop the bowl. (I’m drooling just thinking about a hot bowl of clam chowder from them!)
So, if you find yourself driving down Highway 1 – Highway 101 and entering Pismo Beach, do yourself a favor and make a pit stop. (If you’re heading South, take exit 191A to Dolliver/Price Street, keep straight onto Dolliver, and take a right onto Pomeroy Avenue. Heading North, take exit 190 to Price Street and turn left onto Pomeroy) When you get there, breathe in the ocean air and enjoy a good bowl of chowder at Splash Cafe.
* Note: There are 2 other locations for Splash Cafe: Both situated in San Luis Obispo, CA, just ~20 minutes North of Pismo Beach. One is at 1491 Monterey Street (805) 544-7567, SLO, and the other at 893 Higuera Street (805) 439-2990 in Downtown SLO. The one in Pismo Beach is located at 197 Pomeroy Avenue (805) 773-4653.
Overall, I give Splash Cafe:
4 out of 5 forks
(a) Great location
(b) Good portion sizes
(c) Great flavor in more than 3 dishes tried and eaten
(d) Friendly staff and fast service
[Only missed 1 fork due to the wait lines that tend to happen and wrap around the corner.]