When the subject of barbecue comes up on the Central Coast, perhaps no restaurant has a better reputation for consistently good food than the Hitching Post in Casmalia.
Due to the spread of the coronavirus, however, and restrictions placed on California's restaurants and bars, the 100+ year old institution will be closed for the next two weeks according to a notice on the restaurant's Instagram page.
"This was not an easy decision for us, but in the best interest of our staff and all of our loyal customers, we have decided to close the restaurant effective [Thursday] for two weeks," the post stated.
The restaurant will not be accepting take out orders at this time, but the notice did ask potential patrons to follow their social media pages for updates on the situation.
The Hitching Post's reputation as a top flight BBQ restaurant stretches back more than half a century to 1952, when brothers Frank and Victor Ostini and nephew Jerry Ransom purchased the restaurant, located in an 1890s building that had previously housed a hotel, an Italian restaurant, a barber shop, a pool hall and a bar.
The Hitching Post still serves up steaks cut on site by the chefs and cooked over an open red oak fire, but the fire pit has been moved inside the restaurant where diners can watch their food being cooked.
Although the Hitching Post has gained a national and even international reputation, owner Bill Ostini said he doesn’t believe the restaurant’s style has influenced other Central Coast restaurants that much.
“This style of barbecue has been around here a long time,” he said. “Jocko’s, Shaw’s, the Far Western all cook on open flame and oak firewood. It’s all derived from the vaqueros from 150 years ago.”
And he expects to keep serving up steaks the same way his father did for a long time to come.
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