Hitching Post ll
Good Food…Good Wines…Good Times
Just off the 101 Freeway in Buellton, on Highway 246, sits The Hitching Post II restaurant. You may have heard of this restaurant, featured in the 2004 award winning cult film “Sideways,” but if you have only heard of The Hitching Post II, and not eaten there, it’s time to saddle up, bring your steed in and sink your teeth into one of the “World’s Best BBQ Steaks” as the roadside sign proudly proclaims!
It Was Famous Before it was Famous
“Sideways” certainly had a significant effect on the reputation of food and wine of the Santa Ynez Valley. Putting the area firmly on the map as a wine (specifically Pinot Noir) destination, putting The Hitching Post II in the limelight as a restaurant destination, locals and BBQ fans alike had known for decades that this Western themed BBQ restaurant served up the best BBQ around, with a selection of premier wines (and beers) and fun all around. The original Hitching Post was opened in the “cowboy” town of Casmalia in 1952 by the current owner’s parents, Frank and Natalie Ostini. In 1986 Hitching Post II was opened by sons Bill and Frank Jr. and is run today by Frank. Built on a reputation of serving only the best meats, and their Santa Maria BBQ recipe, their standing was already well entrenched prior to being featured in “Sideways.” It’s hard to say which was the big draw back in the late 80’s….the Santa Ynez Valley or Hitching Post II!
There’s BBQ and there’s Santa Maria BBQ
The not so secret secret behind the success of Hitching Post (aside from the friendly atmosphere, great value, prime meats and overall quality) is the Santa Maria BBQ. Begin the cooking process over a red oak open fire (red oak being a native oak), on a grill that can be raised or lowered over the coals. Using a dry rub proprietary seasoning (as opposed to a typical BBQ sauce) called “Magic Stuff” the flavors of the meats and vegetables are infused, so when you take your first bite….all you think is WOW! Although the seasoning may be proprietary, you can purchase a jar before leaving, for your own personal cooking adventure.
You won’t leave The Hitching Post II hungry. Meals include a plate of fresh vegetables and (yummy-cheesy) toasted garlic bread-to start. With your entrée you have a choice of soup, salad or shrimp cocktail (or order a la carte for a lesser charge), and rice pilaf, baked potato or their famous French fries. As you look over the menu deciding on a meat, fowl or seafood dish, order a grilled artichoke to share. Should you happen to be around on a Monday-Wednesday, and “hankering” for an amazing burger, grab a seat at The Sidebar and order one of their plump, flavorful oak-grilled “off the menu” burgers!
Wine a Little
Food and wine, they just goes together! The Hitching Post II has a select wine list offering wines from many of the Central Coasts’ most recognized producers, but hey, Frank Ostini and Gray Hartley have been making Ostini-Hartly Hitching Post wines at home since 1979 and produced their first Pinot Noir in 1981! Choose from about a dozen different Pinot Noirs to pair with your entrée. Ostini and Hartley source grapes from a selection of the area’s premier vineyards, also offering a Syrah and Cabernet Franc blend. And if you’re in the mood for afternoon wine tasting, have a seat at The Sidebar and enjoy a flight of HP Pinot Noirs.
Think BBQ-Think Hitching Post
The Hitching Post II may have become a cult food destination because of “Sideways,” but from the beginning have prided themselves in the quality, value and down home feeling started in 1952 at the original Hitching Post. If you are thinking BBQ on the Central Coast, you have to think Hitching Post. Come on down, kick back, and enjoy a great BBQ paired with Hartley-Ostini Hitching Post Pinot Noir! And don’t forget-save room for dessert!
The Hitching Post II is open daily, except major holidays, at 406 E. Highway 246 in Buellton. Call for a reservation: (805) 688-0676 or check www.hitchingpost2.com.