On April 24, McPhee’s Grill in Templeton will celebrate 20 years of business and service at their downtown Templeton restaurant.
Chef-Owner Ian McPhee attributes his success in reaching this milestone anniversary to both the growth of the surrounding wine country, tourism and the loyalty of his local customers. He recalls that when he and his wife, June, first opened in 1994, there were about 20 wineries in the surrounding area. Today, he says, more than 250 dot the countryside. Tourists and locals alike have been loyal patrons to McPhee’s Grill and that loyalty, McPhee says, is a result of his commitment to the philosophy of “great food and great service.”
In January of 1994, McPhee and his wife left Ian’s Restaurant in Cambria after ten years, and purchased the current building at 416 S. Main Street in Templeton. They spent four months remodeling the building, which had previously been the home of Main Street Grill, before opening McPhee’s Grill. Family owned and operated, Ian and June McPhee have employed all four of their children at the restaurant, two of whom still work for the restaurant today.
McPhee says the large wine tourism industry on the Central Coast now brings numerous “foodies” to his door, but his core customer base has also remained the same since the outset. “I have customers that came to me the first week that I opened my restaurant in Cambria in 1983, and that still come to my restaurant in Templeton on a regular basis to this day. It’s an amazing thing… We love being supported by the community. It’s truly the most rewarding part of my job.”
Gary Eberle of Eberle Winery in Paso Robles has been a patron of McPhee’s since Ian McPhee was at Ian’s in Cambria and has hired McPhee for over 30 years to cater his winery events. “Ian was the first all-star chef to come to this area and take a chance on Paso Robles and Templeton before it was discovered. He was a pioneer for the area and was instrumental in getting other restaurants and wineries to join the effort,” says Eberle. “I think you could argue with anyone that Ian makes the best meal in town 20 years ago this region was ready for the quality of cuisine Ian brings to the table, and year after year we continue to enjoy everything he has to offer.”
Over the last 20 years, McPhee’s menu has maintained house favorites including appetizers like the Ancho Duck & Cheese Quesadilla; entrées like the Rib Eye with jalapeño cheese mashed potatoes and goat cheese stuffed Poblano chile, or the Thick Cut Pork Chop. Meanwhile, McPhee says the seasons’ farm fresh ingredients inspire a revolving selection of new menu items, as can be seen in his new wood-fired pizzas, introduced last month.
“This is not a job to me. It’s part of my life and lifestyle. I am so happy to be here and I love what I do, I’m very lucky,” McPhees says.
The McPhee’s believe in giving back to their small-town community that has supported their restaurant by donating to a number of non-profit organizations on a regular basis including the Boys & Girls Club of North County, the Templeton Education Foundation and the Templeton Library Foundation.