TEMPLETON — Word on the street is that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. According to brothers Michael and Chris Kobayashi, co-owners and operators of Kitchenette, located at 105 South Main St. in Templeton, that rumor could not be more true.
While the duo grew up in Bishop, both eventually transplanted closer to the coast. Michael moved to Los Angeles and became heavily involved in the music industry, having worked with artists like Michael Jackson and Mick Jagger in the past and today managing rock group Def Leppard. In the meantime, Chris went on to graduate from the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco in 2002. By 2006 the pair had opened their first Paso Robles eatery, the Artisan, where Chris worked as the head chef.
About a year and a half ago, Chris pitched to his brother the idea of opening a second restaurant in the area.
“We knew the Central Coast would stay an up-and-coming region because of all the wines,” Michael said. “Both of us also really enjoyed the Templeton Farmers Market. In the end that’s what made us want to open a faster-paced, counter service that would mimic the same style.”
That’s where Kitchenette came into play.
As an Orange County native, when I think of Templeton, an old-timey, country feel comes to mind and Kitchenette is a perfect reflection of that. With it’s modern white walls, chic barn doors, wooden tables and concrete floors you can’t help but feel welcome and right at home.
The building itself is on the smaller side, but not in such way that guests feel crowded. Tables, both inside and outside on the shaded patio, sit close enough together that you feel included in all of the morning’s action and hustle and bustle.
The food and beverages follow a similar style.
“While it is our goal to take standard, common (breakfast and lunch) items and elevate them with our own twist, our philosophy is to think local,” Michael, who manages the business and front of house side of things, said. “It all comes down to the products and we are proud of what this area has to offer.”
In 2009 Chris was nominated for his first James Beard Award, an award for cuisine, culinary writing and culinary education in the United States. Although Chris had at the time only just dipped his toes into the restaurant business, that did not affect his work. In 2010 he continued on to earn the Ultimate Chef Competition title, and in 2011 was once again nominated for Best Chef of the Pacific. To say Chris knows what he’s doing would be an understatement.
A Kitchenette first-timer, I didn’t know what to try first, but after asking around it was confirmed the ultimate dining experience would include a bite of at least three favorite dishes: the pastrami reuben, which includes braised red cabbage, house russian dressing, dijon and swiss cheese; the almond croissant french toast which includes strawberry jam, cream cheese and honey whipped cream; and the pork posole verde which includes linguica, avocado, cabbage, feta cheese, jalapeno and a lightly crisped boiled egg.
Each dish was, literally and figuratively, a mouthful, in the absolute best way possible. Every single bite dripped with a savory goodness that, while powerful, was not overbearing. Plates presented not only picturesque aesthetics, but equally rich and mouth-watering flavors.
While the food is of course vital, mood and environment play just as big a role in an eatery’s success, Michael said.
“I am a strong believer that a restaurant’s food is only as good as its service,” he said. “We take pride in this area, but also our support, too.”
Kitchenette is open daily from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, call 400-1006 or visit www.kitchenettetempleton.com.