Featuring Surf & Turf at Nautical Cowboy

Welcome to the inaugural edition of entrée – a Colony Dining Experience! As we launch this new column, we could not think of a better place to dine than the Historical Carlton Hotel with the newest restaurant in town — Nautical Cowboy. We were thrilled to have two of the most famous Atascadero ladies in town, Barbie Butz and Maggie Vandergon, join us for dinner. And, boy, did we have a great time sharing great food with these two local dynamos!


Meagan Friber
Colony Magazine Writer
Nic Mattson
Colony Magazine Co-owner & Publisher
Hayley Mattson
Colony Magazine Co-owner & Publisher


Barbie Butz
Colony Days Volunteer & Atascadero
Community Supporter
Maggie Vandergon
Colony Days Founder &
Atascadero Community Supporter
Jason Main
Nautical Cowboy Executive Chef

Jason delivered a wide assortment of tasty starters to our table — Bruschetta, Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho, Ahi Wontons, and Chicken Satay Skewers.



Barbie’s Favorite: Bruschetta — toast points spread with house-made pesto, topped with tomato, garlic, onions marinated in balsamic vinegar, topped with parmesan cheese and a balsamic reduction. “This is excellent! I like the tasty combination of the pesto and balsamic, and the bread absorbs the flavors all the way through. Everything about this is pleasing to the taste buds.”
Meagan’s Favorite: Ahi Wontons — sushi-grade ahi tuna, seared with a five-spice and served with wonton chips and mango salsa. “I love ahi, and this is so fresh and flavorful. The wontons are light yet crisp and allow the flavor of the ahi to shine through. And the mango salsa is the perfect addition to this tasty appetizer.”
Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho

Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho

As we tasted our samples, our guests shared a bit about their favorite causes. “In addition to Colony Days, Pioneer Days and other community causes, I am proud to be involved with blood drives at the Elks Lodge,” Maggie said. “I started that 14 years ago; I lost a son, so I started these drives in memory of him.”
Barbie added, “My top causes are Coats for Kids, the Printery Foundation, Assistance League of SLO County, The Community Foundation SLO, The Women’s Legacy Fund and Colony Days. My parents were very involved so it’s in my genes. I think volunteering just satisfies something within and it’s a wonderful way to get to know people and help them.”
Next, we sampled the Seared Scallops, Shrimp Scampi, Chilean Sea Bass, Bacon-Wrapped Filet Mignon, and Wagyu New York
Strip Steak.
Nic’s Favorite: Chilean Sea Bass – a signature dish, the sea bass is seared, then baked in the oven and served with broccolini, wild rice, and a black bean-corn salsa. “This is a real hearty meal that is colorful and nice to eat; the presentation is  wonderful. The fish is very moist and has large flakes. The bed of rice complements, with broccoli and lemon, and spices give a nice kick. The salsa is fantastic and is a welcome addition.”
Hayley’s Favorite: Seared Scallops — day boat scallops from Santa Barbara, seared and then finished in the oven and topped with citrus caviar, blood orange buerre blanc, and served with wild rice and baby heirloom carrots with chives. “I like the seared crispness, they are very tender and juicy. I love the flavors and the rice is a nice addition. Everything is so fresh and tasty; I would definitely order this again.”
Maggie’s Favorite: Bacon-Wrapped Filet Mignon — with a house-made red wine demi-glace and served with Brussel sprouts and garlic mashed potatoes. “This was perfectly cooked, absolutely delicious and just wonderful. The bacon holds the juices in and gives it a bit of flavor. If you are cattle ranching people, you are very picky about your beef… and this was done well. I also really liked the Brussel sprouts.”
After trying all of the wonderful dishes, we were glad we saved a bit of room for dessert — house-made cheesecake with wild berry topping and triple layered chocolate cake.
Everyone’s Favorite: Both desserts earned rave reviews from our group! Our comments included, “This cheesecake is to die for!” “Topped with the berries, this cheesecake is fantastic! I am a huge fan!” “The chocolate cake is decadent” and “They are both absolutely fabulous! I am glad I saved room for dessert!”
Jason sources from local vendors including Di Raimondos’ Cheese, The Berry Man, and Back Porch Bakery, and prepares all sauces, dressings, soups, and desserts in-house. The fall menu will feature hearty comfort foods such as shepherd’s pie, seafood stew, chili, chicken noodle soup and bison meatloaf.
“I want locals and visitors to think of Nautical Cowboy as a place they can come in and enjoy a great meal any day of the week,” Jason said, “but also think of us when they want to dress up and celebrate a special
occasion or date night.”
“Many locals will continue to refer to this as The Carlton,” Maggie said. “Today, things have changed but I have to say this has truly been a nice dining experience and the ambiance here is great. Jason has a warm and outgoing personality and I can’t wait to come back!”
Our special thanks to Jason and his crew at Nautical Cowboy as well as Maggie and Barbie.
It’s folks like you that make Atascadero a great place to be!