Buellton, California, Is More Than Pea Soup

By Boston Public Library — Andersen’s restaurant, Buellton, California, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30720536

I remember several long road trips decades ago between Southern California and Carmel Valley where one of the only things one saw to break the monotony were the billboards advertising Andersen’s split pea soup. They grabbed one’s attention with their huge, fat chef poised with raised mallet, ready to split a pea.

We never stopped to eat there, since we weren’t really pea soup fans. But back in the 1960’s and 1970’s there weren’t a lot of choices if you wanted to stop in Buellton to eat. We always preferred to wait and eat at the now long gone Olive Tree Inn Coffee Shop on Olive Street in San Luis Obispo. Many restaurants have come and gone in that space since then.

But I digress. Buellton has come a long way since those days. First came the lodging places, the fast food restaurants, and the movie theater. In the past few years they have been joined by a shopping center anchored by an Albertson’s and a CVS store. As we passed through this August, we saw crape myrtle trees in bloom there, adding a touch of beauty to this ordinary strip mall. We did stop once at the relatively new Carl’s Jr.when we were very hungry, but the main reason we visit Buellton is to buy gasoline on our way to somewhere else.

We don’t often go to Carmel Valley now. Instead we go from Paso Robles to Ventura County along Highway 101. That uses lots of gasoline. We either fill our tank at Costco in San Luis Obispo if it’s near empty when we leave home, or we hold out until we get to Buellton to Tom’s Gas. It’s on Highway 246 that you would take to go to Solvang, just east of the 101 Freeway, in front of the Albertson’s center. They have the best gas price of anywhere we saw between Paso Robles and the Seaward exit in Ventura. They beat Costco’s price by a few cents. To get there, we passed three other stations on 246 right by 101 that were also more expensive. So if you travel the 101 Freeway in this area, don’t forget about Tom’s Gas. And if you’re hungry there’s always pea soup not far away, if you don’t want fast food.

For more stories of California places with lots of photos, visit All Around California: Highlighting the Golden State.

B. Radisavljevic, Copyright 2014, All Rights Reserved