Tin City is home to one square block of industrial makers
Built alongside the historic San Juan Bautista de Anza trail, this hot spot of breweries, wineries, and cider shops is the perfect place to chill out and explore the ever-evolving market
What started out as a place for local makers to merge and create has turned into one of the most successful, functional and unique places to experience in Templeton. Visitors to this hip wine country destination can relax, enjoy the lively atmosphere with a pint (or flight) in hand while mingling with people in the industry any day of the week.
Crowning this booming industrial park — which is home to about 30 businesses — are Barrelhouse Brewing Co. and Tin City Cider, surrounded by a wine trail in its own right, along with food, treat and spirit makers. “It’s hard to open a winery and tasting room on the established wine routes, with all of the restrictions and limitations. Starting out in Tin City, we never thought it would grow to how big it is now,” said Andrew Jones of Field Recordings.
Coming into Tin City, visitors can check out the old San Juan Bautista de Anza Trail, marked with a cross on an old white oak tree. To find it, just turn off Ramada Drive and onto Marquita Way. The majestic, tall white oak sits where the road could have gone, if not for the tree’s historical significance. Take a closer look and see an equal-armed cross carved into its bark sometime around 1775.
That cross symbol, which has been adopted as Barrelhouse Brewing Co.’s logo, honors the place where de Anza’s campsite stood in the late 1700s. Thirty migrant families ventured from Arizona and used the Tin City area as a stopping point on their way to establishing the first non-native settlement in San Francisco.
Along with a rich history, the food and offerings of this area are delicious and plentiful. In and around Tin City, you can find plenty of tasting rooms serving up creative blends. You’ll also come across delicacies like Negranti Creamery, which produces fresh, flavorful sheep’s milk ice cream. And for something more substantial, hungry visitors can stop in at Tin Canteen for wood-fired pizzas, pastas or their specialty roasted baby octopus. The signature dish is boiled, broiled and served with root vegetables. Tin Canteen serves as a great everyday bistro for travelers and locals, as well as a lunch hub and hangout for the many workers of the industrial buildings surrounding Tin City.
Six Test Kitchen, another up-and-coming restaurant in Tin City, was created by Chef Ricky Odbert from Arroyo Grande. Odbert started his career working in high-end establishments around the Bay Area, and wanted to bring his culinary world to the Central Coast. Odbert transformed his parent’s garage to a commercial kitchen before launching his successful new restaurant in December of 2018. Serving up 14 courses of cutting-edge cuisine paired with wine, this place provides a foodie experience like no other. The restaurant is attached to the barrel room of Field Recordings Winery.
Tin City has given young winemakers a great opportunity to start their own venture. “The space is being maximized, and we have great traffic through the neighborhood,” Jones said. “Everyone in Tin City was already a part of the local wine and hospitality industry. Some of the wineries were started by people making wine on the side working daily for larger local wine operations.”
Almost 300 years after that first campsite, Tin City is growing more than ever. The businesses at Tin City hope to form a nonprofit to help promote the area and create fundraisers to hold special events throughout the year. Eleven years into it, its natural expansion solidifies Tin City’s future as a Paso wine country destination.
Tin City is located on Limestone Way off the 101 between Templeton and Paso Robles. For more information about the 30 businesses, hours and phone numbers, visit www.tincitypaso.com.
– Cassandra Frey