My wife and I stayed in Ojai for two nights - we love our food so I was careful to scope out the restaurant scene before our visit, earmarking a few of the best-reviewed places for potential visits. The Ojai Beverage Company was on my list as it sounded like a quirky, fun place to visit as well as offering reputedly excellent food. We were certainly not disappointed!
The entrance to the OBC is on the south side of E Ojai Ave, just a few blocks from Libbey Park. The concept is a kind of dual purpose shop and dining area - you enter through the shop where there's a huge range of bottled beer and wine available, and then there's a dining area and bar towards the rear. The dining is informal, with simple wooden tables and chairs, with printed menus and a chalkboard with 20 guest beers on tap. Alright! The meals are very affordable too, so eating here won't break the bank.
The food is fairly simple but we found it to be excellent - we got two or three smallish dishes and shared them tapas style: truffle fries, foccacia bread with olives, tomatoes and feta, flatbread with asparagus, goat cheese, pepper and mushroom. We had a beer each and our server was very knowledgeable about the range on offer, helping us to choose drinks that went well with our food and that weren't too heavy or high percentage alcohol (there are drinks other than beer available for diners, by the way). In fact our server, a young man who seemed to be serving at the bar and running the checkout in the store area as well as waiting tables in the restaurant, was super friendly and a credit to the OBC - he was calm and helpful despite seemingly having three jobs to do!
There's a really nice atmosphere here with friendly locals mixing with tourists, and the quality of the food and drink on offer meant that this was one of the unexpected foodie highlights of our trip. We will definitely be back on our next visit to Ojai. Best lunch in town!
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