Meet Your Neighborhood Restauranteur | Q&A with Steve Bland of SLO Provisions
Whether you’re looking for a picnic lunch, need to pick up a bottle of wine or are planning a five-course Thanksgiving dinner — SLO Provisions has you covered. Partners in life and business, Steve Bland and Dwyne Willis started SLO Pro just five years ago, though many locals can’t imagine the Mojo area without their Southern hospitality, farm fresh salads and don’t get us started on their rotisserie chicken… We sat down with Steve to learn how the restaurant got its start, what his favorite menu item is, and what the “intersection of rustic and refined” actually looks like.
First things first, what is SLO Provisions origin story?
My partner, Dwyne Willis, and I had been envisioning a business like SLO Provisions for a long time. We had both been in the hospitality industry before so had some ideas about the direction we needed to follow. We also did a lot of research about the concept to see what we wanted and how we could fit the needs of the community. Before we found our location and opened the business, we roadtripped around the country and visited businesses with similar concepts to see what they were doing. Then on October 6, 2015 we opened our doors.
How does SLO stack up to Southern hospitality?
SLO has a relaxed vibe that is reminiscent of the south. Southern culture and hospitality is very much based on food. If you go into someone’s home in the south you’ll almost immediately be offered something to eat. Food is a way to welcome people and to say, “I care about you.”
What is the restaurant’s approach to cuisine?
We are strong proponents of using fresh, local products. We like to keep things simple and not too fussy. We love going to the farmers’ market and seeing what is available.
Tell us about your rotisserie oven…
Our rotisserie was made in France and came across the ocean by ship and then across the country to get here. It’s a Rotisol brand and its most significant feature is that the cooking method allows the meat to constantly baste itself, sealing in the natural juices.
Favorite thing on the menu?
Of course, I like everything on the menu. But I would have to say that our sea salt chocolate chip cookie is about the best thing in the world.
Plans for the holidays at SLO Pro?
Oh yes! We will have foods at both Thanksgiving and Christmas that customers can take home and enjoy with their loved ones no matter how small or large their gathering will be this year. People can order from our Thanksgiving menu on our website now.
Biggest lesson learned or take away from the last several months?
Be flexible and act quickly.
One last question… In your words, why should our community support local?
When you support local businesses you are supporting your neighbors and your friends. Local business owners are the people who help our local organizations in good times and bad. We all benefit when local businesses succeed.