Was rotisserie chicken a thing at restaurants years ago? I don’t remember eating a lot of rotisserie chicken when I was younger. Maybe I did, but it sure didn’t make an impression as a memorable food.

You may feel the same way, or think that rotisserie chicken is those foil bags in the hot deli section of the grocery store.

We thought the same thing. But hang on. Because your perception of rotisserie chicken is about to explode into a new realm of deliciousness.

Not Your Everyday Chicken

It all changed when we found The Hatch Rotisserie and Bar in downtown Paso Robles last year. This cozy and fairly small restaurant, just north of the town square, is a popular place, and many times there’s a steady stream of people waiting to be seated. With a high ceiling, wooden floors, and an exposed brick wall, the interior is an inviting blend of rustic and urban.

Just beyond the well-stocked bar (we’ll get to that in a minute), which is fronted by zig-zag seating to encourage conversations between diners, is where the magic happens.

The small open kitchen and the one-ton rotisserie.

Even when you’re a block away, you can smell the delicious aromas coming from the open kitchen. On a recent trip during a rainy evening (yes, it does rain in California), the smells were even more striking, like a warm inviting contrast to the chill and mist outside. As we got closer and pulled open the door, the smell welcomed us in like an old friend.

There it was, waiting for us.

The famous Rotisserie Chicken at The Hatch.

While The Hatch has set specials on other days of the week, the rotisserie chicken is always on the menu. There’d probably be a protest throughout SLO county if it wasn’t. It’s reasonably priced, too.

It is delectable, plain and simple. Grilled on the rotisserie that you see in action in the open kitchen past the bar, you can catch these birds being grilled up just about any time you walk into the restaurant.

The skin is crispy and full of flavor, and the meat comes easily off the bone. (It’s ok—pick up that drumstick. We won’t judge you.) It comes with some grilled onions that are tender yet charred and crunchy. The perfect side to allow the chicken to shine through.

One of the best parts of this meal is the dipping sauces. The first one is creamy buttermilk sauce, which is not too thick and has some nice spices to balance it out.

The second one, and my FAVORITE, is the Sriracha sauce. This is amazing. And it’s perfect for dipping into with the tender chunks of chicken. Not sure why this is so delicious, but trust us. It’s one of those tastes and experiences you need to try for yourself. Wow.

You can even buy the Sriracha sauce to take home, but we have not tried that yet (hmm, something to try next time). Birthday presents, anyone?

The meals are sized just right, leaving room for a couple of the “To Share” menu items,

Tip: We recommend the crisp potatoes or grilled Brussels sprouts. Both pair well with the chicken.

The rotisserie chicken is a grand gateway meal into some of the other specials during the week. One is local Tablas Creek lamb on Thursdays.

During our last visit, we tried the Shepherd’s Pie made with Tablas Creek lamb. We enjoyed it and are making plans to come try some of the other specials on different nights. (But we have to warn you that it’s hard to pull yourself away from that chicken. You’ll remember it, and crave it, long after the meal’s over.)

Mixing It Up at the Bar

Food is not the only thing that The Hatch does well. There is a full bar, and you can sit and have a drink, have a bite to eat, and watch the mixologists do their thing. They’re both talented and personable, eager to suggest something you’ll like based on your tastes or mood. They haven’t steered us wrong yet.

As soon you as see their mixed drink menu, as well as their very large selection of whiskies and hard-to-find spirits, you can see that they take their job seriously and have a lot of options for connoisseurs and newbies to the cocktail world alike.

Their Old Fashioned is just right and a perfect sidekick to the rotisserie chicken. They also have local Bristol’s Hard Cider on tap, as well as a good selection of local wines.

Fly The Coop and Get to The Hatch

The Hatch comes up in conversation a lot with locals and visitors looking for a great place in Paso Robles, and we recommend you give it a try.

Don’t wing it and be sure to call ahead as this place gets very busy. Our tip is to try for an early dinner. But don’t be dismayed. A lot of times you can get a spot reserved if you call before you arrive.

Whether it’s The Hatch signature scrumptious chicken (dipped in Sriracha sauce), a mixed drink, or trying one of their other menu items, there are lots of options to try here when you’re in downtown Paso Robles.