I was really exited when Old Mission Thrift moved into this big building within walking distance of my house. It was great for a while, but all of the friendly people who used to work their have left.
Some of the new employees look at me like I'm a criminal if I find anything half-way decent that isn't marked with a special tag (for more expensive items). I bought a used WalMart belt there, and the cashier gave me a dirty look and ran to the back room to make sure it wasn't "supposed to have a tag." Seriously? I'm not going to try and rip-off a charity for a few dollars, and the belt probably cost the same new! Also, the employees they used to have remembered me, asked how my kids were, etc. It's just not as friendly now.
I should also mention they have much higher prices now. Sometimes I laugh when I donate a shirt, and they have priced it more than what I paid for it new!
Utopia's new owners decided to add some big, comfy chairs...which mean they now have fewer tables. So, even if there is not many people in there, there is no where to sit. The last time I went on a rainy day I was eating lunch with my mother and several people hovered around to get our table, some even asked us if we were leaving soon while we were still waiting for our food!
That said, the coffee is OK, the food is pretty good, and the baked goods are different from what most bakeries have but are worth a try. However, they could easily fit more tables inside if they tried, and I don't like to wait around for tables or be bothered to leave when I haven't eaten yet.
Big Sky is my favorite restaurant, it's one of the few places in SLO with really awesome vegetarian dishes.
If you have only gone for dinner you should try their breakfasts, almost all of them come with this really great ginger coffee cake.
The chocolate rasberry muffins are TOO yummy...seriously...this place is half-way between Weight Watchers and my house and I have done some serious diet damage there.
I took my daughters to Village Host for a slice one afternoon, and an older gentleman who worked there came out, asked us how our pizza was, and even gave them a little toy!
I told him I was a student, and he said that if I needed to get some studying done I could bring my daughters back and he would change one of the TVs from sports to cartoons for them. I haven't taken him up on it, but I've been back to Village Host a number of times...other employees have let me use coupons I forgot at home, given us extra stuff when my kids dropped things on the ground, and have been just generally nice people.
I went in with my kids to buy a couple things, the next time I went in, a couple weeks later, a staff member stopped me to give me the pacifier my daughter dropped the last time we were there! I can't believe they held on to that $1 pacifier and actually remembered me!
I have since been back to get nut-free snacks for my other daughter, who is allergic to peanuts. They have offered to order things she likes by the case for me, at a discount, and say hi to by name whenever we come in (which isn't that often, they just have awesome customer service!)