This Adorable California Town Will Pay You to Eat There All Month Long

It's truly a delicious deal.

This town will pay you to eat at local restaurants in January

Sundry Photography / Getty Images

If you’ve had San Luis Obispo, California on your must-visit list, this month seems like an excellent time to make it happen. In addition to its 250-year-old namesake Spanish mission, Highway 1’s screensaver-worthy scenery, and a long list of local wineries, San Luis Obispo is also offering visitors (and locals) the chance to earn money by eating out.

On January 2, the City of San Luis Obispo and the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce launched its Eat Local Bonus program, which rewards diners for visiting locally owned restaurants, cafes, breweries, and coffee shops. Anyone who spends $100 on food and beverages at those local spots can submit their receipts to receive a $25 gift card that can be redeemed at another local business. 

“Dining locally is a fun and easy way to inject money into our local economy,” Jim Dantona, the president and CEO of the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce, told the Tribune. “We’re proud to be partnering with the city yet again to help bolster our vibrant local culinary and beverage industry. With all the new options to explore, there’s never been a better time to try a new place for your morning coffee, nightcap, and everything in between.” 

Both permanent residents and temporary visitors are eligible for the Eat Local Bonus program, which runs through the end of January (or until “funds are exhausted”). Multiple receipts may be submitted to reach the $100 total, and individuals can collect up to three $25 gift cards before the promotion ends. (For the full rules of the promotion, check out the City of San Luis Obispo’s website.) 

To receive a gift card, diners must either take their receipts to the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center by 4 p.m. on January 31 or email them to Each $25 gift card must be collected in person at the Visitor Center by January 31. 

“January is typically one of the most challenging months for the restaurant industry, and we’re hoping to change that here in SLO,” San Luis Obispo city manager Derek Johnson said. “[T]he City of San Luis Obispo is proud to provide this direct economic stimulus to local restaurants and eateries to help them stay open and thrive.”

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