Ruddell’s Smokehouse sits a stone’s throw away from the Pacific Ocean in the quaint beach town of Cayucos, California. You won’t have any problem finding it. Just follow the line that snakes out the door at all hours of the day, throughout the entire week. It is popular among locals and visitors for good reason. Innovative twists on smoked fish and meat leave customers craving more.
Ordering is a simple process. First, you decide on your smoked fish, seafood, or meat: albacore, salmon, ahi, shrimp, chicken, pork loin, or black bean patty. Once that is decided, choose to have it as a taco or as a sandwich (or a salad).
We like the Smoked Shrimp Taco. Juicy, smoky, sweet bites of the seafood are made smoky and sweet and then they get tucked into a flour tortilla with the restaurant’s signature topping, which is unlike any other taco topping: cumin brown mustard aioli, then a mix of carrots, apple, celery, green onions, and lettuce. A solid second-choice taco is Smoked Ahi. with flakes of tender tuna throughout.
Sandwiches are dressed in the same way, but in a roll. While the Smoked Albacore Sandwich and the Smoked Chicken Sandwich are great, neither should you ignore the Smoked Black Bean Sandwich. It redefines the tasty potential of a vegetarian option.
Do add a squeeze of Cayucos Hot Sauce to your meal. Ruddell’s sells it inside by the bottle, making it easy to take some home.
Ruddell’s is a small space. Once you make your way through the line and into the tiny deli, you’ll place your order at the counter. If you are lucky, you can grab one of the few tables out on the sidewalk. If not, walk your order to the beach and eat by the water.
Note: If you are getting an order to go and plan to drive before eating it, have the salad and sauce put on the side to be freshly applied just before eating. The staff are happy to do it, which brings up another great thing about this place: incredibly friendly service and warm hospitality.