PEA SOUP ANDERSEN’S CLOSES IN BUELLTON

This just in from reader Kent: “Pea Soup Andersen’s in Buellton is closed. I heard from multiple sources that the restaurant is closed but am not sure about the hotel. I also heard a rumor that it will be torn down and stores and condos will be built there. The end of an icon.” I called the restaurant’s sister location in Santa Nella and they confirmed the closure after 100 years in business. They said that the property was sold and will be redeveloped and that an all-new Pea Soup Andersen’s will open in the future.

The famed California restaurant was founded in 1924 by  Juliette and Anton Andersen, immigrants from Denmark and France, respectively. They settled in the Solvang area, today still known for its Danish influence, and opened Andersen’s Electrical Cafe for travelers between San Francisco and Los Angeles. The most popular dish was Juliette’s French recipe for split pea soup. It quickly became their hallmark.

In 1928 the Andersens added a hotel and dining room to the cafe on their property. These changes shifted the focus of Pea Soup Andersen’s from being just a restaurant to a roadside attraction. With Buellton located along Highway 101, it made Pea Soup Andersen’s a convenient stop for travelers heading between Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay.

The first of the famed roadside billboards for the eatery, featuring cartoon chefs Hap-Pea and Pea-Wee, went up in the 1930s. The ones near Buellton are considered historical landmarks and cannot be changed.

The restaurant changed hands numerous times and was most recently owned by Milt Guggia Jr., whose father, a restaurateur, purchased both Andersen’s locations in 1999. The building sits on a 3.36-acre lot at 376 Avenue of the Flags. The restaurant was put up for sale in 2021 though the adjacent Pea Soup Andersen’s Inn was not included in the offering.


Photos by The Restaurant Guy

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69 Responses to PEA SOUP ANDERSEN’S CLOSES IN BUELLTON

  1. Maureen McFadden says:

    Truly an icon will be lost.

  2. cj says:

    I doubt they’re really going to open another location.

  3. 805bm says:

    Just remarked to my wife a few weeks ago, that the restaurant was going to turn 100 years in 2024. Can’t wait to see if the city does anything around that. Guess not anymore.

  4. George says:

    This is definitely sad news. We just went over the Christmas vacation to eat and loved it as always. The soup, sandwiches and pastries were delicious.

  5. Paula Stewart and Paul Janson says:

    We have been going to Solvang, Santa Inez and Pea Soup Anderson’s since we were about 6 years old. We are in our 60’s now; in fact we just got back from a 10-day stay at the Pea Soup Anderson’s hotel. Both are like our 2nd home, and we visit A LOT because we love the restaurant, hotel, and the entire area.
    We will miss the restaurant, but we will look forward to the opening of the new one. We have ALWAYS had Excellent service, friendly servers, and good food. Thank you for all the wonderful memories. We will miss going there, and we’ll miss that ORIGINAL building!!
    Paula and Paul
    Porter Ranch, California

  6. Linda Caligari says:

    So glad that our family got to eat there twice in December 2023!
    Never thought it would be our last at this amazing and historic restaurant. We are looking forward to dining in the new Anderson’s once it opens!

  7. Charlotte says:

    No I loved that place

  8. Leanne Pearson says:

    We were just in Beullton for the New year holiday. We had Anderson’s pea soup twice during our 4 day trip. I understand change but to see an icon such as the nostalgic Anderson’s Pea Soup go by the wayside is sad.

  9. Kathy Sea says:

    A part of my childhood goes with it. Dad was assigned to work at Vandenberg early in its ICBM era and we stayed behind in LA.. He stayed at the Bumblebee motel there in Buellton. It took him three hours to to get down to our house in the valley on the weekends. Of Course we kids loved to come up there because we loved to go to pea soup Anderson‘s. The most entertaining tchotchke experience. I had the thought they set a style that a lot of restaurants in the 60s and 70s followed. Even to this day. Lots of nostalgic toys and silly gizmos jammed packed on shelves, walls ceilings.I loved sitting up at the counter with my feet dangling eating that big bowl of soup loaded with crackers usually. Thanks for the memories.

  10. Matt says:

    Just checked with the hotel and they’re owned separately and are open for guests. Which by the way, great hotel, good rates, clean, pool, jacuzzi, putting greens, cornhole, fire pits, rooms open to the center court, and of course the staff is friendly and polite! I stay here regularly.

  11. maria says:

    Pea Soup Anderson in Buellton was an annual stop over on our way from SF to LA to visit friends when our children were young. We spend the night at the adjacent hotel. Kids would swim and an afternoon trip to Solvang was sometimes included as well. Haven’t been there in years as the kids got older we could do the trip without a stop over. We never ate at the other location. Sign of the times. Hopefully a new Pea Anderson’s soup will reopen with the redevelopment of the property.

  12. Scott C says:

    I had the Traveler’s Special for $.99.
    It was all the pea soup you could eat plus choice of drink which included a chocolate shake! Made in a mixer which you also got to finish off the rest in the silver mixing container.

  13. Jody Reed says:

    Very sad such a historic place.

  14. E. Rubio says:

    I was there last week while driving to Temecula from San Francisco. I went to the side door only to see a sign that said it was closed. A new experience coming. I was looking forward to the Travelers Special. Smiles. Was a little sad, but happy I got to share this Gem with the people I love. Though the place wasn’t what it was in my 20’s… the food and service was still great.

    I do hope the new experience and renovation will bring more people back in, to experience such a great soup. Filled with love and warmth.

  15. Paulette Miller says:

    The best priced restaurant around. Of course that will change. The building should be saved as a historical landmark, but nothing old is sacred in California.

    • Nora Nicholson says:

      Since I-5 opened we’ve been stopping at the Santa Nella Pea Soup Anderson’s for many years. I’m sorry to say it hasn’t been maintained as well as the Buellton store. I wonder if it will be closed also. The restaurant still served great food.

  16. Pretty N Pink says:

    I went there often in the 70’s and 80’s. I lived only a couple blocks away. I moved to Chicago and then on to Florida later. I finally got back to Buellton in 2020. It was run down of course, but the soup, sandwiches and pastries were still the way I remember them. I hope they will reopen another restaurant someday. I will definitely come back again when they do.

  17. Lara and Chris Beilby says:

    I have eaten at Pea Soup Andersen’s both locations one time each. My husband ate at them more than once when he was younger and visiting his grandparents mostly the Santa Nella location.

    Save Pea Soup Andersen’s!!!

  18. Ms Traveler says:

    I thought it was closing for renovations?Is that not the case?

  19. Sonia Jimenez says:

    Sad to see this piece of history go. So many of my family members worked there over the years. Buellton will not be same without it.

  20. Suzie says:

    We always ate here a few times when we stayed in Solvang. Loved the gift shop, too. Sad to lose such a piece of history. It will be missed.

  21. Suzie says:

    Get rid of Newsom. It’s no wonder they couldn’t survive w/ the stupid lockdowns. So many establishments never “bounced” back.

  22. Lori Roberts says:

    My parents and I stopped by there several times during our trips up north to visit friends and relatives. I will sure miss this place and I hope to stop by there in the future when it reopens again. I might add that we were in an RV and had to park in the very back and walk up the hill to get to the restaurant.

  23. Herbie Verstinx says:

    Sad news as this is my stop as I travel the state on my business trips. I would get the traveler’s special and be stuffed with soup, pumpernickel and a shake. Will be missed as I’ve come here and stopped here my entire life. Sad I won’t get to stop just for one last bowl.

  24. Dianne L says:

    Another landmark gone. What a shame. But life moves on and the owners believe knocking down History for a Shopping Mall is going to be better. Just like all Strip Malls on the route. No individual thinking, just follow the crowd. Sorry..

  25. Mary says:

    Never went to that one, only Carlsbad and always Santa Nella on the I-5 since I lived in the Bay Area and it was the first of our planned stops on the trip. Pretty sure that one is safe unless you want luxury condos across the street from a truck stop and just a short hop to a feed lot. I think they will build another in the Buellton area, there may have been problems with the building.

  26. Pingback: California’s famous Pea Soup Andersen’s quietly closes in Buellton — for a while or for good? – News Tabe1

  27. Donna says:

    Very sad. One of our favorite restaurants, especially the Traveler’s Special, the Monte Cristo, and the fried chicken dinner. A local icon which will be missed.

  28. Pingback: California’s famous Pea Soup Andersen’s quietly closes in Buellton — for a while or for good? | Usa new news

  29. Frank says:

    We have stopped there for 45 years. Everyone is fleeing California. Loved their Chicken dinners and crackers and cheese.

  30. Jon Brown says:

    Sorry I missed one more time. My mother lived in Santa Maria and later her parents in San Louis Obispo. Went through Buelton twice a year or so. Many stops there. Will miss it.

  31. Becky says:

    Not sure if it was the old owner or the new ones responsible for this, but the staff only received 1-DAY notice that they were out of a job.

    I’m sure we’ll see another uber-hip and overpriced wine/food experience in its place, curated especially for the L.A. crowd. There is barely anything left for the locals.

  32. Jim says:

    My wife and I used to love going to Solvang and,of course, we would stop at Peace Soup Andersen’s. Sadly, she passed away last year. She would be sad to see the restaurant has closed.

  33. Paula G says:

    I grew up in the 60’s. We went twice a year going to San Francisco and back home to the desert. Well, I will visit the new one if it’s built. I will so miss this one! The best soup!

  34. Marilyn Murphy Diyco says:

    Oh no…I am so sorry to hear this. This restaurant has been an institution forever. My aunt went to school with the Anderson’s and was privy to the recipe. She gave it to me and my fun was making it at home as it was just the same taste as what the restaurant had to offer.

  35. Hefe says:

    It will be challenging to reopen this concept. Maybe a modernized take.

  36. Jami says:

    Sad to see it go. Being a native to the central coast the hwy 101 signs are iconic. As a kid when we traveled always knew we were getting close to home when we saw those Hap Pea / Pee Wee signs. Many fond memories there over 60 plus years! My brother had his wedding reception at the Pea. Sigh… hard to see it go.

  37. -J. says:

    Jim Morrison said it best: “Money beats soul every time…”

    Adieu, Andersen’s, adieu

  38. Pingback: Split Pea Andersen in Buellton closes for redevelopment | TodayHeadline

  39. Kenny says:

    It’s very disappointing to learn of this closure. I’ve been to this location several times during weekend getaways. We always loved stopping there. A couple of times with my parents when I was a kid, then stopped there with my own kids, and once with just the wife. Got some nice photos and great memories. About two weeks ago I had actually been talking to the wife about taking a trip up that way and we spoke about stopping at Andersen’s.

  40. Cecilia says:

    Stopped there many times. My parents loved it.
    They have passed, and now so has the restaurant. I as a child didn’t like the pea soup, but I regret that now. Just like cranberries at thanksgiving.
    Sounds like a lot of people are interested in going to the new one, but I won’t be there.

  41. Cecilia says:

    Stopped there many times. My parents loved it.
    They have passed, and now so has the restaurant. I as a child didn’t like the pea soup, but I regret that now. Just like cranberries at thanksgiving.
    I wish it would have been advertised they were closing. I would have stopped one more time.
    Sounds like a lot of people are interested in going to the new one, but I won’t be there.

  42. Barbara Planovsky says:

    No and it my favorite soup and I have there and few years when there about 10 time. It is very good food. Going miss this place restaurant.

    Thank you Barbara Planovsky

  43. Sad Sally says:

    My Niece got married in March and all the family stayed at the Motel. Had dinner in the Pea the next day. Loved the food, staff were pleasant, efficient n great service. We lived in Lompoc for years n don’t get up there often. My daughter n I just spent the weekend n were looking forward at having the soup n chicken. Also looking to see what is new in the gift shop. Was so disappointed they’re closed n a new remodeled will not be the same. If it turns out to be a wine bar, the wineries in the area are making big buck turningsad people into winos.

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  52. Jeff says:

    Forty or fifty years ago this would have been “tragic”. We stopped in a couple of years ago, and, other than some of the pastries we bought on the way out (and a couple of those weren’t great), I’m not sure I’d be able to claim the food was remotely as good as what you’d get from a can or a gas station vending machine.
    Needless to say, we haven’t been back, and now it’s moot, not to be missed.

  53. Keith says:

    Wow. I thought it would never go! Dad stopped there for our dinners coming back to LA from Paso Robles and my grandparents’ pecan farm in our family car every year from maybe 1954 to 1957. I still remember the corn bread with butter, and of course the soup we all had. I can still feel the scent, how is this possible, of that extraordinary, smooth pea soup, steamy hot in those shallow, wide, ornate porcelain bowls, just fabulous, almost overwhelming to a young nose.

  54. Candice Piper says:

    “New” generally means comfortable seating is replaced by metal legged furniture, terrible acoustics (think LOUD) and quick turn-over. I loath the new trends for restaurants. And I am heartbroken that Andresen’s has closed. Guess I’d better dash over to Santa Nella before they close

  55. Joan says:

    We grew up in the Bay Area having Andersen’s pea soup for Saturday lunch in the 60’s-70’s. Mom always added sliced hot dogs to the soup! After returning to CA in the early 2000’s, my husband and I would stop at the Santa Nella location on our annual holiday trek from SoCal to the Bay Area. I fondly remember visiting the Buellton restaurant as a child!

    Here is THE recipe that came with my bag of split peas purchased at Andersen’s:

    Pea Soup * Andersen’s * Original Recipe

    8 bowls of Andersen’s Famous Split Pea Soup:

    2 qts. soft water
    2 cups split peas
    1 branch of celery, coarsely chopped
    1 large carrot, chopped
    1 small onion, chopped
    1 clove garlic, minced
    1/4 tsp ground thyme
    1 pinch cayenne
    1 bay leaf – salt – pepper

    Boil hard for 20 minutes, then slowly until peas are tender.

    Strain through a fine sieve and reheat to boiling point.

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  57. Diesel D says:

    So I use to drive a truck for Micky Ds I always laid over at the best Western motel next-door to pie soup Anderson’s this place was great ! It was either a bowl of pea soup or a Rueben sandwich & fries. . Sometimes I’d order and 2nd Rueben à la cart and they would wrap it so that it would stay fresh and I would take it home from my wife. She loved them. I also used to stop at the pea soup Anderson‘s in Carlsbad.( I get around ! ) sadly it closed many years ago it’s weird I thought for sure the race track and the beaches would’ve kept it hoppin I really hope they do reopen refreshed I’m hungry for a Rueben and fries !

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