Foster’s Freeze, a popular downtown San Luis Obispo fast-food eatery and soft-serve ice cream shop, will serve its final customers Wednesday.
News of the closure was greeted with some tears, but there were also plenty of smiles as loyal customers ordered their favorite items. Some Foster’s Freeze fans wrote well wishes and final farewells on the restaurant walls.
“I’m pretty bummed,” said Grover Beach resident Jesse Hupka, 22, who visited about once a week with his 3-year-old son, Cash, who loves the chocolate-dipped Oreo freeze. “It’s been here a long time. I remember coming here when I was a kid.”
The Marsh Street restaurant, where patrons could order at a walk-up window or eat inside, has been a fixture in San Luis Obispo for 65 years, said Lorraine Phillips, who has operated the Foster’s Freeze with her husband, Robert.
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The Phillipses owned the franchise along with Vivian and Dennis Adams. The Phillipses started running the restaurant for the Adams about 11 years ago when the Adams retired. The Adams Family Trust owns the building.
Phillips said the restaurant’s closure was planned and is the result of a mixed-use commercial and residential project proposed for the site.
The franchise is for sale, but so far, no potential buyers have been able to find “reasonable rent in downtown San Luis Obispo to reopen someplace else,” she said.
After learning of the closure, many customers have said they will miss Foster’s Freeze, Phillips said.
“People are all saying the same thing. Oh, my God, not Foster’s Freeze, too,” she said. “People say that, ‘My grandma used to bring me here on the first day and last day of school.’ ”
Monique and Emberly McGee, formerly of Arroyo Grande, paid Foster’s Freeze a visit after traveling up from Ventura for an appointment.
“We have one in Ventura, but this Foster’s is the best,” Monique said. “The food is always fresh, and the fish burger is phenomenal. And there’s always a friendly smile.”
That smile came from Lorraine Phillips, who will serve customers Wednesday until the eatery runs out of ice cream.
As for Phillips and her husband, they plan to retire, lay on the beach, travel for awhile and figure out where they’ll end up.
“It’s scary,” she said. “We’ve worked all of our lives.”