Restaurant News & Reviews

Old San Luis BBQ wants to expand across SLO County. This could be its 2nd spot

A sign in the window at the Marigold Shopping Center on Broad Street announces Old San Luis BBQ Co. will be coming into the space formerly occupied by The Dollar Store.
A sign in the window at the Marigold Shopping Center on Broad Street announces Old San Luis BBQ Co. will be coming into the space formerly occupied by The Dollar Store. kleslie@thetribunenews.com

Good news, tri-tip lovers: Old San Luis BBQ Co. might have a new location in San Luis Obispo by April next year.

The barbecue restaurant — which got its start selling local favorites like linguica and tri-tip sandwiches out of a walk-up window on Higuera Street — is in the works to establish a second location in the Marigold Shopping Center on Broad Street, near the Von’s grocery store at the site of an old Dollar Store.

And that’s just the first step.

“We’re excited to be pursuing opening in that location,” owner Matt Pearce said Wednesday, noting he’d ultimately like to open more locations around the Central Coast in the future.

To do that, they first need to overcome some space issues.

Even with the addition of its 1,000-square-foot taproom in October 2017, the original location downtown is too small for their current needs, Pearce said. On a busy Saturday, it’s difficult to balance cooking, serving customers and running the company’s catering business out of the 3,234-square-foot space, he said.

That’s where the Broad Street spot comes into play.

At 3,200 square feet, the Marigold location is roughly the same size as the downtown restaurant, but this one will feature a larger kitchen and a back door to make catering easier. It’ll also be home base for production of some of the restaurant’s necessities like barbecue sauces and batters, Pearce said, freeing up space at the downtown restaurant and making it easier to open more satellites around the coast.

“This commissary style will let us hopefully move into more small spaces like how we started with the one downtown,” Pearce said.

The new restaurant would feature many of the same menu items, plus some new ones like tacos and ribs, and would be able to sit about 75 people inside and on the outdoor patio. It would also feature a tap room with about 30 beers and wines, he said.

SL BBQ008
Old San Luis BBQ Co. opened a new taproom at the San Luis Obispo eatery on Higuera Street in 2017. Joe Johnston jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

The plan is far from finalized, however.

Pearce said he is still awaiting approval from the shopping center tenants to open the new spot (they have until Oct. 24 to make a decision). After that, he will also have to get the necessary permits from the city before they could start construction, he said.

If all goes as planned, the restaurant could open by April 1, 2019.

“Optimistically, we hope it’s all going to come together,” Pearce said.

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Kaytlyn Leslie: 805-781-7928, @kaytyleslie
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