Restaurant News & Reviews

SLO’s Oasis Restaurant is expanding to Pismo Beach

Is it pronounced yEAR-O, gEAR-O or JY-R0?

Oasis owner Karim BenBrahim explains how to pronounce "gyro" as the Moroccan restaurant expands to Pismo Beach. He also explains that good cooking isn't about exotic spices but respecting the flavors.
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Oasis owner Karim BenBrahim explains how to pronounce "gyro" as the Moroccan restaurant expands to Pismo Beach. He also explains that good cooking isn't about exotic spices but respecting the flavors.

If you’ve strolled down Higuera Street in San Luis Obispo, you might’ve stopped for a bite at Oasis Restaurant.

Now you won’t have to be in SLO to get your Moroccan food fix.

Owners Karim and Chantale BenBrahim, who opened the SLO location nearly 20 years ago, will soon have another restaurant serving from-scratch dishes in Pismo Beach.

“It’s a dream that we had,” Karim BenBrahim said recently of the decision to expand, as he and his wife sat at a table in the new location. “It’s close to the freeway, has an ocean view, it’s a dream come true.”

Karim and Chantale BenBrahim said they hope to hold the restaurant’s grand opening in about a month.

Back in June, the BenBrahims drove to Pismo during the classic car show weekend when Chantale pointed out that the restaurant that once housed the Shell Cafe was for lease.

“Within a week, we signed the lease,” Chantale BenBrahim said. “It’s work, but it’s everything we’ve been looking for.”

The BenBrahims spent the summer and fall remodeling the restaurant, doing much of the work themselves while simultaneously running the San Luis Obispo restaurant.

“We love the restaurant business. I know it’s a hard business,” said Karim BenBrahim, who is originally from Fez, Morocco. “But the only way you overcome the hardness of the business is to do it from your heart and enjoy it.”

Much of the decor inside the Pismo Beach location comes from Morocco, from the lanterns placed throughout the space, to mosaic tables and pictures of the country.

There’s also a wall, complete with framed newspaper clippings and bordered by plaster shells original to the building, dedicated to the building’s history.

Chantale BenBrahim said they were going to leave the shells up because they couldn’t take them off the wall, but the idea for the history wall came after the historic Alex’s BBQ building was torn down. The building has been a restaurant for decades.

“It’s part of the town,” Chantale BenBrahim, a South County native, said.

Once the weather warms up, the couple hope to install planters on the outside walls. The restaurant is painted blue, modeled after Chefchaouen, the Blue City of Morocco.

“On the outside is the light blue and dark blue, which represents the sky and the water,” Karim BenBrahim said of the exterior paint on the restaurant. “And then inside is this olive color, which is when you dive into the water, it’s like that color.”

The new location has everything the BenBrahims wanted: It’s close to Highway 101, has parking and an outdoor patio, and it’s spacious; the new location is 5,500 square feet including the patio. There’s even a separate space inside the restaurant that’s big enough for private parties.

“We have a lot of families that come in, a lot of travelers because a lot of our customers are traveling from Los Angeles to San Francisco,” Chantale BenBrahim said. “We get families of eight to 12 people, and the restaurant in SLO gets full very quick. It’s trying to find a place that would accommodate those large families that come in, and this place has that.”

The BenBrahims declined to say how much they invested in the expansion.

The Pismo Beach location will have the same menu as the San Luis Obispo restaurant, Karim BenBrahim said. However, the BenBrahims said they recently pared down the menu to offer more specials. They also plan to change the menu seasonally.

For now, both restaurants only serve dinner and are open 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., but that will soon change at the Pismo Beach location.

The BenBrahims said they hope to start serving lunch in the spring, and by Memorial Day weekend, they want to open for breakfast as well.

The BenBrahims are hiring for the new location, and anyone interested can go to Oasis’ website.

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Gabby Ferreira is a breaking news and general assignment reporter at The Tribune in San Luis Obispo. A native of Houston, Texas, she was a reporter in Tucson, Arizona; Indianapolis, Indiana; and Palm Springs, California, before moving to San Luis Obispo County in 2016.
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