Restaurant News & Reviews

Old San Luis BBQ is opening a new spot in SLO — and it’s looking for workers

New taproom at Old San Luis BBQ offers 46 self-serve taps

Old San Luis BBQ Co. in downtown San Luis Obispo, California, has expanded to include a new taproom with 46 taps of self-serve beer.
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Old San Luis BBQ Co. in downtown San Luis Obispo, California, has expanded to include a new taproom with 46 taps of self-serve beer.

Old San Luis BBQ is now hiring for about 15 to 20 new positions as it prepares to open a second San Luis Obispo location in May, according to its owner.

The restaurant, which currently operates its sole location downtown at 670 Higuera St., is renovating commercial space at 3870 Broad St., in the Marigold Shopping Center next to Michael’s Crafts Store.

“We’ve started the process already, and we’ve already hired a couple of people to fill positions,” owner Matt Pearce said. “We’re looking for cashiers, managers, cooks. Some people will move from the downtown to the new site, but overall we’ll have to fill about 15 to 20 jobs to serve both of our locations.”

Pearce, a Cal Poly graduate who has owned the business for six-and-a-half years, encourages applicants to drop off a resume and cover letter in person to the downtown location or send the information to

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Tri-Tip Sandwich, Dining out Old San Luis BBQ on Higuera Street. 10-4-2012 David Middlecamp David Middlecamp

Pearce opened the barbecue restaurant in 2012 and said an optimistic timeline for the new spot is late April, but a likely start date would be in May. The new business will add tacos and spare ribs to the menu.

The two restaurants are roughly the same size at about 3,000 square feet, Pearce said, but the new location will offer more room for kitchen space to help prepare food and run the catering operation.

While the downtown SLO location offers later hours (staying open until 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and until 10 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays), the new Broad Street restaurant will likely be open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

That’s because the downtown site serves a late-night crowd, including many students, and the customer traffic around Marigold tends to slow down around 8 p.m., Pearce said.

But Pearce said he likes the Marigold location, adding the customer base would include residents of the new nearby housing going in, such as the Righetti Ranch homes.

The restaurant could also draw customers from nearby companies such as Mindbody and Sesloc Federal Credit Union — as well as some student tenants in the area.

Old San Luis BBQ also will serve food concessions at San Luis Blues baseball games this year, and Pearce hopes to have the new location up and running by the time games start in late May.

The idea of the business was to sell authentic barbecue, including Santa Maria style, to locals at an affordable price.

“I came to Cal Poly in 2001 as a student,” Pearce said. “Six or so years after moving here, I first tried Santa Maria BBQ. Especially students and others who don’t want to spend too much might otherwise not get to try what we offer. I wanted something that’s accessible and representative of Santa Maria-style BBQ.”

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Nick Wilson covers the city of San Luis Obispo and has been a reporter at The Tribune in San Luis Obispo since 2004. He also writes regularly about K-12 education, Cal Poly, Morro Bay and Los Osos. He is a graduate of UC Santa Barbara and UC Berkeley and is originally from Ojai.