Restaurant News & Reviews

This popular SLO BBQ joint now has a second location open for business

After seven months of tenant improvements — and weeks of anticipation from nearby workers hankering for a new lunch option — Old San Luis BBQ has opened its second location in the Marigold Center.

Business owner Matt Pearce first opened a “hole in the wall” barbecue joint in SLO in 2012, which is now a significantly expanded operation in the heart of downtown along San Luis Obispo Creek on Higuera Street.

But the business has outgrown even that spot, and the new location provides more kitchen space for catering and offers locals a welcome option outside of downtown, Pearce said.

Old San Luis BBQ held its “soft opening” in mid-August, he said.

The new Old San Luis BBQ location in the Marigold center in SLO. Nick Wilson

The restaurant, known for its Santa Maria-style barbecue, is still seeking to hire for 10 positions, and some equipment such as its beer and wine taps and kitchen infrastructure are still getting installed.

The business is open for service from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, and its downtown location will continue to operate in full swing.

“We had MindBody employees waiting outside the door at Marigold on the first day of business (Aug. 11),” Pearce said. “We asked them how they knew we were open, and they said they’d been coming by every day to check.”

Pearce said the new location will serve a workforce that includes hundreds of employees from MindBody and the nearby Edna Valley Office Building complex, airport area workers and travelers, and residents on the city’s south end.

New development projects coming in such as Avila Ranch, eventually adding 720 homes, will also provide a customer base.

He said the new location has 75 indoor and outdoor seats and 33 self-serve taps that include beer, cider and wine — some of which will be installed within the next couple of weeks.

Pearce said the new location will have a similar menu with chicken, pulled pork and linguica sandwiches, among other items. But it also will be adding new items such a pork spare ribs and tacos.

Pearce said the business did limited marketing to announce its soft opening to best prepare for customers as it adds new staff and installs its needed equipment. Its monthly rent at the new space is $10,000, Pearce said.

Construction delays have added to business expenses, along with the rent pricing, and Pearce said he has been eager to open.

“It’s a good place for us to be,” Pearce said. “There are some great established communities nearby, and we look forward to serving people there.”

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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.