Restaurant News & Reviews

Panolivo owners to open Jaffa Café franchise in Paso Robles

Jaffa Café, which opened in San Luis Obispo 10 years ago and expanded into the village of Arroyo Grande earlier this year, is branching out again — this time to Paso Robles.

Owner Adnan Saleh said he’s franchising the Mediterranean café to Didier and Beatrice Cop, who own Panolivo Family Bistro. After minor remodeling that will close Panolivo from Jan. 1 to Jan. 7, both restaurants will open on the site Jan. 8.

There will be separate areas for each.

Panolivo, a French restaurant that has been operating at 14th and Park streets for 10 years, is mostly a sit-down restaurant with some carryout traffic, while Jaffa customers place their orders at a counter, then eat in or carry out.

There will be seating for 110 — about 30 for Jaffa, plus 10 spaces at the counter, and 70 for Panolivo, according to Didier Cop. Overflow customers at Jaffa will be able to use Panolivo tables.

Saleh had been looking for a location in Paso Robles, then met Cop. They’ve been discussing possibilities for the last year, Saleh said.

Cop added: “We thought that it would be a perfect match for us.”

Panolivo has a very large space and “so we felt the space could accommodate bigger traffic,” Cop said. “Then when we analyzed the marketplace in Paso Robles, we realized there was no Mediterranean food, and if we were going to do something different than Panolivo, Jaffa was a perfect choice.”

The menus that each restaurant is known for will remain the same, both men said.

While the owners declined to disclose their financial investment in the new venture, they said they’re adapting the kitchen, enabling them to share most of it but have their own crews. Jaffa is hiring six or seven people, Saleh said. The owners are also repainting the building so that one side is clearly identified as Jaffa, the other as Panolivo.

Both restaurants will be open seven days a week: Panolivo’s hours will be 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., while Jaffa's hours will be 10:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

The owners said business is going well at their respective operations. At Panolivo, sales are up 40 percent this year over last year, Cop said. In October, Saleh told The Tribune that sales have been brisk at both his San Luis Obispo and Arroyo Grande locations, with last summer one of the best he’s had.

Jaffa is also in the process of moving its San Luis Obispo restaurant to larger quarters at 1308 Monterey St. in the Mix at Monterey, next to Jin Modern Noodle House. Friday was the last day for Jaffa at 1212 Higuera St. Saleh’s goal is to open at the new SLO location in early January.