In April 2013, The Grill Hut opened in a small strip mall at the northern end of Morro Bay. Just two short years later, this past April, the Scheer family was able to fire it up in a much larger and more central location on Quintana Road.
Formerly a chain restaurant, the new home of The Grill Hut is several times larger than the previous one in both space and scope.
“We went from 30 seats to 120, from lunch and dinner six days a week with eight items, to breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week with more than 100 items on our menu,” noted Lori Scheer. It’s far cry from the original Grill Hut concept — just a drive-through kiosk started by a family friend in their hometown of Bakersfield.
The kiosk eventually became a full-on, sit-down establishment, and although the Scheers had no previous experience in the industry, they approached their friend about bringing the concept to Morro Bay. He wholeheartedly agreed, and the family — Lori, husband Jason and their four kids — made the move to begin their new chapter as restaurant owners.
“We’ve had a lot of support from several people — here and in Bakersfield — who know what they’re doing,” admitted Jason Scheer, “but we’re also listening to our customers and we’re definitely family-owned and -operated.” Indeed, all but one of the Scheers works at the restaurant.
As for The Grill Hut’s menu, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the centerpiece is meat.
Customer favorites include anything made with the tender smoked tri-tip or slow-cooked pulled pork, and the chicken fried steak is a big hit as well. Patrons also appreciate the fact that the meats aren’t slathered in sauce in the kitchen; bottles of The Grill Hut’s housemade sauces are atop each table so you may put on as little or as much as you’d like.
Carnivores can further revel in everything from bone-in pork chops to petite lamb chops, from baby back ribs to rib-eye steaks, from chicken breasts to a chicken and tri-tip combo. Throw fresh Angus burgers and several sandwiches into the mix and you’ve got further options such as pastrami, hot link and a tri-tip French dip.
Most orders come with your choice of any two of 12 sides. Those include barbecue standards such as coleslaw, beans and potato salad, plus corn-on-the-cob, pasta and thick housemade smoked potato chips.
The sprawling breakfast menu (served until 4 p.m., the rest of the menu is all day) offers the usual eggs and meat combos, but certainly doesn’t stop there. Go for a Cowboy Benedict with tri-tip, Swedish pancakes topped with marionberries or a pork chili verde skillet served with toast or biscuits and gravy.
In sourcing ingredients for the kitchen, the Scheers look to Central Coast purveyors as much as possible. Produce comes from Santa Barbara’s Jordano’s and The Berry Man, fresh buns are delivered from Edna’s Bakery in San Luis Obispo, and the enticing lineup of pies come from A Deli and Pieman Pies in Cayucos.
“We’re trying to keep this as un-corporate as possible,” said Scheer. “We’ve been so well received and gotten such great support from local residents and business owners, and we’ve gotten really involved in the community. The way this has all fallen together is unreal.”
Katy Budge is a freelance writer from Atascadero. Contact her at email@example.com.
The Grill Hut
850 Quintana Road
Hours: Daily 7 a.m.-9 p.m., breakfast served until 4 p.m., lunch and dinner all day.
The scene: A friendly, family-owned and -operated restaurant with hearty portions at reasonable prices.
The cuisine: The meat-centric menu serves up sandwiches, salads, generous dinners and breakfasts and locally made pies; wine, bottled beer and 10 drafts available.
Expect to spend: Under $15, except for baby back and rib-eye dinners; weekday breakfast specials under $10; also happy hour and football specials.