This Pismo Beach restaurant has been vacant for 5 years — now it’s getting an update

Alex Bar-B-Q building reduced to rubble in Shell Beach

The historic Alex Bar-B-Q building in Shell Beach was suddenly demolished Tuesday, September 18, 2018, without the proper city permits.
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The historic Alex Bar-B-Q building in Shell Beach was suddenly demolished Tuesday, September 18, 2018, without the proper city permits.

Another aging Shell Beach restaurant is set to undergo a renovation soon.

The Pismo Beach Planning Commission approved an application Tuesday night to renovate the vacant Speedy Gourmet building at 1901 Shell Beach Road, upgrading the outside face of the building and adding outdoor seating space.

“I can’t tell you how many people come to me almost on a daily basis and ask me what’s going on with Speedy Gourmet,” Commissioner Stacy Inman said at Tuesday’s meeting. “People so want there to be something different and nice there. So I’m very appreciative of the owner bringing this forward.”

Speedy Gourmet was built in the 1960s by Harry and Kay Luis as a drive-through burger joint. The building has sat vacant since the business closed in 2013.

With the renovation — proposed by owner Sergio Marquez — the outside of the old building would get new stucco siding, decorative stonework and a raised parapet.

The building’s old drive-through will be converted to include about 375 square feet of outdoor seating space, with the overhang remodeled into a patio covering.

Taking care of business

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“You know, it’s going to be a definite improvement to the existing site,” MW Architects representative CJ Horstman said at Tuesday’s meeting. MW Architects is the design firm for the project.

“The site has been in a state of decay for several years now,” Horstman said. “We are happy to work with an applicant that actually wants to bring business back to this area.”

Which restaurant might fill that space once it is completed has not been decided, but commissioners Tuesday night said they think the renovation will help attract a potential tenant.

“I think we want to avoid what has happened with a couple of other developments along Shell Beach Road that haven’t been let yet,” Commissioner Kari Bhana said during Tuesday’s discussion. “I think that a more polished look is probably going to help get a good restaurant in there.“

The changes will supplement the city’s ongoing effort to fix up the Shell Beach Road area, including its plans to still pursue a new restaurant at the old Alex Bar-B-Q site after the building was suddenly demolished in September.

Take an aerial tour of the newly renovated Pismo Beach Pier before it opens to the public on Saturday for the Clam Festival. It closed in March 2017 as part of an $8.7 million overhaul of the aging structure.

Kaytlyn Leslie: 805-781-7928, @kaytyleslie
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