It’s already been a brutal year for businesses in San Luis Obispo County, with restaurants, shops, grocery stores and winery tasting rooms among those closing their doors.
Here’s a rundown of the local businesses that have closed so far in 2019. (This list does not include businesses that moved to new locations.)
Restaurants and food stores
The seafood-focused tapas restaurant closed indefinitely in August, about five months after it opened at 1122 Chorro St.
Josh and Jeremy Pemberton, who own Branzino in partnership with head chef Carlos Lool, had promised another high-profile project in downtown San Luis Obispo that never materialized, according to Tribune archives. Their company, Discovery SLO, called off plans in 2018 for an entertainment center that would have featured a bowling alley, restaurant and concert venue.
The grocery store at 490 Quintana Road closed in April.
Advertised as the longest continuously operated independent supermarket on the Central Coast, Cookie Crock started as a bakery in 1965. The locally owned and operated company still has a store open in Cambria.
Cookie Crook’s Arroyo Grande location closed in 2014. That spot is now occupied by discount grocery store Aldi.
Downtown Donut Factory, San Luis Obispo
Advertised as San Luis Obispo’s first do-it-yourself doughnut shop, Downtown Donut Factory closed after just six months.
The restaurant celebrated its grand opening at 847 Higuera St., the former location of Teaberry Frozen Yogurt Cafe, in September 2018. By mid-March, it had shuttered its doors.
El Matador Authentic Mexican Food, San Luis Obispo
The Mexican restaurant closed at 1032 Chorro St. in February after nearly two years in business.
It was replaced by another eatery that specializes in authentic Mexican flavors, San Luis Taqueria.
The European-inspired cheese shop closed its doors in March after more than five years in business.
Owners Sophie and Paul Doering made the decision to close the store at 1129 Garden St. “based on their desire to achieve a better work-life balance and to spend more time” with their families, according to a news release.
After 25 years of curries and noodle dishes, the popular Thai takeout spot closed at 1288 Second St. in June.
Fortunately for fans, sister restaurant Noi and Doi’s Second Street Cafe remains open down the street at 1325 Second St.
The health food restaurant has closed its doors at 201 Branch St., about two years after it opened.
Located in the historic Village of Arroyo Grande, Planted specialized in plant-based, vegan-friendly foods, including organic juices and smoothies and salads.
After 43 years of omelets, restaurant owners Jeff and Marlene Richardson decided to retire and sell their breakfast-and-lunch spot.
The property at 1326 Second St. was sold to Randy “Doobie” Coates, owner of San Luis Obispo sandwich shop High Street Deli. Coates plans to transform the Los Osos space into Randy’s Shack, a “fast-casual eatery” that serves burgers, sandwiches, fish tacos and more, he told The Tribune in June.
Skipper’s Family Restaurant, Cayucos
The venerable North Coast restaurant closed its doors in April after 39 years in business.
The space at 113 N. Ocean Ave. “will be reopening with a new owner soon,” according to a April 25 Facebook post.
The restaurant shuttered in May after serving one final Mother’s Day brunch.
Owners Michael and Kelly Stevens announced their plans to shutter the restaurant after 13 years at 2796 S. Halcyon Road in a May 9 Facebook post. “It is what’s best for our family,” they wrote.
The Stevens family also owns Palo Mesa Pizza, which has four locations in Arroyo Grande and San Luis Obispo.
After two years of tacos and cocktails, this Latin American-inspired restaurant closed its doors at 712 Marsh St.
Vegetable Butcher co-owner and executive chef Becky Windels told The Tribune that construction in the downtown area played a factor in that decision. Work on nearby Hotel Cerro, tentatively slated to open in August, “presented intense difficulties,” she said.
These restaurants also closed in 2019:
- Chubby Chandler’s Pizza, 1304 Railroad St., Paso Robles
- City Market, 609 Creston Road, Paso Robles
- Poke Chef, 950 Price St., Pismo Beach
- Rincon Oaxaqueno, 715 6th St., Paso Robles
- Scotty’s BBQ and Catering, 5940 El Camino Real, Atascadero
- Spring Seafood Bar & Grill, 1215 Spring St., Paso Robles
Bars, wineries and tasting rooms
Morovino Winery, Avila Beach
The winery’s Avila Beach tasting room closed in April.
Owners Andrea and David Bradford purchased Morovino Winery from founder Gerry Moro in 2007, moving the winery’s tasting room from Solvang to Avila Beach, according to Tribune archives.
The Bradfords closed the Morovino tasting room at 468 Front St. in Avila Beach “in order to focus on David’s health issues,” they wrote on the winery’s website in April. The move came after their landlord declined to renew their lease, they said.
After 15 years of producing wine on the Central Coast, Phantom Rivers Wine announced it was shutting its doors at the end of May.
In March, winemaker John Thunen told The Tribune that he and his other partners decided to retire the business, which had a tasting room at 211 E. Branch St. in the Village of Arroyo Grande, rather than sell it. “Our partners are anxious to say that it is time to move on,” he said then.
Spike’s Pub shuttered in May after 38 years of craft beers in downtown San Luis Obispo.
The American-style pub opened at 570 Higuera St. in 1981. Moving into Spike’s former Creamery Marketplace spot is Bear and the Wren, a restaurant that got its start as a food truck.
Other bars and tasting rooms that closed in 2019 include:
- Grizzly Republic Wines, 840 13th St., Suite F, Paso Robles
- Nipomo Wine Group, 211 East Branch St., Arroyo Grande
The furniture store left downtown San Luis Obispo in late February after its owners parted ways with plans to open separate stores of their own.
Business partners Kelli Thornton and Cherisse Sweeney had co-owned the Higuera Street furniture store at 766 Higuera St. for about five years.
Sweeney opened a new store at the Higuera location in April, Basalt Interiors. And Thornton will reopen Celadon House in a new, as-yet-unnamed location in San Luis Obispo; she recently opened a new Celadon House store in Santa Barbara.
After more than 50 years in business, the family-owned business announced in August that it was closing its doors.
Charles Shoes had sold and repaired shoes at 867 Higuera St. since 1966.
The clothing store chain closed its Downtown Centre location at 879 Higuera St. in January.
News of the closure came in December 2018, after Gap announced plans in shutter hundreds of under-performing stores nationwide.
Athleta, a women’s workout wear brand also owned and operated by The Gap company, is expected to open in the downtown San Luis Obispo spot by early August.
Femme Jules D., San Luis Obispo
About six months after opening a women-centered version of their popular men’s lifestyle boutique, Jules D., owners Jules and Jeff Durocher decided to close Femme Jules D at 691 Higuera St.
“For many years we have been constantly asked to start a female version and we’ve always responded with, ‘it’s not really our thing,’” the pair wrote in an April Facebook post. “Well, we tried it out and guess what? It really is not our thing.”
Jules D., which opened in 2012, remains open at 672 Higuera St. in San Luis Obispo.
The bike shop shut its doors at 1951 Santa Barbara Ave., Suite D, in July after eight years in business.
In addition to selling bicycles, Flanders Bicycle operated a full-service bike shop with mechanics on hand to provide repairs and build custom bikes and wheels. But financial pressures forced the business to close, owner Shawn Hafley said.
Payless ShoeSource confirmed in February that it was declaring bankruptcy and closing all 2,100 of its U.S. stores.
The closure included the two remaining Payless locations in San Luis Obispo County: one off Madonna Road in San Luis Obispo and the other on Niblick Road in Paso Robles.
A Payless ShoeSource store in Arroyo Grande closed in 2017, when the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The Five Cities Center spot is now a Blaze Pizza restaurant.
The last Hallmark store in San Luis Obispo County closed its doors in August.
The store, which had called the Madonna Plaza shopping center home for nearly 40 years, opened 281 Madonna Road, Suite A, in 1981.
After six years in business, the sports equipment and clothing store at 883 Marsh St. closed in August.
Husband-and-wife team Scott and Debbie Gower owned a similar sports store, Go For It Sports in Atascadero, that closed in 2018. They’ll continue to sell sports gear and nutrition products through their company, Go For It Sports, Inc., at race expos.
These local shops and stores also closed in 2019:
- Beary Cute Bears & Mice, 102 E. Branch St., Suite F, Arroyo Grande
- The Bling Boutique Too!, 620 Cypress St., Pismo Beach
- Couch Potato Paso, 1240 Spring St., Paso Robles
- English Rose Antiques and Collectibles, 5940 Entrada Ave., Atascadero
- La Petite Boutique, 317 Morro Bay Blvd., Morro Bay
- Never Not Knitting, 5990 Entrada Ave., Atascadero
- The Old Potting Bench, 134 Nelson St., Suite E, Arroyo Grande
- Pierside Boards & Bikes, 519 Cypress St., Pismo Beach
- Refinery, 840 13th St., Suite A, Paso Robles
- Tamed Wild Apothecary, 144 W. Branch St., Arroyo Grande
- Timeless Treasures Home Consignments, 4554 Broad St., Suite No. 220, San Luis Obispo
- Wheel Fun Rentals, 630 Cypress St., Pismo Beach
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Posies in Arroyo Grande had closed. The business changed ownership, and is still open.