A take-out restaurant featuring Santa Maria-style barbecue is coming to San Luis Obispo.
Matt Pearce, owner of Old San Luis BBQ Co. catering, is opening his first eatery at 670 Higuera St. next to West End Espresso in the space formerly occupied by Pillow Pets.
It’s set to open in early February and is expected to employ 12 to 15 people.
The menu will consist of barbecue sandwiches, salads, french fries, milk shakes, as well as to-go family meals of whole tri-tip sandwiches, beans and cornbread. Chicken and linguica — Portuguese sausage — will also be available.
Pearce said he wanted to bring this type of restaurant to San Luis Obispo because it’s “something we don’t really have downtown right now in the traditional sense of Santa Maria-style barbecue,” he said.
Santa Maria-style barbecue was born, he said, out of the cowboy tradition of cooking tri-tip over a red oak fire.
Pearce has gathered recipes from friends in the area who were ranchers in the 1940s and 1950s.
He hopes to attract customers looking for a quick bite to eat for lunch and dinner. The eatery will be open from 10 or 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Monday.
He eventually hopes to be open seven days a week and plans to offer breakfast in about eight to 10 months.
Pearce said he’s excited to turn what had been his weekend hobby into a brick-and-mortar business.
He came to San Luis Obispo a decade ago as a Cal Poly student, graduating with a degree in civil engineering and landing a job at Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant. He recently won two awards at the company’s barbecue competition.