Blast 825’s parent company planning 7 new restaurants for SLO County

Plans are underway for the former McDonald’s location at 790 Foothill Blvd. in San Luis Obispo to become a Me-n-Ed’s On Tap restaurant.
Plans are underway for the former McDonald’s location at 790 Foothill Blvd. in San Luis Obispo to become a Me-n-Ed’s On Tap restaurant.

Plans are underway for seven restaurants to open around the county within the next couple of years by the parent company of Blast 825 Taproom in downtown San Luis Obispo.

Fresno-based Milano Restaurants International operates five main restaurant concepts: Me-n-Ed’s Pizzeria, Me-n-Ed’s Coney Island Grill, Me-n-Ed’s Victory Grill, Piazza Del Pane and Blast 825 Pizza.

The local Blast 825 Taproom, which opened at 773 Higuera St. in late January, was the company’s first store to incorporate the self-serve draft beer concept — 43 types of craft beer, sparkling wine and local wine are available on self-serve taps.

Following its success, the company said it planned to roll out the self-serve taproom concept at Blast 825 Pizzas nationwide.

The San Luis Obispo store sold more than 25,000 pizzas and about 100,000 pints of beer in its first quarter.

Business partners Dan Harper, operator of the local Blast 825 Taproom, and David Ferdinandi, of Milano Restaurants International, are part of a group taking the Blast 825 Taproom concept to other locations in California, including Me-n-Ed’s On Tap locations on the Central Coast.

The pair said they’re focusing on the local market because they view it as an ideal place to grow a new concept and get exposure.

It hasn’t been determined yet whether the new restaurants developed in the county will be company owned or franchises, but Harper and Ferdinandi said they’re likely to be the latter.

They declined to disclose financial information.

Letters of intent have been signed for two San Luis Obispo restaurant locations: the building that formerly housed retail boutique Coverings at 760 Higuera St., and the former McDonald’s location at 790 Foothill Blvd.

Harper and Ferdinandi declined to disclose what concepts would move into the former Coverings space, but they said it would be a higher-end concept serving entrees such as steak and fish with a full bar of craft spirits and craft beer.

The pair said the eatery would be more innovative and tailored to the San Luis Obispo market.

Harper and Ferdinandi aim to open the Higuera Street restaurant in nine months, setting the opening date around next March; the timing is largely dependent on working with the city for the permitting process.

After the restaurant opens, they said they plan to add a 3,000-square-foot deck out back.

The Foothill Boulevard location will be a Me-n-Ed’s On Tap restaurant, with more than 50 craft beers on self-serve taps and a new hamburger concept. The eatery is slated to open around next March, which is also dependent on the city’s permitting process.

The pair is in discussions about the remaining five locations. Two restaurants are expected to open off Tank Farm Road — they intend to open a restaurant of an undecided concept in the Long-Bonetti Ranch property off South Higuera Street around December 2017, and a Blast 825 Taproom near Tank Farm Road and Broad Street that doesn’t have a projected opening time frame yet.

Blast 825 Taprooms are planned for the Arroyo Grande Village and near City Park in downtown Paso Robles. The Arroyo Grande taproom is expected to open in 9 to 18 months, depending on the location, and the Paso Robles spot is slated to open in about 18 months.

In addition, a Me-n-Ed’s On Tap restaurant is planned for an area on Grand Avenue in Arroyo Grande, across from Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co. The restaurant will feature self-serve craft beer and is slated to open in 18 to 24 months.

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