Business

New restaurant to open in former Marie Callender’s space in Pismo Beach

Willow Market, a restaurant and full-service bar, is slated to open in the former Marie Callender’s space in Pismo Beach.
Willow Market, a restaurant and full-service bar, is slated to open in the former Marie Callender’s space in Pismo Beach. The Tribune

Willow Market, a restaurant and full-service bar, is slated to open in Pismo Beach where Marie Callender’s Restaurant and Bakery used to be. It will be similar to the Willow location in Nipomo.

The 7,000-square-foot upstairs of the building at 2131 Price St. has sat empty since Marie Callender’s closed its doors in January 2015 after nearly 30 years in that location. The downstairs is being used as banquet and conference space for the adjacent SeaCrest OceanFront Hotel.

» Related: 15 SLO County businesses that closed in 2015

Willow Market is owned by local farmer Sonny Smith, who also owns Sun Coast Farms and Smith Packing.

The Pismo Beach eatery will be similar to the Nipomo location, but it will offer a full-service bar and a slightly more upscale dinner menu, said Head Chef Joe White, who operates the restaurants.

The Pismo Beach restaurant is slated to open in six to nine months after significant remodeling to open up the space, among other improvements, White said. He declined to disclose financial information.

Willow Market will have a high-end specialty market, a coffee bar and a deli that sells takeaway sandwiches, salads, cheeses and specialty meats, among other things, White said.

The bar area will seat about 70 to 80 people and will offer a large selection of local draft beers and wines, along with specialty cocktails. Its bar menu will feature small plates and upscale bar fare nightly. White anticipates the bar staying open until 11 p.m. weekdays, and 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

The dining area seats about 80 people inside and an additional 40 on the patio. Lunch and dinner will be served daily.

A casual coffee and light fare breakfast service will run Monday through Friday, and a “Champagne Brunch” will be available on Saturdays and Sundays.

The restaurant will also provide catering and room services to the guests of the SeaCrest OceanFront Hotel.

White anticipates hiring a staff of about 60 for the new restaurant — a mix of full- and part-time employees.

Richardson Properties/Christie’s International Real Estate brokered the lease for the new restaurant and represented both the landlord and the tenant in the transaction, according to a news release.

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