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Splash Café closes one of its San Luis Obispo restaurants

Splash Café has closed its doors in the Downtown Centre location near Barnes & Noble. Its other two locations, in upper San Luis Obispo and Pismo Beach, remain open.
Splash Café has closed its doors in the Downtown Centre location near Barnes & Noble. Its other two locations, in upper San Luis Obispo and Pismo Beach, remain open. jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

After five years in San Luis Obispo’s Downtown Centre, Splash Café is now closed.

The restaurant shuttered on Dec. 31 because of stagnant revenues and a new focus on marketing and distributing food products, said co-owner Joanne Currie.

Currie said the restaurant’s other two county locations — on Monterey Street in San Luis Obispo and Pomeroy Avenue in Pismo Beach — are “alive and well” and will remain open. Currie and her husband, Ross, first purchased Splash Café in Pismo Beach in 1991.

The owners decided not to renew a five-year lease at the end of the year at the Downtown Centre location at 893 Higuera St., near Barnes & Noble and Starbucks in the paseo.

“It’s a beautiful building, and we put a ton of money into the facility,” Currie said. “We were emotionally invested in the community itself, and we’ll miss the community and regular customers there. We’ll incorporate some of that menu into our uptown location, and we hope to see everyone there.”

Splash clam chowder
Splash Café is looking to expand its catering and product business. The company produces produces 40,000 gallons of clam chowder per year. Joe Johnston The Tribune

Currie said sales were satisfactory at the Downtown Centre site, which is also near the movie theater. But revenues didn’t grow during the course of Splash Cafe’s five-year run with significant nearby dining competition and steep commercial rent.

“This was a really challenging business decision,” Currie said. “We’re looking at focusing on viable growth opportunities. That spot was wonderful and fun and we loved being downtown. But it wasn’t a growth opportunity.”

Currie said that Splash Café will seek to expand its catering and product sales, saying that it has distributed its clam chowder to Costco stores throughout California, including the San Luis Obispo operation, for more than a decade. The company produces produces 40,000 gallons of chowder per year.

Customers can also receive mail-order products such as clam chowder packages and Splash’s Raucous Daucus hot carrot pepper sauce, which sold out its first 500 cases since being created in 2016, Currie said. Splash Café plans to distribute the sauce to local Central Coast and Southern California grocery stores and retail specialty shops.

The property’s owner, Atlanta and New York-based Jamestown Properties, has already leased the space, said Therese Cron, the company’s regional leasing director for San Luis Obispo, in an email.

Cron decline to name the new tenant, writing that “when the tenant is ready to announce, they will do so.”

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