Biz Buzz: Second Crooked Kilt to open on Monterey

The Crooked Kilt, an Irish-pub-style bar and restaurant in Paso Robles, will open a second location at the former site of 1865 Restaurant in San Luis Obispo.

Crooked Kilt owners Donovan Schmit and Troy Larkin signed a 15-year lease last week to occupy the Monterey Street restaurant space and have plans to open May 1.

The business will be a “family restaurant with a lively atmosphere” serving Irish-pub-style entrees, mostly under $15, Schmit said. “The building is in good shape, with lots of woodwork. It lends itself to an Irish pub,” Schmit said.

The restaurant is in the process of purchasing a liquor license for the location, where Schmit anticipates hiring about 30 employees.

The 1865 Restaurant closed in October 2007 after 13 years in business when a buyer approached owners Molly and Greg Perello with an offer they said was too good to resist.

Molly Perello did not disclose the name of the buyer in 2007, but the business was never sold, and Perello still owns the property, according to public records.

In early 2009, local architect George Garcia submitted plans to the city on behalf of Tucson, Ariz.-based Equinox Hotel Partners to build a 65,000-square-foot, four-story Hyatt Place Hotel on the 1.17-acre property.

Equinox Hotel Partners had plans to buy the property upon city approval of the project.

But those plans stalled when developers failed to resubmit plans to city planners who had requested some changes, Assistant City Planner James Davis said.

Calls to Equinox Hotel Partners were not returned; however, Garcia still has hopes that project will come to fruition.

“The applicant ran into some lending issues,” he said.

Gary Toll, a partner and broker with San Luis Obispo Realty who is representing the property, also said there are plans to build a Hyatt or other hotels on the site, although he noted that it is difficult for developers to obtain financing in this economic climate.

Toll declined to disclose the terms of the lease with the Crooked Kilt.

Molly Perello has held the deed to the property since 1996. The land and improvements have an assessed valuation for property tax purposes of about $1 million, according to county records.

— Julia Hickey