Building on a delectable dream in Morro Bay

Judy Salamacha
Judy Salamacha

When Grill Hut’s owner, Jason Scheer, decided to change careers from a Bakersfield general contractor to restaurant owner/operator, friends in the business tried to discourage him.

Realizing his determination, they offered to teach Scheer and his wife, Lori, the business. Scheer wanted to model his restaurant after Spencer’s Restaurant in Bakersfield. When he couldn’t find an appropriate noncompeting site, he noticed properties available in Morro Bay. The couple made the drive, which included passing by an available Quintana Road property — once a Denny’s location.

They knew that that location was too much, too soon. So the couple adopted the style and menus provided to them by Bakersfield’s Grill Hut owners, Ernie and Patty Waldo, and survived — even thrived — at 3118 N. Main St.

Soon the Scheers will fulfill their original dream to open a full-service restaurant for locals and travelers at 850 Quintana Road. This time, friends and customers are encouraging the new opportunity.

“We plan to be open by April 21,” Scheer said. “(Property owner) A.J. Wright and (property manager) Randy Skaggs have been great. They accepted all our improvements. We’re merging the Grill Hut concept we introduced to Morro Bay and expanding to offer a traditional breakfast menu with some surprises.”

Grill Hut specializes in fresh barbecued tri-tip, chicken and pulled pork with oversized stuffed baked potatoes; chicken mashed potato bowls are new favorites.

“Spencer’s owner Gilbert Blevins is coming from Bakersfield to help us open,” Scheer said.

Their hours will expand from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. Currently, they can serve 40 people with eight employees, including their family. Because the new location will accommodate 100, they plan to hire at least 25 part-time employees.

Uprooting their family after spending 40 years in Bakersfield was a difficult decision, but the family never looked back. Their son, Gabe, will graduate from Los Osos Middle School this year, Hanna is a sophomore at Morro Bay High School and Jordyn is at Cuesta College.

“I have to credit Morro Bay locals for our success,” Scheer said. “They liked our food and encouraged us all the way.”

Lori Scheer trains staff to remember customers’ names, or at least which menu item or draft beer they prefer.

Besides the main dining room, the new Grill Hut will have a separate meeting room area for about 30 and a pub area for 25.

“We’ll have several smart televisions to play back games and a large parking lot to welcome classic cars,” Jason Scheer said.

His mother, Carole, is an interior designer and O’Shea Construction has implemented her designs.

“After things settle in, we’ll celebrate with a grand opening.”