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SLO County Business Closures: Restaurants and Stores Closed in 2022

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Dorothy Giessinger's family has been flipping burgers and pouring root beer floats at the A&W restaurant in Atascadero for more than 30 years.  The restaurant closed at the end of February 2022.

Dorothy Giessinger’s family has been flipping burgers and pouring root beer floats at the A&W restaurant in Atascadero for more than 30 years. The restaurant closed at the end of February 2022.

ldickinson@thetribunenews.com

2022 has brought new challenges for businesses in San Luis Obispo County, including rising costs and staff shortages.

While the majority of local businesses have managed to survive or even grow, a number of popular venues have been forced to close. They ranged from newcomers such as Joilene Bakery and Restaurant Kult in San Luis Obispo to more established names.

Here are some of the restaurants, retail stores and other businesses that have closed permanently in 2022.

Restaurant A&W

After more than 30 years of burger and root beer floats, Dorothy Giessinger and her husband closed the A&W restaurant in Atascadero at the end of February 2022.

Located at 6435 Morro Road, the fast food joint was the last A&W in San Luis Obispo County and one of California’s few independent establishments.

Giessinger said staffing issues and rising food prices were preventing the restaurant from making a profit. She and her husband planned to move to Texas.

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Farmhouse Corner Market in San Luis Obispo closed in January 2022. Nick Wilson

Farm corner market

Pressures from the COVID-19 pandemic forced organic restaurant and market Farmhouse Corner Market to close in January — less than two years after it opened at 1025 Farmhouse Lane in San Luis Obispo.

“Farmhouse Corner Market just isn’t one of the successful businesses,” the company wrote in a Facebook post.

In 2020, readers of The New Times voted Farmhouse Corner Market Best New Restaurant, Best Kid-Friendly Restaurant, and Best Caterer in San Luis Obispo County.

At least one of the company’s four co-owners is still part of the local food scene. Will Torres is now executive chef of The Carrisa in San Luis Obispo.

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The Jack Ranch Cafe on Highway 46 in Cholame closed August 28, 2022. Laura Dickinson ldickinson@thetribunenews.com

Jack Ranch Cafe

The Jack Ranch Cafe in Cholame served its last meal in August, after decades of catering to travellers, ranchers and James Dean fans.

Historically a haven for locals, the restaurant at 19215 Highway 46 was also known for its proximity to the site of Dean’s 1955 fatal crash. A memorial in the parking lot still draws fans of the late actor.

Owner Chris Mize, who was a waitress at the cafe before buying the business in 2012, said the decision to close came after the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, high petrol prices and busy road traffic.

Restaurants SLO103
Mo’s Smokehouse barbecue closed on Monterey Street in San Luis Obispo in December. Laura Dickinson ldickinson@thetribunenews.com

Mo’s BBQ Smokehouse

San Luis Obispo’s popular Mo’s Smokehouse BBQ restaurant closed in late December after 28 years of operation downtown.

Mo’s opened in downtown SLO in 1994. The restaurant’s address changed over the years before finally ending up at 1005 Monterey St.

The company hasn’t shared an official reason why it’s closing the location. However, a separate Mo’s Smokehouse BBQ location will remain open at 221 Pomeroy Ave. at Pismo Beach, and the restaurant will continue to provide catering service.

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Morro Bay Drug & Gift closed in April 2022. David Middlecamp dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

Morro Bay medicine and gift

Morro Bay Drug & Gift customers were shocked in April when the store abruptly closed at 600 Morro Bay Boulevard, Suite B.

The long-running pharmacy was started by former Morro Bay Mayor John Bedding, who operated the business for around two decades before selling it. The Headdings also owned Cambria Drug and Gift for eight years.

Customers were referred to Rite Aid, which operates a location at 740 Quintana Road in Morro Bay, for prescriptions and more.

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Oki Momo Asian Grill in San Luis Obispo closed its dining area in 2022. David Middlecamp dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

Oki Momo Asian Grill

Pandemic issues also played a role in the closure of San Luis Obispo’s popular Asian fusion restaurant, Oki Momo Asian Grill.

Owner Jon Yeh told The Tribune in January that his restaurant was struggling due to ongoing labor shortages as well as supply chain issues and inflation driving up costs.

In October, the restaurant had closed its dining room at 2256 Broad St., No. 120, indefinitely.

Customers can find “a limited menu of Oki Momo favorites” at Yeh’s other restaurant, Oki Kohi Espresso Bar, which is located at 2252 Broad St., Suite 130, in the same mall as Oki Momo.

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Ross Dress for Less closed in downtown San Luis Obispo in January 2022. Nick Wilson nwilson@thetribunenews.com

Ross dress for less

Ross Dress for Less closed its store in downtown San Luis Obispo in January, leaving another sizeable business position in the area.

The discount retailer closed at 868 Higuera St. on a centralized block that saw the closure of two other major retail stores nearby – Beverly’s Fabrics & Crafts, which closed in 2020, and Charles Shoes, which closed in 2019.

A separate Ross store in the Madonna Plaza shopping center remains open.

The Ruddell File
Ruddell’s Smokehouse in Cayucos closed in January 2022. Joe Johnston The Tribune

Ruddell’s Smokehouse

Ruddell’s Smokehouse, the small take-out restaurant in Cayucos known for its smoked fish tacos, closed in January after two decades.

Founder Jim “Smoker Jim” Ruddell opened his restaurant in 2001 about a block from the Cayucos Pier. Over the years, he has been recognized by the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Sunset magazine and celebrity chef Bobby Flay.

The restaurant’s closure also marked the end of an era for the 250-square-foot building that housed it at 101 D St. It is slated for demolition.

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Señor Sancho’s closed in September 2022, after 32 years of operation in Paso Robles. Photo courtesy of Carlos Leyva

At Señor Sancho’s

After more than three decades, Mexican restaurant Señor Sancho’s closed its doors for good in Paso Robles in September.

Owner Carlos Leyva said the difficult decision to close the restaurant at 1902 Creston Road was due to his declining health. This move also gave him more time to focus on his music career.

At the time of the closing, the North County Restaurant Group planned to purchase the property and open a Paso Robles-based Jack’s Bar and Grill there. The restaurant group currently operates Jack’s Bar and Grill in Templeton, as well as other North County restaurants.

The porch restaurant

The Porch Eatery closed in Santa Margarita in October after more than 15 years and several name and ownership changes.

Owner Randi Pust took over management of The Porch, formerly known as The Porch Cafe, in March, then bought the restaurant from its former owners in June. “I bought it to try to save it,” she told The Tribune.

But Pust said rising food costs and supply chain issues made it impossible to operate The Porch, located at 22322 El Camino Real, without raising prices.

She’s since turned to other ventures — reopening the old Clementine Cupcake Co. in Santa Margarita under a new name, Black Pearl Baking Co., and opening a new barbecue business, Smokehouse. Catering Co.

Profile picture of Sarah Linn

Local and entertainment writer Sarah Linn writes about all things fun, including movies, TV, the arts, and the best places to eat and drink in San Luis Obispo County. A graduate of Oregon State University, she worked for The Tribune in San Luis Obispo for more than a decade and has won several journalism awards in California.

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