SLO: New Brooks Burgers restaurant opens in Public Market

Luke Brooks wants to bring people together โ€” by sharing his family’s recipes with the community.

โ€œOne thing that every culture in the whole world shares is the essence of sitting down and talking to one another and sharing a meal,โ€ said Brooks, director of operations for Brooks Burgers. โ€œIt’s the part of the day where everyone can decompress and come together as a community.โ€

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The popular local burger chain, which has locations in Pismo Beach and Fresno, opened its third location on Monday at San Luis Obispo Public Market on Tank Farm Road.

With live music planned for the back patio, Brooks hopes people stick around and enjoy the restaurant’s atmosphere in addition to their meals.

โ€œWe want people to hang out, watch TV, drink a beer, listen to whatever music we’ve got going on,โ€ Brooks said.

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Brooks Burgers recently opened in San Luis Obispo. Laura Dickinson

Brooks Burgers serves up burgers, tri-tip and Boss Sauce

Brooks and his parents, Randy and Deborah Brooks, opened the first Brooks Burgers location near the Pismo Beach Premium Outlets shopping center in 2016.

Brooks Burgers opened a Fresno restaurant in 2021.

Members of the Brooks family also launched the Happy Steaks, Cool Hand Luke’s Steak House, Huckleberry’s and Perko’s Cafe Grill restaurant franchises.

The menu of the newest Brooks Burgers restaurant, located at the corner of South Higuera Street and Tank Farm Road in San Luis Obispo, features hamburgers, sandwiches, tri-tip, chicken wings and salads, as well as beer and wine.

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Brooks Burgers recently opened in San Luis Obispo. Marshall Williams is the operator of the SLO location. Laura Dickinson

Marshall Williams, who’s operating Brooks Burgers in San Luis Obispo, said the restaurant specializes in quality ingredients.

โ€œEverythingโ€™s fresh that we use. Burger patties are never frozen,โ€ Williams said. โ€œWe look to serve the public the best product we can at the best price.โ€

Brooks Burgers uses the sous vide method to cook its tri-tip, rather than barbecuing it. Luke Brooks couldn’t fit a smoker in the kitchen of the Pismo Beach location, he explained, so he had to get creative.

Many of the dishes reflect the Brooks family’s Central Coast roots, Brooks said.

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Brooks Burgers recently opened in San Luis Obispo. Pictured is the California Kid, made with avocado, bacon, lettuce, grilled onions, tomato, ranch dressing, pepper jack cheese and topped with roasted jalapeno with a side of crinkle fries. Laura Dickinson

For example, the California Kid cheeseburger โ€” which comes topped with avocado, ranch dressing, bacon and grilled jalapeรฑo peppers โ€” is a homage to Brooks’ childhood in California, he said.

Featured prominently on most dishes is Boss Sauce, a condiment Brooks invented almost 10 years ago when he and a friend volunteered as cooks at a school in Maui, Hawaii.

โ€œThe kids were eating chicken and rice every day, and I was like, ‘Bro, we’ve gotta come up with a sauce that you could just put on everything and it’s just fire immediately,’ โ€ Brooks recalled.

Boss Sauce is similar to garlic aioli with sriracha, Brooks said, although it’s not spicy, just flavorful.

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Brooks Burgers recently opened in San Luis Obispo. A noontime crowd packed the place on the second day the restaurant was open. Laura Dickinson

โ€œIt’s on almost all of our burgers,โ€ said Brooks, who’s working on patenting his signature sauce. โ€œDipping tater tots in it is bomb.โ€

Williams said the restaurant’s pricing is โ€œvery aggressive.โ€ The Wagyu burger, which is made of grass-fed beef, costs $14.50 at Brooks Burgers, when it can cost up to $23 elsewhere, he said.

The San Luis Obispo Brooks Burgers plans to add margaritas, lemondrop cocktails and kahlua desserts to its menu, Williams said.

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Brooks Burgers recently opened in the San Luis Obispo Public Market, 3845 South Higuera St. in San Luis Obispo. Laura Dickinson

SLO restaurant has outdoor patio for games, events

Brooks Burgers’ San Luis Obispo location includes an outdoor patio.

There, the restaurant plans to offer games such as cornhole, foosball, tic-tac-toe and shuffleboard, along with live music and dancing for a โ€œgood, fun atmosphere,โ€ Williams said.

When people come to the restaurant, Williams said, โ€œThey’re going to experience fun, friendly people (and) product that’s going to be top level, as far as quality.โ€

Williams said he’s also excited about the restaurant’s staff, which had 20 people as of Tuesday. Brooks Burgers works to build a positive work culture, with tips shared among all staff members, he said.

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Brooks Burgers recently opened in San Luis Obispo. Emily Kasner, bartender and cashier, helps customers. Laura Dickinson

He said all employees are cross-trainedโ€”meaning that if they’re hired to bartend, for example, they can also be trained as a cashier.

โ€œWe have a really good time here,โ€ Williams said, even during dinner rushes. โ€œWe high five and we just have a fun time.โ€

Brooks Burgers is located at 134 Tank Farm Road, next to Tractor Supply Company. The restaurant is open 11 am to 8 pm Sunday through Thursday, and 11 am to 9 pm on Friday and Saturday, with plans to eventually expand its hours.

For more information, call 805-439-3092 or visit

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Brooks Burgers recently opened in San Luis Obispo. They’re located in the San Luis Obispo Public Market Place, 3845 South Higuera Street, San Luis Obispo. Laura Dickinson

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Stephanie Zappelli primarily covers county government for the SLO Tribune. She grew up in San Diego and is a fourth-year journalism major at Cal Poly. When not writing, Stephanie enjoys hiking, reading and exploring SLO.




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