Blue Seafood & Grill restaurant opens in Arroyo Grande

Blue Seafood & Grill owners Joel Fierro , left, and Raymundo Perez opened their new restaurant in Arroyo Grande in March 2023 at the former home of Me & Z's.

Blue Seafood & Grill owners Joel Fierro , left, and Raymundo Perez opened their new restaurant in Arroyo Grande in March 2023 at the former home of Me & Z’s.

The Tribune

When Joel Fierro first tasted Raymundo Perez’s cooking in Las Vegas nine years ago, he knew on the spot that he wanted to bring it to the Central Coast.

[–>

It took nearly six years of coaxing, but when Blue Seafood & Grill opens its doors for its grand opening on March 11, it’ll represent the culmination of co-owners Fierro and Perez’s ambitions to launch their own restaurant.

[–>

Fierro, who also owns New Era Landscape Inc., said that while both he and Perez have never owned a restaurant, he feels confident their creation will be popular with local seafood lovers.

[–>

“I always wanted to be part of a restaurant, and I think this is a good future for me with Ray — a new chapter in my life,” Fierro said.

[–>

Blue Seafood012
Blue Seafood & Grill opened in Arroyo Grande in March 2023 at the former home of Me & Z’s. Laura Dickinson The Tribune

A fresh start on the Central Coast

[–>

Perez’s background in the Las Vegas restaurant scene includes an 18-year tenure in the kitchens of Caesar’s Entertainment, along with shorter stints at Harrah’s and the Wynn Las Vegas’ Delilah restaurant.

[–>

The idea for a restaurant developed over the past six years, with Fierro “dragging” Perez out to San Luis Obispo County whenever he could, showing him the local restaurant scene and convincing him to go into business.

[–>

Perez was laid off from his Las Vegas restaurant job during the COVID-19 pandemic, and after the death of his father, he said he felt the timing was right to relocate his family to the Central Coast.

[–>

Blue Seafood 008
Blue Seafood & Grill opened in Arroyo Grande in March 2023 at the former home of Me & Z’s. Laura Dickinson The Tribune

In some ways, opening their first restaurant is a learning experience for the co-owners.

[–>

Though Perez was used to cooking and serving for 45 guests all by himself, the change to a new, smaller market presented difficulties in finding the necessities to make a restaurant function, such as the right food providers.

[–>

“When I moved two months ago here, I didn’t know (any) suppliers,” Perez said. “I just started making calls and applications for food and then talking to providers.”

[–>

In SLO County’s wealth of unique or locally produced foods and wines, Perez said he saw potential in the area as a chef.

[–>

JPEG image-D73DE3B460D1-1.jpeg
Cajun Scallops Pasta from Blue Seafood & Grill, which opened in Arroyo Grande in March 2023 at the former home of Me & Z’s. Joel Fierro

“I’m used to the high-end Napa Valley or French wines, but I’m discovering this place is amazing,” Perez said. “From Santa Barbara all the way up to Paso Robles, they’ve brought me some great ones.”

[–>

All that remained was to find a location in the area, and when Mexican restaurant Me & Z’s closed in Arroyo Grande in December, the business partners moved into the vacant spot at 1351 E Grand Ave.

[–>

Fierro and Perez began remodeling the property, adding counter seating, a bar, new windows and paint and signage.

[–>

However, Fierro said they refrained from hooking up phones and setting up a website so they could keep their soft opening small-scale while they tested out the new location.

[–>

Blue Seafood 002
Blue Seafood & Grill opened in Arroyo Grande in March 2023 at the former home of Me & Z’s. Laura Dickinson The Tribune

Soft opening allows for trial and error

[–>

The soft opening of the restaurant started March 4 and will end with the full opening of the restaurant this weekend, Fierro said.

[–>

The soft opening allowed Perez and his kitchen team to get a sense for how they would work together, and to see which menu items customers liked the most.

[–>

Perez said he wants to work with a team that buys into his vision for the food, which he said is a culmination of all of his past cooking experiences.

[–>

Blue Seafood & Grill’s menu features oysters served in half a dozen different ways, such as half shell with cocktail horseradish, ceviche style with shrimp, cilantro red onions and cherry tomatoes and grilled with garlic butter, parmesean cheese and parsely.

[–>

Blue Seafood 005
Blue Seafood & Grill’s menu features oysters served in half a dozen different ways, such as half shell with horseradish cocktail, ceviche style with shrimp, cilantro red onions and cherry tomatoes and grilled with garlic butter, parmesean cheese and parsley. The restaurant opened in Arroyo Grande in March 2023 at the former home of Me & Z’s. Laura Dickinson The Tribune

Seafood fare including melted shrimp tacos, halibut tacos, lobster rolls, shrimp scampi, king crab and surf n’ turf offerings make up the entrees, while some more specialized dishes such as the pan roast — a stew of shrimp, lobster, crab, scallops, clams and mussels finished with a smoked tomato-cream sauce and served over jasmine rice — are among Perez’s personal favorites.

[–>

“The tacos and the halibut (are) going crazy,” Perez said. “It’s seriously something that’s unexpected.”

[–>

The restaurant’s scallops with papardelle noodles and fresh oysters were “delicious,” Linda Drummy wrote on Nextdoor after dining at the restaurant.

[–>

“This was well worth the wait for their opening!!” Drummy added.

[–>

[–>

Customers have particularly liked the tuna tostada lunch special, Perez said.

[–>

“I’m going to be selling 20 to 25 pounds of tuna a week,” he said.

[–>

Perez said that within the next six months, the menu will be overhauled with new dishes as he learns what customers respond to best. Brunch will also be an option once Perez feels comfortable with the menu.

[–>

Fierro said he and Perez also are already looking at ways to expand their offerings to include a back patio with fire pits once their alcohol license is finalized.

[–>

“I want the young crowd to start coming out,” Perez said. “Everyone is welcome in here, and we are learning step by step what can be fixed. I want to please everybody.”

[–>

Tres Leches Desert
Tres Leches is one of the desserts on the menu at Blue Seafood & Grill, which opened in Arroyo Grande in March 2023 at the former home of Me & Z’s. Joel Fierro

Related stories from the San Luis Obispo Tribune

Profile Image of John Lynch

John Lynch is a housing reporter at the San Luis Obispo Tribune. Originally from Kenosha, Wisconsin, John studied journalism and telecommunications at Ball State University, graduating in 2022.