SLO County restaurants briefly lose liquor licenses

November 6, 2015

11889663_1002035219826754_7753919066494821083_nThree San Luis Obispo County restaurants previously owned by a man convicted of stealing from an elderly woman temporarily lost their liquor licenses. [KEYT]

Robert Clouston was ordered in June to pay $327,000 in restitution for a scheme he carried out while acting as a 99-year-old woman’s trustee. Clouston placed a 17-acre Templeton property in an LLC he solely owned and then took out hard money loans against the property.

Clouston used the money from the second loan to buy three restaurants: Estrella in Arroyo Grande and Robert’s Restaurant and Wine Bar in both Paso Robles and Arroyo Grande. Clouston recently sold the restaurants to his executive chefs and the general manager of Estrella.

A spokesman for the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) said Clouston’s LLC lost its liquor licenses for the restaurants. Each of the three locations received a notice of revocation from ABC in October.

However, the new owners can apply for their own liquor licenses. Estrella received a liquor license under the new ownership’s name a week ago. Applications for the Robert’s Restaurants are pending.

Both Robert’s Restaurants are closed for October for remodelling. They will reopen in November, according to the restaurant’s website.


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8 Comments

  1. lina su says:

    I have had my doubts about this “new owners” story from the beginning. When Robert Clouston lost his Contractors license he had his wife Brenda obtain her license and the family continued on. Now, the lovely man looses his restaurants for stealing from a 99 year old woman. Who do I see in the picture with the “new owners” no other than Brenda Clouston. Oddly enough I also saw Bob at the Roberts location this week. Hmmmmmmm
    My advise to the chef would be cut ALL ties with the family, change the name of the restaurants and then re-open. I will absolutely be looking up on the license all owners names

    (12) 12 Total Votes - 12 up - 0 down
  2. pasoparent5 says:

    Congrats & good luck to the new owners but they need to change the name of the restaurants asap. The name “Robert’s” is too tainted.

    (23) 31 Total Votes - 27 up - 4 down
  3. Mitch C says:

    Very sad! The person who previously owned the restaurants is deserving of punishment;however, the 100 or so employees do not. The loss of the liquor licenses will severely impact the lives and likelihood of those who had nothing to do with the actions of the previous owner. The operative words are “previous owner” since he has received a year in jail he won’t be around. The ABC, in my opinion overreacted and met out punishment to a lot of innocent people.

    (-1) 17 Total Votes - 8 up - 9 down
    • agag1 says:

      The ABC rules are very strict.
      It is unfortunate that enforcing them has a negative impact on employees, but the agency can’t turn a blind eye to the behavior of the license holder.

      (2) 4 Total Votes - 3 up - 1 down
  4. Shocked in MB says:

    This sounds very shady to me. If he was in buying property (and liquor licenses) with embezzled money, then it should make the deals null and void. He then proceeds to sell them to someone else?

    Either I am not understanding this timeline, or the ABC has their heads”up-you-know-where”. The licenses should never have been resold by a swindler.

    Meanwhile the rest of SLO county cannot get a liquor because the State of California treats these licenses as a “commodity” to be bought and traded instead of a tool to be used by businesses in the hospitality industry.

    (14) 14 Total Votes - 14 up - 0 down
    • obispan says:

      I believe you may well be incorrect regarding liquor licenses. It is my understanding that a license to sell liquor only are restricted and are a commodity, but that any legitimate restaurant can get a license to serve you a whiskey sour or screwdriver with your $50 steak dinner. This has been turned on it’s head by “restaurants” in SLO that are straight-up bars but maintain kitchens you do not want to eat from as a front. Black Sheep, Marston’s, Mother’s are all recognized as bars, same as McCarthy’s, but they are not because they serve shitty food. When Black Sheep opened a group of us met a friend who hadn’t had the opportunity to eat and ordered a pasta dish. We were all entertained by the faux Chef Boyardee he was served. He ate it, he had too, he was hungry, but commented that actual Chef Boyardee would have been less offensive. Robert’s et al are true restaurants and the liquor license should not be an issue.

      (-3) 3 Total Votes - 0 up - 3 down
      • Shocked in MB says:

        Sorry, but that s incorrect. A license to serve liquor at a full fledged restaurant is a commodity-trust me. There have been no new ones available in the last 7 years with the exception of 2 years ago there was an exception made to release a few new ones in a lottery.

        (4) 4 Total Votes - 4 up - 0 down
  5. NorthCountyGuy says:

    No liquor license will definatly put the hurt on the perp’s wallet.

    (6) 6 Total Votes - 6 up - 0 down

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