Jacque Duryee, an executive with the Los Angeles-area Q's Billiards Club chain, said there was no grand plan to open upscale pool halls near sushi restaurants. It just kind of happened that way.
"Every place we opened happened to be next door to sushi places," Duryee said. "People would literally go to the sushi bar, have dinner and just come over to Q's and hang out all night."
So as not to leave future synergy to fate, the Q's folks have combined the two distinctly different activities--sushi eating and pool playing--and put them under one roof, at the 110-year old Hotel Savoy building on lower State Street in Santa Barbara.
The Q's Sushi a Go-Go opened over the summer with nine pool tables, indoor and patio seating, five satellite dishes for sporting events, live and recorded music and dancing. The place is open from 4 p.m. to midnight daily for dinner, with lunch at 11:30 a.m. Fridays through Sundays.
"We're 21 and over so we get people from their 20s to their 50s--we get a lot of business people in after work and, the later it gets, the younger it gets," Duryee said.
"Sushi has been popular almost 20 years now--it started kind of trendy, but found its niche," she said. "And pool is just a good ice breaker, an activity to do that doesn't take much concentration, that fills their time while they concentrate on more important things, like looking at the opposite sex."
The Q's Sushi a Go-Go menu offers an appetizer selection that includes green mussels ($5.50), soft shell crab in a ponzu sauce ($7.50), calamari in a tempura sauce ($6), and several tempura dishes.
Sushi rolls include a spicy tuna roll ($4.50), grilled veggie roll ($4.50) Philly Roll (salmon, cream cheese, avocado, cucumber and onions, $4.50), rock lobster roll ($6.95) a Spider Roll (deep-fried soft shell crab, $7.50), a Freaky Party Roll (smoked salmon, spicy sprouts and avocado in red soy paper, $7.50), Betty Davis Eyes Roll (squid stuffed with salmon seaweed and gobo in the shape of an eye, $7.50), and Magic Mushroom Roll (shitake, oyster and enoki mushrooms with gobo rolled in yellow soy paper, $4.50).
And there's the Let the Good Times Roll--shrimp, halibut, gobo and sprouts rolled, battered and quick-fried tempura style, served with a ponzu sauce ($6.50).
The list of about two dozen sushi items includes albacore, eel, giant clam, halibut, Japanese mackerel, octopus, sea urchin, smelt egg, white fish and yellow tail from $2.90-$6.50 (sushi), $8-$18.50 (sashimi). There's also an all-you-can eat sushi menu from 7 to 10 p.m. Wednesdays ($16) and sushi happy hour from 4 to 7 p.m. daily, with sushi items marked down 20%.
Q's Sushi a Go-Go is at 409 State St.
Chester's Asia Chinese Restaurant in Camarillo will celebrate its 35th anniversary with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 4 p.m. Nov. 5 and special lunch and dinner menus throughout November.
The lunch menu will feature soup, appetizers and entrees (six options) from $3.95 to $5.55. Dinner specials include soup, appetizer and entree for $9.95 (eight selections) and $10.95 (another eight selections).
Keith Kwan, owner of Chester's since 1981, said the secret to the restaurant's longevity--and its survival in an increasingly competitive community--boils down to just a few basics.
"It's the quality of food, decoration and we keep making a lot of improvements," Kwan said. "More and more restaurants open up, but we have more people in Camarillo. We can handle it. Our customers love my cooking."
Chester's is at 2216 Pickwick Drive.