Posts Tagged ‘Black Diamond in Spokane Valley’

I truly wish that all hospitallity establishments in Spokane Valley could prosper and make their owners rich and happy. I especially wish that for the independent owners who have tried to create nice and fun places that are an expression of themselves. We the patrons are the beneficiaries of their creative efforts.

Take the Black Diamond, located at Sprague and Farr in the Valley, for example. For many years it was known as McQ’s and it was primarily a great pool hall but it always had potential to be a lot more. If I have my half-facts right, it was originally opened several years ago by one of the principals involved with the old Swackhammers on north Division. Then the guys who own the local Denny’s franchise ran it for several years before selling it a few years ago to an owner that was unable to make it prosperous.

Along come Steve and Kenna Lagault from San Francisco this summer with their own dreams and visions and pick up the place at a bargain price. I talked to them a few months ago right after they took over and Steve talked about knocking out walls and moving things around. I thought he had a lot of good ideas, but I wondered if he would really do it and how good it would turn out.

Turns out that it turned out amazing. Elaine and I were shocked when we went in to have a look last Saturday night. I could not believe that they went for it, got it done fast and did such a classy job. They now have a very tasteful and roomy dining area that opens to a nightclub with a stage and some of the coziest and classiest seating in the Valley. Over by the pool tables they’ve created a comfortable area to watch sports on their state-of-the- art flatscreens and they updated the bar.

So now we have been given a wonderful place to have a fun night out at. It really is a gift from two hard-working, imaginative and creative people who were willing to go for it and give us a new and exciting place. All that we have to do to repay them and have it available to us for years to come is to fulfill their dream by supporting them and packing it out.

But that has gotten to be a tall order for the Valley. Since last Spring, 4 places have opened up that are looking for the night scene as part of their business. You put those on top of the existing places and you probably have about six too many.

If somebody told me that I had to take any one of them over tomorrow and make it go, I would choose the Black Diamond. I don’t envy anyone in the local business, but I think Steve and Kenna have a good shot at making it go because of the thriving pool business they have going. That brings people in who can see what they’ve done and help get a buzz going.

They have done a phenomenal job remodeling. I just hope for our sakes as well as theirs that they are as good at building a crowd as they are at improving a building.

Black Diamond Sports Bar on Urbanspoon

  Last Sunday we  met the new owners of McQ’s who took over the business on July 8th. Their names are Steve and Kenna and I have to say that I would give them better odds at making it than most for a few reasons. First of all, this is Steve’s idea and desire but Kenna is there to support and it is great that she is there and willing to even work in the kitchen which is often below most new owners. Then I really like the way Steve bought the business and negotiated the lease. It shows he is smart.

  He originally looked at the business months ago when it was for sale at $110,000. He said it had been a life long dream of his to own a pool hall but after looking at it closely he decided to pass. By then he sort of had the bug to get into the hospitality biz and so he looked at our old place at Sprague and Vista and then he looked at Bottom’s Up. He seriously considered both and even began negotiations with Norm Thomson to go into the Bottom’s Up location. But then the McQ’s people contacted him again. Turns out the guy who had bought the business 2 years before for $170,000 was two months behind on rent and things were bleak. So Steve negotiates first with the landlord and gets a way better lease and picks up the business by paying the guy something like $25,000 for his assets. So he is into the place right because he was patient and savvy.

   Steve has acquired his business acumen the old-fashioned way: experience. For thirty years he has run a street sweeping business in San Francisco. A few years ago, he and Kenna moved to Spokane but still run the sweeping business through a manager.

  The other reason I give them a good chance is because that even though they did not pay for the pool business they did get a going concern. Pool leagues love McQ’s and have been supporting it for years. Steve and Kenna plan to remodel the end away from the pool tables and get a restaurant and niteclub going. I always look at building a hospitality following like building a campfire. Each feature like a good happy hour or Monday Night Football is another log on the fire and contributes to the blaze once it starts to burn. The pool business they have inherited is a great bed of coals that an operator with Steve’s patience can  get a bonfire going on top of that we can all go to and warm our little booties at on those cold Spokane winter nights.