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Q's: a classy new pool hall

Mail Tribune / Bob Pennell

ASHLAND - A pool hall, restaurant and bar that the owners say will offer a "classy, comfortable feel" will come to a space that formerly featured top-name musical entertainment and Cajun cuisine.

Braden Benton, Chris LaBelle and Curtis Riegel have leased the former Mojo Caf? space at 141 Lithia Way. Q's Bar and Grill is set to open April 1.

Mojo closed in December. Partners David Walper, Steve Owsley and Eric Turner had opened the venue in March 2001 in the new building. Musicians Norton Buffalo, Merle Saunders and Paul deLay were among performers that played at the caf? during its brief tenure.

Benton is owner of Great American Pizza in Ashland and Medford. LaBelle is part owner of the Kat Wok restaurant and nightclub in Ashland. He will sell his interest in that business. Riegel is owner of Southern Oregon Mortgage Inc. The trio is leasing the 3,600-square-foot space from owners Allan Sandler and Ed Bemis.

"What we are doing isn't going to be like the Kat Wok or like Great American," said LaBelle. "We want this to be its own things ... different from Mojo or any other place in town."

"We will have the best hamburger in town," said Michael Case, manager. "We want to offer affordable, good food in Ashland. It will be a place for games, coffee and to do homework during the day."

Steaks, seafood, pasta, sandwiches and salads will also be on the menu. Q's will be open for lunch and dinner. It will be open until 2:30 a.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays.

Remodeling is under way.

A stage that backed up against the street windows has been removed. "We'll probably be one of the only bars with a view," said Case.

Upstairs, a former sound and light booth will become a small seating box overlooking the main floor. A wait station will be transformed into a full-service bar. No changes are anticipated for the kitchen.

Pool tables will be on the main floor. Couches and comfortable chairs will be upstairs. Up to 30 board games will be available to patrons.

Sandler said in December he would convert the building to office space within three to six months if he didn't find a tenant. One of Mojo's former owners said he expected the location to become a sports bar.

Besides pool and other games, lottery offerings will be available. There will be five televisions and wireless Internet access. A movie night will take place once per week.

"'Things to do,' is our motto," said LaBelle. The things may even include some live music.

The club might try to attract name bands looking for layovers as they travel between San Francisco and the Northwest, but not on a weekly basis. "To make something special and unique you have to do it just once in a while," said LaBelle.

Why Q's?

"Pool cues came to mind," when the three partners needed a name for the club's liquor and lottery license applications, said Labelle.

Remodeler Benjamin Klann, left, and manager Michael Case discuss changes being made to the former Mojo Caf?. The new place will be called Q's Bar and Grill. Pool tables, televisions and seating are planned, as are a new bar and outdoor seating on the former restaurant's alley-side balcony.