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Smokin’ and sizzlin’ on the Mesa

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A change is afoot in the southern outreaches of SLO County, and as the Arroyo Grande mesa blossoms from a rustic backwater into a patchwork of million-dollar estates, new businesses are springing up to service the upwardly mobile rancheros. At the corner of South Halcyon and Mesa View Drive in rural Arroyo Grande, a new shopping center, anchored by JJ’s Market, is already flourishing.

Dave and Christina Biddle opened Mr. Smokes in mid January, about three months after the opening of the market, and after his first few weeks in business, Dave is stunned by the volume of sales at his tobacco and gift shop. The Biddles knew a cigar shop on the Mesa would thrive, but Dave didn’t expect sales to be this strong for at least six or eight months.

Anybody in the area who craved a good cigar used to have to drive all the way to the Sanctuary in San Luis Obispo or to J. Whites in Santa Maria. Mr. Smokes has just saved those aficionados about 45 minutes in driving time. Whether they’re local residents or patrons of the nearby golf course, Mr. Smokes saves them not only time, but also money. In addition to a dazzling humidor full of cigars ranging from cheap to premium and points in between, the tobacconist also boasts some of the lowest prices in town on cigarettes.

The Biddles complement their cigar selection with a mouthwatering variety of dessert wines and an epicurean assortment of Port, a fortified wine that is known to pair nicely with a fine cigar. Mr. Smokes also offers an eclectic array of ashtrays, lighters, and gifts, and a fridge full of beer and soda.

To learn more, call the shop at 474-4505.

Across the parking lot from Mr. Smokes, and slated to open this week, Wild Coyotes, a Western-style steakhouse, will bring to the mesa a touch of class and a menu full of homemade recipes and barbecue delicacies.

Brenda Looysen is opening the restaurant with her sister, Linda Cook, and her mother, Norma Johns.

Born and raised in Arroyo Grande, Looysen remembers riding horses and motorcycles and walking the dirt roads of the Mesa. After working in the restaurant industry most of her life —as a cook, waitress, and manager — she’s delighted to be going into business with her family. Johns brings a bit of business savvy to steakhouse as the owner of a local beauty salon, Hair Impressions, up until about 10 years ago.

Wild Coyotes will open at 5 a.m. for breakfast and serve lunch from 11:30 to 4 p.m. For dinner, the restaurant staff will come out in their evening costumes, a surprise that Looysen declined to describe. Along with a full bar and a complete fare of oak-pit barbecue delights, Wild Coyotes also serves ribs, lobster, crab, and homemade French fries.

For reservations or more info, call the restaurant at 473-WILD.

FAST FACTS

The Kennedy Club Fitness Multiplex is holding a Style Fusion Fashion Show on Saturday, Feb. 12 at 6:30 p.m. to benefit Womenade, a charity that helps needy men, women, and children in San Luis Obispo. Tickets at $7.50 cover admission and include hors d’oeuvres and drinks (wine, beer, or soda). Over $2,000 in raffle prizes will be given away during the evening, and a good time is guaranteed for all. Tickets are available at the Kennedy Fitness front desk or by calling 781-3488, Ext. 19. …

… After an extensive remodel of its building at 698 Morro Bay Blvd. in Morro Bay, the Pacific Dance Center is pleased to be hosting a Grand Re-Opening party on Thursday, Feb. 17 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. The studio will now offer more opportunities than ever for everyone from 18-month-old toddlers to senior citizens to find a movement class that fits into their busy schedule. To learn more, call Karen Garman at 772-7119. …

… Springs n’ Things by Erin is delighted to announce its first annual Valentine’s Day Floral Extravaganza. Just opened on Jan. 1, 2005 as a custom floral business, Springs n’ Things offers unique and personalized flower gifts for every occasion. For every $10 spent before Feb. 13, a customer is entered in a drawing for a spectacular rose bouquet valued at $85. Call Erin McClellan at 543-2501 to order your flowers.

Staff Writer Jeff Hornaday compiled this week’s Strokes & Plugs. E-mail him at jhornaday@newtimesslo.com.

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