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News and brews 

Big changes are taking place on Higuera Street among providers of some of the city’s most habit-forming substances.

Cuesta business students Chantelle Noelle and Seth Meagher last month purchased Spike’s Place in the Creamery, which re-opened on Friday, Nov. 12. The partners moved into Spike’s at midnight on the previous Sunday, and with a little from their friends, who camped out in the muffler shop parking lot across the street, the new owners gave the cozy neighborhood bar a major facelift. “Because of our 30 volunteers that camped out for four straight days, the renovations became a labor of love,� Noelle explained. “We were still painting 15 minutes before opening.�

Before acquiring Spike’s, Noelle had plans to purchase or open her own coffee bar downtown. She previously worked the counter at another downtown coffee shop, where she was trying to learn the ins and outs of the business. That’s when she met Meagher.

“We first met when I refused service to him at Starbucks, and we’ve been best friends ever since,� she said.

Although the bar’s renovations are not yet finished, the doors have been open for over a month, and improvements can be found weekly.

In addition to Spike’s regular fare of beers from around the world and the popular Taco Tuesday, featuring two tacos for two bucks, Noelle and Meagher have a few fresh ideas on tap. As a new weekly special, Wing Wednesday will offer a pound of wings for three bucks. And every night is Stein Night! Throughout the month of December, all draughts are $8 for a liter stein— that’s nearly 30 ounces of suds!

The kitchen now stays open till 1 a.m. every night, and beginning in January, they will offer “a European style cafe [by] day and beer connoisseur’s haven at night,� said Noelle. She also has plans for live jazz or acoustic music every Sunday starting in the new year.

Just up the street from Spike’s, Rudolph’s Coffee & Tea at 670 Higuera is also celebrating new ownership. On Dec. 1, Cathy Bezek and Rene Scarnegi took over the popular coffee shop from previous owners Jeff and Cyndi Langford.

One special connection the women have with this business is the fact that Bezek’s father, who died in 1993, was named Rudolph. So their coffee shop will be something like a tribute to him.

“Cathy was very, very close to her father,� Scarnegi said, “and he was like a surrogate dad to me.�

The coffee bar’s fifth pair of owners since it first opened in 1979, Bezek and Scarnegi plan to give the San Luis landmark “somewhat of a facelift.� Regular customers can expect to find the same comfortable setting and exquisite selection of coffees and teas they’ve come to expect from Rudolph’s over the years, but with just a few improvements here and there.

“We’re going to try to keep the same character, but improve on it,� said Scarnegi, who brings with her six years of experience operating the deli and coffee bar at New Frontiers.

Most of the changes will take place in the back of the store, creating a more efficient and functional situation for the staff.

“Everything the customer sees will be the same,� Bezek added.

The new owners plan to reorganize the back room and probably replace a few of the old tables and chairs in the front of the store. They’re happy to report, however, that the Phoenix Building, which they occupy, is not in need of seismic retrofitting.

Both owners look forward to an invigorating future for Rudolph’s, promising “the same character, with a new look.�



The days are getting shorter and the nights are getting longer, but not for long. To commemorate the shortest day of the year, the Central Coast Village Center in Arroyo Grande holds its annual Winter Solstice Celebration on Sunday, Dec. 19 from 2 to 7 p.m. The event will include a craft-making table for children and adults, baked goods, and bookstore items — all available for purchase as holiday gifts. At 5:30 they will take a walk around a traditional medicine wheel to learn more about “coyote culture,� followed by singing and storytelling around a circle of light. For more info, call Angela at 534-1781 or Kathleen at 215-9416. …

… Ringing in their fourth year in business, Lisa and Tim Jouet have just relocated and expanded their full service salon and gallery, Jouet Studio, to 2021 Broad St. in San Luis Obispo. In the larger location, they continue to offer an array of luxurious spa services — including specialty hair care, mineral makeup, brow design, bikini waxing, facials, and spa pedicures — but the salon has added massage therapy and permanent hair removal using electrolysis. While beauty experts collaborate with clients to express their personal styles, Tim, the in-house artist, paints daily during business hours and offers a wide variety of fine art for sale. For more info, contact the Jouet Studio at 546-1060. …

… Now in its fifth year, the SLO County Child Care Planning Council is continuing its Reward Program, which provides cash stipends to child care providers in San Luis Obispo County who work at least 20 hours a week providing care to children ages 5 and under. Funded by Proposition 10, the tobacco tax, this program is designed to promote early childhood education among providers and to reward providers who continue to develop their education along the Child Development path. Eligibility is contingent upon completion of early-childhood education coursework and training. To receive a brochure and get on the mailing list, call Project Manager Lissa Lalonde at 782-7281.

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

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