James West, previous owner of Westy's, which started out as an antique store but was converted, over time, into a restaurant-bar, sold his establishment at 1029 Rosecrans St. recently to Nancy Qu.
Qu is a first-time restaurateur who has plans to morph the space into Shanghai Bun, a new Asian-style eatery joining Vietnamese bistro Seaside Pho & Grill down the street.
A Chinese native born near Shanghai who went to grad school in the States, Qu worked previously in marketing in the corporate world pointing out, “I've always wanted to own a small business.
“I felt like this (location) is a good fit,” Qu said. “I live close by and wanted to bring good Chinese food here so people wouldn't have to drive so far.”
When Westy's came on the market, Qu saw that as her opportunity to start a local Chinese eatery.
“I thought it would be a good addition to the neighborhood,” she said, adding it also fulfilled “my dream of owning a business.”
West said he had personal issues he was dealing with, noting it was time to sell.
“It was a great experience for my second business,” he said of Westy's, adding he may not be done as a Peninsula entrepreneur.
“I've got an idea for starting my next project, a third business, once escrow closes and the liquor license is transferred to their (Qu's) name,” West said. He added, “It's been a pretty good year for small-business.”
Steve Sharp with First Choice Business Brokers of San Diego, who represented the property at 1029 Rosecrans, noted it's 2,122 square feet in size with an option to renew, and comes with a transferable 47 liquor license.
“When you buy a business with a liquor license, you have to go through an involved process with Alcohol Beverage Control that involves background checks,” Sharp said. “That liquor license, by itself alone, is probably worth about $75,000.”
Qu said she's spent the past couple months remodeling Westy's. She expects to open “sometime this spring, possibly early February.”
Her business concept is to sell Chinese tapas, small plates, which is most commonly associated with Spanish dishes, which Qu said she became familiar with during a Mediterranean cruise.
“I wanted to explore the idea of having Chinese- or Asian-style tapas, like dim sum.” she said noting that, with tapas, “you don't have gigantic proportions, but you get to have different varieties.”
Qu described her new décor as “gastropub.”
“It's going to be a neighborhood bar that people can hang out in and get some good food, and also have a good time,” she said. “What I'm trying to do is more of a rustic style. I want to be super modern, but preserve the neighborhood look Westy's had.”
The fledgling restaurateur said her new eatery will be “old meets new with a refreshing look for today's tastes.”
She added she intends to keep Westy's wrap-around bar, while modifying the layout of the retail space.
Qu chose Shanghai bun with a nod toward her birthplace and the bund, a landmark on the Yangtze River, and also because the name suggests what the restaurant is intended to be, a family and community place.
Qu concluded she's “really excited about Shanghai Bun,” noting she hopes to satisfy the palates of Peninsulans as well as their guests.
“I'm certainly hopeful I will deliver and meet their expectations, and that people will come out and try our menu.”
What: Formerly Westy's Bar & Grill.
Where: 1029 Rosecrans St.
Cuisine: Chinese small-plate tapas.
Hours: 10 a.m. to midnight daily.
Debut: February opening planned.