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Chalk your cues, bring your appetite

New pool hall, restaurant in St. James

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(From left) Star Wang, cook; Jennifer Merko, server; Alana Armstrong, owner; Victoria Newton, server; Penny Siemens, cashier; and Steve Beckman, kitchen manager at the newly opened Crazy 8 Billiards on Berry Street.

JORDAN THOMPSON Enlarge Image

(From left) Star Wang, cook; Jennifer Merko, server; Alana Armstrong, owner; Victoria Newton, server; Penny Siemens, cashier; and Steve Beckman, kitchen manager at the newly opened Crazy 8 Billiards on Berry Street. Photo Store

Looking for a place to play pool in the St. James area? This is your cue.

Crazy 8 Billiards has opened its doors in the St. James area. Alana Armstrong, owner of the new pool hall and restaurant which opened at 42-820 Berry St. on Dec. 6, combined her love of pool and food into a single business — which also happens to be her first one. Prior to this gig, Armstrong worked at the Bank of Montreal in the Fort Richmond area for 12 years.

"And I’ve worked in the restaurant industry besides that since I was 15, including management," Armstrong, a St. James resident, said. "I’ve helped open a Red Robin in Edmonton."

Armstrong also plays pool competitively in the Canadian Poolplayers Association. It made sense for her to meld the two things that make her happy into a single business for the next step in her professional life.

"It’s always been a dream of mine to have a restaurant that ties in my love of the game of pool and having that restaurant that I’ve always wanted," Armstrong said.

The reason she loves pool is because it’s a game that involves both skill and socialization — players can have a good time playing a game while enjoying the company of friends.

Armstrong said the opening weekend was a little quiet due to the cold snap, but surrounding businesses and residents have been waiting patiently to drop by Crazy 8 Billiards.

"In St. James, pool halls are few and far between," Armstrong said, also defining a pool hall as a place that has more than 10 pool tables. "The closest pool hall by us is probably almost 10 minutes away."

Armstrong also noted that Crazy 8 Billiards is open for lunch, and that there aren’t too many places to stop by for lunch in the area.

Inside Crazy 8 Billiards you’ll find 12 pool tables: four are coin-operated and eight are available for rental by the hour.

On the restaurant side of things, the menu consists of traditional lounge favourites, such as nachos and chicken wings.

"We’ve also done some extra work to beef up the sandwiches and wraps. We’ve got burgers and we’ve got pizza," Armstrong listed.

Something that surprised Armstrong was that the fish and chips has been popular with the customers.

"That was the last thing I thought would go," Armstrong said with a chuckle.

Crazy 8 Billiards is open at 11 a.m. from Monday to Saturday, and at noon on Sunday. From Sunday to Thursday, the pool hall is open until midnight, and on Friday and Saturday it’s open until 2 a.m. For more information, visit crazy8billiards.com or call 204-421-8424.

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