COSTA MESA — To Costa Mesa native Dan Bradley, it wasn't a question of if he would open Memphis Café, but when.
A UCLA graduate and former club promoter, Bradley, 44, knew he wanted to open the restaurant in his hometown.
A marketing executive at Le Meridien Hotel in Newport Beach — now the Fairmont — Bradley exchanged the suit and tie for a chance to work at a favorite eatery: the Renaissance Café.
Bradley felt he could learn from the popular café. Now closed, it had locations in Brea, Laguna Beach and Dana Point. While there, he met Diego Velasco and Andy Christenson, his future business partners.
"It wasn't until I met them that I was like, 'I really have to have these guys,'" Bradley said. "It couldn't have been anyone. It had to be them."
During late nights of shooting pool, they hatched plans about their future businesses.