Biz Beat: Stop in at the 76 gas station for a Pancho Villa, gourmet cupcake

09/28/2013 5:26 PM

09/29/2013 6:53 AM

A few years back, we spotted a national story about eateries inside gasoline stations and decided to see if there were any around here. As I recall, the only restaurant/station in our area at that time was La Salsa Fresh Taqueria inside the Shell station on Oakdale Road.

Well, there’s a new deli in town, and it’s inside the 76 station on Ninth Street in downtown Modesto. A few people tipped me off to Gourmet Fresh Deli-Licious, and last week I went down to check out the place.

From the outside, it looks like a pretty typical gas station/minimart. But step inside and you immediately notice a cute counter setup with several bistro tables and stools. Aurelia Garcia opened the deli in June, after spending 19 years working for another deli.

Garcia said the location, while unusual, worked out well – it is central and the rent is reasonable. She runs the deli with daughter Luz Gutierrez.

“My daughter is the hardest little worker I have ever known,” Garcia said. “I didn’t know what a hard worker she was until we opened this place.”

For her part, Gutierrez said she wasn’t nervous about working with her mom.

“We’ve always gotten along great,” she said.

The deli serves salads and sandwiches, with the most popular named Pancho Villa. It’s a fiery sandwich made with chicken, pepper cheese, jalapeño sauce and optional more jalapeños on sourdough. I tried the Pancho Villa; turns out the Mexican revolutionary is quite tasty.

Gutierrez, a self-taught baker, handles that part of the business, making cupcakes in flavors ranging from churro to tequila shot. That has led to people topping off their gas tank and then wanting to have their fill of pumpkin pie cupcakes – or the flavor of the day – in the morning.

The mother-daughter duo also handles catering orders for sandwiches, salads and baked goods.

Find Gourmet Fresh Deli-Licious at 1432 N. Ninth St. The deli is open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays and from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays. For more information, call (209)524-3354.

Elsewhere around the Business Beat

I mentioned before how much more fun it is to write about businesses opening than businesses closing. Also really fun is writing about local businesses that are expanding, and a Modesto salon is doing that in a big way.

Panache Salon, owned by Lisa and Craig Jamison, has moved into a new location in the same Tully Road shopping center after 10 years in business.

“We’re going from doing hair and nails to a full-service salon,” Lisa Jamison said. The new space is 3,600 square feet, up from 1,500. Twenty-five people will work there, up from 10. New services include facials, tanning, electrolysis and massage. So you could walk out of Panache looking and feeling entirely better than when you walked in.

Jamison said clients had for years been requesting a variety of services, and she’s excited to offer them in a new upscale setting.

Panache opens in its new location at 3430 Tully Road, Suite 18, on Tuesday morning. Call (209)577-6013.

Another Modesto business on the move is Absolutely Gorgeous Jewelry & Gift Boutique. Helen Sturdivan needed bigger digs for her shop, at Oakdale Road and Sylvan Avenue.

The boutique carries jewelry, hats, accessories, baby items, books, games, home décor, and antique and retro furniture. “We have a little bit of everything,” she said.

“We went from 1,200 square feet to 2,500,” Sturdivan said. The only downside of the move is that the location is a bit confusing. The address is on Oakdale Road (3460), but the shop faces Sylvan. “We’re right next to the post office,” she said.

A grand-opening celebration is set from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday. Contact Sturdivan at (209)404-9483.

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