Clayton's is dead, long live Jax on H.
Clayton's restaurant husband-and-wife owners Mitch and Tammy Maisetti are closing their downtown Modesto fine-dining restaurant this week to open a new comfort-food place in the same spot, 1016 H St., this fall.
The Maisettis partnered with Gretchen Peek of Clayton's Coffee & Tea to open the upscale eatery Clayton's in 2004. Peek has since left, and the Maisettis decided it was time to make a change.
Clayton's last day will be Saturday, and the restaurant will celebrate with a "wake" featuring food and live music. Modesto Area Music Association Award-winner Aaron Durr will play, and diners are encouraged to give fake eulogies.
"Don't bury me because I'm not dead yet," Mitch Maisetti joked. "This is the beginning of a continued success story for us."
The new restaurant is slated to open Oct. 1. It is named after the couple's teenage son, Jaxon, who is named after the Jackson Brewery (nicknamed Jax) in New Orleans, which is named after Andrew Jackson.
Tammy Maisetti said the restaurant will be casual American dining in a "fun, funky, relaxed atmosphere." Menu items will range from Salisbury steak to fried chicken, hamburgers and chicken pot pie.
The prices at Jax will be lower, with entrees averaging about $15 a plate instead of the $25 and up at Clayton's.
The couple still co-own Tresetti's in downtown Modesto, so they aren't abandoning fine dining. But they said a more moderately priced place helps everyone's pocketbook in this economy.
"I want to have a place where you can wear flip-flops and a T-shirt and bring your 3-year-old," he said. "They'll get something to color on, and you'll get a great burger and can relax, hear some music, watch the football game. There will be no airs about it."
Jax will still have a full-service bar, will add more live music and may feature comedy acts. While the Maisettis said they could have continued with Clayton's and the restaurant was in the black throughout its run, they said it was time to start anew.
"Like with any good book you read, the chapters end and we felt that way with Clayton's," Tammy Maisetti said. "It's time for a new book."
The Clayton's "wake" is Saturday evening with live music starting at 8.
Elsewhere around the Business Beat:
A new Prime Shine Express is going up at McHenry and Morris avenues in Modesto.
It's a familiar use for the site, having been the home of a Five Minute Car Wash for 21 years before it closed in 2004 and relocated across town. The property was cleared for development but has been vacant for several years.
The new Prime Shine is being built from the ground up on the empty lot and expected to be open by the end of the year.
Have an item for Business Beat? Contact Marijke Rowland at The Modesto Bee, P.O. Box 5256, Modesto 95352; 578-2284 or firstname.lastname@example.org.