Waffle lovers rejoice.
The Waffle Shop at 2400 Coffee Road in Modesto will reopen in about a month, according to owner Chuck Muhareb, who has owned the business for 15 years. It was Monty's Restaurant for many years before he purchased it.
Muhareb said the restaurant was due for a major remodeling, and closing it during construction was the only option because of the extensive work the space needed. Muhareb, who owns 14 Waffle Shops in Northern California, recently got an extension of his lease, which prompted him to move ahead with the remodeling project.
When construction work is done, Muhareb said, longtime customers won't recognize the space. He said it will get new walls, a new color scheme, new lighting, new furnishings and even a new ceiling. It's all designed to give the restaurant, a longtime favorite of the breakfast-and-lunch crowd, a bright, fresh dining atmosphere.
Despite all the cosmetic changes, Muhareb vows that one thing won't change -- the country-style cooking, big portions and menu favorites. Diners still will be able to choose from 14 kinds of waffles, full breakfast combo platters and an extensive lunch lineup: soups, salads, sandwiches, fried chicken and such. As always, that country-dining favorite, biscuits and gravy, will remain a Waffle Shop signature dish -- extra gravy, please.
Muhareb said he is sorry to inconvenience his loyal customers by closing during the renovation. But he's confident they'll all return when the Waffle Shop reopens and will appreciate the changes he's made. And it won't hurt if this classic valley coffee shop uses its updated appearance to attract a whole new audience -- introducing more folks to the joys of down-home cookin' and chowin' down.
Elsewhere on the Business Beat:
Used-car superstore CarMax is still coming to Modesto, but a few months later than originally planned.
A spokeswoman for the Richmond, Va.-based company said CarMax's McHenry Avenue store will open in March. The store, a 43,000-square-foot building on 9.6 acres, was supposed to open by late fall.
"We had some permitting delays we had to work through," said Trina Lee, a spokeswoman for CarMax. "That sometimes happens when we're opening in new areas where we haven't been before."
When it opens, the Modesto CarMax will have 350 to 500 used vehicles for sale on-site, and will employ about 120 people. Lee said the company will begin job postings for the center early next year.
The CarMax outlet is under construction on the northeast corner of Claratina and McHenry avenues in north Modesto.
Lee said the delay is not related to slower car sales, which dealerships in California have said they've experienced for much of 2007 and attribute in part to the slower housing market.
-- Ben van der Meer
Premier Valley Bank recently opened a new branch in Modesto. The Fresno-based financial institution now has eight branches in the San Joaquin Valley and central Sierra. The new Modesto office is at 300 Banner Court, in a business park off Bangs Avenue, just west of McHenry Avenue.
Premier offers the complete range of personal and business banking services: cash management, Internet banking, Internet check imaging, electronic fund transfers and direct deposit, business term loans, real estate loans, Small Business Administration loans, overdraft protection, credit cards, and business and personal checking and savings accounts.
The bank focuses on convenience and flexible banking services for its customers. It also is committed to building strong relationships with clients with its emphasis on customer service.
Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
For more information, call 523-4800 or go to www.premiervalleybank.com.
The cowboys and rural residents in and around Oakdale will have a new store to shop at this weekend.
Tractor Supply Co. will open its 10th outlet in California on Saturday. The store is at
1580 East F St. in Oakdale.
The 23,627-square-foot store sells farm and livestock supplies, clothes, tools, hardware and agricultural products. Tractor Supply, based in Brentwood, Tenn., is the largest retail farm and ranch supply store chain in the United States.
-- Ben van der Meer
Have an item for Business Beat? Send it to David W. Hill, Business Editor, The Modesto Bee, P.O. Box 5256, Modesto 95352; or firstname.lastname@example.org.