More than a year in the planning and construction stages, the latest entry into Modesto's downtown dining scene finally has opened its Firkin (& Fox) doors. Located in the old L.C. Black Building at 11th and I streets, the Canadian-based franchise occupies the anchor space in the newly renovated Courthouse Plaza.
Firkin & Fox, a pub-themed bar and restaurant combination, is owned by real estate agents and first-time restaurateurs Sharon LaPachet and Tammy Utz. Originally planned for the opposite corner of the building, which includes newly renovated office space, the pair switched sites within the structure when Dewz restaurant pulled out after occupying the space for about 10 years. LaPachet and Utz hope to take advantage of being across the street from the Stanislaus County Courthouse and kitty-corner from the Gallo Center for the Arts -- location, location, location.
The pub features dark wood accents and furnishings contrasted with white walls and red upholstery. There are tables and chairs as well as booths on the main floor and in the upstairs dining area. A separate dining space adjoining the bar also remains, but remade in Firkin & Fox décor. Besides using new furnishings and accents to create a pub atmosphere, the outlet features a pool table upstairs, video golf and, of course, darts. Several big-screen televisions are strategically placed throughout the building. The outside seating along 11th and I remains a popular feature of this location.
But it's the food and, just as important, the beer that the Firkin & Fox franchise believes will be the main attractions. The pub has
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16 beers on tap and 15 more in bottles, from Bass, Guinness and Coors to Smithwick's, Stella Artois and Butler's, which is made exclusively for the franchise. The full bar on the main floor also is well stocked with wine and liquor for those who want something other than the traditional pub choices --a pint and a pie.
That's right, Firkin & Fox serves up plenty of classic pub grub, including shepherd's pie (seasoned ground sirloin, peas and carrots, simmered in gravy and topped with mashed potatoes and veggies) and bangers, beans and mash (grilled pork sausages, sautéed onions, baked beans and mashed potatoes). There's a slew of appetizers, salads, sandwiches, burgers, pasta dishes and combo platters (pints and plates). Options include crab cakes, calamari, potato skins, Caesar or Greek salads, club sandwich, chicken wrap, eight-ounce Angus burger, seafood linguine and much more.
Besides the familiar pub fare and downtown location, the restaurant is run by someone with a familiar face. Tony Arnebeck, former owner of Sidelines sports bar and restaurant on McHenry Avenue in Modesto, is the general manager. Whether it's the pints, plates or pub atmosphere, this new entry into the downtown's crowded restaurant scene should be a Firkin (& Fox) good fit -- save me a seat in front of a big-screen TV and order me a Stella. Cheers! Hours are 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. seven days a week. For more information, call 575-2369 or go to www.firkinpubs.com.
Elsewhere on the Business Beat:
What is it: Remember When at 3012 McHenry Ave., Suites C and D, in Modesto. The nearest cross street is Rumble Road. Phone, 872-8682.
What it does: Remember When is an antiques, collectibles and gift shop. It offers vintage hats, jewelry, gloves, clothing, candles, garden accents and fountains, cottage décor, kitchen items, furniture and glassware. There are nearly 30 vendors to choose from.
Who runs it: Kerri Aguiar is the owner. Remember When has been open for three years. It moved from its Scenic Drive location in September 2006 and recently expanded to 2,400 square feet. Remember When is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday and Monday.What makes it special: Remember When will help customers find what they're looking for and has a large selection of items.
COMPILED BY JILLIAN HANKS,
BEE NEWSROOM ASSISTANT