The owners of Blondie's Grill in Escalon may be familiar to many Northern San Joaquin Valley folks as those behind the counter at Wallie's, the old-school drive-ins found in Tracy and Manteca.
But don't think you'll encounter the same menu at Blondie's, which opened nine months ago. Co-owner Dennis Pine said the goal is to provide something different all the time, with an upscale touch.
"We're trying to get some unique items, some things no one else has," Pine said. "Why should someone come to a place with a menu like Applebee's when they can just go to Applebee's?"
The push to be different will fully unfold over the next few weeks, with a revamped menu and theme nights during the week.
Diners on Monday nights will find more Mexican dishes, followed by Italian dishes on Tuesday. Wednesday will see entreés with a Western flavor, and Thursdays will be seafood night.
Other aspects of the menu will be constant every night, but upgraded. Regular items will include beef stroganoff, several types of burgers and chicken and dumplings, Pine said.
The push for distinctiveness even will extend to the beefed-up appetizer menu, with five different types of calamari, among other offerings.
If there's an accurate way to describe what Blondie's is and will be, Pine said, it's country cooking with some curveball touches.
One aspect will remain untouched: the restaurant's celebration of iconic American blondes, such as Marilyn Monroe.
Pine said he encourages patrons to bring their own photos of blondes from Escalon and other nearby cities to add to the restaurant's decor.
— Ben van der Meer