Biz Beat

Toll House cookies at the mall, storage in Oakdale and a Realtor’s Super Bowl party

A Nestlé Toll House Café by Chip is under construction at Vintage Faire Mall in Modesto on Friday.
A Nestlé Toll House Café by Chip is under construction at Vintage Faire Mall in Modesto on Friday.

What started as a mistake turned into an iconic cookie and now a chain of restaurants offering the same. And one is coming to Modesto’s Vintage Faire Mall.

According to lore, Ruth Graves Wakefield invented the Nestlé Toll House chocolate chip cookie in 1930. Wakefield, a dietitian and food lecturer, had by that time purchased an inn called the Toll House with her husband, Kenneth.

One day, while trying to bake a batch of cookies for some of her guests, Wakefield used chunks of chocolate, expecting it to melt. It didn’t, and the now-famous cookie was born. (The truth of this story is somewhat in doubt, as Wakefield’s Wikipedia entry says she did it on purpose. But the accident story is way more fun).

Now, Nestlé Toll House has branched into the restaurant business, and franchisees have opened Nestlé Toll House Café by Chip spots around the country. According to a spokeswoman for Nestlé franchisor Crest Foods Inc., Mohammad Bhuiyan will be opening the Modesto location.

Construction was well underway last week at the site, which is in the former location of Gloria Jean’s coffeehouse on the second floor next to Macy’s. I haven’t reached Bhuiyan for details about the opening, but will share them when I have them.

The online menu at lists an assortment of coffees, smoothies, sandwiches and more. Oh, and there are cookies. And cookie cakes. And brownies. And something called cookie cups that look downright decadent.

Elsewhere around the Business Beat: Folks in Oakdale have a new spot to store their stuff. Secure Storage Unit, a Modesto-based company, recently announced the opening of a 54-unit self storage complex.

According to a news release, Secure Unit specializes in high tech security to keep their customers’ personal and business property secure and available at all times. “Everybody at Secure Storage is excited for this expansion and looks forward to growing with the city of Oakdale,” Robert Chamberlin, co-founder and CEO of Secure Storage Units, said in the release.

The new location is at 450 S. Fourth St. Call 209-499-6010 or go to

▪ And finally, if you bought or sold a home through Homelink Real Estate owner John Altstatt, he wants to invite you to a party. Altstatt is holding a client appreciation celebration Feb. 5 – Super Bowl Sunday.

In a news release, Altstatt, who opened Homelink Real Estate 13 years ago, said he loves his job: “Every day I get a chance to help people make one of the biggest decisions of their lives – a decision about their homes. They are buying, selling, downsizing, upgrading, refinancing, or securing a loan.” The party is set for 2:30 p.m. at the Ripon Community Center, 334 W. Fourth St. For more information, call 209-545- 5600.