Biz Beat

Mall and downtown developments: New places to eat, learn, get dressed in Modesto

A new business ABC Mouse, a kiosk, is pictured on Friday morning (05-05-17) at Vintage Faire Mall in Modesto, Calif.
A new business ABC Mouse, a kiosk, is pictured on Friday morning (05-05-17) at Vintage Faire Mall in Modesto, Calif.

When you think of online learning, you immediately think of a shopping mall, right? Yeah, not so much.

But for the folks at ABC Mouse, malls are a great place to reach people. They recently opened a kiosk at Vintage Faire Mall in Modesto. It’s one of two new shops to open recently.

ABC Mouse is an online program designed to help young children prepare for school. According to Zac Katz, senior vice president for parent company Age of Learning, the company has done well reaching families online. Being in malls allows them to reach people who aren’t so computer literate.

“A lot of families go to the mall,” he said. “We are able to give parents a chance to explore ABC Mouse with their children.”

If it’s something that interests them, they can sign up right there at the kiosk.

The other new shop in the mall is Cozy Fox. Dani Olsen, an assistant marketing manager for mall owner Macerich, describes the store as offering “juniors fast-casual fashion catering to young adults.” The store is located on the mall’s second floor near Sears, in the former site of Wet Seal.

Elsewhere around the Business Beat:

Hope you’re hungry: three restaurants we have written about recently have opened.

Bayou Bar and Grill is up and running on 13th Street in downtown Modesto. As I wrote in January, attorney Mark S. Nelson took over the former site of Vito’s restaurant with an eye toward offering the area a Cajun restaurant. People who have been there already recommend the shrimp po’ boy and the oysters on the half-shell. One review on Yelp offered up a nice, if backhanded, compliment: “The place doesn't look like it belongs here in Modesto. Great ambiance, well designed space and well trained staff.”

The other two new restaurants were recently featured by my colleague Marijke Rowland in an update on the spots Food Network star Guy Fieri visited here in Modesto last year. All three — Commonwealth, Bauer’s 66 1/2 and Food Fix — have expanded their offerings, with the first two actually opening new spots.

Just around the corner from Bayou, Churchkey has opened and is serving up a variety of beers, pizzas, sandwiches and more. One of my former colleagues gave two thumbs up to the muffuletta sandwich, with ham, mortadella, soppressata, mozzarella, provolone and something called olive salad, which sounds fabulous. The 12th Street restaurant is operated by the same folks who run Commonwealth on 11th Street.

Finally, Tye Bauer of the eponymous McHenry Village restaurant recently opened Bauhaus Tapas Lounge at Downey Avenue and Scenic Drive. The restaurant features tapas and cured, smoked meats and pickled local vegetables. A variety of savory pastries and house-made ceviche also are offered.

Two observations: I am getting hungry just writing about these places. And with the additions of these restaurants to an already bustling culinary scene, I have to disagree with the Yelper: a lot of nifty places are belonging right here in Modesto.