Biz Beat

Long John Starbucks; new restaurant in Modesto; and Raley’s cuts water, energy usage

The Twisted Pig Bar and Grill recently opened on Coffee Road in Modesto.
The Twisted Pig Bar and Grill recently opened on Coffee Road in Modesto.

Well, that was fast.

No sooner had the Long John Silver’s closed on McHenry Avenue – after more than 30 years in business – than demolition work started on the building.

Workers from Central Valley Demolition started gutting the building early last week, even as representatives of the fast-food fish restaurant finished up removing equipment.

Several folks, including neighbor Yesterday’s Books in a Facebook post, said the new business will be a Starbucks. When I stopped by on Friday, I noticed the logo on some plans that were at the site. I understand it is set to open in May, which is an impressive turnaround time.

So that’s another new Starbucks, in addition to the one that’s under construction inside the nearby Target, and the one that adjoins Barnes and Noble Booksellers across Standiford Avenue. And, of course, the rest of the coffee giant’s outlets that dot our landscape.

It’s easy to say they’re becoming too prevalent. Still, coffee and used books make a pretty enticing combination – I can’t think of a better way to spend a few hours.

ELSEWHERE AROUND THE BUSINESS BEAT: I have mentioned before how great it is when people call me with tips. It’s even more fun when the voice on the other end of the line belongs to someone who used to work here.

That happened a few days ago, when one of our former editors, Dave Peterson, called to tell me about the Twisted Pig Bar and Grill. That’s a new restaurant that recently opened at 2717 Coffee Road, near the intersection with Rumble Road.

Randall Rocha, co-owner of The Tap Room, is proprietor of the Twisted Pig. I haven’t been able to reach Rocha for details, but according to the restaurant’s Facebook page it features everything from fish tacos to fondue. Several of my friends have eaten there and enjoyed it.

That also was the case for “Pete” – as we called him around these parts – and his lovely wife, Carol. And, as Pete is one of the best cooks I have ever known, it must be really good. The restaurant has a nice enclosed outdoor patio that, in addition to tables and chairs, houses a pretty impressive-looking smoker.

I will meet you guys there, Pete. Unless, of course, you’d rather invite me over and cook for me ...

▪ It’s no secret that as spring started last week, it appeared we just about skipped winter. As the state endures the fourth year of a drought, Raley’s supermarkets announced it is implementing a new cleaning and sanitation system that will save labor and energy as well as water.

According to a news release, the food safety program will save roughly 4 million gallons of water, reduce energy consumption by 7.5 million kilowatt-hours, save 100 tons in shipping, and reduce labor by more 23,000 hours a year. The grocery chain started implementing the system at the end of 2014; it will be rolled out in all stores by the end of April.

The system, by Ecolab, makes use of no-rinse floor and drain cleaner; power foam; and no-rinse cleaner/sanitizer.

“Ensuring that we provide our customers the cleanest and safest shopping experience possible is critical to what we do at Raley’s,” Toni Hofer, Raley’s senior manager of food safety, quality assurance and retail compliance, said in the release. “Ecolab’s new program helps make cleaning easier and faster for our team members, which not only translates into saving on labor and utilities, but also ensures we have as much time as possible throughout the day to focus on what’s most important – serving our customers in the safest way possible.”

Have an item for Business Beat? Breaking News Editor Patty Guerra can be reached at or (209) 578-2343. Follow her on Twitter @PattyGuerra.