Biz Beat

Downtown bakery, like the bread it makes, can’t be rushed. But now both are ready

People pass Cobblestone Bakery on 11th Street Tuesday (06-27-17) in downtown Modesto, Calif. The bakery is expected to open on July 11th.
People pass Cobblestone Bakery on 11th Street Tuesday (06-27-17) in downtown Modesto, Calif. The bakery is expected to open on July 11th. jlee@modbee.com

Is it open yet? Is it open yet? Is it open...almost.

The new Cobblestone Bakery in downtown Modesto has been on the verge of opening its doors before, but this time owner Gerit Sand has a date set and menu ready. The 11th Street bakery and restaurant was close to going live last summer, but then Sand decided he wanted to do more renovations and improvements on the space. In the past the site has housed a Mongolian grill and sandwich shop. Over the past year Sand has put in new floors, renovated the bathrooms, ordered all new tables and chairs and installed a large sidewalk patio.

While talking with Sand, a curious and probably hungry would-be customer popped in to inquire if it was open yet. And now there is officially a date to give folks: July 11, the Tuesday after the Fourth of July.

The Turlock native and current Oakdale resident has been operating his commercial bread and pastry business of out the spot’s large industrial kitchen since he took over the property about three years ago. For the past eight years he has sold his baked goods at some 30 farmers markets and businesses across the Bay Area and Central Valley as well as running two other storefronts — one in Riverbank and another in north Modesto.

But the downtown Modesto location, with a capacity of about 250 inside and out, is his largest facility to date. He said the decision to hold off on the opening last summer was so he could create the “upscale artisan bakery” feel he was going for.

“I didn’t want to just open granny’s kitchen and say, ‘Come on in,’ ” he said inside his spacious dining area with large close-up photos of cookies, breads and pastries adorning the walls. “People don’t always see the work that goes on under the veil.”

Three large glass refrigerated cases sit at the back of the dining area along the customer counter. All that’s seemingly left to do is fill them with food.

And what food Sand promises. On the menu daily he plans to have 10 different paninis, 10 different salads, 10 different soups as well as deli sandwiches, pasta salads and more. Expect dishes like like chipotle lobster bisque, spinach Asiago chicken salad and roasted red pepper turkey paninis.

The bakery and deli will also feature a large assortment from the some 45 different varieties of breads, pies, scones, cupcakes, cheesecakes, cannoli and other pastries Cobblestone makes daily. By August Sands said he hopes to have his beer and wine permit approved and start serving that on site as well.

“I felt there was a need for a bakery in downtown Modesto. A bakery on this level with the variety I have is going to be huge,” he said. “I’m just excited by the opportunity for more growth.”

Cobblestone Bakery at 938 11th St., Modesto will be open 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Saturday. Sand is in the final process of hiring his 20-person staff which will be led by manager Sean Kirkland, who was the kitchen supervisor for the Modesto Gospel Mission. For more information call 209-522-2253 (that’s 522-BAKE because of course it is) or visit www.cobblestonebakeries.com.

Elsewhere around the Business Beat:

Modesto is getting its first Farmer Boys restaurant.

The fast-casual chain based out of Riverside specializes in “breakfast, burgers & more.” The restaurant already has locations in Riverbank in the Crossroads Shopping Center and Ceres on Mitchell Road. The Riverside corporate office confirmed that a Farmer Boys is coming to Prescott Road. City of Modesto commercial project records show it will go in the site of the old Teriyaki King at 1701 Prescott Road.

The Teriyaki King is still open, but will close in July. The Asian food spot, which has three other locations in the city, plans to move to a new site but it has not been determined yet. An official open date for the new Modesto Farmer Boys has not been set by the corporate office, though a call to its Modesto business number revealed a tentative September opening....

And finally, one fast food door closes, another one opens. That’s the way the saying goes, right? Well, it is in America.

The former Popeyes chicken at 409 Paradise Road in Modesto is making way for a new McDonald’s with a drive-thru. The fried chicken chain closed its Paradise location in 2014, and it has since remained empty. Work now appears to be underway on the McDonald’s. The Popeyes building has been torn down and the remaining dirt lot has fencing around it.

But don’t fear, Modesto Popeyes fans, a new restaurant is still in the works at Briggsmore and Orangeburg avenues in front of the FoodMaxx. Popeyes already has existing area locations on Coffee and Hatch roads. Though the old auto machanics shop on the new site is still standing, so it might take a little while to get your chicken fix there.

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