Biz Beat

What’s going down and coming up at the Vintage Faire Mall? Soon bread and games

The old Elephant Bar has been demolished to make way for a new Panera Bread on Dale Road at the Vintage Faire Mall.
The old Elephant Bar has been demolished to make way for a new Panera Bread on Dale Road at the Vintage Faire Mall.

Panera is one step closer to breaking bread at its new Vintage Faire Mall location.

The national bakery and cafe chain announced plans earlier this year to open a second Modesto location, taking over the space that formerly housed the Elephant Bar on Dale Road. Demolition recently was completed on the old restaurant building, which has been vacant since the national chain closed the doors on its north Modesto site in 2014.

Vintage Faire Mall Marketing Manager Annie Amies said the company is expected to break ground on the new spot shortly and then construction will begin on the new structure. The project is slated to open in early 2018.

Panera first came to Modesto in 2015, opening at the corner of McHenry and Bowen avenues in the same shopping center as Burlington Coat Factory. The new Vintage Faire Mall Panera also will be a standalone building much like its McHenry Avenue counterpart.

But the upcoming Panera Bread and previously announced Buckhorn Grill California BBQ, aren’t the only new things coming to Vintage Faire in the near future. A new video gaming lounge is set to open as soon as next month inside the mall.

The new spot is part of the PLAYlive Nation chain, which has locations across the country. The business will be on the mall’s upper level, next door to Payless Shoesource and near the J.C. Penney.

Bay Area residents Sangha Bandi and Lakshmi Gunna are opening the franchise. The family friends work in the IT field and wanted to branch out into another business together said Arjun Dubbaka, Bandi’s husband.

Their PLAYlive Nation lounge will have about 25 Xbox stations where people can play online with friends and people from all over. Dubbaka said the lounge will have multiplayer online games like World of Warcraft, Overwatch, Minecraft, Halo, Star Wars, NBA, NFL, FIFA and others loaded for people to play. The all-ages, family friendly players lounge will not stock adult-only games. Dubbaka said they also will have card and strategy games like Magic the Gathering and Warhammer on hand.

The Xbox stations can be rented by the hour or people can purchase memberships to the lounge. The space also will be available for private events and parties.

Dubbaka said they hope to have the new PLAYlive Nation in Vintage Faire Mall open by the first week of November. For more information visit

Elsewhere around the Business Beat:

Folks planning kitchen, bathroom or other home remodeling projects have a new place to find stone slabs.

Pacific Shore Stones opened its new 16,000 square-foot showroom and warehouse over the summer. The national company has 18 locations, including other California stores in Fresno and Los Angeles. The new business is on Modesto’s border with Ceres and carries around 1,000 slabs of granite, quartz, marble and other premium surfaces, backsplashes and flooring.

The showroom is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at 1994 Rockefeller Drive in Ceres. For more information call 209-538-7522 or visit