Christmas came early for Gervasoni’s fans.
The beloved longtime Modesto eatery has reopened in its new location after a two-year hiatus and is ready for your appetites. After about a month of soft opening, mother-daughter co-owners Rosalie Clark and Serena Sisson have hung the welcome sign out at 5801 McHenry Ave.
While only about six miles north of its original downtown site, the new Gervasoni’s seems worlds away in its new rural setting. But once you step inside it feels at once familiar and fresh, and for good reason. Clark and Sisson have furnished the restaurant almost entirely using tables, booths, chairs, wall art and even dishware from the old Ninth Street site. Practically the only thing they didn’t take over with them was the ancient green carpeting.
And, just like the decor, the clientele seems to be back as well.
“It’s been very busy, we’ve been non-stop and we haven’t really even been open yet,” said Clark. The restaurant had opened its doors the day before Thanksgiving and been quietly serving on-and-off while staff gets trained. But people found out anyway and started showing up.
And now that they’re back, people are finding a menu filled with their favorites. Signature Gervasoni’s entrees like the rack of lamb and 20-ounce rib eye are back with the same recipes and as popular as ever, Clark said. More unique appetizer staples like the frogs legs and pigs feet have also returned, and are selling well. Other dishes like the the calamari steak and sole filet have been revamped with fresh produce and other ingredients.
Clark, who served as Gervasoni’s chef before purchasing the restaurant from its namesake owner Gary Gervasoni in 2012, said response has been enthusiastic, and then some.
“A man came in and ordered a filet. When he was done he asked who cooked it and I said I did and he said, ‘Oh my God, I love you,’” she said with a smile.
Sisson, who is running the front of the house and often behind the bar, thanked people for their patience — first during the two-year break after the restaurant closed in December 2015 because of the the ongoing Stanislaus County Courthouse project, and then because of the training sessions to work out the kinks with the 20-person staff.
First founded in 1975, the restaurant right off of the heart of downtown Modesto became a power lunch spot for judges, lawyers, police, farmers and businesspeople. In its new location they’re seeing a lot of familiar faces, but also new people from the north Modesto neighborhood, Escalon, Riverbank, Oakdale and beyond.
Gervasoni’s is open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday to Friday for lunch and 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday for dinner, bar open all day. Closed Sunday and Monday. For more information call 209-236-1075 or visit www.facebook.com/GervasonisRestaurant.
Elsewhere around the Business Beat:
Don’t be alarmed, but a Warhammer just dropped on Village One Plaza.
The new Modesto store is dedicated to players of the popular strategy tabletop game. Inside fans can play the game, paint miniatures, buy merchandise and generally socialize with other enthusiasts of the worldwide phenomena. The shop, in between the Subway and Mango Crazy restaurants, celebrated its opening on Saturday. The new Modesto site is one of 470 Warhammer stores worldwide with the next closest in Sacramento.
The Warhammer store is open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday to Thursday, 12 to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 12 to 6 p.m. Sunday at Village One Plaza, 3020 Floyd Ave., Suite 205. For more information call 209-552-2319.