Downtown Modesto is getting its first Indian restaurant in more than a dozen years.
The new Monsoon Restaurant is currently under renovation in a long-vacant 10th Street location between the Subway and Palladium Nightclub. The establishment will serve lunch and dinner, plus have a 300-person capacity banquet hall.
The man behind the project is veteran restauranteur Gurinder “Benny” Singh, who has had eateries in the Bay Area and Lathrop for the past 20 years. Monsoon would be his first Modesto business. Singh said he saw a need for a quality Indian restaurant in the area. The last Indian food establishment downtown was India Oven, which closed in the early 2000s. He also saw an opportunity to engage the region’s large Indian community through the banquet hall.
“I’m very excited to bring this to Modesto,” Singh said. “For large Indian weddings there is nothing here that can host them like this. But it’s also open for everyone.”
Singh started in the food business as a dishwasher and then moved up to cook before owning his own restaurants. He has worked in Australia, Switzerland and India over his career. His most recent venture was the Rasoi Indian Kitchen in Lathrop, which he has since sold. Now based out of Manteca, he said he wanted to bring both traditional and non-traditional Indian cuisine to the region.
He plans to offer a lunch buffet and full dinner service daily. His menu will include popular staples like tikka masala and butter chicken. But he also plans to serve beef dishes, which is less common in Indian cooking because of the cow’s sacred status in the Hindu religion. Other unexpected dishes include pork ribs and grilled steak.
The 8,000-square-foot restaurant has two commercial kitchens thanks to its combination of two vacant units — the restaurant will be in the space of the short-lived bar and grill the Station on 10th, which shuttered in 2012, and the banquet hall will be in a now-closed portion of the Palladium Nightclub. The banquet hall area will have chandeliers hanging from its high ceilings and a dance floor. But his business won’t be confined by its walls – he plans to offer street weddings and has already talked with the city about permitting such events.
Singh said he hopes to have all the work completed at the 950 10th St. space in about a month and be ready to open shortly after.
During the renovation process they’ve unearthed some of the building’s long history. Above one doorway a painted sign read: “Assemblyman Gary A. Condit.” After serving as a California assemblyman for much of the 1980s, the Ceres politician went on the serve 14 years in the U.S. House of Representatives. But, as you no doubt vividly remember, his career was derailed when he became embroiled in a scandal over the disappearance and murder of Modesto-raised D.C. intern Chandra Levy.
The new restaurant joins a growing list of developments on the 10th Street block between I and J streets which has been plagued with vacancies over the years. Earlier this month the cinnamon roll bakery Krazy Rolls opened at 907 10th St. and work is underway a few doors down on a large, four-story health and wellness studio called Liv Centers in the old Central Stamp & Coin Co. site.
Follow Monsoon Restaurant’s progress on its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/monsoonmodesto.
Elsewhere around the Business Beat:
Torn between watching the big game and getting a haircut?
Modesto’s new SportClips Haircuts has solved that problem for you. The barbershop has big-screen televisions tuned to sports at every station, so you don’t have to miss a minute of the action while keeping your look fresh. The salon opened earlier this week on north McHenry Avenue in the Walmart shopping center. The shop is part of a national franchise that caters to, you guessed it, sports fans.
In addition to the individual 42-inch flatscreens, the waiting room has a 75-inch screen playing sports. But the TV’s aren’t the only pampering customers can receive. SportsClips offers an MVP upgrade that includes the haircut, shampoo, hot towel and a neck and shoulder massage. The Modesto store, which has 14-employees, was opened by mother-daughter team Kari and Marvel Hasbun. And, don’t worry ladies, in case you’re feeling left out they do cut women’s hair as well.