It’s goodbye beer monks, hello sleek skewers at the old St. Stan’s building in downtown Modesto.
After a year of planning and renovations, Skewers Kabob House has opened in its new location in the old St. Stan’s Brewery building at the corner of Ninth and L streets. The Mediterranean fine dining establishment first opened in 2003 at the corner of Ninth and J streets, two blocks away, in the site of the former long-running Lotus Chinese restaurant.
Last Friday, Skewers celebrated with a grand opening party that attracted hundreds and showed off the two-story building’s complete facelift. The interior has been fully redesigned and the exterior has been updated and modernized. Even the old clock, which hangs prominently on the front tower, is being repaired and should be running again by the end of the month.
Skewers owner Brad Morad said he and his partners, his father Jonathan Morad and manager Kristin O’Brien, felt it was time to own their property instead of leasing, so they bought the building for $1.4 million last spring. The new site is also nearly twice as large, at about 16,000 square feet, than their old place. They’ve also nearly doubled their capacity, from 200 in the old building to 390 in the new site.
“We’ve been around for 15 years and it was time for us to be our own landlords,” Brad Morad said. “And we fell in love with the building.”
But before they could begin work on the property — which had been vacant for more than two years — they took three months to remove all of the old St. Stan’s brewing equipment and machinery. They also decided to move the main dining area to the back of the restaurant and the bar to the front, the opposite of the layout used by St. Stan’s and the subsequent Hero’s Sports Lounge.
The result is a open, airy bar area that attaches to the front patio and a darker dining hall with 23-foot high ceilings in the back. The building also has an upstairs banquet room and a loft space with an upstairs patio. The decor throughout has modern Middle Eastern and Mediterranean accents, a far cry from the German-themed look from its St. Stan’s days (including the monk figurines that stood atop the bar) and the sports bar decor of Hero’s.
Almost everything in the restaurant is new — down to the floors, tables, chairs, light fixtures and decorations. A dramatic, long chandelier from Turkey greets diners as they come in to the entryway off L Street. Above the bar, O’Brien tiled one of the walls entirely with pennies. The other side has a decorative copper backdrop.
But don’t worry, one important thing has not changed — the menu. The menu filled with made-from-scratch kabobs and other entrees remains the same. O’Brien said they plan to expand the happy hour and bar menus in the near future.
“During the grand opening most of the customers asked, ‘You didn’t change the menu, did you?’ ” she said. “So don’t worry your favorites are there.”
Some of the most popular dishes include the Garlic Saffron Chicken Kabob (marinated chicken with a lemon, garlic sauce for $17.99) and Lula Kabob (a kabob made from Angus sirloin ground in house and infused with onions, herbs and spices for $13.99), which are both served with Basmati rice and grilled vegetables. Most of the recipes come from Jonathan Morad, whose family is Assyrian and lived in Iran.
But Skewers isn’t done improving the former St. Stan’s building yet. Brad Morad said phase two of the renovations, which will begin by the end of the year, will be to convert the old brewery space on the southwest side of the building. They plan to turn it into a large banquet hall that can seat another 180 people. They are also turning the old beer tasting room, just off the entrance, into a wine tasting room complete with its own patio.
Skewers Kabob House, at 821 L St., is open for lunch and dinner 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday. For more information call 209-525-3611 or visit www.skewerskabobhouse.com.