Biz Beat

Turlock feeling bearish about new restaurants, developments on Monte Vista corridor

Sure it’s fall, but things are springing up all over in Turlock’s popular Monte Vista Avenue shopping corridor.

The bustling retail area will soon have three brand-new-to-Turlock chain restaurants. And work continues on the massive Ten Pin Fun Center.

Just announced is the arrival of Black Bear Diner, a well-known western chain of breakfast restaurants. Known for its all-day breakfast menu, the diner will move into the old Cool Hand Luke’s location on Tegner Road near Costco. The Cool Hand Luke’s in Turlock closed abruptly this past May after operating for more than a decade in that location. The Black Bear Diner is expected to open in January 2019, according to Jolisa Johnson, the vice president of marketing and communications for the company. It will be Turlock’s first Black Bear Diner.

Nearby in the Monte Vista Crossings shopping center, the previously announced Wienerschnitzel has opened on the southwest end of the complex, next to the Petco and across from Habit Burger on Countryside Drive. This is the hot dog chain’s first location in Turlock, and it was already busy with diners dropping in to grab a corn dog or some chili fries during its grand opening week. The new, free-standing construction includes a drive-thru and indoor seating area. The building also has two additional spaces for other retailers which are not yet occupied.

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Marijke Rowland

Across from the new Wienerschnitzel, ground has been broken on the new Turlock Corners Retail Plaza. The new complex at the corner of Countryside Drive and West Tuolumne Road will have a Farmer Boy’s and Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, as well as another as-yet-determined retailer.

On Monte Vista Avenue, the also previously announced Ike’s Love & Sandwiches is moving along. A big decal featuring the chain’s eponymous owner Ike Shehadeh has gone up on the window and inside you can see equipment, tables and more signs for the sandwich shop. The Bay Area-based shops have gained a cult following for their loaded sandwiches and unusual combinations. The new Ike’s in Turlock is going into the former spot that housed Freebirds World Burrito.

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Marijke Rowland

Modesto also has its own Ike’s (also in an old Freebirds site) coming at the corner of Briggmore and McHenry avenues. The Turlock Ike’s is expected to open in about a month to a month and a half and the Modesto site should follow shortly after that.

And, finally, work on the Ten Pin Fun Center on the north end of Countryside Drive continues. Developer Rod Scott had hoped to open in September. But work continues on both the outside and inside of the building. So now it is estimated the massive family entertainment center — which will include bowling lanes, laser tag, arcade, full restaurant and more — will open by the end of January.

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Marijke Rowland

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Elsewhere on the Business Beat:

It’s clearly amore for Modesto and Strings Italian Cafe.

Several readers have written and called me since the northeast Modesto restaurant closed for remodeling in early August. The restaurant, which first opened in The Lakes Shopping Center on Oakdale Road in 1992, promised it would reopen a month later in early September. Then a sign was posted moving the reopen date to Sept. 28. But when that date passed you all started to really worry.

But fear not, according to longtime owner Bill Yassin, Strings will reopen better than ever. I popped my head into the spot earlier this week and it was filled with the sound of saws and smell of paint. Yassin said the whole restaurant is getting updated and refreshed. He hopes to reopen by the end of this week.

The unexpected closure of the Strings Italian Cafe on Geer Road in Turlock earlier this summer no doubt had people worried. But that Strings had a different owner, Yassin assures. Instead he plans to update the Italian eatery, which was once one of the go-to prom and date-night places in town....

And finally, the mystery of what would go into the old Smart & Final space on Ninth Street in downtown Modesto has been solved.

A large sign for the discount chain Family Dollar has gone up on the building next to Taco Bell. This will be the fifth Family Dollar store in the city. The national chain has other existing locations on Coffee Road, Yosemite Boulevard, Paradise Road and Crows Landing Road.

Marijke Rowland: 209-578-2284, @marijkerowland