Biz Beat

What’s going into Modesto’s old HomeTown Buffet building? More all-you-can eat fare

mrowland@modbee.com

The massive HomeTown Buffet building on Modesto’s Prescott Road, empty since the chain pulled out in February, will soon again have all-you-can-eat meals.

The Four Seasons Buffet has plans to move into the former national restaurant chain’s space. The locally owned Chinese food buffet has been situated across the street from the HomeTown Buffet for close to 20 years.

The HomeTown Buffet abruptly closed its doors in Modesto in late February. At the time, a spokeswoman for Ovation Brands, the national buffet chain’s parent company, said the site lost its lease and was forced to shutter. Two years earlier, the HomeTown Buffet in Merced was among 74 restaurants in the chain to close after it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The buffet’s locations in Turlock and Stockton remain open.

Modesto-raised owner Changhai Liu opened the Four Seasons Buffet in 2000. The buffet-style restaurant serves a variety of Chinese dishes. The move to the HomeTown Buffet building will double the eatery’s size and capacity.

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Marijke Rowland mrowland@modbee.com

Liu said his restaurant’s 10-year lease was up on his current building, and the increase for a new lease in his old spot was too high. So he took over the larger space and lease instead.

“I thought why not try a new location,” he said. “It’s bigger and better, I think.”

While his current menu is all Chinese food, Liu said in the new site he plans to add more and different kinds of items because of the larger space and buffet area. The Four Seasons Buffet is open for lunch and dinner daily. The buffet charges about $9 for lunch and $13 for dinner, and also offers take-out options. He has a staff of about six who will transfer over to the new location. He said he could hire more employees for the site, depending on business after the move.

The Four Seasons Buffet will be the latest incarnation for the large structure. The HomeTown Buffet had been in the building at the corner of Prescott Road and Plaza Parkway since 1994. Before that it was the banquet and reception facility Chateau de Ville for a decade and before that it housed the two-screen Cinema Theatre 1 and 2.

Find the Four Seasons Buffet at 1800 Prescott Road Suite C or call 209-527-0166.

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Marijke Rowland mrowland@modbee.com

Elsewhere on the Business Beat:

The Vintage Faire Mall is in the holiday spirit with new stores and more.

The north Modesto shopping complex has added two new retailers in time for the busy shopping season. The Beauty + Grooming Bar, located on the upper level next to the Macy’s men’s store, opened about a month ago. The salon offers full hairstyling services and carries professional hair care and grooming products for men and women. For more information, call 209-353-6033 or visit www.facebook.com/beautyandgroomingbar.

Also new to the mall is the kiosk UNTUCKit, located on the lower level at Center Court. The stand sells casual and dress shirts for men and women which are specifically designed to be wear untucked. For more information call 888-992-3102 or visit www.untuckit.com.

And finally, for those who just can’t stand searching around for a prime parking spot at the mall, the Front & Center Parking program has been extended through the holidays with a charitable twist.

A portion of the paid parking proceeds will be donated to Memorial Hospital Foundation. The “assisted valet” program is located at the entrance between Forever 21 and J.C. Penney, next to the Starbucks.

The program launched last August, to somewhat mixed reviews. The holiday program runs Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and costs $7 for all-day parking. Front & Center Parking participants will also receive exclusive deals to Vintage Faire Mall retailers. For more information visit www.shopvintagefairemall.com.

Marijke Rowland: 209-578-2284, @marijkerowland

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