The nice thing about new construction is it offers a built-in progress report. Are the walls up? Check. Have the windows been installed? Check. Does the front door work? Check.
Still, now that a trio of new from-the-ground-up developments in Modesto, Turlock and Ripon are nearing completion, it’s time for a more thorough progress report. They include the Modesto Grub Hubs food truck court, Ten Pin Fun Center in Turlock’s Monte Vista Crossings shopping complex and chef John Surla’s Fina restaurant in Ripon.
Work on the Modesto Grub Hubs site in downtown Modesto at the corner of Ninth and G streets continues. Owner Gregory Reed, president of Reed Properties and G&K Enterprises, said the once-vacant lot only has four spaces left to lease for food trucks out of its 17 total. They will include a variety of food choices from barbecue to Cajun, pupusas to kebabs and several Mexican options.
Reed expects the site to open in February. But he said all of the contracted trailers won’t be in until perhaps April, because some are still building out their food trucks now. Reed’s own restaurant venture, Fire and Desire Texas BBQ, will be in a separate trailer on site and is about a month away from completion.
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Framing has gone up for shade and shelter awnings, and a row of tables has been installed. Reed said they’re in the process of adding more lighting and a bocce ball court. The onsite restroom trailer has been completed and is awaiting inspection. Once completed, the site will be open 24 hours a day for diners.
Just down Highway 99, another high-profile development is taking shape before our eyes. Ten Pin Fun Center looms large off the Monte Vista exit, but the long-anticipated bowling alley and family entertainment center still isn’t ready for its close-up.
The massive structure on the north end of Countryside Drive has been beset by construction delays, and previously planned open dates — from spring 2018 to fall 2018 — have come and gone. Now the complex’s opening, which was last eyed at late January, is looking more like spring 2019.
According to representatives from Never Boring, the Modesto-based firm handling Ten Pin’s marketing, a job fair will be scheduled about four to six weeks before the opening date. Rod Scott, the developer behind the project, has previously said they plan to hire about 100 employees to staff the center. Once open, it will have 34 lanes of bowling, a two-story laser tag arena, an arcade, a virtual-reality roller coaster, an outdoor beer garden, banquet rooms and a full restaurant.
And finally, prolific valley chef John Surla is getting close to opening his newest restaurant, Fina, in Ripon.
Surla, who also owns and operates Surla’s in Modesto and Lola Bistro & Event Center in Hilmar, had hoped to have the new upscale Italian restaurant at the corner of Ripon and River roads open last November. But the project is now on pace to open by February or March.
Much of the exterior building work is done, and crews are now focusing on interior projects. Meanwhile, Surla has begun hiring for the Ripon eatery. Ads have been posted on Craigslist hiring for all positions — from chefs to waitstaff and management. Job seekers are invited to come into Surla’s, at 431 12th St., between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Tuesday to Friday to fill out an application and drop off resumes.
But before Fina opens, expect a joint venture between Surla and Aesthetic Dental Designs in downtown Modesto to debut. Surla is partnering with the owner of the dental office to open Cafe Kimi, a new coffee shop that will offer grab-and-go food. The food will be provided by Surla’s restaurant, and they’ll serve Peet’s Coffee & Tea. The cafe at the corner of H and 10th streets, across from the backside of the Gallo Center for the Arts, should open sometime in the next month.
Elsewhere on the Business Beat:
In refreshing “well, that was quick”-development news, Black Bear Diner opened on Monday in Turlock.
The all-day breakfast chain has filled the space left by Cool Hand Luke’s, which closed abruptly last year, on Tegner Road near Costco. Plans for the new Black Bear site were announced in October, and renovation work began.