Biz Beat

East Modesto’s Uno Pizzeria & Grill closes, new restaurant planned in its place

See work on restaurant replacing Modesto’s closed Uno Pizzeria

Uno Pizzeria & Grill in east Modesto at the corner of Oakdale Road and Briggsmore Avenue has closed. A new restaurant from the same owners is planned their instead. It is slated to open in May 2019.
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Uno Pizzeria & Grill in east Modesto at the corner of Oakdale Road and Briggsmore Avenue has closed. A new restaurant from the same owners is planned their instead. It is slated to open in May 2019.

Deep dish has been deep sixed with the closure of Uno Pizzeria & Grill in east Modesto. But, fear not, a new restaurant is coming soon in its place.

Uno first opened at the corner of Oakdale Road and Briggsmore Avenue in 2007. The restaurant was part of the national chain which specializes in Chicago-style deep-dish pizza.

But while those big, buttery crusts may be gone, its owners are already working on a replacement to fill the space. Owner John Ismail, who with his business partner and brother Bobby also own the building, has been working on a new, independent restaurant to open in the same spot in May.

Called Wildfire Public House, the eatery will serve casual and more upscale fare, with many shareable plates and an emphasis on gathering. The menu includes everything from burgers to filet mignon and even some flatbreads — but no deep dish pies. The former rounded reception that greeted guests at Uno will be turned into a wine room that can be rented for events.

Uno closed Sunday, with announcements posted on its Twitter page thanking its customers and teasing the new Wildfire restaurant. Work has already begun on the new restaurant, with all of the old Uno decor and signs being taken out.

Ismail said it wasn’t that the Uno concept wasn’t working in the area anymore, but they wanted a change and to bring something new to the city.

“We had a great run, we had Uno for 12 years, and now it’s time for a refresh,” he said.

In 2013, the brothers briefly opened a second Uno Pizzeria & Grill near the Vintage Faire Mall on Dale Road which closed two years later. The Oakdale Road location was one of the only full-service, sit-down national restaurant chains to have a presence on the east side of Modesto.

Ismail said most of the restaurant’s 60 staff will continue on with the new Wildfire Public House, and he plans to hire more positions as well. The restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner, with some later evening hours as well.

The brothers have been working on the new concept for about a year. The restaurant’s entrance will be moved to the back, opening onto the parking lot which faces Funsport Bikes. The current entrance which looks over the Oakdale/Briggsmore intersection will be turned into a walled patio with fire pit. The new interior and exterior decor will be fire themed.

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Marijke Rowland writes about new business, restaurant and retail developments. She has been with The Modesto Bee since 1997 covering a variety of topics including arts and entertainment. Her Business Beat column runs midweek and Sundays. And it’s pronounced Mar-eye-ke.


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