Biz Beat

Third time is the downtown charm for Modesto chef behind Bauer’s with new restaurant

Well, file this under, “Wow, that was fast — and potentially delicious.”

Modesto chef and restaurateur Tye Bauer has snapped up the space of short-lived downtown barbecue joint The Burnt End to open his third site in the city. It took Bauer, who owns and operates Bauer’s 66 1/2 Skillet & Grill in the McHenry Village and Bauhaus Tapas Lounge on Downey Avenue and Scenic Drive, less than a month to secure the spot, which closed abruptly at the end of July.

The well-known valley chef plans to open his first downtown location in the space, the new Bauer’s Downtown Gastropub. Thanks to the extensive work The Burnt End owners did on the interior, Bauer said he wants to have a soft opening in mid-October, with a grand opening slated for about a month later in November.

The building, on Ninth Street across from the Taco Bell and Modesto Arch, has offices on its second floor with the restaurant taking up the ground level. It’s had a colorful past as a series of dive bars and a bánh mì sandwich shop before being converted to The Burnt End last fall.

Bauer said they plan to do some remodeling and redesigning inside, but will use the former eatery’s new kitchen and its prized smokers. His new restaurant will have a gastropub concept, and blend of what he considers the best of Bauer’s and Bauhaus.

Modesto chef and restaurateur Tye Bauer cooks inside his restaurant Bauer’s 66 1/2 Skillet & Grill in the McHenry Village. Marijke Rowland

“Baushaus is homesteading and farmsteading; going back to the curing and preservation of meats. Bauer’s is burgers and gastropub sandwiches,” he said. “This is taking it to more of an old world, new world style. It is in essence a collaboration of Bauer’s and Bauhaus.”

Like his other two restaurants, Bauer plans to make everything from scratch — particularly the meats. That means dry-aging steaks, curing pork loins, smoking duck breast and making his own sausage and charcuterie. Also expect more than just the usual protein suspects of beef, pork and chicken. Instead think boar, lamb, elk, venison and other wild game.

But don’t worry, vegans and vegetarians, he plans to make tasty tofu and other dishes for you as well.

The new space, which should seat about 60, will also have about a dozen taps for craft beer. Size-wise, this will be the largest capacity restaurant in Bauer’s repertoire. Bauer’s 66 1/2 seats about 40 and the tiny Bauhaus seats some 20 inside, another 20 outside on its patio.

The location continues his love of being in unusual, a little out-of-the-way spaces. Bauer’s is on the back Briggsmore Avenue side of the McHenry Village and Bauhaus sits at a corner just off the La Loma roundabout.

“It’s kind of on the fringe of downtown, but I like being on the outer rim like that better,” he said. “People can start here and go here or there.”

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The Burnt End, which closed at the end of July, will be the new home of Tye Bauer’s third restaurant, and first in downtown Modesto. Pictured Aug. 31, 2019 in downtown Modesto, Calif. Marijke Rowland

The move also brings all three of the Modesto eateries featured on the popular Food Network series “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” into downtown for the first time. Celebrity chef Guy Fieri came to Modesto in January 2016 to film at Bauer’s 66 1/2, Commonwealth Gastropub and the Food Fix Truck. Last month Food Fix opened its first brick-and-mortar restaurant on 11th Street, just a block away from Commonwealth.

Bauer also went on to compete in Fieri’s other hit Food Network series, “Guy’s Grocery Games,” where he was a contestant in a tournament featuring chefs who had appeared on Triple D.

Expect Bauer’s gastropub to open at first just for lunch, and then expand to dinner service by November just in time for Bauer’s 66 1/2’s 10th anniversary Nov. 24 of this year.

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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 multiple times a week. And it’s pronounced Mar-eye-ke.
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