Biz Beat

Something all new where Taxi’s used to be in Modesto

The former Taxi’s restaurant on McHenry Avenue in Modesto will become a Japanese bar, its new owner says.
The former Taxi’s restaurant on McHenry Avenue in Modesto will become a Japanese bar, its new owner says.

I have had a few people ask me what’s going into the former Taxi’s on McHenry Avenue in Modesto.

It’s something completely different, both from the hamburger restaurant it replaces and from anything else in this area, the owner said.

Danny Zeng plans to open Kimoto at 1809 McHenry Avenue, Suite B, sometime late next month. The location is in the Safeway shopping center at Briggsmore Avenue; a pretty hopping place lately with the recent opening of Panera and the coming of a new Starbucks and Habit Burger, set to open in a few weeks.

If Zeng’s name sounds familiar, it’s because he owns Fumi Sushi on Standiford Avenue. Kimoto, he said, is not going to be a Fumi Sushi No.2.

“It’s going to be like a Japanese bar,” he said. There will be food, including sushi, but the emphasis will be on beverages. Kimoto will specialize in Japanese whiskey, and of course, sake. But not just plain sake, the way most folks drink it. Zeng promises tasty sake cocktails.

He also plans elements of a sports bar, so you could stop in, have something to eat, try a sake cocktail and watch the game.

On a related note, I heard from someone who particularly mourns the loss of Taxi’s chili cheese fries. I never had them, but apparently they were pretty legendary. This person was interested in knowing where he can get good chili cheese fries now, and I am sad to say I didn’t know. Anyone have any thoughts? If so, please send them my way and I will be happy to pass them along. If there’s a spot that seems recommended more highly than anyplace else, I will go give it a try.

For the sake of journalistic integrity only, of course.

ELSEWHERE AROUND THE BUSINESS BEAT: I got a note this week from reader Amanda Sorenson, wondering what happened to Hut No. 8 in the Standiford Shopping Plaza. The store, located near Marshalls on McHenry Avenue, sold new and gently used higher-end apparel and accessories.

I hadn’t been into Hut No. 8, but I am familiar with the concept and knew a few people who were big fans. There are several locations of Hut No. 8 nationwide, operated individually as franchises.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get very far trying to answer Amanda’s question.

The phone number to the local store has been disconnected, and a call to the Florida-based headquarters was not returned. If anyone knows the fate of Hut No. 8, please let me know.

▪ The drought is definitely having an impact on business. Gardeners are losing business because people are letting their lawns go brown – dead grass doesn’t need mowing. Reporter Kevin Valine told me that Flooring Liquidators has gone into the artificial turf installation business. The company will pull your grass out and install artificial stuff.

My first thought when I heard about this a few months back was a vision of the old “Brady Bunch” lawn, with Greg running the mower over plastic grass that doesn’t grow. But I have seen it in a few locations, including part of the median on Turlock’s Christoffersen Parkway, and it looks pretty good.

Other folks have gone the painted-grass route, and that seems to be forming a cottage industry of its own. This week, looking at new business licenses in Modesto, I found one for “Gorgeous Green Grass Painting.”