Biz Beat

Chicago-born pizza comes to Modesto

The new Chicago-inspired restaurant that recently opened in Modesto takes pride in its signature deep-dish pizzas, proudly proclaiming that it's numero uno. In fact, so convinced is the company that its food, service and setting are top-notch, that its commitment to quality has been put up in lights — Uno Chicago Grill.

The newest of more than 200 outlets around the country is in the Eastgate Plaza commercial development at Oakdale Road and Briggsmore Avenue. Launched in 1943, the restaurant was created to sell the public on the idea that a pizza could be a complete meal. All these years later, that concept clearly has been embraced. So in the mid-1990s, Uno Chicago Grill outlets got a major makeover that allowed them to expand beyond their deep-dish roots.

Today, the restaurants feature appetizers, soups, salads, steaks, ribs, seafood, pastas, burgers, sandwiches, desserts and much more. Diners can select from buffalo wings, nachos, Tuscan chicken penne, rattlesnake (spicy chicken) pasta, chophouse top sirloin, barbecue shrimp, a Philly (cheese) burger and Windy City chili, to name a few.

But at Uno Chicago Grill, deep-dish pizza is still tops. Made from scratch daily, the Numero Uno pizza — of course — is its most popular pie. Others include the Chicago Classic (crumbled sausage, thick tomato sauce, mozzarella and grated Romano), prima pepperoni, bacon cheeseburger, four cheese and BLT. There are plenty of additional toppings for those who want to get creative, and flatbread versions for people who like less dough. Uno Chicago Grill also has a full bar, with extensive wine, beer and specialty drink lists.

The restaurant was built to resemble a Chicago warehouse, with extensive brickwork and an open ceiling that reveals ducts and trusses. That's offset by the wood accents, leather seats and plenty of Chicago memorabilia. Its industrial-strength, casual dining targeting the widest possible audience. That's probably what makes this second-city restaurant No. 1 with so many. For more information, call 521-0448 or go to

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Who runs it: Katie Hansen is a first-time business owner. Little Ones opened at the beginning of the month. It is open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

What makes it special: Little Ones offers gently used merchandise for boys and girls at affordable prices.

What is it: Reading Solutions at 3300 Tully Road, Suite A-3, in Modesto. It is at the corner of Woodrow and Tully. Phone, 550-7323. Web site,

What it does: Reading Solutions specializes in dyslexia testing and reading remediation services. It also offers educational and academic assessments that include IQ, current academic levels of performance and informational processing.

Who runs it: Denise Hundley and Jody Browning are the owners. Hundley and Browning are licensed educational psychologists and have specialized training in dyslexia. Hundley has a teaching credential and years of experience. Hours are by appointment only.

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Have an item for Business Beat? Send it to David W. Hill, Business Editor, The Modesto Bee, P.O. Box 5256, Modesto 95352; or COMPILED BY JILLIAN HANKS,BEE NEWSROOM ASSISTANT