Biz Beat

Plain pita? Not at new Extreme eatery

Consumers increasingly are looking for healthy alternatives when it comes to food, whether it's the growing demand for fresh produce or menu entrees low in fat and calories. In hopes of capitalizing on this trend, a new restaurant recently opened in north Modesto. Enter Extreme Pita.

The Canadian-based chain's new franchise is at 3501 McHenry Ave., Suite F16, between Barnes & Noble and Sports Authority. Owner Brad McWilliams serves up a variety of wraps and pizza-style flatbreads, all made with fresh-baked pita.

Customers can select from grilled chicken, extreme club, market fresh veggie, Philly cheese steak, sizzlin' sirloin, chicken Caesar, Greek chicken colossus and more. Flat-baked pitas include extreme pepperoni, classic veggie, Hawaiian and grilled chicken. McWilliams and crew also toss together plenty of fresh salads: traditional Greek, classic Caesar, grilled chicken, grilled chicken Caesar and veggie. There are a dozen dressings and sauces to choose from to give each menu item a little extra zip. And there's even an extreme kids' menu.

The emphasis at Extreme Pita is on fresh ingredients prepared daily. Put together while people wait, the pitas and salads can be enjoyed inside the bright, open restaurant or outside on its patio. Extreme Pita offers takeout service for those who order ahead and does catering -- big trays for big games or any other occasion.

With more than 200 outlets in the United States and Canada, Extreme Pita has found a growing appetite for its food. So don't be surprised to see more outlets pop up around the valley if demand from residents makes this extreme concept mainstream. For more information, call 550-7482 or go to Hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.

Update special: Vito's Restaurant is open for business at 918 13th St. in Modesto. Owners Serj Piro and Antoine Sargis are bringing their classic Italian cuisine to the downtown dining scene from Turlock, where they operate Vito's Ristorante & Pizzeria at 3851 Crowell Road.

They acquired Nosh, which had operated in that space, and remade it to fit their needs, going with warm colors, soft lighting and large Tuscan-themed murals. Diners will find a large selection of soup, salads, sandwiches and entrees, including pasta, chicken, steak, veal and seafood. There's also an extensive wine list and full bar.

Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. For more information, call 576-1156.

Elsewhere on the Business Beat:

What is it: Riverside Cafe at 413 S. Riverside Drive, off Yosemite Boulevard, in Modesto. Phone, 549-8809.

What it does: Riverside Cafe serves traditional American food for breakfast and lunch. Its breakfast menu includes bacon, eggs, sausage, waffles, pancakes, and biscuits and gravy. One specialty is the omelets, including the Popeye omelet (spinach, mushrooms and cheese) or the supreme omelet (ham, onions, spinach, mushrooms and cheese). Its lunch menu offers soups, salads, sandwiches and hamburgers. The speciality is chicken.

Who runs it: Mary and Candido Alapisco, a husband-and-wife team, are first-time business owners. Mary Alapisco has 14 years of experience as a restaurant manager, and her husband has been a chef for 32 years. Riverside Cafe opened in mid-August. Hours are 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. seven days a week. The Alapiscos plan to open the restaurant for dinner in mid-October.

What makes it special: Riverside Cafe provides home-style cooking and a friendly atmosphere.

What is it: Interiors by Decorating Den is a home-based business out of Modesto. Phone, 526-0500. Web site,

What it does: Interiors by Decorating Den is a residential and commercial interior design business that travels to clients' homes or offices throughout the San Joaquin Valley. It has more than 120 suppliers from the United States and Canada offering the latest in carpets, paint, window coverings, lighting, accessories and furniture.

Who runs it: Karen Bliss is a first-time business owner. Bliss has 30 years of decorating experience. Interiors by Decorating Den is a franchise that opened in 1969 and has more than 500 outlets in North America. The Modesto franchise opened Sept. 1. Hours are by appointment only, seven days a week.

What makes it special: Interiors by Decorating Den helps clients from the beginning of the design process through the installation of the products. It brings to the clients' homes or offices samples of fabrics, carpeting and wallpaper, and provides photo examples of furnishings and decorator accessories.

Have an item for Business Beat? Send it to David W. Hill, Business Editor, The Modesto Bee, P.O. Box 5256, Modesto 95352; or