Biz Beat

We'll take a look at hottest places to eat, shop, play

Welcome to your new Business Beat.

With the changes to the Work & Money section come changes to this column. But rest assured, you'll still receive the latest on opening, closing and changing area businesses. But now we'll have an increased focus on the kinds of businesses that cater to your lifestyle interests.

Places such as restaurants, clubs, retail shopping and other recreation enterprises.

The places you go for a night out on the town, for a day with your family, for a weekend immersed in your pastimes. The places you spend those few extra bucks after all the bills are paid.

I'll need your help keeping an eye on the the newest places popping up around town. If you are a new owner, drop me a line. If you've noticed a neat store, give me a ring.

Or, if your favorite spot shuts down or the morning coffee shop closes, I want to know.

Reach me at 578-2284 or I'm open for business.

Elsewhere on the Business Beat:

You can't keep a good dog down.

The Modesto hot dog hot spot Good Dog, 1017 J St., has reopened under new ownership. The downtown eatery had been closed last winter until Modesto resident and former customer Jesse Crawford bought it in January.

The 30-year-old had dreamed of opening a hot dog spot since his football-playing high school days.

"I used to do a lot of lose weight to get ready for games," he said. "But as soon as I got off the scales, my dad would have a hot dog for me. So hot dogs were comfort food for me. It's in the same category of apple pie; it's all-American."

Crawford runs the restaurant with his wife, Maria; mother, Corinne Mathias; and sisters, Venetta and Corinne Butcher. The menu was kept largely unchanged, with the same specialty dogs, burgers and Philly sandwiches, but with different names.

Good Dog caters to the lunch and late night crowd. It is open 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Wednesday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Thursday (9 p.m. during the Third Thursday Art Walk), 11 a.m.-3 a.m. Friday- Saturday, and noon-5 p.m. Sunday. Call 576-8322. ...

Downtown Modesto has a new place to get healthy.

National Academy of Sports Medicine-certified trainers Erica Hughes and Jessica Denegri opened the Pilates studio Fysique Fitness, 1209 J St., in August and have close to 70 clients already.

They offer individual and class sessions from 5 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 8:30- 10:30 a.m. Friday-Saturday. The studio uses special reformer and Pilates tower-of-power machines and each 45-minute session has no more than four people per class.

Clients receive nutritional coaching, resistance training and cardiovascular programming.

The partners previously opened a Pilates studio at Modesto Fitness & Racquet Club and worked at In-Shape, among other gyms.

The studio also sells nutritional supplements and plans to branch into apparel. All newcomers get a VIP week with a consultation and two free sessions. Walk-ins are welcome, but appointments are recommended. Call 606-8256 or visit ...

If you've got a party, Pump It Up has the place.

The indoor inflatable playground, 1433 Moffat Blvd., Manteca, offers private party rentals by appointment. Owners Debbie and Kevin Ward opened the facility, part of a national franchise, in May.

The space boasts six extra-large inflatables and a climbing wall. The arenas include an obstacle course, slide and basketball court with a party room for food and games. The site offers one-stop party planning for parents. Normal rentals last two hours and can include everything from food and drinks to goodie bags. Each party is staff-supervised as well.

"Our goal is when the people come in to have the birthday party, all they have to do is videotape it," Debbie Ward said. "In two hours, you are done. You don't have to clean up before or after. You don't have to drag something to a park."

Parties can accommodate up to 80 guests, but the typical size is 26. Ward said word-of-mouth on Pump It Up is growing, but some people still think it's a fitness club. The public can walk in for tours and to make reservations from 10 a.m.-

2 p.m. Tuesday-Friday.

The 26-person package is $275 weekends, $225 weekdays. Ward said teens and even adults have rented the space, but most of its events are for children's birthday parties. Call 239-8535 or visit

Bee entertainment writer Marijke Rowland can be reached at or 578-2284.