Biz Beat

An opening date for one Modesto burger joint; uncertainty for another

The Habit Burger Grill at Briggsmore Square is scheduled to open in the middle of this month.
The Habit Burger Grill at Briggsmore Square is scheduled to open in the middle of this month.

At last, Habit Burger fans, I can tell you when the Modesto location will open. Mark your calendars for Sept. 16, the Santa Barbara-based fast-casual restaurant said in a news release.

The Habit Burger Grill at Briggsmore Square Shopping Center on McHenry will seat 70 people inside, with 40 seats available on the patio. Roughly 35 people have been hired to run the restaurant, which touts fresh-made hamburgers, tri-tip and tuna steaks.

Consumer Reports last year tabbed the Habit as the best tasting fast-food burger in the country. I’m not sure how the magazine figured that, and I never have visited a Habit, but the many folks who have called and emailed me since the chain announced it was coming sing its praises.

While Sept. 16 is the official opening day, the restaurant will have fundraisers in the days before, so you can do some good while getting your Habit fix. The restaurant will open from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and from 5 to 7 p.m. Sept. 13, and from 11:20 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Sept. 15. Proceeds from those events will benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of Stanislaus, Standiford Elementary School and the Center for Human Services, respectively.

In that same shopping center, the new Starbucks has opened after months of construction. My thanks to my former boss and now friend/eyes-on-the-street, Mark Vasché, for the tip.

Elsewhere around the Business Beat:

Togo’s in Oakdale is opening this week. The sandwich specialty shop is at 1190 East F St. According to a press release, the restaurant will celebrate by giving away 500 hot pastrami sandwiches – its most popular sandwich – on opening day Tuesday.

Togo’s also will host a fundraiser for Oakdale High School from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. The restaurant will collect donations – $5 is the suggested amount – and in return give customers a regular-size sandwich and drink.

Togo’s in Oakdale will be open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Call 209-848-8646 or visit Delivery will be available throughout the local community.

As my colleague, Brian Clark, reported last month, a fire damaged the restaurant, which has been serving up Knockout burgers on Scenic Drive since 1956.

A large sign alerts passers-by that the drive-in is closed but will reopen soon. Owner Matthew Grigorian said he is waiting on insurance companies, health inspections and the like. He also is looking to improve security at the rear of the restaurant by adding cameras.

Lots of folks are anxious for the return of the Knockout: Grigorian told our photo director, Joan Barnett Lee, that every time he goes to the restaurant to work on repairs, people stop in and ask when he will reopen.

He said he will keep me posted on the progress; when I hear Scenic is reopening, I will be sure to let you know.