Biz Beat

The Swine is Divine in Modesto’s Roseburg Square

The Divine Swine, under construction in Modesto’s Roseburg Square, promises to be an interesting mix of old and new.

Robert Wilson, who took over the former location of Appetez and Tidewater Station last summer, is planning an upscale pub that pays homage to the building’s history while reflecting a new feel. Wilson, who has been a competition barbecuer and has worked in other restaurants for several years, is enjoying putting his own stamp on the place.

For instance: The brand-new, “floating” draft bar is suspended over the original concrete floor. Wilson said he was deciding what he wanted to do with the floor when he decided to just go with ... nothing.

“I wanted people to see the concrete and where it was patched over the years,” he said, pointing out one such patch on an area near the bar.

And as for the bar, that’s all new. The pipes that will carry beer to the draft taps extend behind them rather than underneath. Hence the “floating” look.

Wilson has gutted most of the space, rebuilding everything from wiring to plumbing. He envisions a place where families can come in with their children to the front, and a full bar is available in the next room. A banquet room takes up part of the rear of the building.

The restaurant is still very much a work in progress. But Wilson, who showed me around the place when I stopped by last week, is convinced it will be ready for an opening in late March or early April.

“All the hard stuff is done,” he said. “We’re in the final stages of construction, putting the lipstick on the pig, if you will.”

Speaking of pig, I asked about the name, and whether Wilson has any concern his pub will be confused with another bovine-inspired restaurant, the Twisted Pig Bar and Grill. The latter opened last year on Coffee Road.

He doesn’t. “They do a great job,” he said, adding that he is a fan of the Twisted Pig.

Offerings will include barbecue (of course), burgers and other pub-type food. I was most interested in something on the menu called “Dumb Dumb Chicken.” It’s a sandwich on a ciabatta roll with gorganzola aioli, Swiss cheese and “lightly dressed” arugula. It sounds great, but the name?

“My wife and I came up with that,” Wilson said. “Because it’s so simple, any dumb dumb can make it.”

Elsewhere around the Business Beat:

If you have ever been interested in holistic health, you might want to check out an open house in Oakdale next month.

The Holistic Life Institute School of Massage and Natural Health will host an introduction to its spring classes March 6 from 1 to 4 p.m.

According to a news release, the event will include samples of herbal teas, natural skin care and mini neck and shoulder massages. The Holistic Life Institute is at 730 E. F St. For more information, call 209-918-0647 or go to

And finally, Dickey’s Barbecue Pit has opened in Riverbank. The new Dickey’s is at 2207 Claribel Road. The phone number is 209-869-2200. Find Dickey’s on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.