Biz Beat

Five Guys opens soon in Riverbank; sandwich shop, brewpub coming

Construction is nearly complete Thursday, March 24, 2016, at the Five Guys hamburger restaurant in the Crossroads shopping center in Riverbank. Nearby, Dickey’s Barbecue Pit and Panda Express recently opened.
Construction is nearly complete Thursday, March 24, 2016, at the Five Guys hamburger restaurant in the Crossroads shopping center in Riverbank. Nearby, Dickey’s Barbecue Pit and Panda Express recently opened. pguerra@modbee.com

It looks like Five Guys fans – and judging by my mail, there are a lot of you – have about another month to wait before getting your fix locally.

The hamburger chain, which started as a single restaurant near Washington, D.C., in 1986, has an outlet under construction in Riverbank’s Crossroads shopping center. It’s next to two other eateries – Dickey’s Barbecue Pit and Panda Express, which already have opened. According to a sign posted on its door, Panda will have an open house from 2 to 4 p.m. Wednesday, and is hiring staff.

What sets Five Guys apart is that this will be the first one in our area. The closest of the 1,000 franchises right now is in Tracy.

Five Guys, for those who aren’t familiar with it (I wasn’t), is a fast-casual type of restaurant. According to the company’s website, the secret to its success is using fresh ground beef, hand-formed into patties, and potatoes fried in peanut oil.

I didn’t receive a response to a request for more information from the Five Guys media office, but I did the next best thing: asked workers who were at the site this week. They told me opening day is set for April 28.

A look around the interior seems to confirm it will happen that quickly. The soda coolers are in there and it looks as though most of the main construction has been completed.

To quote a follower when I tweeted out a photo: “Yeeee!”


Elsewhere around the Business Beat:

There may be another new sandwich shop in the Northern San Joaquin Valley soon.

According to a news release, Potbelly is looking to expand into the area. Potbelly has a neat back story, according to its website: It started as a little antique shop in Chicago whose owners decided to start serving lunch to customers in the 1970s.

They must have served up a good meal, because soon there were long lines waiting to get into “quite the lunchtime getaway, complete with toasty warm sandwiches, homemade desserts and even live music.”

In 1996, Bryant Keil bought the shop and started efforts to take it national. And international. Now the company is looking to come to California, specifically San Diego, Riverside County, Orange County, the East Bay and the Central Valley.

“I am thrilled to announce that we are ready to expand into California with our franchising strategy,” Aylwin Lewis, chairman and chief executive officer of Potbelly, said in the news release. “We expect our franchisees to be strong multiunit operators and brand ambassadors to make Potbelly an essential neighborhood hotspot.”


And finally, it looks as though the new brewpub set for downtown Modesto will be opening in the next week or so.

Turlock-based Sandude took over a former floral business on 11th Street. Renovations have been going on for several months, with fans of the craft brew eager for the opening.

According to a post on the company’s Facebook page, the owners are aiming for an April 1 date. Sounds like the perfect day for a blonde ale.

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