Biz Beat

Biz Beat: Everything old is new again at two Modesto eateries

Taco Fiesta Restaurant and Taqueria has opened at 1219 N. Carpenter Road in Modesto.
Taco Fiesta Restaurant and Taqueria has opened at 1219 N. Carpenter Road in Modesto.

Two Modesto restaurants, one around for a long time and one significantly newer, have new owners and new names. In one case, the change is drastic; in the other, a significant shift but not a complete upheaval.

New Hong Kong restaurant, which has occupied a spot on McHenry Avenue for many years, is now Asia Garden. Xiaohui Zhao, former chef at the Beijing Hotel in China and a resident of the United States since 2003, purchased the business from New Hong Kong owners Shirley and Jack Wei.

Shirley Wei is staying on to help Zhao, who goes by “Hunter” in the States, get settled. The restaurant recently reopened after some remodeling, which includes new paint and carpet.

He’s also changing up some of the dishes on the menu. He specializes in duck, and the menu includes three varieties: roast, crispy and smoky. I tried some of the duck and his garlic stir fry with chicken and vegetables and both were fresh-tasting and delicious – and I’m typically not a fan of game. Zhao also will add seasonal favorites along with the classics.

He is planning a grand opening soon, but hasn’t yet scheduled it.

New Asia is at 2312 McHenry Ave. The phone number is (209) 524-7389. As I stopped in to visit this week, I tried to remember what restaurant predated New Hong Kong, and I am hoping some readers will help my shoddy memory. I believe I remember a Shakey’s Pizza in that spot, way back when I was growing up and it was considered north McHenry. If you can remember, feel free to drop me a line.

The other restaurant news this week comes from across town. Jesus Mendoza recently opened Taco Fiesta and Catering at 1219 N. Carpenter Road. That is the site of Sark’s City Grill, which unfortunately closed up shop last year.

While Sark’s specialized in Mediterranean dishes and the Chicago hot dog, Taco Fiesta, as the name implies, is all about Mexican food. Mendoza said he is not new to the food business – he’s been doing catering and events for five years.

“A lot of people would ask me, ‘When do you open your restaurant?’ Mendoza said. “I wanted to find the right place, and make sure everything works right.”

Now, people don’t have to wait for X-Fest or the Riverbank Cheese and Wine Festival to sample Mendoza’s food; they can walk right into the restaurant.

There, they will find tacos, fajitas, chile rellenos and more, all cooked homestyle and without oil, Mendoza said.

The restaurant is open daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Call (209) 408-0831.

A grand opening is set for Thursday at 4 p.m.

ELSEWHERE AROUND THE BUSINESS BEAT: It’s a New Day in Oakdale. Seriously.

A ribbon-cutting and grand opening ceremony for a gift shop and key making service by that name is scheduled for Tuesday at 10 a.m., according to the Oakdale Chamber of Commerce.

New Day is at 1187 E. F St. Call (209) 847-2883.

Have an item for Business Beat? Breaking News Editor Patty Guerra can be reached at or (209) 578-2343. Follow her on Twitter @PattyGuerra.