Biz Beat

Biz Beat: Modesto brewpub closes, but owner plans ‘better-than-ever’ future

Hero’s in downtown Modesto has closed.
Hero’s in downtown Modesto has closed.

Hero’s, a downtown eatery, bar and concert venue, is down but not out.

The restaurant, which occupies the building shared by longtime Modesto brewer St. Stan’s at Ninth and L streets, closed last month. It’s a complicated situation, Hero’s owner Bill Coffey explained.

“There are two businesses there,” he said. The owner of the brewery has been trying to sell it – on two occasions to buying groups that included Coffey – but the deals never came together.

Coffey said he spent six months remodeling the interior of the building and refreshing the menu, making it all about the beers. “So now I’m a brewpub with no brewery,” he said of the situation he was in.

He kept the restaurant side open through the end of the year. “I wanted to make sure the employees made it through the holidays,” he said.

Now, he’s in wait-and-see mode and both businesses are shut. The Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department has posted eviction notices on the doors.

In the meantime, Coffey is focusing on his other venture, the former St. Charles Saloon in Columbia State Historic Park. He took over the longtime bar and hopes to get a historic brewery there back up and running,

According to Coffey, the Columbia brewery was founded in 1854 by Anton Bixel and operated continuously until 1944. Coffey, who has previously brewed for St. Stan’s and Pyramid Breweries, among others, revived the brand last year.

The beer is now made at the Lockdown brewery in Rancho Cordova; plans call for distribution to begin in the Modesto and foothill areas in the next week or two.

But Coffey isn’t forgetting about Hero’s.

“My feeling is it will reopen better than ever, with both sides owned by one entity,” he said. “I wanted to make it all work. I feel really bad; I’ve had so many people tell me how much they love the place.”

ELSEWHERE AROUND THE BUSINESS BEAT – Have some questions about what’s happening with the economy? Some speakers who definitely should have some insight on the issue will talk at a free event at the Gallo Center for the Arts later this month.

“This Economy & You – What’s Next?” is set for 6 p.m. Feb. 25. Speakers include Modesto entrepreneur Dan Costa, United Capital CEO Joe Duran and PMZ Real Estate CEO Mike Zagaris. They will address, respectively, “Business Tactics – the Beginning, Middle and the End”; “A Rich Life – Five Essential Truths About Money”; and “Clearing the Fog From the Valley.”

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▪ In less positive news, you probably heard about Radio Shack’s bankruptcy filing.

The electronics retailer plans to close several hundred stores as part of its restructuring. Among those are four in our area: one on Hatch Road, one on Oakdale Road and one on Sisk Road, all in Modesto, and a store on Sperry Avenue in Patterson. No word on when those closures might happen, but the company said it expects the stores that are shutting down to sell their remaining inventory.

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