Business Beat: BBQ's Vette theme is boss

There's a new restaurant in Turlock that combines two things Northern San Joaquin Valley residents love: good grub and cool cars.

The Corvette Bar-B-Que at 28 Lander Ave., near Main Street, downtown, features classic barbecue and all-things Corvette thanks to owner Dawn Brown and her pit crew.

Diners can choose from tri-tip, beef, chicken, pulled pork and hot links. It's all cooked fresh daily at the restaurant in a specially designed barbecue that cost $20,000 to create. It's a 1980 Corvette with the top cut off and the barbecue installed inside. Parked out by the restaurant, it's as hard to miss as the aromas wafting from the grill.

The menu features such side dishes as fries, beans, corn on the cob, macaroni and potato salads, coleslaw, fresh fruit and green salad. A Texas-sized baked potato with all the trimmings also is available. The restaurant serves pie, ice cream, shakes and floats, too.

Inside, the red-and-black decor is accented with all kinds of Corvette items, from stickers and brochures to decals and photos. At Corvette Bar-B-Que, diners get the best of both dining and driving worlds -- see you there. I'll be the guy in the Vette bowling shirt with barbecue sauce on it. Sorry, Honey.

Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call 632-1227.

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Elsewhere on the Business Beat:

Papapavlo's Mediterranean Bistro & Bar at 1320 Standiford Ave. in Modesto is under new ownership.

Brothers David and Valentine Alonso are trying to build on the popularity of the place's loyal following by upgrading the food quality, adding a few new menu items and keeping all the old favorites. They've also gone from serving wine and beer to a full bar, with plenty of room for people who just want a drink and an appetizer.

For those who want full meals, they've expanded the restaurant into the adjoining space, which formerly housed a flower shop. It not only gives them more room for diners, but opened up the place to create a more inviting space. They also can close off the area -- which has room for about 80 -- to serve banquets, meetings and other special events.

The brothers Alonso -- you'll find David there most of the time -- brought in experienced chefs, upgraded the kitchen and make everything fresh daily, nothing frozen or pre-made. There's an emphasis on customer service. And, yes, they still offer those specialty desserts from their in-house baker -- sweet. Save me a slice of cheesecake.

Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The bar stays open until midnight on Friday and Saturday. For more information, call 525-3995.

When R. Lily Stem Quilts in Modesto's Roseburg Square shopping center closed earlier this year after more than 20 years in business, many of retiring owner Marilyn Nelson's 6,000 or so loyal customers likely wondered where they would go to find the materials and help they needed.

In stepped Connie Lionudakis and Karen Adams, who opened Fields of Fabric at 2930 Fourth St. in downtown Ceres. A retail quilting, sewing and embroidery store, the two quilters think they have a good feel for what their peers want and need -- especially with R. Lily now gone.

They keep an extensive inventory of quilting, sewing and embroidery supplies in stock, including 3,000 bolts of fabric. There also are lots of custom items on hand. Fields of Fabric offers classes for all skill levels. They even hold special events with experts, like "long-arm" quilter Anni Champagne, who runs her business out of the store.

To their credit, Lionudakis and Adams saw an opportunity when R. Lily closed and stitched together a business plan designed to fill the void -- filling such a niche is the fabric that runs through most small businesses. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call 541-1655.

Have an item for Business Beat? Send it to David W. Hill, Business Editor, The Modesto Bee, P.O. Box 5256, Modesto 95352; or dhill@modbee.com.