Downtown Wheaton to welcome juice bar, home decor retailer, electric bike dealer

A “coming soon” sign takes on a whole new meaning in the midst of a pandemic.

In downtown Wheaton, those signs are appearing on what had been vacant storefronts, teasing the arrival of new businesses that have overcome unique challenges to open their doors.

“We have a lot of people who are interested because our downtown’s hopping right now,” Elle Withall said.

The executive director of the Downtown Wheaton Association has led recruitment of new retailers and restaurants opening in the coming days and months. Here’s a look at some of those developments.

Extract Juicery

Where: The juice bar will debut in a former coffeehouse space at 114 N. Main St. Five & Hoek Coffee Co. moved to the back of the brick building.

Menu: Extract has a selection of green juices and smoothies, a convenient way to drink your vegetables, especially if you don’t have a pricey juicer in your kitchen.

“There’s at least a pound and a half of vegetables in each juice, and to sit down and eat that would be extremely difficult to do,” owner Kevin Walker said.

He recommends the “Quench Me,” a refreshing mix of pineapple, cucumber, celery, kale and mint, and the vibrant

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Bank of Italy is key part of downtown San Jose plan

SAN JOSE — The Bank of Italy historic tower in downtown San Jose is slated for more than an eye-catching renovation: The iconic high rise could become an office, cultural, retail, and food hub under a revamp that a development alliance has proposed.

Global development powerhouse Westbank has teamed up with local developer Gary Dillabough to launch a wide-ranging and long-term venture that would usher in a dramatic makeover of downtown San Jose, and the Bank of Italy tower is one of the early efforts in the endeavor.

“The Bank of Italy is an amazing building,” said Andrew Jacobson, head of development for Westbank’s San Jose initiative. “The historic characteristics are unlike anything you will see.”

Street-level view of Bank of Italy office and retail tower, looking north along South First Street in downtown San Jose, with exterior staircase and entrance to Fountain Alley visible, concept. Bjarke Ingels Group / Westbank

A top-to-bottom, inside-and-outside renovation and rehabilitation of the historic tower at 12 S. First St. in San Jose is long overdue, Jacobson said. Now, the upgrade is ready to happen under the guidance of Westbank and Dillabough’s Urban Community company.

Detailed view of the exterior staircase in Bank of
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Housing, retail complex OK’d in downtown Sunnyvale

SUNNYVALE — City officials have approved plans for a new mixed-use residential and retail tower in downtown Sunnyvale that would become part of the successful CityLine Sunnyvale neighborhood.

Developers have proposed a new downtown Sunnyvale tower that would be 12 stories high and include homes and ground-floor retail and be adjacent to a town square expected to become a kind of “living room” for the neighborhood.

CityLine Sunnyvale is a new neighborhood of offices, shops, restaurants, homes, and open spaces that will effectively create a new downtown for the South Bay city.

The neighborhood is a project being built in phases by a joint venture of two major developers: Sares Regis Group of Northern California and Hunter Storm.

The Sunnyvale Planning Commission Monday night approved the two-building housing and retail tower.

“The approval of this project signals the continuing forward momentum for CityLine Sunnyvale following the opening of AMC Theaters and Whole Foods Market last year,” said Travis Duncan, an assistant vice president at Sares Regis Group of Northern California.

AMC DINE-IN Sunnyvale 12 movie complex and Whole Foods, which leased space in the same building, have effectively become the anchor tenants of the new downtown Sunnyvale.

Whole Foods occupies

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Tech firm rents offices in downtown San Jose complex

SAN JOSE — Vespaio, a prominent new mixed-use development in downtown San Jose, has landed a tech design firm as its first office tenant, offering a hopeful sign for the local commercial property market in a time of coronavirus-linked uncertainties.

Surfaceink, a pioneer in product design and engineering for consumer electronics and tech firms, has leased a large chunk of office space in the Vespaio complex on Stockton Avenue just around the corner from the Diridon train station.

“We’re really excited that we leased this second-floor space to Surfaceink,” said Mark Jones, a senior project manager with Hudson Cos., a veteran real estate firm that developed Vespaio. “Surfaceink is a really cool company.”

Surfaceink leased about 7,000 square feet, which represents roughly half of the second-floor space in Vespaio, according to Jones.

The rental deal by Surfaceink offers a welcome counterpoint to the dismal events ushered in by the coronavirus, including business shutdowns and merchant closures.

Vespaio is a seven-story development consisting of162 luxury apartments, along with commercial spaces on the ground, second, and third floors, according to Jones.

The ground-floor space totals 12,200 square feet, the second-floor space totals 15,400 square feet, and the third-floor space totals about 5,000

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New Chef brings fresh ideas to downtown Billings staple

BILLINGS – The Billings Petroleum Club has been a community staple since 1954, welcoming members to its current location high atop the DoubleTree Hotel for more than 40 years now.

But things are changing-the club recently welcome a new executive chef, who has some fresh ideas for the menu.

“My name is Chef Jeremy Evans, we’re up here on the 22nd floor of the Double Tree in the Petroleum Club,” Chef Evans said, “It’s got a beautiful view of my hometown and I love it. And so after cooking for so many years it’s good to kind of have my own feet in my own restaurant.”

Through offering some fresh perspectives to well known classics, as well as utilizing local resources, Evans hopes to offer a more accessible menu.

“The fancy elegant food, and the kind of food I like, I’m also a burger and pizzas kind of guy. So I’m trying to find the middle ground between what the new generation wants and what the old generation wants,” Evans said, “Things like Monte-Cristo, and the French Onion Soup.”

Evans is excited to continue building relationships with community members and partners and establishing even more local ties.

“And then I’m

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Ghost Kitchen Company Pounces on Downtown Space Where Food Hall Folded

The 10,500-square-foot Wells Street Market space has been vacant since September, and what was once an alluring downtown spot isn’t so attractive during COVID-19. But four months later, Kitchen United, a California-based ghost kitchen company has announced it will take over the space at 222 N. Wells Street. The company, which entered the Chicago market in late 2019 with a River North location, hasn’t revealed when the Loop location will debut.

a dining room table: Ghost kitchens are coming to the former Wells Street Market space.

© Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago
Ghost kitchens are coming to the former Wells Street Market space.

This move will expand Kitchen United’s delivery footprint, bringing more of its brands to Downtown Chicago. The new location will follow a similar design as the company’s first Chicago ghost kitchen at 831 N. Sedgwick with a few key differences, according to a rep. The space will eventually serve as a de facto food hall when it unveils indoor and outdoor seating, something absent from the Sedgwick location. It’ll contain 10 kitchen spaces with a central order and pickup area in the middle.

Both outposts will operate allow customers to get food from multiple restaurants in one orders, paying for it all with one bill. It’s a similar approach to that seen at

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Downtown Charleston chef and sculptor meld old-world design with new style of meal service | Raskin Around

Restaurants across the country have set up outdoor seating areas, sometimes grudgingly, in deference to municipal regulations and customer demand. Downtown Charleston chef Robert Berry has taken the format further and constructed what amounts to an en plein air kitchen, with stations for prepping, cooking and washing up.

The centerpiece of the Cannonborough-Elliotborough project, designed to facilitate small-scale weddings or the family festivities connected to grander affairs, is a wood-fired oven.

Unlike the Neapolitan ovens which have emerged as standard equipment at high-end pizza joints, the oven that Berry and local ceramicist Fiorenzo Berardozzi are building is meant to be multifunctional. Berry will be able to bake bread in it one day and then shovel out the ashes to grill a goat alongside it.

“There are endless possibilities,” says Berardozzi, who also constructed the brick oven at Husk. He makes his own kilns to fire the tableware that’s a favorite of Charleston restaurants. “This is like something you see in the Italian countryside.”

Downtown Charleston chef and daughter deal with pandemic by baking bread for those in need

Since the start of the pandemic, countless food-and-beverage professionals have fled the industry, while others have decided to stay on the path they were following prior to the public health and economic crisis, albeit

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1201 Kitchen in downtown Erie closing in April; owner Dan Kern planning a new restaurant

a man sitting at a table with a plate of food: Dan Kern, owner and executive chef at 1201 Kitchen, is shown at the restaurant on May 23, 2019.

Dan Kern, owner and executive chef at 1201 Kitchen, is shown at the restaurant on May 23, 2019.

1201 Kitchen, 1201 State St., will close its doors April 15. But it’s not going out of business. Owner and chef Dan Kern just has more ideas up his sleeve. 

“As we near our 14th year of business I am constantly reminded of and guided by our restaurant’s mantra, ‘keep changing to remain unchanged.'” he wrote in a Facebook post published Friday. “I believe that as a restaurant we should always be looking to grow and improve, to push forward into new challenges with open arms and a fearless nature.”

He’s certainly fearless. He’s not just closing 1201 Kitchen, but building a new operation with a new focus, style, flavor and approach. 

“With this frame of mind,” he said in the post, “I began looking at what the next chapter holds for our restaurant and two years ago we put plans into motion to create something NEW,” he said. “Not a small tweak, menu addition or some new paint. Not 1201 part two but something different and BETTER entirely. A place to do what we

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