Ten days ago, legendary Turlock bar Wellington Station closed forever.
This weekend, the new 10 East Kitchen and Tap House will open in its place, with a total makeover and a new focus on upscale casual cuisine and – most importantly to owners – craft beer.
“It's the best of the best,” said 10 East co-owner Derek Walker.
Walker and his staff selected the finest craft beers from across the country, with beers like North Coast Brewing's Old Rasputin Imperial Stout and Firestone-Walker Brewing Co.'s Wookey Jack black rye IPA par for the course. They're the sort of beers usually found only in craft beer houses, some of which Walker must drive to a San Francisco distributor to pick up.
The bar features 18 taps – three more than Wellington's did. Walker promises a near-weekly flow of fresh craft beers on rotating taps, with only the best representatives of every type of beer on offer.
Along with the craft beer comes a change in attitudes. Gone is a focus on the late-night crowd, gone is the DJ, and the dancing.
“That's not what we're about anymore,” Walker said.
In its place is a hip, trendy restaurant, focused on gourmet comfort food, accompanied by classic rock, blues, and indie music.
The menu was crafted by chef Sam Bans, who trained in San Francisco and helped launch Bacchus in Modesto.
Walker described the restaurant's shrimp and cheese grits, served with a stewed tomato andouille sauce as, “Insane.” A double kobe meatloaf, wrapped in bacon, served with smoked mashed potatoes with bacon and cheddar cheese, earned rave reviews from staff.
The restaurant will be open for both lunch and dinner, with a large selection of vegetarian and vegan food on offer as well. The menu will also include gourmet brick oven pizzas available any time, made famous by Walker's Traveling Pizza side business.
All the food and beer can be enjoyed on a newly open-air patio; gone is the old patio wall. Inside, the restaurant has undergone a complete makeover, with new lighting, seating, and paint.
This weekend's opening is intended as a soft launch, and owners hope to draw only small crowds. A formal grand opening will follow in the coming weeks, after the fine points of the new restaurant and bar are hammered out.
10 East Kitchen and Tap House is located at 10 E. Main St., Turlock.