TurlockCityNews.com was given an exclusive update on the progress of the new Memo’s Cocina and California State University, Stanislaus’s new gallery on Main Street.
Both projects are nearing completion with Memo’s owners Karina and Guillermo Ramirez visiting the construction at the Memo’s location nearly everyday, and the gallery looking to open in the beginning of September.
Karina and Guillermo Ramirez also own Turlock’s Las Casuelas, located at 3202 Entertainment Way, where applications are still being taken for Memo’s positions.
Although the owners are the same, however, Memo’s Cocina will sport a different feel.
With lighter dishes and a concentration on specialty tequilas, the Ramirez’s are planning a more upscale atmosphere for the new restaurant Downtown, located at 139 W. Main St. They will utilize locally-grown produce from the Turlock Farmers Market in their hand-crafted cocktails and entrees.
Memo’s will include a lounge and restaurant with seating for approximately 100 guests and will serve 70 different varieties of “high-end artisan tequilas.” Square cut outs in some of the walls will light tequila bottles from behind with a blue hue, matching other blue accents around the restaurant including the decorative wall tiles behind the bar.
Although the blue theme may seem thoroughly modern, the owners have made sure to pay tribute to the building’s history by utilizing many of its original features. As Downtown Turlock Property Owners Association Member At Large Eric Gonsalves explained, it took a lot of peeling of layers to find the beauty in the old JC Penney building, but in the end it was worth it.
Memo’s will have the building’s original floors — which are more than 100 years old. The wooden floors consist of thin boards of light maple, coated but unsanded to maintain the distressed character. But surprisingly, in many ways, the floors look like new.
Layers of drywall and wood covered the original upright beams, which have been revealed and will remain on display. Similarly, layers of the ceiling were taken down to show off the beams overhead.
To combine the feelings of old and new, much of the restaurant has a kind of raw, urban design. For example, the bartop will be laid with smooth concrete.
Even in the dusty midst of the finishing touches of construction, Memo’s has promise to be a spectacular sight for sore eyes in what is becoming a livelier downtown.
Aside from the hand-crafted cocktails and specialty tequilas, the bar will also serve wine on tap to provide more consistency in freshness and temperature.
Memo’s has also announced it will offer a Warrior Discount to CSU Stanislaus students. A 10 percent discount will be given to those who present their Warrior student ID.
Originally expected to open in April, then in June, the restaurant’s grand opening date has now been moved to some time this month. TurlockCityNews.com will soon receive an update as to a specific date for the opening.
Next door, at the same address, CSU Stanislaus will be opening a permanent art gallery named Art Space on Main.
The space will house a gallery and studios for Bachelor of Fine Arts students. Essentially, the front of the building will showcase the art while the back space will host room for students to prepare work.
CSU Stanislaus Art Department Chair Roxanne Robbin said the goal of Art Space on Main is “to serve the university and surrounding community through a changing and diverse exhibition program of artistic significance and cultural relevance.”
Similar to Memo’s next door, the gallery has salvaged many of the original features of the building, including the maple wood flooring as well as the brick on the east wall. Gonsalves confirmed that the wide hallway joining the two businesses will serve as a go-between for patrons during special events, and that Memo’s will provide catering such as appetizers and cocktails for some gallery shows. In the hallway, the two businesses will also share restrooms.
As for its opening, Gonsalves estimated that Art Space on Main will open the first week of September.
Both businesses are also featuring a remodeled look on the outside with black awnings over Memo’s windows and red awnings dawning the CSU Stanislaus seal representing the front of Art Space on Main.