A long-vacant Turlock building will soon see new life, thanks to a Sonora restaurateur who has decided to bring his expertise to the Central Valley.
The City of Turlock Planning Commission approved plans submitted by Jose Pulido to re-open the existing two-story restaurant located at 309 N. Center St — the former location of Jura’s Pizza Parlor. While the space has also been home to Mexican restaurants in the past like El Antojito and Cancun’s Bar and Grill, Pulido plans to revamp the building’s interior and open another restaurant with a Latin flair at the location named Nivel Restaurant and Lounge.
“We want to give it a Mexico City vibe and make it a little more lively,” Pulido said.
A Sonora native, Pulido operates two other Mexican restaurants in the foothills: Cazadora Restaurante in downtown Sonora and Morelia Mexican Restaurant in Jamestown. His wife, Maria Pulido, is the head chef at both restaurants and will be in charge of the cuisine at Nivel as well.
“She really has her own special taste. It’s a different type of Mexican food — it’s not typical,” Pulido said.
The restaurant location in downtown Turlock will add to the area’s nightlife scene, with Pulido utilizing the first-floor space of the restaurant as a lounge and live entertainment area. While the exterior of the building will remain similar to its current appearance, save for a few fresh coats of paint and new stucco, the interior will feature a revamped, all-white atmosphere complete with plenty of booth seating in both the lounge and second-story restaurant area.
“The whole basement area will open for hanging out, drinks and hopefully dancing,” Pulido said. “Most of the time it will be more for lounging. There will be ambient music and we might bring in bands a couple of times a year, but mostly it’s going to be mariachi and not a super crazy atmosphere.”
Pulido’s family has lived in Sonora for 25 years, he said. Their Jamestown restaurant has thrived for decades, while their Sonora eatery has become a popular destination in downtown Sonora.
“When we first opened close to downtown, people told me I was crazy because there were so many other Mexican restaurants,” Pulido said. “Now we’ve been there almost five years.”
Pulido said that Nivel Restaurant and Lounge likely won’t open until next September. There’s plenty to do, he added, as the building has sat vacant for quite some time and was subjected to vandalism by transients who found their way inside.
“It basically needs a facelift,” Pulido said. “We’re looking forward to it. I have family here in Turlock and I wanted to move out here because it’s the same kind of small, tight-knit community.”