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New eateries abound in north Turlock
Wienerschnitzel open, Black Bear Diner and more in works
coming soon black bear diner
The former home of Cool Hand Luke’s on Tegner Road will become Black Bear Diner this January (ANGELINA MARTIN/The Journal).

Turlock’s Monte Vista Avenue shopping corridor is no stranger to new establishments, welcoming several new food chains that have both already opened and plan to open in the coming months.

Most recently, the well-known dining chain Black Bear Diner has announced that a location is set to move into the Costco shopping corridor with the New Year. The family-oriented restaurant, known for its bear-themed atmosphere and all-day breakfast menu, is moving into the former Cool Hand Luke’s location across the street from Costco on Tegner Road.

After operating in Turlock for over 10 years, Cool Hand Luke’s closed abruptly in May along with the chain’s location in Madera. A review of the Turlock restaurant on the website Yelp said that, in addition to the phone number being disconnected and doors locked with no notice to the public ahead of time, 35 employees were not warned of the closure either and were put out of work. Both locations were operated by Tom Pilloud of Fresno, and public records show unpaid taxes in connection with the Madera restaurant.

According to Jolisa Johnson, the vice president of marketing and communications for Black Bear Diner, the franchisee-owned establishment is expected to open in January and will join nearby diners in Modesto, Merced, Manteca, Tracy and Los Banos. It is the first Black Bear Diner to open in Turlock.

“We’re good, old-fashioned family food at a great value and we’re a good fit for the Turlock community,” Johnson said. “We’re very involved in the communities we serve, and we love coming in and bringing that kind of dedication.”

Hot dog lovers can also rejoice because Turlock’s newest fast food joint, Wienerschnitzel, has opened on the southwest end of Monte Vista Crossings next to Petco and the Habit Burger on Countryside Drive. It is also the first Turlock location for Wienerschnitzel, whose drive-thru line has been busy since opening earlier this month. The new building also has space for two other retailers, but are not yet occupied.

Across Countryside Drive along Tuolumne Road, ground has also broken on the previously-announced Turlock Corners Retail Plaza, which will house Farmer Boys and Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen. Another to-be-determined retailer will call the corner home as well.

Turlock’s Monte Vista Crossings will also soon be home to Bay Area sandwich legend Ike’s Love & Sandwiches, which is opening its first Central Valley locations in Turlock and Modesto in the coming weeks.

Ike’s is popular for its larger-than-life sandwiches with unique fillings that are typically named after Bay Area legends like Madison Bumgarner and Steve Young. The restaurant has been featured on the Travel Channel’s “Man v. Food” and has been featured in the New York Times more than once.

According to company representatives, Turlock’s Ike’s will open in the former Freebirds location (between SpeeDee Oil Change and Yogolicious) in the next four to eight weeks.