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New eatery coming to downtown Turlock
First and Main
Bistro 234 owners Jennifer Doerksen and Leroy Walker are expanding their culinary expertise to another downtown location, with a new contemporary restaurant, First and Main, expected to open in the former Rainbow Fabrics building by 2019. - photo by KRISTINA HACKER/The Journal

Downtown Turlock's Bistro 234 has pleased the palates of Central Valley diners for nearly two decades, and now, owners Jennifer Doerksen and Leroy Walker are expanding their talents just a few blocks down the street with a new restaurant that’s in the works — First and Main.


Doerksen and Walker have already established themselves as culinary powerhouses in the downtown scene, with Bistro 234 being known throughout the area for its fresh and innovative menu, complete with handmade sauces, and its relaxed atmosphere. Their forthcoming endeavor, First and Main, looks to fill a niche in downtown Turlock not yet realized, said Doerksen.


“We wanted to add something more to the restaurant scene downtown – a contemporary, casual feel,” she said. “The only thing about First and Main that will be the same as Bistro 234 is great food and friendly service. The menu and concept will be totally different.”


As the name hints, the new restaurant will be located on the corner of First Street and West Main Street, in the former Rainbow Fabrics location at 100 W. Main St.


First and Main will be a “sleek, modern” environment featuring new contemporary dishes that callback to classic American cuisine. Doerksen said the menu will emphasize farm to fork, using fresh, local ingredients to create options that are light and “cleaner on the palate,” compared to the soulful, rich dishes found at Bistro 234.


“Leroy has probably been working on this menu in his mind for about five years,” joked Doerksen, adding that the pair began seriously planning the menu for a new, to-be-named restaurant about two years ago. “We’ve been having a great time putting the menu together, making it different than Bistro 234 but equally as good. Leroy is known for his great ability to cook, and he’s just been the greatest business partner.”


Walker also serves as executive chef at Bistro 234 and, soon, First and Main. His sauces at Bistro 234 are famous in Turlock and beyond, but First and Main’s menu will feature lighter sauces on select dishes. The new restaurant will also feature a much larger bar than Bistro 234, which will be a focal point of the eatery.


According for site plans submitted to the City of Turlock, First and Main will also have an outdoor dining patio, and the retail suites behind the restaurant will be remodeled and rented out.


“You can come in for just a bite, just a drink, or you can have a three-course meal. You can come for a fancy occasion, or you can come in your gym clothes,” said Doerksen. “There’s going to be a much livelier atmosphere than Bistro 234.”



Construction on the building will begin as soon as possible, said Doerksen, and she and Walker hope that First and Main will be open by 2019.