Name of business: Huckleberry’s
Type of business: Restaurant
Location: 151 N Walnut Rd., Turlock
Hours: 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily
Contact information: (209) 634-4253
Specialty: Southern breakfast and lunch
History of business:
As the calendars change, so do the preferred flavors amongst those in the Turlock area. Timothy Burns and Paul Dias know that firsthand. The two work alongside each other as supervisors for Happy Bees Inc., which is a company based out of Riverbank that runs a number of restaurants throughout California. Founded in 1965 for their original restaurant chain Happy Steaks, the team has switched gears multiple times, first transitioning into Perko’s Café and now expanding their wildly popular Huckleberry’s brand.
Huckleberry’s first came to Turlock in 2009, taking over the space at 3191 Geer Road. Since then, the restaurant has grown immensely in popularity.
“It's definitely a very good store for us,” Burns said. “It's one of our busiest Huckleberry's that we have, and we have about 28 locations total. It’s just doing really good.”
Dias explained that, with the demand at an all-time high, the team had discussed expansion in Turlock for the past couple of years. Burns and Dias finally made the decision to do away with their Perko’s location at 151 N Walnut Rd. in May and open their second Huckleberry’s location.
“It just made sense,” Dias said. “It's off the freeway, you have great exposure, and it’s on a side of town that’s making a comeback.”
Burns added that while many new businesses and homes have been built off the Monte Vista exit in recent years, the West Main area is making a gradual comeback.
Beginning in mid-May, renovations to the space were finally completed in early July, with the restaurant officially opening its doors to the public on July 11. Burns believes that the unique atmosphere is what has appealed to most customers thus far.
“We decorated it with the whole [Southern] theme,” Dias explained. “You hear the sound of crickets in the trees and the fireflies light up. The vibes you get are like going on the Pirates of Caribbean ride at Disneyland. We really have that Southern feel to it.”
The Southern culture is also expressed through the actual food, which the team describes as "Southern cooking with a California twist.”
“What separates us from some of the other places is that we do a lot of scratch made products,” Dias said. “We make our own jambalaya, make our own gumbo, Cajun chili is handmade. We make our own crab cakes, fried green tomatoes, okra… There's a lot of items that are part of the brand that you can't get anywhere else.”
Since the grand opening a few weeks ago, one of the most popular dishes has been the Mississippi Skillet. Meanwhile, Burns and Dias have their own personal favorites.
Burns expressed his love for the Stack Chicken and Waffles, which is a waffle with two three-ounce breaded chicken breasts underneath, all covered with different flavor combinations. Dias on the other hand is a fan of the Caged Infinity, which is Dewey sausage with two poached eggs on grilled garlic sourdough, topped off with sauce, pepper, paprika and green onions.
Even if customers don’t have the largest appetite for the Stack Chicken and Waffles or the Caged Infinity, the two explained that there is something for everybody.
“Even simpler things like catfish with Cajun seasoning, not everybody serves it around here,” Dias said. “But people order it and say that they hadn’t had it in years or since they lived or visited the South years ago. We’re happy to bring these flavors.”
A full menu for Huckleberry’s can be found at www.huckleberrys.com/menu.html.
“We’re so appreciative to be here in Turlock,” Burns said. “The people here are what make this all happen.”