Name of business: Wetzel’s Pretzels
Type of business: Fast-food restaurant
Location: 3170 Countryside Dr. Unit No. 3140 in Turlock
Hours: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday
Contact information: 818-505-9900
Specialty: The Jalaroni pretzel
History of business:
After a summer season in 2020 traveling throughout Turlock in a food truck, Wetzel’s Pretzels is officially serving customers out of a new brick-and-mortar location at Monte Vista Crossings.
Located in the former Dickey’s Barbecue Pit space next to Jamba Juice, Gyros & More and Panda Express, Turlock resident Tony Zaia couldn’t be happier to open his fourth Wetzel’s Pretzels restaurant in his own community. Zaia owns and operates three other locations in the Modesto and Merced malls and was forced to sell in Turlock out of the company’s food truck when the pandemic first hit last year.
He had been hoping for a spot in Monte Vista Crossings for over five years, he said, and the community’s support of the Wetzel’s Pretzel’s truck only confirmed that Turlock would be the perfect landing spot for his next store.
“This has really been special here in Turlock. From day one when we brought in the truck until now, the community has been extremely supportive,” Zaia said. “COVID created an opportunity and when they called me to say there was an open spot, I jumped on it because I’ve been waiting for a long time. I knew that location is robust and busy, and so far it’s been true to my thinking.”
The new Wetzel’s Pretzels in Turlock celebrated its grand opening last Friday and the community celebrated, too. Now Turlockers have a permanent, one-stop shop for all of their pretzel needs, from knots topped with jalapenos and pepperoni to sweet, cinnamon-topped bites.
Zaia has made it a point to hire locally, he said, though he’s having a hard time filling all of his open positions due to the current workforce shortage. There are 10 openings at his Modesto locations, he said, and another five available in Turlock. The Wetzel’s Pretzels food truck, which is typically parked in the Ace Hardware parking lot on Geer Road, is closed for the time being as staff is trained, but he plans on reopening the truck as well in the coming weeks.
While the truck is what got him started in Turlock, Zaia is looking forward to the new opportunity for his business in Monte Vista Crossings.
“It’s a really live center,” he said. “We’re just happy to be a part of it.”