Friday, October 07, 2005

T.G.I. Friday's and BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse Construction to Fill Final Piece of Freeway Frontage between Nut Tree Parkway and Interstate 80

Article Launched: 09/03/2005 07:18:30 AM

Construction Begins
Restaurants to Fill Final Piece of Freeway Frontage
By Tom Hall/Staff Writer

Work has begun on the site of a future T.G.I. Friday's restaurant in Vacaville. (Joel Rosenbaum/The Reporter)

Soon, commercial development along the strip of land wedged between Nut Tree Parkway and Interstate 80 will be complete.

Construction on two new restaurants on the north side of Nut Tree near Harbison Drive began recently, nearing a decade-long redevelopment project toward completion.

Work on T.G.I. Friday's and BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse began a little more than a week ago, said city planner Fred Buderi.

Buderi said the property between Chevy's Fresh Mex Restaurant and the Chevron gas station, which is currently host to construction crews, is the last to be developed along the commercial swatch backing up against the freeway.

The propulsion for the redevelopment came from the expansion of Nut Tree Parkway from a small road to an arterial and the building of the massive Allison Drive overcrossing, Buderi said.

"It changed that area from a deserted part of town to a major destination," the planner said.

T.G.I. Friday's and BJ's will join a host of other nationally-known restaurant chains in the immediate area when they open early this spring, including Chili's, Applebee's, Chevy's, Fresh Choice, Mel's Diner and Hometown Buffet.

T.G.I. Friday's is an international casual dining chain with locations in 47 states and 54 countries. The chain has several restaurants in the Sacramento area, as well as a number of locations throughout the Bay Area.

Planned for Vacaville is a 7,500-square-foot building with seating for 257 guests. An outdoor dining area is also planned.

The Vacaville BJ's will be the first in Solano County, according to Alex Puchner, the senior vice president of brewing operations for the national chain.

Fare served at BJ's ranges from deep-dish pizza and calzones to ribs and pot roast to "giant stuffed potatoes." BJ's also serves 10 original beers made at its regional brewery in Roseville.

Puchner said BJ's is expanding into Northern California, having opened the Roseville combination restaurant and brewery in April and planning on opening the doors on restaurants in Elk Grove and Natomas this spring.

The company's primary market exists in Southern California, Puchner said, though locations exist in Nevada, Arizona and Texas, as well. He added that the company was adding about one new location per month, and hopes to expand into the southeast in the next few years.

The Vacaville location is set to be a 7,700-square-foot building with seating for 280 guests. Puchner said it is scheduled to open in February.

Tom Hall can be reached at

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