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Walnut Creek Magazine

An Exciting Crop of Businesses Are Coming To Walnut Creek

Feb 23, 2022 04:45PM ● By Harper Klein

Plaza Escuela

Commercial real estate in Walnut Creek is bouncing back. Downtown vacancy rates are on the decline, according to a report from John Cumbelich & Associates. “Overall vacancy in the market ticked down to 10.8% in Q4 of 2021. Notable gains were centered around Regency Center’s Plaza Escuela, where Barnes & Noble signed a 13,000-SF lease and Relax the Back absorbed an additional 2,736-SF. These leases, in addition to Nick the Greek and Bober Tea, mark a successful comeback for the plaza, which only a year ago was suffering the losses of Uniqlo, Starbucks, Panera, and Forever 21.”


Broadway Plaza

Crate & Barrel threw open the doors to its temporary home in the former Neiman Marcus until the retailer finds a permanent location for its décor business—believed to be across the street at 1201 Main Street. Slated to open in 2023, Pinstripes will take the original Crate & Barrel space in Broadway Plaza.  With thirteen locations in nine states, the Chicago-based company combines Italian/American cuisine with bowling, bocce, and private event space.

If rumors are true, fans of the San Francisco classic Original Joe’s are in for a glorious surprise. The swanky Italian American steakhouse is close to leasing the former Stanford’s restaurant space.


Luxury fitness brand, Life Time, is building a new 76,000-SF ‘athletic resort’ complete with rooftop pool in Broadway Plaza. Arriving in 2023, the health club will add to the shopping center’s experiential mix and keep up with an insatiable demand for workout facilities. 

It’s a testament to Walnut Creek’s growing cache in the real estate world that so many furniture brands have chosen to be here. American furniture chain, Ethan Allen, opens soon in the vacant H & M space at Liberty Plaza, joining the growing list of interior design stores downtown.

Historic Downtown

There’s just no denying it, when we broke the momentous news Shake Shack is planting a flag in the heart of the downtown, devotees of the cult fast casual burger chain went wild. Insiders confirm the new restaurant at 1604 Mt. Diablo is on track for a late 2022 or early 2023 opening. Adding a healthy blend to the block, organic salad shop sweetgreen is under construction at 1556 Mt. Diablo Blvd, and a new boxing facility Hook’d Gym just opened at 1375 Locust Street.

The Lyric is getting a new tenant mix. Fizz Champagne & Bubbles Bar and a yoga studio are joining the new Caribbean hot spot, Lita, on the ground floor. Next door, buildout has begun on Limon—a high end hair salon with roots in the South Bay. 

 As first reported in the East Bay Times, restaurateur JB Balingit, who co-owns Vic’s in Martinez and The Hideout in Lafayette, is expanding his Filipino-inspired fast-casual concept, Guava Island Eats, to Walnut Creek. Opening soon at 1506 N. Main Street, Balingit launched the first location in Martinez a year ago.

If there’s one thing we’ve learned over the past two years, the fried chicken sandwich craze is real. March brings two new places to satisfy your cravings—the much buzzed-about World Famous Hot Boys on Main Street and Plucked at The Orchards from the culinary team behind Sauced. 

Founder and executive chef of the popular pandemic popup, IndoMex, Nora Haron is bringing her culinary talent to Walnut Creek opening SanDai—a modern Singaporean & Indonesian-inspired restaurant with a Kopi Bar (coffee shop) in the former Prima space. (updated 2/28/22)

The owners of Manakish Oven have ambitious plans for the vacant Chili’s space on Locust Street. Construction on Ostro, an Italian restaurant and rooftop bar, is expected to begin soon. But that’s not all—the former Scott’s catering building on Bonanza will soon emerge as a new restaurant and event space. Stay Tuned.


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