Talk of the Town: Broadway Plaza Street; Shake Shack; Hot Boys; YardbirdsMar 01, 2023 02:09PM ● By Harper Klein
March has roared in like a lion and the weather may not ease up anytime soon. According to meteorologists, we can expect more rain next week. Recent snowfall on Mount Diablo transformed it into a picturesque winter wonderland. Besides the weather, there is plenty of exciting news to share.
Speaking to business and civic leaders at Boundary Oak in late February, Mayor Cindy Silva announced during her State of the City speech that Broadway Plaza Street will reopen this spring. "The temporary orange K rail barriers will be removed, replaced by retractable bollards, and Broadway Plaza Street will reopen.” The public road has remained closed to vehicles since an organized crime event occurred at Nordstorm in November 2021.
Shake Shack finally made its Walnut Creek debut at Mt. Diablo and Locust Street on March 5. Brand loyalists swear by the Neiman Ranch bacon cheeseburger and cheesy fries smothered in Shack sauce—a gooey, spicy, tangy delicious, mess. The menu also features their latest creation, the White Truffle Shroom Burger.
High interest rates and construction costs have caused delays for three major downtown projects. The Foundry, a food hall proposed by BH Development in 2018 at 1250 Locust Street, recently received a two-year extension from the city's Design Review Commission. Similarly, Align Real Estate's multi-use condominium project adjacent to Slice House at 1532/1556 Mt. Diablo Boulevard has been postponed. And the 27-unit condominium mixed-use project at 1501 N. California, formerly home to King's Jewelers and Relax the Back, was also granted an extension.
Take a minute to let this sink in. Since opening in 2019, World Famous Hot Boys has sold ONE MILLION chicken sandwiches. In a crowded field, that’s a big deal. The dynamic duo behind the cult-classic, Berk Visual and Victor Ghaben, shared their success story with Forbes.
After standing mostly vacant for 14 years, the building at 1403 Locust Street was slated to become Ostrio, a new Mediterranean restaurant, when construction suddenly halted. Unfortunately, the once desirable downtown corner is now an eyesore. Property owner Garo Keadjian acknowledged the lack of tenant progress in a statement. “Main Street Properties shares the community’s concerns and we are actively pursuing legal remedies to regain control and restore the property as soon as possible.”
Speaking of vacant buildings, John Cumbelich & Associates announced Yardbird, an outdoor furniture store, is opening soon at 1406 N. Broadway. The 5,196-SQF space was most recently home to a Sprint store.
One of Walnut Creek's notable hair salons, Thirteen, has relocated to Salons by JC at Rossmoor Shopping Center. Meanwhile a new hair salon, Painted Mane, opened in the former Thirteen space at 1768 N.Broadway.
Sad news from some downtown boutiques: Flashlight Books, a beloved independent bookstore, has announced it is closing on March 24. Down the street, Five Little Monkeys closed in Walnut Creek, after opening a new toy store in Lafayette. Hawaiian goods purveyor Paia Mercantile announced the closure of their Main Street shop on Facebook. And CREAM joins the pack. The Main Street ice cream sando shop is expected to close in July.
Despite the retail news, the downtown restaurant scene continues to expand with 5 Tacos and Beers, Melo's Pizza, and SanDai on the horizon.