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The Doghouse Tap Room approved
• Dogs would be allowed at Central Avenue bar
doghouse taproom
An architectural rendering of the Doghouse Tap Room proposed for the former Sahlstrom and Yockey accounting building at 2723 Central Avenue. The project was unanimously approved last week by the Ceres Planning Commission.

A new Doghouse Tap Room should be coming soon to the former Sahlstrom and Yockey accounting building at 2723 Central Avenue.

The Ceres Planning Commission last week voted 5-0 to approve a Conditional Use Permit (CUO) to remodel the existing 1,368-square-foot block building into a taproom with outdoor seating and a courtyard just a stone’s throw from Highway 99 and the back of Valley Christian Center.

Commercial projects which serve alcohol require approval of a CUP.

The building, which dates back to 1946 and has been used for a number of commercial uses, has been vacant since Sahlstrom & Yockey closed. The building is owned by Shane Parson. Applicant Randy Beard of Modesto intends to change the façade on the front facing Central Avenue by adding a tower like feature that includes an awning and storefront door with decorative foam trim and pop-outs on the front elevation facing Central Avenue. Beard also plans to add outdoor seating area and courtyard to the east and west ends, separated by wrought iron fencing and plant new landscaping along the front and along El Camino Avenue. He also wants to bring in a food truck during normal business hours.

The “Doghouse” name does not necessarily a reference to Ceres High School with its Bulldog mascot located blocks to the north, said Community Development Director Tom Westbrook, but is indicative that the business will allow pets.

“He’s looking to have local breweries on tap, hopefully having some type of food truck that could be there to provide some food,” said Westbrook. “If you want to bring your dog to hang out with you while you have a local craft beer, I guess you can. That’s a concept I’ve seen in other parts of the country.” 

The tap room is proposed to stay open six days per week (closed Mondays) as follows: Tuesdays through Thursdays, 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Fridays, 3 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and Sundays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Should any problems arise from those hours, the Planning Commission could be asked to adjust them.

George's Grill & Gas

In other action, the commission approved a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) to allow the construction a 3,570-square-foot convenience store building with a gas station at 1960 Central Avenue.

The “George’s Grill & Gas” project would result in the demolition of the former auto garage/tire shop and George’s Liquors. The two businesses was the scene of the killing of Sgt. Howard Stevenson and serious wounding of Officer Sam Ryno on Jan. 9, 2005. In their place will be one modern convenience store with an eight-pump fueling island.

The commission had no problem with a variance to modify a 10-foot rear yard setback requirement at the north and east boundaries to allow the building to be located five feet from the north and east property lines. Variances are rarely granted by city staff noted that the owner is willing to dedicate 15 feet along Central Avenue so the city can reach its plan of having the street 90 feet instead of its current 60 feet. The loss of the property means less the development needs to be farther back into the northeast corner. The front of the store would be at an angle to face the southwest corner, or the intersection of Central Avenue and Caswell Avenue.

Georges Grill and gas
An artist's aerial view of the proposed 3,570-square-foot convenience store building with a gas station at 1960 Central Avenue. It will be called George's Grill & Gas.