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In the guest chef program's debut, Save Mart's The Tipping Point restaurant will serve a brunch menu.

Save Mart to pilot guest chef program at flagship store

Western grocer’s The Tipping Point restaurant to host chef John Surla

This weekend, The Save Mart Cos. plans to test a guest chef program to help support local restaurateurs hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Save Mart said yesterday that chef John Surla, owner of Asian fusion restaurant Surla’s in Modesto, Calif., will take the reins at The Tipping Point restaurant inside its flagship supermarket in Modesto to serve a brunch menu on Nov. 7 and Nov. 8 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.   

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Save Mart opened its flagship store in Modesto, Calif., which houses the company's The Tipping Point restaurant, in October 2019.

Surla’s pop-up menu will include stuffed french toast for $10, eggs benedict for $12, and steak and eggs for $15. Each entree will come with country-style potatoes and fresh fruit on the side. Save Mart said all of the brunch sales, except purchases of alcoholic beverages, will go directly to the restaurant, which has had to temporarily close because  of public COVID-19 restrictions.

“Our intent with this pilot program is consistent with our evergreen focus on the local communities we serve, and we’ve extended that approach to neighborhood restaurants impacted by the pandemic,” Hal Levitt, senior vice president of retail operations at Save Mart, said in a statement. “We developed a program to assist local chefs and their restaurants; at the same time, our guests can enjoy some of their favorite dishes, discover new ones and share in helping our local restaurants.”

Save Mart said it plans to announce more restaurant participants for the guest chef program in the coming weeks.


“This Save Mart pilot program means the world to my staff and me and we can’t thank Save Mart enough,” Surla (left) stated. “It will help us financially, keep our staff employed, and keep us busy while we get to share our culinary creations and flavors with more people.”

Save Mart opened its 54,000-square-foot Modesto flagship store in October 2019. The opening also marked the launch of the company’s first fast-casual restaurant concept, The Tipping Point. The in-store eatery features a signature entrée of tri-tip barbecued steak served in a wet or dry sandwich, torta, taco or salad, as well as whole. The menu also includes street corn and other side dishes, handmade churros with chocolate and caramel dipping sauces, soda, water and a range of local beers and wines on tap. There’s seating for 63 people, including 22 indoor and 41 outdoor seats.

Overall, The Save Mart Cos. operates 206 supermarkets in California and northern Nevada under the Save Mart, Lucky, Lucky California and FoodMaxx banners.

For our most up-to-date coverage, visit the coronavirus homepage.

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