Auburn's Marie Callender's closing

Bay Area-based eatery to take over space after remodel
By: Gloria Young, Journal Staff Writer
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Marie Callender’s restaurant in Auburn will close March 30. The building, part of the Holiday Inn complex just off Interstate 80 and Highway 49, will undergo an extensive remodel, reopening in July as a Max’s restaurant, according to Garrett Grialou, president of the Reneson Hotel Group, which owns the property. “The concept at Marie Callender’s was getting a bit tired — both the restaurant and concept,” Grialou said Monday. “Max’s concept is much more contemporary. It will be a better fit for our hotel guests and the community.” Max’s is part of Max’s World, a San Francisco-based chain that specializes in family dining and an American-favorites menu. It also offers a children’s menu. “It will be quite different,” Grialou said. The eatery’s Web site lists nine locations in the Bay Area. It also previously operated restaurants in Sacramento and Roseville. Meadow Vista resident Jennifer Lynn has eaten at the former Max’s Opera Café near Arden Fair Mall and said she’s pleased the eatery will open in Auburn. “The décor is really fun and it’s a good atmosphere and kind of fun food,” she said. “It’s a more modern chain and has great desserts. It’s sad for Marie Callender’s. But I’m glad it’s not going to be an empty building. So many places are closing right now.” Auburn resident Kathy Liegerot said new restaurants are always welcome. “I’m not a big chain-restaurant person,” she said. “I like small, intimate dining.” The building renovation will include moving the bar into the main part of the restaurant. But there are no plans to add square footage. Grialou declined to provide an estimate of remodeling costs. “It’s difficult to say. We’re still getting estimates together,” he said. The company has also made some renovations to the Holiday Inn. “We’ve done a lot and will continue to make improvements,” Grialou said. But Reneson’s plans to build a new hotel in Auburn have been put aside for now. In 2008, the Auburn Planning Commission approved a use permit for the company’s proposed 104-room Hampton Inn & Suites to be constructed on Lincoln Way near the Auburn Woods condominiums. The $15 million project included a restaurant, swimming pool, spa and meeting rooms on a 5.9-acre site. For the moment that project is on hold due to the economy, Grialou said. Reneson also owns the Corte Madera Inn, Novato Oaks Inn, Holiday Inn Express in McKinleyville, Hilton Garden Inn in Napa Valley and Hampton Inn in Daly City. Gloria Young can be reached at