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RoosterJuice crows about improvements
The white, door-high fencing that now encloses the patio area at RoosterJuice was recently installed to protect the ownerships latest investment. - photo by James Burns

Manteca’s cozy lounge bar was locked up and put behind bars on Monday.

But for good reason.

The white, door-high fencing that now encloses the patio area at RoosterJuice was installed to protect the ownership’s latest investment.

Owners Mark Souza and Suzanne Forsberg have planned a full-scale remodel for the outdoor patio, beginning first with the security fencing.

Manager Mitch Manzanares estimates the project has cost Souza and Forsberg “tens of thousands of dollars.”

On Monday, the popular bar and grill located in the Marketplace shopping center was closed for construction.

The door was removed and replaced with an orange roll-up industrial door, creating an open-air feeling. Air curtains will hang in the entry way during business hours.

“We’re small,” Manzanares said. “This gives it more room; make its feel bigger.”

Later this week, new outdoor seating will be delivered. RoosterJuice is replacing the picnic tables with custom tiled tables, each featuring a fire pit and love seats.

Other additions and renovations include: knocking out a dividing wall in the patio area; hanging new flat-screen televisions, bringing their total count to seven; and a fryer for the kitchen.

All of this work is a precursor to RoosterJuice’s shift from a beer-and-wine bar to a full-liquor menu in about a month.

“We needed to become a full-liquor bar instead of just beer and wine,” Manzanares said. “It’s all based on customer demand and requests.”

Customers are encouraged to watch the transformation take shape. The bar and grill will be open today.

“It’s going to be a new and improved RoosterJuice! We are getting new fire places put out on the patio, getting real plants out there as well,” management wrote on RoosterJuice Facebook page. “We are taking the doors off so it blends in with the patio. We have so many changes coming.”

• • •

Update on Airport Way memorial

On Saturday, I wrote about the decade-old memorial for Brian Niederbrach along Airport Way, between Lathrop and Lovelace roads. The 18-year-old was killed on the evening of Oct. 3, 2002 when he was struck by an oncoming car traveling southbound on that rural stretch of road.

Each year, family and friends return to a memorial near the site of his death. It’s an elaborate tribute, to be sure, complete with statues, carpeting, a wood cross and tree, and a stump for those staying awhile to sit on.

For nearly 11 years, the memorial sat uninterrupted – disturbed only by the elements.

That changed on Friday when Glen Emerick, a member of the City of Manteca’s Engineering Department, informed The Bulletin that the memorial was sitting on a dig-line for the CenterPoint Intermodal Project. In a few weeks time, Emerick said, tractors and crews would be trenching for sewer and plumbing.

If the memorial wasn’t moved, Emerick said, his crew would have no choice but to collect and discard it, or demolish it. Struck by the amount of love poured into Brian’s memorial, Emerick spent days trying to track down his family and friends. “Somebody cared about this kid,” he said.

Good news: People still read the newspaper.

My column reached Brian’s older brother, John, and his mother, Diane, who contacted me on Saturday. They expressed their gratitude for Emerick’s above-and-beyond effort to find them, and noted that they’d be by to gather up his memorial.

On Monday, Brian’s mementos had been saved – collected, I presume, by his family.

“I was out at the site this morning,” read Emerick’s e-mail Monday afternoon, “and it has been removed.”

• • •

The Music Man

Darryl Bain may get to play his Recanati-120 Base accordion for holiday shoppers after all.

The former music director for the Salvation Army was inundated with support through the weekend and Monday, each offering to help fix the hand-me-down accordion that had suffered some moisture damage.

Not a single person who contacted The Bulletin or Bain asked to purchase the equipment.

Ultimately, Bain returned the accordion to its original owners, who offered to fix and return it to him.

A message to the unidentified good Samaritan wasn’t returned.

For years, Bain has added a musical touch to Manteca’s holiday shopping experience. He often plays out front of K-Mart, even in driving a rain as was the case last winter. Many have watched him pedal his bike around town, accordion hitched to the back.

“I’m overwhelmed. It’s unbelievable,” Bain said. “I didn’t even think there were that many people who listened to me play. Of course, I give it all that I have, but I didn’t think there were that many who listened.”