As of Friday, Downtown Turlock will be receiving a sweet treat unlike anything seen before out here in the Central Valley.
House of Random will finally be opening up their doors after almost a year and a half of construction and tough decisions. The location of a previous Rainbow Fabric store is now the home to three new businesses, but the first to be completed is pretty random.
The owners, Berooni Babakolan and Brolin Bahbaheleh, look forward to opening their doors to the public this coming Friday. Babakolan explained that shortly after graduating from Stan State she found herself wanting more than just a nine to five job.
She said, “Very quickly we learned that it wasn’t for us and very quickly we branched into the business idea. It mainly started with the idea of selling Middle Eastern drinks and knowing that there is a big Middle Eastern population here in Turlock, we looked to cater to those needs.”
The recently married couple were set on selling these fruity and unique drinks until they found something in San Jose. Babakolan said, “Slowly but surely we stumbled on liquid nitrogen and thought ‘okay, what is it and how do we get our hands on it?’ And for the last two years, we have been studying nitrogen, making ice cream in the garage, and even got trained on the ins and outs of it. We even got our certificate to handle and serve it.”
By getting certified, this helped legitimize their restaurant and will help them expand in years to come. Bahbaheleh said, “We learned all the different things you can do with it and how we can apply it with our ice cream. It’s not necessarily required for someone to be certified to handle liquid nitrogen, but, when you are, it opens a whole lot more doors for you.”
These doors have been closed for the past year and a half during construction but the grand opening quickly approaches. Bahbaheleh explained how this location not even two years ago had dirt floors in some spots. He said, “When we walked in here, everything you see now did not exist. Walls did not exist. Floors did not exist.”
This took a majority of the time but then came the decorating stage which was a whole other battle. Bahbaheleh said that initially, all seats were going to be swinging seats but after time more ideas came to mind. “We wanted it like a playhouse with no normal chairs, but it’s funny how we started with this one idea and then we went up and down until we finally came to the idea that it had to be a big 'wow' factor. We wanted people to come in and say, ‘oh wow, this is amazing!’ So this is why it really took so long.”
It was definitely worth the wait. The walls are either lit up with neons or lights that react to music or sound. This place is very aesthetically pleasing and Babakolan invites customers to not just stop by but to come in for the experience. “Instagram is so big and we wanted every corner of this place to be ‘Instagram worthy’ and have everyone come to take pictures and selfies.”
Unlike a majority of the stores and restaurants in the Downtown area, House Of Random will be open late in the night. Bahbaheleh said that Friday and Saturdays, they will be open as late as 2 am. “During weekdays, we will be open from 11-11 and will be closed on Mondays.” Babakolan said that “We’re really aiming to cater to the younger crowd and will stay open late for the nightlife here in Turlock.”
As of right now, ice cream fans can look forward to Friday’s grand opening to try their many random treats like Bahbaheleh's favorite Nutella ice cream or a sweet twist on a fluffy classic. He said, “We will be selling our cotton candy burrito, which I think people will be really interested in. It is cotton candy that is flattened out like a tortilla, with vanilla ice cream in the middle, and then rolled up into a burrito. It is extremely sweet but it’s really cool.”
Even though they added ice cream as their main seller, they did not forget to add some Middle Eastern-inspired drinks. Bahbaheleh is adding a Middle Eastern item made with carrot juice and ice cream. "I think that is going to do really well because it’s kinda like a carrot juice float. There’s the cantaloupe ice cream, and one with dates and almonds,” bahbaheleh said.
Like a majority of their ingredients, Babakolan and Bahbaheleh are both locally from here. They chose to set up shop here in Turlock because they knew that the Valley needed something fresh and new. After Bahbaheleh transferred and graduated from Stan State, they moved to San Jose for a while until they couldn't take anymore.
He said, "I would be sitting into traffic for a few hours both ways and after a few months into it I was like 'no, in Turlock you can get everywhere in 10 to 15 minutes' and honestly Turlock is a really great place to live, so why not invest my time and money into here, while I'm young."
He added that there will be plans for expansion. "We will be looking to stay here in the Central Valley. We want to be around here, so cities like Turlock or Modesto," Bahbaheleh said. As for now, Turlock is the location for their first established restaurant, but they are thinking of coming to the Turlock Farmer's Market in the later years.
As for Friday's grand opening, there may be a large turnout of followers from House of Random’s Instagram, who have been eagerly waiting to see what’s inside. Around 12 pm, the Chamber of Commerce will be coming out with some of the Board and Council Members to cut the ribbon and start off the event.
KHOP will be out there until 2 pm playing music and providing giveaways. Bahbaheleh is bringing out face painters and balloon twisters for kids and will be giving out some free shirts to the first customers. He said, “We anticipate the crowd to be here initially for a while and then again around five o'clock when people get off work, so we will stay open until no more people come in.”
House of Random’s menu of sweet treats and snacks will constantly be evolving according to Babakolan. She said that “It isn’t smart to open up and do everything so we actually made plans to slowly release stuff to the public, so there’ll be something new each month.” This means that the House of Random might get more and more random, in months to come.