published on February 15, 2016 - 6:57 AM
Written by The Business Journal Staff
Fresno favorite Bella Pasta will move back to its original neighborhood next month as part of a larger update to the business model.

Owner Fabian Rodriguez said the restaurant would move from its current spot near Cedar and Herndon avenues into a 1,500-square-foot space at the North Pointe Center on Palm and Herndon avenues.

“I’ve been trying to get back to that side of town for a while. It’s our original neighborhood and a lot of our original customers who live in that Old Fig and San Joaquin County Club area do not like going past Blackstone Avenue,” he said. “We’re trying to get back on their radar with the move.”

Rodriguez took over the restaurant 17 years ago, while it was still located near Palm and Bullard avenues. He purchased it while still working as general manager of Max’s Bistro in Fresno, but eventually shifted his focus entirely to Bella Pasta.

“It was just a hole in the wall back then, but it was a great hole in the wall. We were really packing them in,” he said. “Every night there would be a line. I can even remember people waiting in their cars in the rain just to get a table when one opened up.”

By 2005, Rodriguez had expanded the business to a second location and began offering catering services.

The restaurant took a hit with the economic downturn a few years later and he eventually closed the original spot in 2008, concentrating instead on the new Cedar and Herndon location.

“I’ve got a lot of hindsight on that,” Rodriguez said. “I’ve been dying to get back to the old neighborhood for years.”

With Bella Pasta’s lease up and the old By the Sea restaurant space opening up, Rodriguez said it seemed like the right time to move back to northwest Fresno.

The move will be a bit of a downsize—Bella Pasta’s current location features a 2,500-square-foot indoor dining room and 1,500-square-foot patio—but also offer a chance to get back to the restaurant’s roots.

The new space will feature a more rustic-aesthetic than the current location, which has splashes of bright colors and design.

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