Photo of Cajun Crackin' in the Universal Park Shopping Center in North Fresno. Photo by David Castellon.
Written by Edward Smith
Eateries are getting noticed in the Central Valley with a couple notable mentions nationally as well as some awaited openings.
What appears to be a one-of-a-kind Cajun restaurant is taking the place of the former Hooters restaurant in north Fresno in the Universal Park Shopping Center, anchored by Lowe’s and Sam’s Club. A sign is up and permits have been filed with the City of Fresno for Cajun Crack’n. Licenses with the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control with Hooters were canceled.
Attempts to speak at length with Andy Yang, who filed permit applications with the City of Fresno for the restaurant, were unsuccessful. Yang mentioned he was from the Bay Area.
Curry Pizza Co.
When Yelp released its top 100 restaurants nationally this month, Fresno and Clovis voters had big praise for a small pizza company with a unique concept. With 106 reviews and a 4.5 average, The Curry Pizza Co. location in Fresno earned a spot at No. 52 on the list. It’s Indian-inspired pizzas, wings and fries earned for itself 86 five-star reviews, 13 four-stars, five three-stars, only one two-star and one one-star review.
Yelp reviewer Kara S. of Chicago said she even decided to try out the place after reading the Yelp reviews.
Owner Varinderr Malhi opened Curry Pizza Co. in Clovis in 2016 with his wife, sister, brother-in-law and cousin. In 2018, they opened their Fresno location in December 2018 and a food truck soon followed.
A Bakersfield restaurant, PorkChop & Bubba’s BBQ was awarded No. 14 on the list. A food truck in San Diego, Shawarma Guys took the No. 1 spot.
The Forks Resort Restaurant Lodging & Marina
The New Yorker gave some love to a Bass Lake restaurant and lodge. In her “The Best Things I’ve Eaten this Decade” article for the magazine, writer Helen Rosner spoke of the resort’s famous “Forks Burger” as “the most beautiful hamburger in the whole beautiful, beautiful world,” following a foray into Yosemite National Park’s Glacier Point.
“The burger was heaven on a bun, a juicy, crackle-edged beef patty dressed with pickles, iceberg lettuce, thick rounds of tomato and onion, and a drench of tart thousand-island dressing,” Rosner wrote.
The family-owned resort and restaurant at Bass Lake is 14 miles from the southern entrance to Yosemite National Park.
Owner of The Forks Resort Leslie Cox said the mention came as a complete surprise. Locally, her burger has been known for a long time. Opinions and tastes as to what makes the best burger differ, said Cox, but experience is a huge factor. And author Rosner’s opinion isn’t the only one.
“We pride ourselves on consistency, we’ve been doing this a long time, it’s family-friendly place,” Cox said.
The first of two craft cocktail bars in Downtown Fresno is set to open this coming week. Via Facebook, owners Carmen Serrato and Po Tsai announced that the bar beside Tioga Sequoia Brewing Co. and Zack’s Brewing would open Tuesday. While making numerous appearances at various Downtown Fresno events along with the other craft cocktail concept Quail State, set to open at the Pacific Southwest Building’s rooftop patio area, Modernist held a soft opening New Year’s Eve.
The bar features takes on Old Fashioneds and other cocktails and will be open 4 p.m. to midnight, Monday through Thursday, 4 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Fridays, 12 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, 12 p.m. to 12 a.m. Their address is 719 Fulton St.
Modernist won the Downtown Fresno Partnership’s Create Here campaign.
Downtown Fresno’s other craft cocktail bar will open sometime near the end of the first quarter in 2020, according to owner Josh Isla-Wolf. He and his wife, Hayley Isla-Wolf have been developing the rooftop patio at the Pacific Southwest Building.
In the meantime, a partnership was creating between Quail State and Los Panchos for a “permanent pop-up” at the Mexican restaurant and cantina Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. There, thirsty guests can try some of the creative libations that Isla-Wolf’s team have created.
The symbiotic partnership offered a reason for the recently renovated space to stay open until midnight, according to Isla-Wolf. And considering rooftop capacity, the only patio in Fresno with a liquor license also allows extra space to sell drinks, said Isla-Wolf.