house of juju

House of JuJu in Clovis is up for the "Best Kept Secret" award for this years Best of the Valley Restaurant Awards.

published on February 19, 2018 - 1:40 PM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

Reedley chef, author and restaurateur Jon Koobation will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award when the California Restaurant Association Fresno Chapter hosts its 2017 Best of the Valley Restaurant Awards next month. 

The Best of the Valley Restaurant Awards is an annual event honoring local eateries and food industry standouts in more than 30 categories including best breakfast, most romantic, best supplier and more. Winners are decided by votes from restaurant owners across the Valley who are members of the California Restaurant Association (CRA) local chapter.

The event will be held March 5 at the Fresno Convention Center.

For decades, Koobation owned and operated Jon’s Bear Club restaurant in Reedley, now called The Bear Club. Founded in 1935 as a bar for farmers and farm laborers, the eatery became a beloved home for countless family meals throughout the generations, according to a CRA news release. 

Koobation came onboard as executive chef in 1973.

“We had infants brought into the restaurant by their parents, who grew up and came back and worked for us,” Koobation said. “After having been there 40 plus years, you see generations come and go.” 

Koobatian sold the restaurant in 2013 and has since released a cookbook “Cooking with Jon,” which not only details recipes from the restaurant, but also tells of his love of cars.

The Bear Club is still open for lunch and dinner at 1695 E. Manning Ave. in Reedley.

The nominees for the different categories for the Best of the Valley Restaurant awards are as follows:

Best Breakfast:
BJ’s Kountry Kitchen
Fresno Breakfast House
Red Apple Cafe
Yosemite Falls Cafe

Best Fast Food/Drive-Thru:
Robertito’s Taco Shop

Best Fast Casual:
Colorado Grill
Deli Delicious
Wahoo’s Fish Taco

Best Asian Restaurant:
Dai Bai Dang
Tsing-Tao Chinese Restaurant
Hino Oishi
Sakura Chaya Tokyo Cuisine

Best Mexican Restaurant:
Don Pepe Taqueria
Papi’s Mex Grill
Sal’s Mexican Restaurant
Toledo’s Mexican Restaurant

Best Family Dining:
Pismo’s Coastal Grill
Yosemite Falls Cafe
Me-n-Ed’s Pizzeria
Red Robin Gourmet Burgers

Best Fine Dining:
Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar
Ruth’s Chris Steak House
Vino Grille & Spirits
The Annex Kitchen

Best Pizza:
Blast & Brew
Mike’s Pizzeria
More Than Pizza
Mountain Mike’s Pizza

Best Sushi:
Edo-Ya Tokyo Cuisine
I Love Sushi
Roll One for Mi

Best Winery:
Cru Winery
Cardella Winery
Toca Madera Winery
Moravia Wines

Best Sports Bar:
Buffalo Wild Wings
The Mad Duck
PressBox Sports Grill
Me-n-Ed’s Victory Grill

Best Hotel/Casino Dining:
Table Mountain Casino
Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino
The 500 Club Casino
Club One Casino 

Best Italian Restaurant:
FIVE Restaurant
DiCicco’s Italian Restaurant
Parma Ristorante
Ovidio Italian Restaurant

Best New Comer:
Blast & Brew
The Gastro Grill
Quesadilla Gorilla

Best Kept Secret:
House of JuJu
Sabor Mexican Bar & Bistro
Brahma Bull Indian Cuisine

Friendliest Service:
BJ’s Kountry Kitchen
Senor Aji Peruvian Bistro
Pismo’s Coastal Grill
Vino Grille & Spirits

Best Watering Hole:
Elbow Room Bar & Grill
High Sierra Grill
FIVE Restaurant
Yard House

Most Romantic:
Erna’s Elderberry House Restaurant
Cracked Pepper Bistro
Piazza del Pane
Ruth’s Chris Steak House

Best Steak House:
Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar
Harris Ranch Inn & Restaurant
The Annex Kitchen
Yosemite Ranch

Best Banquet:
Pardini’s Catering & Banquets
Wedgewood Weddings & Banquets
Copper River Country Club

Best Catering:
Classic Catering at 625
Love & Garlic
The Painted Table
Wedgewood Weddings & Banquets

Best Hamburger:
Colorado Grill
The Habit Burger Grill
In N Out Burger
Colton’s Social House

Best Sandwich:
Deli Delicious
Piemonte’s Italian Delicatessen
Sequoia Sandwich Company
Geno’s Sandwiches and Salads

Best Craft Brewery:
House of Pendragon Brewing Co.
Mad Duck Craft Brewing Co
Riley’s Brewing Co.
Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Co

Best Country Club Dining:
Fort Washington Country Club
San Joaquin Country Club
Sunnyside Country Club
Belmont Country Club

Best Indian Restaurant:
Brahma Bull Indian Cuisine
Royal Taj Fine Indian Cuisine
Indian Kebab Palace
Tandoori Night

Best Bakery:
Eddie’s Bakery Cafe
Frosted Cakery
Le Parisien Cafe
Max’s Artisan Breads

Best Seafood:
The Lime Lite
Red Lobster

Best Mediterranean:
House of Kabob
Phoenician Garden Mediterranean Bar & Grill
ARK Mediterranean Grill
George’s Bar & Grill

Best Barbecue:
Mike’s Grill
Famous Dave’s
Westwoods BBQ & Spice Co
High Sierra Grill

Best Beverage Purveyor:
Donaghy Sales
Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits
Young’s Market Company

Purveyor/Supplier of the Year:
1st Quality Produce
US Foods
Saladino’s Foodservice

Restaurateur of the Year:
Chuck Van Fleet – Vino Grille & Spirits
John & Tom Ferdinandi – Me-n-Ed’s Pizzeria
Elena Mastro – Parma Ristorante
Lorraine Salazar – Sal’s Mexican Restaurant

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