Written by Frank Lopez
A Fresno culinary staple is expanding its operations right in time for Christmas.
Elbow Room Bar and Grill is in the middle of constructing its Elbow Room Market in the former banquet space of the restaurant.
The Elbow Room Market will offer customers prime meats, fine wines, spirits and specialty foods such as chocolate and other gifts.
Daniel McGee, general manager of the Elbow Room, said the idea for the market came about in March after the onset of Covid-19.
“We saw that the banquet business was going to be non-existent while we have Covid, and we just started looking at what things we can do to adapt. We saw a lot of people show interest in our prime beefs and nice allocations of our wines and whiskeys. We started to think this would be a great opportunity,” McGee said.
Because of the reputation the bar and grill has built over the years, and at a time when the state of restaurants is under constant flux, the Elbow Room market will be able to offer the same ingredients and drinks for customers to take home and cook themselves.
Along with the prime beef, the Elbow Room Market will also sell pork, lamb, artisanal cured meats and cheeses, specialty seasonings, fresh bread, unique confections, coffee and tea, gift baskets, a selection of more than 300 wines and high-end liquor.
McGee said they’ve been working with distilleries to bring in single-barrel selects that are designated specifically for the Elbow Room and its wine and whiskey club.
There are currently some items available for purchase for take-out, but the market is still under construction. Construction is expected to be completed early next year, but McGee said that it depends on the delivery of equipment being built to order due to a drop in demand for commercial kitchen equipment.
“Being able to get quality products and bring it here for our customers and meet their needs has just been amazing—you’re getting restaurant quality product to take home,” McGee said.
There are gifts baskets and a gift card program available for the Christmas holiday. The restaurant also has an employee hardship fund that 30% of a gift card purchase can go to.
The business is currently running with a skeleton crew because of Gov. Newsom’s current stay-at-home order, but McGee hopes to hire back some old employees once the market is up and running.
McGee said that he is seeing a lot of excitement from the community, especially from those in the wine community.
“It’s going to be something unique. I think its going to be a great addition to Fig Garden and to Fresno,” McGee said.