Food & Drink

12 Fresno restaurant openings you may have missed: From tacos to lobster corn dogs

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Fresno’s food scene keeps on growing.

All sorts of restaurants have opened in recent months, selling everything from green tea ice cream to giant dishes overflowing with six kinds of seafood.

There’s some more traditional cuisine, too, like Fresno favorite tacos and beer, Mediterranean and Japanese food.

While some restaurants in Fresno open with a splash – like Ike’s Love & Sandwichessecond location and Mexican sushi place Culichi Town – many others opened quietly. Most are locally owned and they didn’t have big marketing budgets to grab your attention.

So we’ve compiled some of the restaurant openings you may have missed in recent months in one place.

Ten Tavern

There’s a sight that the owners of newly opened Ten Tavern restaurant in Clovis love to see: Friends on the patio spending a lazy evening sharing a bottle of wine and munching on the meats and cheeses of a charcuterie board.

Until now, you couldn’t do that at this prominent restaurant spot in Clovis, the former Guiseppe Gallo’s space. It’s at the southeast corner of Willow and Nees avenues, but the Ten Tavern owners changed so much of what people remember about the space that it’s quite different.

Gone are the heavy drapes, dark-tinted windows and low ceilings. It now has a patio, a full bar and is about to take over the space next door for Sunday brunch and private dining.

Its menu features burgers, sandwiches, steak and salads. Most items on the menu range from $12 to $26.

The lobster corn dogs are a favorite, lobster tails on sticks dipped in corn dog batter and fried. There’s a fried chicken sandwich and “banging tavern shrimp,” crispy shrimp tossed in a sweet and spicy sauce.

Foods like these are influenced by time the owners spent living in the South, in Atlanta. The two couples, Matt and Amy Sherrell and Paul and Alisa Luchi, also own Blast & Brew in Clovis.

Executive chef Brian Crooks is putting his own spin on the menu.

“It’s basic stuff, but we really want to be chef-driven,” Matt Sherrell said. “All the food is not processed. You can definitely taste the difference.”

One surprising thing getting rave reviews: The skinny fries, which are crispy and not mushy.

Ten Tavern also serves beer, wine and cocktails, with specialty cocktails like the Tentini, made with vodka, Peach Schnapps, champagne and raspberries. The cocktails range from $12 to $14.

Details: 1177 N. Willow Ave., Clovis. 559-512-1376. The restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays (closed Mondays), and from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

Cocina Village is a Mexican restaurant at Shaw and Marks avenues.

Cocina Village

This little Mexican restaurant at Shaw and Marks avenues opened during the holidays last year, and Cocina Village has steadily been getting positive reviews on ever since.

Sandwiched between Brahma Bull and Edo Ya Japanese restaurants, it serves traditional Mexican food from Michoacan. It’s open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The owners are part of a family that owned several Mexican restaurants in Merced. The brother-sister-mother team wanted to open their own restaurant, but didn’t want to compete with their family members, so they decided to open a restaurant in Fresno.

They quickly learned that Merced diners and Fresno diners aren’t the same, said Alex Yanez, who owns the restaurant with sister Claudia Yanez and mother Martha Yanez.

“I’ve come to realize people like spicy food here in Fresno,” he said. “We had to literally create a special sauce to pour on their food to make it spicy.”

And the chefs are pretty excited about this new culinary freedom: “It’s the best thing in the world,” he said.

The menu features tacos, sopes, chimichangas, tamales and seafood.

What to get? The tacos, Yanez said. They come with a special seasoning that makes them a little bit different.

Their molcajete is also popular. This is the food served in the large stone dish with a choice of grilled chicken, shrimp or steak (or all three), along with housemade tomatillo sauce, rice, whole beans and grilled onions. Designed to share, it ranges from $16.99 to $20.50.

An ornate patio with statues is out front of the restaurant.

Details: 3050 W. Shaw Ave. 559-840-1663. Hours: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays.

Axis Coffee Bar + Eatery has opened in the Tesoro Viejo development selling coffee, lunch and baked goods. Axis

Axis Coffee Bar + Eatery

You may have noticed the sign for this coffee shop and little restaurant on Highway 41. The Axis Coffee Bar & Eatery is in the Tesoro Viejo development, a community that will eventually have more than 5,000 homes, but only has a few so far. Axis is in the same building as the development’s welcome center.

It’s a coffee shop selling all kinds of coffee (including a popular cold brew), espresso-based drinks and tea. But it’s also a modern cafe using local and seasonal ingredients and is open for lunch daily, brunch on weekends, and for light dinners on Friday nights.

There are pastries baked in house like cinnamon rolls, sticky buns and chocolate chip cookies with sea salt. They’re made by chef Erin Sweet, who has a background as a pastry chef and in Asian cooking in San Francisco. (And, yes, her last name is actually Sweet.)

The owners also own South Gate Brewing Co. in Oakhurst, which is why some beer and wine is available. Wine Wednesdays with discounted glasses of wine are popular here, along with live music on Friday nights, when the restaurant stays open until 8 p.m.

Details: 4150 Town Center Drive, No. 102, at Tesoro Viejo in Madera. 559-795-5450. Hours: The cafe is open most days from 7 a.m. til 6 p.m. It serves meals from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Fridays, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays.

Claudia Moreno aka DJ Tipzy has opened Tipzy’s Tacos & Beer near Belmont and Cedar avenues. Bethany Clough Fresno Bee

Tipzy’s Tacos & Beer

The Tipzy behind Tipzy’s Tacos & Beer is Claudia Moreno. Tipzy is her DJ name and she’s been performing at restaurants and bars all over town for more than 15 years.

Now, she’s opened her own place, a sports bar and taqueria on Belmont Avenue near Cedar Avenue.

“We’re trying to bring something back to this side of town,” said Moreno, who grew up in the area.

The menu is small and simple: Tacos and beer, but also burritos, loaded asada or chicken fries and a few other dishes. You can customize the tacos, fries, etc. yourself at the salsa bar. It carries several kinds of salsa (from mild to spicy to extreme), guacamole, cabbage, cilantro and more.

Its kitchen is open late and Tipzy’s stops serving alcohol at midnight.

Of course, there is music and murals of celebrities Tupac, Dr. Dre, Selena and Marilyn Monroe on the walls.

Look for the building painted in bright shades of blue, red and green.

Details: 3848 E. Belmont Ave. 559-721-2812. Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays, closed Mondays, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

Ceviches & Beer

The seafood molcajete at Ceviches & Beer comes with shrimp, octopus, abalone, fish filet, lobster and crab legs. Ceviches & Beer

This Mexican seafood restaurant is tucked into a former fast-food place near McKinley and Chestnut avenues. Look for the bright red paint and the shrimp holding a mug of beer.

As the name implies, Ceviches & Beer specializes in ceviche, usually fish or shrimp (some raw, some cooked) in lemon juice and veggies. There are all kinds of variations on it here.

Other seafood dishes and a few non-seafood dishes, like tacos, are on the menu. A seafood tower with raw shrimp, cooked shrimp, octopus, cucumber and cilantro is popular.

And perhaps the most impressive dish is the seafood molcajete. It’s served in a giant stone dish piled high with shrimp, octopus, abalone, a fish filet, lobster and crab legs sticking out.

Most seafood dishes range from about $14.99 on up to the molcajete, which costs $29.99.

The restaurant is still in the process of getting its liquor license, so although beer is part of the name, it’s not serving it yet. Once it gets the OK, it will sell all kinds of beer and micheladas – the drink typically made with beer, tomato juice and spices.

Details: 4815 E. McKinley Ave. 559-251-0105. Hours: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

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Poke Way is a new restaurant specializing in poke bowls made with raw tuna, but customers can also choose seared tuna, chicken, tofu or other options. Bethany Clough The Fresno Bee

Poke Way

Poke Way is a part of an influx of poke restaurants opening in the area. It’s on North Blackstone Avenue near Red Robin.

Poke is raw, bite-size pieces of tuna, usually served piled into a bowl with other toppings. But if raw tuna isn’t your thing, there’s lots of other protein choices available.

At Poke Way, customers get to build their own bowls, starting with a choice of rice, greens or chips. They pick from 11 proteins – seared or raw tuna, salmon, chicken or tofu, for example – and then choose a sauce and toppings.

Bowls range from $8 to $11.95.

Details: 7723 N. Blackstone Ave. 559-431-0088. Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays.

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Angel Ponce of Fowler, takes his daughter Camila Ponce’s photo on her 10th birthday at the silk flower wall at Rollie Rollie Thai Rolled Ice Cream. Its new location is open at First Street and Nees Avenue.

Rollie Rollie Thai Rolled Ice Cream

Rollie Rollie is a Thai rolled ice cream shop that now has two locations in the area – one each in Clovis and Fresno. The newest opened recently in a new building at First Street and Nees Avenue.

Rolled ice cream is an experience to watch. It’s made in front of you by pouring cream and other ingredients onto a freezing metal slab. The ingredients – strawberries, Oreos, chocolate sauce, etc. – are worked with spatulas until the mixture turns into ice cream. It’s then rolled up and put into cups and topped with more goodies.

Rollie Rollie has all the traditional toppings – caramel, cookie dough, strawberries, chocolate sauce. But it also has an Asian influence, which is why you’ll find green tea matcha ice cream, a taro flavor (taro is a purple root vegetable) and a Thai tea flavor. Some bowls come with Pocky sticks, the chocolate-covered snacks from Japan.

A wall covered in silk roses with a neon sign that says “Life is sweet with Rollie Rollie” is ideal for Instagram users.

Details: The Fresno location is at 682 E. Nees Ave. (559) 666-3099. The Clovis location is at 1840 Herndon Ave., near Five Guys. 559-321-8519. Both are open from 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Sundays through Thursdays and from 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

The Country Creamery & Eats in Easton serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus coffee and ice cream. Bethany Clough The Fresno Bee

The Country Creamery & Eats

Like its name implies, this little coffee and ice cream shop and diner has a country feel.

And it’s not just because of the white picket fence or the rooster you hear crowing when you get out of your car. Country Creamery is in Easton, south of Fresno.

Everyone seems to know everyone else here – customers and staff alike. Husband and wife team Jeanine and Mike “Mikey” Harrell Jr. and his dad and stepmom Mike and Diane Harrell run the restaurant together.

It opened in mid-May and serves Fresno-based Lanna Coffee and Thrifty ice cream. There are banana splits, milkshakes and blended coffee drinks. One drink, the Panther, is a nod to Washington Union High School down the street. The drink is a mashup of several flavors that Mikey Harrell says tastes like a hot chocolate with coffee in it.

The food menu is limited, but has all the favorites: tri-tip sandwiches, burgers, breakfast burritos, a Keto breakfast (eggs, bacon and avocado) and avocado toast.

Two of those burgers are stuffed – one with jalapeño and cream cheese, another with cheddar and bacon.

You can also order a whole tri-tip or pork ribs to feed a family at home.

The restaurant is small – it seats 24 people inside – but busy.

“It’s really neat being in a small town,” said Mikey Harrell. “You know half the customers. As soon as we opened our doors, our restaurant was full.”

Many people got to know the family when the younger couple opened Country Creamery — an ice cream and coffee shop just down the street – in May of last year. They closed it and reopened at the new place this May, adding food to the menu and the word “Eats” to the name.

It helps that the family had a background in food. Jeanine used to manage a Starbucks, Mike Sr. used to cater and Diane is a baker who loves to cook, too.

Details: 5689 S. Elm Ave. 559-374-5151. Hours: 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mondays through Fridays, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays. Closed Sundays.

Huong Lan has opened a restaurant on West Shaw Avenue selling pho and banh mi sandwiches, its third location in the Fresno, Clovis area.

Huong Lan

This Vietnamese restaurant has opened another location in Fresno, this one in a former Keothip Thai restaurant on West Shaw Avenue near Brawley Avenue.

Huong Lan is gaining a reputation for its banh mi sandwiches and pho, a Vietnamese noodle soup.

The sandwiches are made with French bread, meat and usually veggies, jalapeños and cilantro. There are 17 kinds of sandwiches here, ranging from the authentic headcheese (a pork pate, which is not cheese at all, but made from pieces of the ear, tongue and nose of a pig’s head) to chicken and vegetarian sandwiches.

Pho is also popular, with several options to choose from, along with rice plates and vermicelli bowls made with the thin noodles and lots of toppings.

The restaurant also has a full boba tea menu — the drinks with chewy little tapioca balls.

Huong Lan has other locations in town, including one at Shaw Avenue and Fresno Street and another at Kings Canyon Road near Clovis Avenue.

Details: 3757 W. Shaw Ave. 559-271-9998. Hours: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

Sakura Chaya Tokyo Cuisine has opened a new restaurant at Sierra Vista Mall in Clovis. Sakura Chaya Facebook

Sakura Chaya Tokyo Cuisine

Many Fresnans are probably familiar with this Japanese restaurant at Nees Avenue near First Street. Now Sakura Chaya has a second location, this one in the outdoor portion of Sierra Vista Mall in Clovis.

The name is a reference to cherry blossoms, which is why the restaurant is ornately decorated in shades of pink. Unlike the original location, this one has a patio (though it’s not open quite yet).

Sakura Chaya has a sushi bar, teppanyaki (where customers sit around a grill and the chef entertains them, usually with fire, while cooking their food) and traditional Japanese dining.

The menus are huge. General manager David Wong recommends the lunchtime teppanyaki trio. For $13.99, it includes chicken, shrimp and beef, along with soup, salad, vegetables and fried rice.

Details: 1200 Shaw Ave., #105. 559-900-4326. Hours: 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Saturdays, 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Sundays.

Doy Grill sells baklava in this file photo taken in 2015 of its original location. The Mediterranean restaurant has opened a new location in Fresno at Bullard Avenue and Fresno Street. Doug Hoagland

Doy Grill

Doy Grill now has three locations in Fresno and Clovis, the latest opening at Bullard Avenue and Fresno Street next to the 7-Eleven.

It’s a locally owned, quick-service Mediterranean restaurant with some healthy menu options. You order at the counter (like Chipotle), picking a one-, two- or three-item dish, like garlic chicken, beef kebab or veggie eggplant moussaka. Each plate comes with bulgar or rice pilaf, garbanzo or white beans, pita bread, salad and a piece of baklava for dessert.

Salads and all kinds of sides are available too.

Most dishes range from $5.99 to $19.99. A tray of a dozen baklava costs $7.

Details: 424 E. Bullard Ave. 559-840-1440. (The other two locations are at 7675 N. Blackstone Ave. in Fresno and 1845 Herndon Ave. in Clovis). Hours: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

Cedars Grill Mediterranean Cuisine

This restaurant at Shaw Avenue and Fresno Street specializes in Lebanese food.

You’ll find kebabs, wraps and shawarma plates on the menu.

What’s popular at Cedars Grill? The beef and chicken shawarma, which are slow-roasted meats served with a salad and rice or fries.

The grilled lamb kebab and the grilled chicken plate are also popular.

Most entrees range from $11.45 to $19.95.

The restaurant also serves Turkish coffee, beer and wine. It has a banquet room available to rent.

Details: 345 E. Shaw Ave. 559-478-5100. Hours: 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. daily.

Bethany Clough covers restaurants and retail for The Fresno Bee. A reporter for 20 years, she now works to answer readers’ questions about business openings, closings and other business news. She has a degree in journalism from Syracuse University and her last name is pronounced Cluff.