Don’t Be Lame, Whole Foods Fig Garden, Fresno Needs This

The time has come, Whole Foods Fresno. Turn your dumb little cooking demo room into a craft beer bar. 

You know the little area, tucked into the corner of the bread department. The one you rarely use for anything – except for what you are using it as now: a backroom for your bread department:


This needs to have beer taps in it, not bread racks.

You may think that a craft beer bar inside a grocery store is not a thing. You would be wrong. It is a thing. In fact, Whole Foods leads the way in grocery store beer bars. They have several.

In fact, the Houston one even has a brewery! And the one down in Del Mar (SD) has really terrible cover bands playing:

Just imagine that inside Fresno’s Whole Foods – only with the Light Thieves playing.

Hybrid drinking holes

This Whole Foods craft beer bar need opens things up to another stellar idea.

On The Perfect Pour we somewhat jokingly floated the idea of having a beer bar inside a hardware store and also how there are not enough sandwich shops with beer.

This is a good start. I wouldn’t mind having a beer with my Gino’s sub. But what other Fresno places could use some beer?

Since a CSU rule prevents Bulldog Stadium from selling beer, that one stays off the list. Also, hair salons recently got the ok to serve alcohol [legally], so that’s taken care of. 

With that, here are some ideas to spice up some local places with a beer bar:

 Jury Duty. Yeah you might get more people to actually show up if there was the promise of one free beer (or wine) per day. Mmmmm, Goverment beerrrr.

Pep Boys. Just using Pep Boys as a place holder, it could be any mechanic in town. I would actually get my oil changed at the mileage Jiffy Lube suggested if I knew I could have a hoppy pale while waiting.

Costco. It would be cheap, as long as you bought two gallons at a time. … on second thought: fuck this. I don’t want to go into Costco any more than I have to.

So lets get that beer bar going, Whole Foods Fresno! Hurry, before Pottery Barn beats you to it. 

If you have a suggestion for a place in Fresno that could use a beer & wine bar, leave it in the comments!

The Car That Definitively Represents Fresno

For Portland it’s the Subaru Outback. For Los Angeles it’s maybe a Mercedes. For San Diego… a Volkswagen. For SF it’s a city bus because where the hell would you park a vehicle anyway?

All fine and good. But what I want to know is, what is the vehicle that most represents Fresno?:

Lowered Honda Civic: Hey. Ya got a Civic. What the hell else is there to do but lower it? 


Raised Truck/Oversized Truck: Just pick any make. Ford. Chevy. Dodge. GMC. We got them and we raise them. You know, just in case a thousand-year-flood happens, we are high enough to drive through it. We also have to drive unnecessarily large F150s and take five minutes trying to park it in a ‘compact’ spot. Bonus points if you own a dually but have nothing to tow.

Muscle Car: Yes, Mustangs! I love them and formerly had one. There are plenty of Camaros, Firebirds and Corvettes too. Bullard, for some reason, seems to be the Fresno street to rev these down.

Large SUV: NW Soccer Mom having one? OK, I get it. You’re hauling equipment and children around all the damn time – sometimes kids that are not even yours. Makes sense. Really don’t understand the need for them otherwise. And just like ‘oversized truck guy’, we like to fit them into parking stalls they don’t belong in.

Toyota Corolla: Not a sexy choice but, DAMMIT, Fresno is not sexy. You can be sexy in Fresno, but Fresno is not sexy. Fresno is show up to work on time. Fresno is get me from Point A to B in 10 minutes. Nothing says that like a Corolla.

So yeah. That’s my pick. A Corolla. Fresno is the Toyota Corrola of California. And that is fine. I am good with that. Nothing wrong with that. The word “Corolla” is Latin for “small crown” and that fits us.

Somebody has to be the reliable workhorse of California and be willing to wear a smaller crown. That is a Corolla. That IS Fresno.

What Will Be The First Chain on Fulton Mall-Street?

I don’t really want any chain/corporate places on the Fulton Mall Fulton Street. But it’s coming. You damn well know it. Hell, to some, it’s kinda the point of the whole thing.

And what with Fulton Street asphalting as quick as it can…

…it’s time to talk about this.

There are those that would say, having a Starbucks and a Chipotle open on Fulton Street will signal it is back. To others, the thought makes the stomach turn.

But really, will the first be a Starbucks? Chipotle? Habit? Pieology? Maybe an Apple Store (that actually would be kinda rad):


Maybe, David Pismos Westwood Yosemite Ranch Tahoe Joe Fansler, could prove he is the Fresno Restaurant Master and open a place on Fulton.

Could Fulton (no CVS doesn’t count) stay all local and no chains? I’m interested in finding out.

(Apple Store graphic by Marc Blake)

The BRT Is Not For Me Or You, Fresno

In case you were asking “What the hell?!” while avoiding all the lane closures and construction while driving down Blackstone lately, BRT is being built.

Suck it up, chief! It’s just a freaking little closure here and there. Big whoop.

You might be thinking “But dude, I don’t ride the bus. The BRT is no help to me.” Yeah, well, I don’t either. 

Riding the bus seems complicated. What if the bus I’m getting on is going to take me to the wrong place? …like Clovis. Talk about screwed, cowboy.

But that doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if you or I ride FAX or will ride the BRT. It’s not just for you and me. 

We can’t all be cruising Blackstone in a slick 96 green Saturn complete with the head-turning spoiler. Some Fresnans need that bus action. The BRT will give riders a better experience.

Plus, you don’t have to ride this new BRT to enjoy its benefits. Look how slick construction guy is:

That guy doesn’t give a rake if he needs to get on a bus or not. He’s just hanging out in that Jetsons style bus bench, waiting for some action.

(Graphic stolen from Better Blackstone)

Best Part Of A Revamped Manchester Center Lies In A Priceless Facebook Comment

Machester Center

Did you see that they are going to revive Manchester Center? Yes, for reals! There will be a Chipotle and everything! You KNOW you are reviving when you get a Chipotle, Bro!

Manchester making a comeback? I bet you’re doubtful like me. “I’ll believe it when I see it.” Well, one of the project’s managers has read your mind.

“Let me be clear. I’ve been asked a lot and I want to be clear about this,” said Benjamin Nazarian, Omninet’s managing partner. “This is not ‘if it will happen.’ This is happening.”

Super rad. Seriously. Whenever something gets a legit makeover, South of Shaw, it is to be celebrated and supported! I am excited this is happening.

So what about this Facebook comment teased in the title?

If you haven’t noticed, the comment section of local stories posted on Facebook (in this story’s case, The Fresno Bee) can get pretty negative and silly. My first thought after reading was “Oh man, there are going to be some shots taken at Manchester Center. Here we go.”

But this one didn’t quite turn out like I thought.

“Heather” posted this:


Ok well, a bit misguided about the bus stop, I think. But there is a decent point buried there that folks need to feel safe if they’re going to shop and eat at this new Manchester. But that wasn’t the interesting part of her comment.

A guy came up to her and asked her if she wanted to go “back in time with him?” My first question was “Did he say his name was Doc Brown? Maybe Calvin Klein?” [obviously a Back To The Future refrence].

The other would be Doctor Who. Somebody went right to it, bless their Internet hearts:

Dr. Who

Heather is not getting the Doctor Who reference and it’s freaking adorbs:


HA! Maybe Heather doesn’t know Dr. Who. Understandable. But she would have to wise up to any Back To The Future references, right? It seems no:

oh heather

“Oh Heather” indeed. Thank you for bringing nerd joy to this blog.

Back to the Manchester remodel: There is no word on if the new look center will have a TARDIS or will be hosting any Enchantment Under The Sea dances:

Fresno. Are We Total Assholes For Loving Our Drive-Thrus? Maybe…

Future Starbucks Drive-Thu
Future Starbucks Drive-Thu
Pictured above is the new drive-thru being built for a new-old Starbucks opening soonish at Herndon & Marks. Remember way back when there was one there and there was a campaign to save it but it closed anyway?

Yeah, well, it seems it closed because there wasn’t a drive-thru. Now there will be one and I’m sure it will be filled with cars soon. They are even tearing apart the property to do it. You’ll be able to spy on the people across the street in the Taco Bell and McDonald’s drive-thru from your Starbucks spot.

More drive-thus tainting the Valley air? That’s fine. Best to forget the Sierras are there. Out of sight out of mind. Now I don’t feel as guilty about not going up there as much as I should.

Fuck you, clean air! And while we’re at it: Fuck you, Sierras! I can kinda see an outline of the mountains, so I’m sure it’s cool. Can’t be that bad. Drive-thru it is! Dude I am not getting out of this vehicle right now, the new Green Day just came on New Rock!

Honestly, I will walk into a place more than use the drive-thru. I tell myself that it’s because I’m saving the air, but really it’s when the drive-thru is too busy. Plus, sometimes I don’t like the person working the drive-thru looking into my truck and seeing what a mess it is.

Not using the drive-thru and having the discipline to walk inside is kinda like when you’re thinking you should go on a diet but eat all you want anyway. Tomorrow I’ll stop going through the drive-thru, today I feast on convenience.

But wait a damn idling second here. How bad is it really for the air when we use the drive-thru as compared to parking and walking inside? Well, the best thing I could find was a study they did up in Canada at a Tim Hortons (a sorta Canadian version of Dunkin Donuts/Starbucks). This blew my mind:

“The study concluded that a Tim Hortons restaurant with no drive-thru actually produces higher emissions per vehicle than one with a drive-thru, because of emissions from starting up vehicles, traveling to and from parking spaces, and congestion that occurs in the parking lot.”

WHAAAAAAAAAAAT?! Mind. Blow. I couldn’t find a local study on this so we’ll have to accept a Canadian one. Crazy.

Really, it points out that we should be walking or biking to our Taco Bells and Dutch Bros. But eh.

So if you must MUST drive your truck with sexy rims to Robertito’s at 2 in the morning, don’t feel as bad about idling in line. Just feel bad about that California burrito and two adobada tacos you’re about to put down.

Is The Time Almost Here When Downtown Fresnans Will Look Down On Tower District People?

North of Shaw vs. South of Shaw. The eternal Fresno battle.

People South of Shaw don’t like Northerners coming into their cool spots and people North of Shaw… think nothing. 

So there is your battleground, and Shaw is the dividing line. Gritty, creative, urban life on the South side. Suburbia, chains and “nice things” on the Northern side.

But is there another tension brewing? Are groups of Downtowners becoming identifiable when they venture into other areas of Fresno?

Tower Folk already don’t like it when a group of NE Fresnans comes in. For realz, you can tell when a group of Northerns wander into Goldstiens, looking to slum it for a night. Or a couple of Clovisians strut in with a cowboy hat and a confused look.

So is it inevitable Tower people will be looking sideways at Downtown hipsters? Will the Loft People Of Downtown (not a real title yet but it should be) start mad-dogging Tower Rats until they leave Tioga Beer Garden?

We may not be there yet. But I feel it coming.

Let’s Debate This Via Podcast

If you feel like listening to Fresno stuff, we try to figure out if there actually is a divide between Tower people and Downtown people, in the new episode of Flowing With Famous:


Why Did You Not Tell Me About This, Fresno?

green crush 2

Did you know that the Orange Julius in Fashion Fair is gone? Yep. The Baskin Robins too. They were replaced by whatever the thing is pictured above.

You see, I don’t go inside the mall much. Only when an iPhone stops working right, or when I’ve run out of shopping options on Christmas Eve. Mayyyybe a visit to the Disney Stone BUT THAT’S IT.

So walking by and seeing that the Orange Julius and Baskin Robbins stores are no longer there? It was a bit jarring. Nobody tells me things.

Okay, well, the Robbins just moved out to a kiosk in front of the old location. But still.

New Baskin Robbins

I had family that owned the mall’s Baskin & Robbins in the late 70s. I pretended to work there. My arms weren’t really strong enough to scoop ice-cream (they may not be still) but I remember wiping some display case windows for the occasional milkshake.

Because I am a nerd, the coolest part wasn’t the ice-cream. It was having access to the private hallway that runs behind some of the stores in that section of the mall. It was like being backstage at Disneyland. A really really REALLY lame Disneyland… but still.

The Orange Julius didn’t move though. Those icy citrus drinks are apparently permanently done in Fashion Fair. Google corroborates this story:

fresno fashion fair orange julius Google Search


Something not lame I found out though: Baskin Robbin’s ‘flavor of the month’ Milk n’ Cereal, is damn tasty.

I’ll miss you, old BK location and Orange Julius. Another piece of Fashion Fair regulated to the history books… remember when there was a Carl’s Jr inside the mall? No? I guess I’m the only old dude here.

What Would You ‘Edit’ Out Of Fresno?

If you have followed this blog for some time, I hope it’s obvious to you that I love Fresno. But that doesn’t mean I don’t see issues with the city.

There are things Fresno can do without. Things, if I had a magic wand, I would get rid of. One (or two or so) things I would edit out. What would that be?

I know there are mountains around here somewhere

The bad air. Right now it would be the bad air. Sorta obvious, with the August temps, California fires and the Valley being a natural bowl.

But honestly, I don’t think it would be my choice in the Spring, Fall or even the chimney smoke-filled Winter. I probably would choose something else. I’m one of the lucky ones (knock on wood) that isn’t physically bothered by the air.

Of course there is also strong poverty here. That would be the human thing to remove and would kick up Fresno’s economy. But that’s something an adult might do. A good person. Not sure I’m your guy.

What about little annoying things?
  • People that block the lane and don’t leave you space to merge onto the street from a parking lot.
  • Train crossings. Trains are cool for my kid to watch, but are annoying when you’re late for soccer.
  • Trying to beat the ‘churchies’ to your favorite breakfast spot on Sunday morning. …  now I’m not saying to edit out churchies, just don’t let them into my breakfast haunts until my hungover-ass is done eating.
  • Sprawl/Being too spread out. Have you ever tried to get from the Fig Garden Loop to the Airport, Tower, or (for some dumb reason) Clovis? It blows. Herndon should have been a freeway.

Theses are some things I would not mind editing out of Fresno. What about you? Leave a comment on your choice. But let’s not get to crazy negative. Remember I am STILL a Fresno lover; smoke-filled skies and all.


Bagby’s Beer Is The Place Fresno Needs

Bagby Beer Company

There’s a lot going in Fresno right now. What with pavement being laid on Fulton, the Spanspek lineup being announced, the Mayor soon taking on a new soul-fulfilling job, Jenna Prandini being Olympic, Kelly Slater making his previously secret Fresno area surfing spot public.


Dude I missed some of those. I was in San Diego on a ‘beercation’ (it’s a thing) to attend the Festival Of Dankness. Saw some pretty rad beer related stuff. None more rad (and I will pull it back to Fresno) than going to Bagby’s Beer Company.


I was amazed by the coolness of this place. Three very different bars, all in one place, all with different micro climates. But it manages to keep it tied together. You know you’re in the same place but are still having different experiences.

bagby upstairs

The design was well done, downstairs, upstairs, inside, outside, desert, beach, California, ALL represented. A San Diego classic.


The reason I bring it up on a Fresno blog is I CAN TOTALLY SEE THIS IN FRESNO! A Fresno version anyway. We deserve it. We can support it. We can have nice things.

Fresno is ready. Just look at all the beer stuff happening or about to happen around town. We are building a scene and the Tioga’s, Goldstein’s, House Of Pendragons, Spokeasy’s and Pine & Palms, won’t mind the good company.


If you are a beer and business dude in Fresno, looking for inspiration, check out the article by the SD Reader on the beginning of Bagby’s and how it was built. You just might get inspired. I’ll be waiting with something hoppy in hand.


(One pic stolen from here and one from here)