Memory Map: Palm & Bullard

Palm & Bullard nerdy ‘memory map’

As I have noted in the past we have some good groups in town keeping old Fresno pictures and memories alive. I would like to add a nerdass entry with my memory maps – hand drawn maps of an area of Fresno with memories of things that once were.

Today we are at Palm & Bullard.

NW Corner

Opus 1 hasn’t changed a bunch
  • Home of the Opus 1 shopping center. It’s always been there since I have been alive.
  • Outside of a few shops changing to something else, it’s the same.
  • There used to be a cool little record shop. It was around at the tail-end of the 80s and maybe at the beginning of the 90s. Now would be a great time for it it be there again. I believe it was in the spot that the Grape Tray is in.

SW Corner

This in not the actual one but it’s damn close
  • At one time a nice little Foodland Market. Then a Walgreens. Now a yarn place of some kind. Has a neat little green space next to it where Bullard kids would go have their fights after school.
  • Foster’s is still there and thankfully hasn’t changed… like, AT ALL.
  • There once was one of the Fotomat places that looked like the one pictured above.

NE Corner

As it is today and stuff
  • Old Save Mart location. Still empty. Seems like it will be empty forever. My Grandmother lived in the apartments behind the shopping center and we got to bring the carts home when shopping – for some reason I thought that was cool.
  • There used to be a Sierra Nut House. Now there is a car wash.
  • Bullard Village Drugs was the jam before all the Walgreens and CVS style places took over. Good magazine section and a good Pharmacist.
  • Bullard Liquor is now nothing.
  • The dry cleaner is still there and hasn’t changed. 👍
  • Mama Mia’s is thankfully still there – home of my favorite gnocchi in town.

SE Corner

  • 7-11 has always been there. Not a whole lot has changed. Although when I was a kid there was a little video game room where the Slurpee machince is now. I dropped many quarters into those.
  • There was a little one of those Fresno PD phones on the side of 7-11 (maybe it is still there). Ironically, the parking lot is where Bullard kids would go to find out where the “illegal” parties were at.
  • The 76 station is now one of those dinosaur gas stations.🤷🏼

Feel free to share any history or stories you have about the area, in the comments.

I have another memory map post about Blackstone & Shaw too.

🗺📍🧭

Where Is The Fig Garden Area Of Fresno?

Fig Garden is where exactly?

I have been wanting to do a series of posts about the areas and districts of Fresno for probably 14 years now. It’s about time I get started.

I’ll start with my area: Fig Garden/Bullard/NW Fresno.

I live near Bullard High so I often refer to it (to those that ask) as the “Bullard Area.”

Am I in Fig Garden? Yes. Am I in NW Fresno? Yes. But within those two, I am in Bullard. Hey, Instagram recognizes it in their location option, so why not?

But who the hell am I to say? So I put it out there to Fresno Twitter:

Obviously in NW Fresno. Maybe in Bullard. Definitely in (with Fresno Twitter’s backing) Fig Garden.

Me too. I never say Fig Garden either, as accurate as it may be.

Where Does Fig Garden End?

Well, to the East is easy: Blackstone. To the South: Shaw. To the North: the SJR. But where is the Western border?

Ok so things start becoming just NW Fresno at some point. But the border is?

My first thought is Marks. But I have seen some maps that have Fig Garden centered at Bullard and Valentine. So we should pick something different.

The Loop. The FIG GARDEN loop. You live East of The Loop (Fig Garden Drive to Shaw), you are Fig Garden. West? You are another thing. Then use Brawley up to Locust as a border to the North.

There we are. Fig Garden broadly defined. Maybe I will start saying I live in Fig Garden now?

I still want to work on the little districts within NW Fresno and then build out the rest of Fresno. But we have a start here.

Northeast Fresno Doesn’t Deserve The New Benaddiction

“Who Made Who” is my go-to dish at Benaddiction

Hey, I’m happy for the owners of Benaddiction, getting a new place. A nice big fresh spot. I am sure it will do well. They totally 100% deserve it! They are good folks and worked hard for this.

BUT! (you know there is a ‘but’ coming)

But, it’s kinda fucked up for those of us that live by the NW location. That have been supporting the Bullard & Marks spot all these freaking years.

Braving the long waits and postage stamp sized suite wedged next to a pool supply shop and a Supercuts training center, in hopes of one day raising the stature of the place to a full-sized NW Fresno location.

Finally it happed. Only North EAST Fresno, (the Taint District no less) got the new bigness. It feels like NW Fresno put in the work and NE got the reward.

This is how OG hardcore Green Day and Jawbreaker fans must have felt when the bands signed their first label deal.

No, I won’t be turning my back to them as they play onstage. So, I will still go to the Bullard & Marks location. And love the food.

But I might carry a chip on my shoulder when I do. Maybe mutter under-my-breath “sellouts” as I am getting seated, just to make myself feel better, I guess.

The “Who Made Who” will still taste good, just not as satisfying.

The Problem With The New Costco Site Is Only Everything

Lot that Costco wants to build on
Likely Future Site of Fresno’s Newest Costco

Costco wants to move its West Shaw location to a currently vacant field at Herndon & Riverside. And they want to manipulate Herndon to do it. It seems the West Shaw location is too small for them.

Oh and in case you are still a little foggy on where Riverside Drive and Herndon is at:

It will have great views of the Olive Garden

If it’s THAT big of a problem for them on West Shaw. If it needs so much space. If we need to move and change things. Then, well, maybe it shouldn’t exist at all?

Or at least take the vacant old Super Walmart space just to the East of the current Costco Shaw location, if you ACTUALLY simply need more space.

I respect that Costco (has the reputation amongst the industry at least) of treating their employees better than most of the grocery and retail industry does. Many consider Costco a more ethical company than the Wal-Marts & Targets.

If that’s true, cool. But this is where my like of Costco ends.

Things That Suck About Costco [Old Man Rant Alert!]

Abe Simpson yells at clouds
  • It’s too damn big. All of it. The store and items.
  • They sell a whole buncha of junk. Junk that I shouldn’t nobody should buy.
  • The fucking parking. Both the NE Fresno location and West Shaw suuuuuck to get in & out of – they should be on this list. And yes, part of the reason they want to leave West Shaw is the bad parking but you know damn well the new place will end up being a shitty lot too.
  • They charge you annually for the privilege of shopping there (sucker).
  • Too many different things happening; poultry, books, TVs, optometrist, a giant bag of iceberg lettuce, all under one roof. It’s unsettling.
  • Lines. Long lines to wait in to give them your money.
  • Buying in bulk isn’t always the best value.

And another thing, shouldn’t we be focusing on vacant locations in Fresno becoming residential or a park anyway? There are very few largish open spaces left in the city and the immediate thought is “Hey, let’s get a Costco in there!”

Oh and hey, like, aren’t big box stores on their way out? Amazon killing all the retail and stuff? And if not, won’t Costco come along one day and find that the new Herndon spot is also too small for them?

Let’s not forget what that area, including the small community of Herndon, has had to endure

The traffic is already a mess. I know, I go through there at least twice a day on my commute. Add a Costco with its gas station and then probably a little strip mall with a check cashing place next to a liquor store and a Subway, and it will be a disaster.

That doesn’t even include the many-times-a-day a Union Pacific freight train comes through. And when it does it backs up traffic for three light cycles and that’s with NOTHING currently in the lot that Costco wants to use.

Plus, it would be a waste for a city run golf course, Riverside, to have their third hole looking at the back of a Costco warehouse (with dumpsters and idling 18-wheelers), instead of housing or a green space.

I imagine the city will push it through because taxes or whatever. Not sure how to stop it. Just let the record show I said the new Costco on Herndon will be trash.

11 Fresno Places I Miss From Childhood

Here are some of my favorite spots in Fresno that are no longer around. Basically, the 80s for an NW Fresno kid.

Hopefully, it sparks your own memories, wherever the hell ya grew up.

Blackbeards would be number one on my list except it is somehow still there. Intact. Almost unchanged. Which is awesome and sad at the same time.

MALIBU GRAND PRIX FRESNO

In the same place the Costco parking lot is now, behind the shopping center at the NE corner of Blackstone & Herndon, was Malibu Grand Prix. Letting kids race little Indy-style cars seems like a bad idea, but I never heard of anyone getting seriously hurt at it.

I think I spent more time in the arcade playing Tempest than on the race track. It was always a bit intimidating to me to drive those things … There. I said it. The Malibu cars, made for children, intimidated me. Didn’t know I’d be working out childhood issues today.

“I really could get into this!” is not something I ever said though. For the record.

WOODWARD PARK DRIVE IN

We no longer have a drive-in movie theater in Fresno and it sucks. The last one we had was Woodward, which is now a Home Depot and a Costco – definitely not an upgrade.

I can still remember going to the concession stand in the center, stealing looks at the other movies playing that I was too young to watch, enjoying the perfect Fresno Summer Nights and only half paying attention to the movie we came to see.

Madera still has one in operation, if you want to try and experience that again.

VIDEO GAME CAGE AT BLACKSTONE TOYS R US

This used to be the only place (that I can remember) you could get any game you wanted. Saving up money to get the latest hot game, only to find they were sold out of it, was always a bummer.

Bringing up the paper tag that represented the game, taking it to the cage and having them hand over the actual game, is one of the more satisfying things from childhood I recall. Is that sad?

TOWER RECORDS IN THE KMART SHOPPING CENTER

I got this picture from former Tower Records (OG location) worker, Dale Stewart of Capitol Punishment fame.

Records to the left. Tapes to the right. CDs eventually taking over. Record displays in the center. 45s of the Top Twenty Songs. These are the memories.

FESTIVAL GAME PALACE

It was not easy to try and make a $5 bill last for an afternoon, but I managed somehow. Shout out to Paperboy and the manual hockey game by the snack bar.

Dear God I could watch this all day:

THE GRAPE TRAY

It was next to the original Fresno Cost Plus at the NW corner of Shaw & Fresno. A sandwich shop, deli, and wine store. The reason I remember is it had a unique upstairs eating area unlike any in Fresno. I guess there is something about sitting and looking out over the shop from up high while having a salami & swiss.

The Grape Tray is still around. But it’s now at Palm & Bullard in the Opus One shopping center. And it’s just a wine shop. No cool upstairs or sandwiches. Boring.

I think it’s even in the spot that used to have a tiny record shop I would stop into after school and rarely buy something, much to the owner’s chagrin – wish I could remember the name of it.

FIG GARDEN LIQUOR (Original)

I know it’s still there but when I was a kid, Tom Seaver’s Father-In-Law owned it. He had the best (non-card shop) baseball card selection in town. He would even hand out autographed pictures of Tom Seaver to those of us that seemed like they cared. I got one or two over the years.

ARTHUR’S TOYS ON BLACKSTONE

The place to be even after Toys R Us opened. No other place could I look at custom electric cars to add to my track. It’s now Whitie’s Pets and went in there recently and was able to conjure a tiny bit of the vibe.

This is not me but I had the exact setup. Now I feel like going out and buying one:

HONORABLE MENTIONS

The hobby shop place in Fig Garden Village that sold model airplanes and cars, Bob’s Village Hobby. (Read about owner, Bob Hansen, here). My memories of the place are faint, but it definitely inspired me to hang my model planes from my bedroom ceiling.

The Fig Garden Movie Theater. I so much wish it was still there. If you are too young to remember, it was located roughly where the Deli Delicious and noodle place is, in the back NE corner of Fig Garden Village.

Festival Cinemas. Saw all the important 80s movies there. Empire Strikes Back. Raiders of the Lost Ark. The greats.

I could go on for a while, as I’m sure you could too. Often I wonder what my kid will one day fondly remember about Fresno? It definitely won’t be a Drive-In.

[Arthur’s Toys pic taken from Miguel Diaz’s feed]

Pete’s Restaurant & Brewhouse Is Coming To Fresno

The Northern California brewpub chain, Pete’s Restaurant & Brewhouse, is coming to Fresno at The Marketplace.

That’s the drunk whispers I am hearing. Fresno is adding another brewpub style place to eat and drink and it’s called Pete’s Restaurant & Brewhouse.

I thought Pete’s was going to be on the empty pad along Herndon (near 99), next to the Target and the Panera. Thankfully, Fresnan reader, Redd, pointed out that it will be next to the new movie theater being built during phase two of construction:

It was rumored that Southgate Brewing in Oakhurst was going to open up a second location there but they are planning on building at Avenue 12 & Highway 41.

When Does Pete’s Restaurant & Brewhouse Open?

Summer. Summer of 2019. That’s all I got for now. Things change I suppose. Fall through. Get drunk, stumble around, knock over a few street signs, wake up in the morning and forget it signed a three-year lease. But it seems it will happen.

What Is This Pete’s Brewhouse All About?

I had never heard of this place before but they have 13 freaking locations. They all seem to center around Sacramento but they don’t actually have a Sacramento location.

What Kind Of Food?

It’s brewpub food, people. We all know what that is about. I have not looked at the menu yet but I feel like there will be sliders. Lots of versions of sliders. Okay now, let’s look at the menu and see.

I’m shocked. I didn’t see any sliders. Lots of food. A bit more extensive than the standard restaurant brewery. Sometimes that’s a good thing and sometimes too many dishes is a bad thing. At least there will be choices.

What Kind Of Beer?

For a beer geek like me, usually, the most exciting thing to look for is not the beer that the place makes but the guest taps. These are the beers they serve that are not the ones they make.

Usually, the beer that a brewpub makes is very generic. Just kinda OK. So the beer they offer other than theirs becomes the interesting part. Pete’s other locations seem to lean towards craft beer, which is a good sign.

They serve a lot of Norcal area beers so I assume the Fresno location will have locals like Tioga, Full Circle, House of Pendragon, Dust Bowl and maybe by that point Zack’s.

Fresno Is The New Brewpub Capitol.

Even though Fresno is still underserved for actual breweries, we seem to be doing just fine for brewpubs. We already have chains and homegrown.

We have Mad Duck at Campus Pointe. They are even opening a second location at Herndon & Marks that is being built as we read:

Mad Duck Brewery second location

We also have Sequoias (wish we could still call it Butterfield’s) with a Tower District location and an NE Fresno location. There is also the chain, BJ Brewhouse at Fashion Fair.

Brewpub or Brewery? What Is The Difference?

If you’re kind of fuzzy from drinking the night before and were wondering what the difference between a brewpub and a brewery is, I think of it this way:

BREWERY:

  • Focused on making their own beer.
  • Distributes their beer to other places.
  • Packages their beer for stores.
  • Food is not offered or comes second to the beer.

BREWPUB:

  • Food is the main focus.
  • Beer is an afterthought or feels almost like a gimmick to get you in the door.
  • The beer that they brew is safe and generic, does not push the limits of brewing.
  • Very little to no packaging of the beer, little to no distribution.

We have roughly the same amount of brewpubs as we do breweries in Fresno. That is odd and I hope the brewery side passes up the brewpub side soon.

Until then I will still be sampling both because beer research is essential to local blogging. Says me.