COVID Is Not The First Thing That Scares Me About Thanksgiving Eve At Livingstone’s

Classic Livingstone’s

For the sake of this post, I will put aside the debate about if it is safe enough to go to a packed bar in the final (we hope) throws of a pandemic.

That said…

Tonight is Thanksgiving Eve. Traditionally a big night in the Tower District, where Fresno Natives (now living out-of-town) come back and mix with current Fresnans.

Those current ones have to listen to old friends pump up their post-Fresno lives, like they’re trying to sell us on bitcoin.

Livingstone’s traditionally has been the epicenter for these meetups. At this point, I am afraid to go.

Not because I am worried I’ll run into some weird person from my past. It’s because I likely would not run into anybody.

Like, not one person I know.

Been away from the Tower scene too long. And any old friends I might see hardly go out anymore either.

I might be too old for Livingstone’s. (ouch that stings)

Enjoy yourselves, younger Tower people. Enjoy Livingstone’s and Strummers and Goldstein’s and Vini’s and Fresbrew and Spokeasy’s and whatever.

Enjoy it while it lasts, kids.

I’d Totally Sign My Name On A House

Hopefully Andrew is cool with me posting his Tower District kitchen renovation.

I thought it was post worthy because of what he found while tearing up his kitchen:

Old Fresno houses are the best. Some more info:

I love the idea of carpenters and home builders signing boards and stamping things. Especially when it’s something that no one may ever see.

What Will Happen To The Chicken Pie Shop Building?

Fresno’s Chicken Pie Shop is now closed for good. What are we going to do with that building?

Respect to the Chicken Pie Shop. A Tower and Fresno icon of breakfasts, chicken pies and green booths is now gone. Thank you for your service and your uniqueness. You will be missed.

Okay, now, what is going to happen to that building?

This a a major spot in the Tower District. A large building. On Olive. Next to all the things. It would be bad for the Tower District and bad for Fresno if it were to sit un-leased for a long time. We must figure this out.

Can it be a Trader Joe’s?

This is what everyone wants. If not a Trader Joe’s then something like it.

Yeah, Trader Joe’s is not realistic. Neither is any kind of market like a Trader Joe’s. Nice thought though.

How about…

Oh man, all of those suggestions are good.

Bitwise is so invested in Downtown now, I’m not sure they would come back to the Tower. They totally should though and that would be a good spot to do it.

Another stage for performing, whether for music or plays or comedy, would be perfect.

A craft beer tasting room or co-op?

Yeah, I would be into a Modern Times opening a tap-room. Very much so. It would be best if it was a local brewer. But the only one right now that could pull it off would be Tioga. Maybe Dust Bowl or South Gate. This is my favorite suggestion.

But what could a new tenant do to the building? It’s the Tower District and don’t they have a Committee that must approve of the things and such?

In this month’s Flowing With Famous, we suggest that David Fansler, creator of legendary Fresno restaurants Tahoe Joe’s, Yosemite Ranch, Pismo’s and Westwood’s, should open a theater district themed restaurant. But I don’t think he knows how to create a restaurant South of Shaw, so nevermind.

Let’s Get To Leasing!

Well then. We have an open space in a major location in the Tower and some good suggestions on what could become of the location. Somebody get to work on something.

In the meantime, I gotta see about acquiring one of those iconic Chicken Pie Shop booths.

*Photo by Josef Cramer

The One Fresno Restaurant To Take Visitors To

Another title for this post could be “How Cuca’s Become THE Restaurant To Represent Fresno!”

Cuca’s. Yeah, dude. Cuca’s Mexican restaurant in the Tower District.

Surprising? Yes. Wrong? Maybe. Let me tell you how I came to this conclusion and you can see if you agree with me.

So this very cool dude, Mike Rohde, who wrote the Sketchnote Handbook, was in Fresno to do a sketchnote workshop with some Fresno Unified School District teachers. A rad and progressive thing for FUSD to be doing, by the way.

It was the first time Mike had come to Fresno. He lives in Milwaukee.

He happened to have a free evening, knew I was a fan of his, and asked if I wanted to meet for dinner. Normally I would run away from such a request given my crushing shyness. But I saw this as an opportunity to be a Fresno embassador, so I worked past my anxiety and called Mike up to work out a place to meet.

HERE ARE MY PARAMETERS FOR FINDING A DINNER PLACE
  • Having only a few minutes to think about where.
  • Mike is staying downtown at the Radisson and can only Uber.
  • Budget is a concern for myself, not a giant concern but I can’t just go to any place in town regardless of how much the dinner bill would be.
  • Mike has been to Limon and Hop PK already.

Knowing Fresno is known for Mexican food and tri-tip, I wanted to plant the Fresno flag in one of those. Given that Mike is a creative guy and he had not been to the Tower District, I decided on figuring out a place to eat in the Tower.

No place in the Tower District comes to mind when I think tri-tip. So I am going with Mexican. Bobby Salazar’s is too damn bro-heavy on a Friday night. So, what I am left with (in my head) is Casa De Tamales or Cuca’s.

I have been going to Cuca’s for many many years. Never had a bad meal. Never had to wait for a table. Always quiet but not too quiet. Service is solid. Prices are reasonable. Cuca’s it is.

GOOD FRESNO TIMES

We met up. Had a great meal. Both had the carne asada plate. Mike told me he knew nothing about Fresno before he came here. I explained the inferiority complex Fresno has in relation to San Francisco and Los Angeles. He explains Milwaukee has the same thing in relation to Chicago.

Mike says that FUSD will probably bring him back to Fresno in the future. Maybe next time we’ll go for tri-tip.

By the way, here is a sketch Mike did of his meal at Limon:

A post shared by Mikey Seay | The Fresnan (@thefresnan) on *Picture taken from here

The Best Coffee Places In Fresno I Don’t Go To

I get most of my coffee from the machine you see above. I’m no longer cool enough to live or work Downtown or in the Tower where a greater concentration of Fresno coffee places are.

You might be cool enough though. These are some of the spots I hear people talking about as being good to decent local coffee places.

LANNA COFFEE CO.

I can actually say I have had their coffee because you can buy bags of it for your coffee maker at Save Mart. I remember it being tasty. There is also a high probability of me actually going to their location as it’s down the street from Tioga’s Beer Garden.

VALPARAISO COFFEE.

Automatically cool because they’re inside the Bitwise building on Van Ness. They are also close to beer place. Watch video.

BREW FIX.

These guys can boast that they are on Fulton Street and in the Mural District. They also have a very rad chalkboard map of the United States:

https://instagram.com/p/BazToohlLbR/

HI TOP REVIEW.

Super new, in the Tower District, they make Vans references, old Cafe Corazon spot and are across the street from beer (Goldstein’s). So, worth checking out then.

DALE BROS.

This is historic Fresno coffee. Yet it’s also new. And on Warehouse Row. These are reasons I find them interesting.

(Picture by Emily Redondo)

KUPPA JOY.

Across from Fresno High? Cool. Doors down from Ampersand and Tower District Records. Also cool. Coffee? I hear it’s good.

I GROW TIRED OF WRITING. NEED CAFFEINE.

If you’re thinking “Hey idiot! You forgot Dutch Bros and The Revue and Blah Blah Blah’s!” Please leave a comment on your favorite Fresno coffee.

If you want to hear some of these being discussed, check the 30:40 mark of this month’s Flowing With Famous podcast.

I Didn’t Think The Livingstones Fire Was All That Bad, Then I Saw The Pictures

Tower District legend and Fresno staple, Livingstone’s, caught fire overnight. “Holy shit!”, right?

The initial report I heard was the fire was confined to the back, and it involved a tree, nobody was hurt, and Livingstone’s won’t be closed for more than two or three days. Damn, that sucks, but at least it was just a little thing and everyone is cool.

But then I saw these pictures from the Fresno Fire Department:

Yep. That is more than a few days of work there. Damn.

It will actually be closed at least 20 days. That means their 30 employees will be out of work for a month during Christmas.

So being the supportive family the Tower District is, a GoFundMe campaign has been set up to help make them ends meet. Gotta meet the ends, yo.

Please go check it out. Help your little favorite not-so-speakeasy-but-totally-feels-like-one place and donate.