A new restaurant I want to tell you about is a little further afield than I normally go, It's in Springville, but it's such a charming place I think you should know about it.
Dos Okie's is a pizza and barbecue joint in a converted 1940s gas station at 35601 Highway 190. Springville, in case you don't know, is a little town east of Porterville on the way to the mountains.
My husband and I happened to visit a few weekends ago. We were strolling down the street looking for a place to eat and spotted people sitting outside, under the old gas station's overhang and inside a wooden fence. They were munching on peanuts scooped from wooden barrels and brought to their tables via little metal buckets.
The restaurant serves pizza, from "the big Okie," with its all-meat toppings, to the "tree hugger" vegetarian pizza. It also serves barbecue ribs, tri-tip and more on the weekends.
A park down the street hosts live music at 7 p.m. Friday nights, so you can make an evening out of it. (I'm betting you can hear the music from Dos Okie's since downtown Springville isn't that big. You can also see the Springville Inn, which is supposedly haunted, so keep an eye out for the ghost in a dress with the long blond hair on the balcony while you eat.)
And when Okie's gets its liquor license, you'll be able to drink a beer with your pizza or tri-tip.
The former gas station has been a pizza place before, and apparently has quite a bit of turnover. When co-owner Julie Ladrigan — she also owns Cowpuncher's Cafe a few doors down — took over the space two months ago, she wanted to jazz it up a bit and sought out a lot of input and help from the community.
Her ex-husband built the outdoor bar. The sign was made by a local woodworker and is from a redwood tree that's at least 1,500 years old, says co-owner, Chuck Stokke who owns Sequoia Fishing Co. just down the street. (How do you pronounce Stokke? "Just think of Okie Stokke," he says.)
The tree came down the river in a big flood in 1969 and got stuck on the bridge. You can't just cut down a redwood anymore, especially in the Giant Sequoia National Monument east of town. The woodworker got a permit to get this tree out of the river and made it into the restaurant's sign, Stokke says.
And the owners say they aren't Okies, by the way. It was just the name that the community liked the most, Ladrigan says.
"We just are really lucky that the whole town has been great to (chip) in and donate labor," she says. "It's been a great experience."
Dos Okie's is open for lunch and dinner Saturday through Monday, closed on Tuesdays and open for dinner Wednesday through Friday. It doesn't have a website yet, so if you have questions, call Cow Puncher's at (559) 539-5345.
Fresno farmers need your help by taste-testing strawberries.
The UC Cooperative Extension is researching whether farmers can grow strawberries with less water, given all the water-supply issues lately. Taste testers will be asked to taste four strawberries grown with different amounts of water and rate their taste.
Volunteers are needed today, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., at the Vineyard Farmers Market at Blackstone and Shaw avenues.
Like tequila? The Tequila Expo starts at 6 p.m. Saturday at The Victory Grill Restaurant & Cantina in Granite Park.
Learn proper tasting techniques, and sample premium tequilas. There will be a beer garden with Mexican beer, margaritas and tacos and a DJ.
Tickets cost $20 before the event, $25 the day of the event. They can be purchased online at Event tickets are available online at: FresnoTequilaExpo.eventbrite.com. Details: Facebook.com/ FresnoTequilaExpo.
Chipotle restaurants are testing new "Sofritas" tofu in Fresno.
The tofu is seared and ground like sausage, and roasted with chipotle chilies, poblanos and spices. It's vegan, has a spicy kick and can be used in place of meat in a burrito or other dish.
Chipotle started the test in seven restaurants in the Bay Area and was expanded to northern California (including us). It recently was expanded to the rest of the state.
The columnist can be reached at (559) 441-6431, firstname.lastname@example.org or @BethanyClough on Twitter. Read her blog on fresnobeehive.com.