Eating Out: Old Doc and wife to close liquor shops, 'take a rest'

The Fresno BeeDecember 2, 2013 

In a 2009 file photo, Don Casperson, co-owner of Old Doc's Liquor, is shown at a wine tasting.

FRESNO BEE FILE

Grab a drink — I have some disappointing news: Old Doc's Discount Liquor is closing.

Old Doc's has been a fixture in Fresno for 34 years.

"It's time to take a rest," says Elaine Casperson, who co-owns the two stores with her husband, Don — known as "Doc" to most of us. Doc is 74. Another partner in the business retired last year. Elaine is retired from teaching.

"We're just at the point where we can't put the time and energy into it, and hopefully people will have very positive memories of what we've done since 1979," Doc says.

Doc, by the way, got the nickname because he has a doctorate in education. The couple moved to Fresno so he could teach health science at Fresno State before opening a little liquor store on the side. Clearly, the liquor store part of his profession took off.

The Old Doc's store at Cedar and Nees avenues was scheduled to be closed by the time this column is printed. The second store, at Bullard and Marks avenues, will be open until Dec. 30.

All its merchandise is on sale.

The stores, with a large selection and helpful staff, were an asset. Clueless people like me could walk in, not even able to pronounce the Kirschwasser I was looking for, and an employee knew exactly what I was trying to say and took me right to it. (That's cherry brandy that made some excellent cherry cupcakes, by the way.)

I'm sure they've helped a lot of people that way. Their Yelp.com reviews are full of people happy that employees helped them pick the right wine. The store even delivered to a man who lives in a convalescent home down the street who ordered nonalcoholic chardonnay every month.

Competition from big-box stores was not a factor in their decision to close, the Caspersons said. So it's likely just coincidence that a new BevMo! has opened in Clovis.

Speaking of which …

The new Clovis BevMo! in the Clovis Crossing Regional Shopping Center at Herndon and Clovis avenues carries everything booze hounds and the occasional sipper need: wine, beer, spirits, glassware, cocktail shakers and gourmet food.

It opened late last month and offers tastings from 4 p.m to 7 p.m. Fridays and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays.

See's Candies

See's Candies has opened a seasonal store in Fig Garden Village. Chocolate truffles, Scotchmallows and every other kind of chocolate are available at the store, which is between Patrick James and Orloff Jewelers.

Jack's Urban Eats

Fig Garden also is getting a new restaurant, although this one is several months off. Jack's Urban Eats is a Sacramento-based restaurant with a Volkswagen bus for a logo selling sandwiches, salads and tri-tip.

They also sell "urban fries," drenched with blue cheese, spicy chili oil and chili flakes.

The restaurant will move into the spots now occupied by We Olive and Christina's Fine Women's Clothing. Sometime after the holidays, We Olive will move a few spots away and Christina's will close.

The columnist can be reached at (559) 441-6431, bclough@fresnobee.com or @BethanyClough on Twitter. Read her blog on fresnobeehive.com.

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