Eating Out: Guadalajara expands; El Cochinito Contento to reopen

The Fresno BeeDecember 9, 2013 

The "fat man" margarita.

SPECIAL TO THE BEE — Guadalajara

One of Fresno's favorite restaurants, Guadalajara, soon will have even more locations for diners to get its super burritos and other Mexican food.

The newest Guadalajara spot at the RiverView shopping center at Friant and Fort Washington roads opened a few weeks ago. Next up is a location at 151 W. Bullard Ave. near Villa Avenue in Clovis, scheduled to open early next year.

The matriarch of the family, Rosalinda Garcia, keeps retiring, deciding it's not for her, and coming back to work with plans to open a new restaurant, jokes her daughter Julie Garcia Duarte.

"Every time she comes out of retirement she goes and opens another one," she says. "Now she's going with two."

Jokes aside, the family is opening the restaurants because there is plenty of demand. Customers keep asking when the restaurant will open near them.

And now that many of the grandkids in the family are old enough to work, they're being taught the family business and giving the older folks a break on a few shifts.

The Fort Washington location has a full bar. You can find the "fat man" margarita here, which is the equivalent of four margaritas, served in a big glass with two straws.

It opened in the former Chapala Grill spot. That restaurant has closed.

The other location at Bullard and Villa will be a quick-service Guadalajara.

When all are open, the family will have five restaurants, including the Weber Avenue location that's been open for 26 years.

El Cochinito Contento

Fans of El Cochinito Contento in the Tower District are getting antsy about when the restaurant is going to reopen. Hold tight — it will be soon.

El Cochinito Contento — Spanish for The Happy Pig — has been closed since early November when a car crashed into the building at 88 E. Olive Ave. A driver apparently missed the turn and plowed into the patio and the kitchen, says Vanessa Ortega, daughter of the owners.

This happened about 6 p.m., in the middle of the restaurant's dinner rush. Thankfully, no one was hurt, including the customers eating on the patio who had just gotten up to pay and leave, she says.

Vanessa paints quite an image: The car knocked down the patio fence and went into part of the kitchen, hitting the sinks and prep tables, causing a fire extinguisher to explode, and creating a greasy mess.

It stopped the kitchen workers in their tracks.

"They were all in shock," she says. "They were still in the kitchen and staring at the car."

The car did more than $35,000 worth of damage, but the repairs are almost all done, she says.

The owners have been telling customers they will open Dec. 19, but work is going quickly and there is a good chance they will reopen before then.

Give them a call at (559) 486-2833 or drive on by to see if they're open. They're also posting updates on their Facebook page. They will be having specials and a grand opening celebration after they reopen.

Jon's Bear Club

Longtime Reedley restaurant Jon's Bear Club is changing hands. Chef and owner Jon Koobation has sold the business to local couple Juan and Linda Reyes.

The new owners want to retain the food and the feel of the restaurant at 1695 E. Manning Ave.

Koobation will stay on to ease the transition through the end of the year, and many staff members will stay on as well.

The Bear Club has been around in one form or another since 1935, when it started as a small bar behind a grocery store.

It evolved and moved over the years until Koobation, the chef at the time, bought it in 1985.

Chris Meat Market

Big changes for the small-but-vocal following of downtown's Chris Meat Market: The taqueria is moving north.

The new location, at 2108 N. Blackstone Ave., is just north of Ratcliffe Stadium. It wasn't open as of my deadline, despite the downtown location being closed. I haven't been able to reach the owners, so it's not clear when it will open but signs promise it's "coming soon" and "muy pronto."

The little squat stand-alone building is an original Super Burger that became a Frosty Burger and still has that banner hanging off the Super Burger sign.


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

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