Chris Shackelford, chef and sommelier at Trelio, says he finally gave up on trying to open a second location. So he did the next best thing: He turned the upscale restaurant on Clovis Avenue into a new one, complete with new interior, revamped menu and lower prices.
“I have failed at trying to open another location so many times we decided to do something completely different,” Shackelford says with a laugh.
While Trelio’s cuisine has made it one of the San Joaquin Valley’s finer restaurants, Shackelford admits that when the restaurant opened 11 years ago, they didn’t spend a lot of time on the interior. They painted the walls, bought some Pottery Barn-type furnishings and put some “showy stuff” on the walls.
These days, the Pottery Barn furniture is gone, replaced with custom woodwork from the craftsmen at The Woodshed in Clovis. Salvaged and reconditioned pine from the North Fork area was used to create the tables, bar and banquettes. If you look hard enough you can see some telltale marks left by wood-boring beetles. Shackelford said he likes the natural beauty of the wood. He imported Italian leather to cover the banquettes, but also left exposed seams for a relaxed, yet sophisticated look.
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The light-colored wood was also used to create custom fixtures featuring LED lighting that can be adjusted from warm to cool colors. Shackelford also commissioned a local branding company, Ppl Studio, to redesign the restaurant’s logo to give it a more contemporary look.
Customers say they have been impressed with the changes.
“They have always had amazing food and now they have a dining room to match it,” said Vincent Ricchiuti of Fresno.
With a new interior, Shackelford also chose to play around with the menu. He’s added items and slashed prices by 30 percent. Most entrees are in the low- to mid-$20 range. The most expensive item is a 60-day dry aged strip loin steak with whipped Yukon gold potatoes and red wine onions for $34.
Shackelford is especially proud of several dishes, including the roasted duck magret, with king oyster mushrooms in an orange-duck glacé, also the veal foreshank osso bucco with risotto Milanese. He has kept some popular items like the blue crab cake with jalapeño remoulade and mango salsa and the beet salad.
Sareen Bedoyan of Fresno, a regular customer, says some of her favorites include the chicken liver mousse with port wine jelly, French onion soup and the short rib, Gruyere and fermented cabbage egg rolls with horseradish aioli.
“Talk about interesting flavors, Chris nails it every time,” said Bedoyan.