Change is a constant in the Tower District.
Though lately, the changes at restaurants and other places seem to be taking their sweet time to actually happen. But several changes are in the works, including two existing businesses – Mia Cuppa and Piemonte’s – partnering to shake things up a bit.
You’ll have to wait awhile for this one though, as the space doesn’t even have a kitchen yet. Franchisee Alex Petrosyan expects the sandwich shop to open sometime this summer.
The shop will have Deli Delicious’ new look that includes booths, in addition to tables and chairs, new decor and a grill positioned so that customers can watch their food being made.
This also will be Deli Delicious’ 100th location. The Fresno-based company has started franchising. There now are 48 locations between the Bay Area and Bakersfield and another 60 locations in the works for California.
Another portion of the building looked like it would be home to a satellite location for the Fresno Police Department and the landlord already had started some renovations. Residents have requested a brick-and-mortar police presence in the neighborhood since the Broadway substation closed in 2010, saying that the visual of a police office, along with cop cars, is a deterrent to crime.
But as of last week, the city no longer is looking at the Fulton’s Folly spot, according to city spokesman Mark Standriff. The city still is looking for space in Tower, which may be a satellite location or a smaller report-writing station, he says. The Central Policing District headquarters now are at Manchester Center.
Rumors that Mia Cuppa Caffe may close have been swirling around the coffee shop at 620 E. Olive Ave. When the owners of Piemonte’s Italian Delicatessen next door caught wind of the situation, the two businesses came to an agreement.
Starting April 1 and phasing in gradually, Piemonte’s will be selling its food at Mia Cuppa and Piemonte’s customers are invited to sit down and eat their food at Mia Cuppa.
A sign that says “Piemonte’s at Mia Cuppa” is in the works.
Now Piemonte’s fans, rest assured that nothing is changing at the deli that has been in that spot for 60 years. You still can get your turkey avocado sandwich and any of the other sandwiches, salads and pasta that the deli sells. Only now you’ll have an indoor place to eat it. Piemonte’s owners Nancy and Neil Eberwein long have wanted a place for customers to sit, and the three tables on the sidewalk just don’t cut it in 100-degree weather or on rainy days.
They’ll probably start with a small pass-through window between the two businesses for orders and sandwiches, says Nancy Eberwein, but she plans to eventually set up a sandwich-making station at Mia Cuppa.
Expect even more food to be sold at Mia Cuppa. In addition to pasta dinners and salads, Eberwein would like to start offering acai berry bowls and desserts.
It’s a change welcomed by the owners, Mark and Wendy DeRaud, in addition to the financial help with bills like rent and electricity from Piemonte’s.
“They’re just going to have something every breakfast, lunch and dinner and we’re going to continue doing all the coffee drinks,” says Wendy DeRaud.
The DeRauds will continue to focus on developing their back room for paint parties, open mic nights, live music and renting it out for other special events.
They still are trying to get their liquor license, too.
You may have noticed that Blimpie, the chain sub shop in Tower, has closed. Shredworthy already has moved from its former location on Wishon Avenue into the place at 810 E. Olive Ave. The skateboarding shop also sells its “Fresbro” brand of clothing and does screen printing for other companies.
And sometime soon it will add an espresso bar.
The space already had a counter for serving food to customers, so the owner decided he might as well use it. The front of the counter now is covered in pieces of colorful cut-up skateboards.
It’s not going to be a full-on coffee shop with every style of drink, but more like a retail store with a counter serving espresso-based drinks and other bottled drinks. They are putting in some seating by the window that should be a good people-watching spot, owner Nick Jones says.
He expects to have it up and running in a couple months.
Plenty of other changes are still slogging through work that always seems to take longer than it should.
Landmark is closed and its sign is down as its new owner works to transform it into a club with a dance floor and bar. The signs on the building say they hope to finish construction by the end of summer.
Across the street, Mama Mia has its signs up, but work still is happening in the former Score sports bar at 737 E. Olive Ave. The restaurant will be serving pizza made by the family who runs Mama Mia at Palm and Bullard avenues, and Bobby Salazar’s, whose restaurant is a few doors down on Olive, will take care of the drinks with a full bar. They’re hoping to open at the end of April or early May, says Mama Mia owner Mike DiNuzzo.
There is major sidewalk work happening outside of the former Million Elephant restaurant and its neighboring space at the corner of Olive Avenue and Fulton Street. That’s so the slopes of the sidewalk where they join doorways meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements, says the building owner.
He still is doing work inside both spaces to get them to a point where they can be rented out. He does not have renters yet.