Had dinner downtown lately? Now is the perfect time to do it.
The Broadway show "Wicked" is back in town starting tonight and if this run is anything like the last time it was here, people will flock to see it.
Downtown restaurants are gearing up to cater to hungry theatergoers. A lot has changed since the show's first visit, including some new restaurant openings. And many of the restaurants have news to share, so even if you're not seeing "Wicked," here's an update on the downtown restaurant scene.
Please note this is not a comprehensive list. If you think there is someplace else you would like to eat, call 'em up and find out if they're open that night. You also can hop on my The Bee's entertainment blog, www.fresnobeehive.com, to add your favorite downtown restaurant to my "Wicked" dining post.
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How does a "Wicked" roll sound? That's something you eat, not something you do. Umi Sushi will be selling the roll during the run of the show. I'm told what's in it is a surprise.
If you haven't been downtown in a while, Umi Sushi took the place of the former Sushi Hana at 2321 Kern St., the space across from the Fresno Convention Center. It already has expanded its regular hours since opening in January.
During the run of "Wicked," it will be open until 7:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and until 8 p.m. Fridays. It will also be open from noon to 8 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays during the show.
Reservations are a good idea here. Call (559) 515-6636.
Zest is the newly transformed restaurant inside the Holiday Inn in downtown Fresno. It's open for dinner starting at 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Formerly Cafe 1055, the restaurant got a facelift recently, including a bright green and yellow paint job and the removal of blinds that covered up the big gorgeous windows.
It serves "fresh California cuisine" with a big variety of food on the menu. Zest also validates parking if you park in the garage under the hotel.
Details: www.facebook.com/zestcaliforniagrill or (559) 233-6650.
The reborn Downtown Club will open for dinner during "Wicked." The restaurant, at 2120 Kern St., will serve a buffet for $19.95 that is designed to get theatergoers in and out quickly.
To guarantee a table, make a reservation by calling (559) 233-2140.
If you remember, the restaurant closed last year, but new owners bought it and reopened it last fall. And this time, you don't need to be a member to eat there.
Sumtin' Ta Eat
Sumtin' Ta Eat Restaurant & Christian Lounge is open for dinner every day starting at 5 p.m. Owner Stephanie Mitchell is holding a "Wicked" special. If you call her ahead of time and say the word "Wicked" while making your reservation, you get dinner for $9. But you have to call (559) 572-2328 ahead of time. This deal doesn't work if you say it when you walk in the door.
Sumtin' is in the space that was once home to Karma Ultra Lounge and Fagan's at 2039 Kern St. at Van Ness Avenue. It has an ever-changing menu, but the owner calls it home cooking. That appears to include everything from lasagna rolls and steak, to baked chicken and neck bones, beef with tomato gravy and pork shanks.
Sumtin' just started serving breakfast — think fried ham and grits — lunch and dinner. It's open 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5-11 p.m. seven days a week.
Details: www.facebook.com/sumtintaeat or (559) 572-2328.
Peeve's Public House & Local Market just got its wine license, so now you can buy a glass of wine with dinner before going to the show. Or a bottle from the market to take home. Peeve's carries only local wines from Fresno, Madera, Kings and Tulare counties.
Dinner at Peeve's, 1243 Fulton Mall, runs from 5:30-9 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Details: 573-5735 or www.facebook.com/peevespublichouse.
Joe's Steakhouse & Grill is expanding its regular hours to be open for lunch and dinner every day of the "Wicked" run.
Steaks, burgers and American food are on the menu at the restaurant, at 831 Van Ness Ave.
Reservations aren't necessary, but they will take them.
Details: (559) 486-3536 or www.joessteakhouse.com/home.
Other downtown dining options include:
--Club One Casino restaurant at 1033 Van Ness Ave. (559) 497-3000.
--El Torito, 2840 Tulare St., (559) 485-1171.
--The International Cafe inside the Radisson Hotel, 2233 Ventura St. (559) 268-1000.
--Los Panchos Mexican restaurant, 1000 Fulton Mall. (559) 497-9999.
--Shepherd's Inn, 935 Santa Fe Ave., (559) 266-2228.