For months, readers have excitedly asked me when Jack's Urban Eats will open.
The quick-casual restaurant in Fig Garden village opened Monday near White House Black Market. It's a new-to-Fresno restaurant, part of a 12-location chain based in Sacramento. Jack's bills itself as "American hofbrau-style cuisine," which in this case means sandwiches and salads — with something called "urban fries" that get rave reviews.
But it's not your typical sandwich joint.
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There are familiar sandwiches on the menu: tri-tip, pulled pork barbecue and Cajun chicken. But there's also banh mi, a Vietnamese sandwich with grilled steak, daikon, jalapeños and cilantro on a French roll.
Vegetarians can sub in grilled portabella mushrooms on any sandwich.
The two types of turkey sandwiches — the classic and the "turkey berry" with cranberry and pomegranate sauce and provolone cheese — come from a full-size Thanksgiving-style turkey behind the counter that employees carve slices from.
There are nine salads on the menu, including a build-your-own option. The salads are hearty — barely a leaf of iceberg lettuce in sight. Options include a kale and quinoa salad, Western barbecue steak salad and a Thai prawn salad with soba noodles and roasted cashews.
You can get some uncommon sides: mashed potatoes or mac and cheese, for example.
And then there are the fries that have their own following at the other Jack's restaurants. The "urban fries" are topped with spicy chili oil, blue cheese and chili flakes. As one Yelp reviewer called it, her "favorite food everrrrrr." They've got a little kick, but aren't too spicy.
Jack's is an order-at-the-counter and take-your-number-to-the table type of place. Staff members — who are really happy and friendly — bring your food to you.
Most drinks are self-serve from a single fountain that dispenses soda, lemonade and other drinks.
It's open daily for lunch and dinner beginning at 11 a.m. and has patio seating and indoor seating.
More about Jack's
Fresno-based Sequoia Brewing Co. plans to open a third location, this one in Visalia. The restaurant, bar and brewery has two existing locations — one in the Tower District and another at Champlain Drive and Perrin Avenue.
"Craft beer is going extremely well right now," says Scott Kendall, who owns the businesses with his wife, Michele. "Visalia has always been a place that we've wanted to go, being the gateway to the sequoias."
The new place at 124 W. Main St. was most recently a storefront church. It is scheduled to open shortly after the first of the year.
It will serve beer brewed in Sequoia Brewing's Tower location, along with Tioga-Sequoia beer also made in Fresno.
The new location will have all the familiar features of the other two, but something extra, too.
"We do have a couple things we're going to be doing differently," Kendall says. "We can't elaborate on those yet. It's something that's going to be fun."
Frankie's 568 in the Tower District is now open for lunch.
The Italian restaurant run by the same family behind some of the DiCicco's restaurants opened last spring in the former Cafe Rousseau at 568 E. Olive Ave.
The restaurant is open 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. The lunch menu features paninis, pastas and pizzas.
The first of several Menchie's frozen yogurt locations in the Fresno area is scheduled to open Wednesday and hold its grand opening Saturday.
The business is at 3090 W. Shaw Ave., in the Winepress shopping center near Target and Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwiches.
The grand opening Saturday features free frozen yogurt from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., with cash donations benefitting the Poverello House.
There will also be face painting, a balloon artist and other entertainment.