Three new businesses in northwest Fresno have something a little unusual going on.
One has the funky name of BooBoo Bean Bakery & Cafe, another is a bar is serving a "breakfast shot" and there's a pizza place where the breadsticks are just about as popular as the pizza.
All three – BooBoo Bean, the Tellawi Lounge opened by the Fresno Breakfast House, and More Than Pizza – have opened recently in the Pavilion West shopping center at the southwest corner of Bullard and West avenues.
It's a center that barely has any empty spots – a rarity in malls these days – and a loyal following of customers.
But more importantly, let's talk about the food.
The Fresno Breakfast House has been around for 18 years – 16 at Pavilion West. It recently turned its "jungle room" part of the dining area into a bar named after the owners' last name. It's a cozy little place where you can hear your conversation.
The Tellawi Lounge is open from 9 a.m. to 9. p.m. daily and doubles as overflow seating on busy mornings at the restaurant next door.
The drink menu includes the popular blackberry bourbon crush, and a blood orange paloma made with tequila, lime and blood orange juice.
And that breakfast shot? It's a shot with half Jameson whiskey and half butterscotch liqueur, a combination that evokes a syrup-soaked pancake. It comes with a chaser (a tiny mug of orange juice) and a side of bacon.
There's food at Tellawi too. Appetizers and dinner are available starting at 2 p.m.
The limited dinner menu includes entrees like a bacon cheeseburger and a tri-tip dinner. Owner Sam Tellawi recommends Symone's sweet and spicy chicken wings (that's his daughter, who is also an owner, and her chicken wing recipe).
The creation of the bar was a bit of serendipity. See, the owners also run the Grand Banquet Room next door. Through some quirk of liquor rules, they couldn't have a full bar in the banquet room, even a portable one, if they didn't have a permanent bar. So they created Tellawi Lounge.
Tucked in the back corner of the center is BooBoo Bean Bakery & Cafe and its pastry cases full of cookies, cupcakes and croissants stuffed with scrambled eggs and cheese.
It also sells sandwiches, salads, breakfast items, desserts and espresso-based drinks.
There are also "booboo cakes" – Liege waffles (smaller waffles with pearls of sugar inside) topped with yummies like cookie butter, strawberries and cream cheese. The "peanutty pig" waffle has peanut butter, chocolate sauce and bacon, all on the same waffle.
"I think our cookies are probably the biggest sellers," said Jenny Rivera, who owns the business with her husband, Joey. "I bake what your mom and grandma used to bake," she said.
That includes the big lemon Italian wedding cookies, coffee cake, biscotti and turtle brownies with caramel and pecans.
Jenny Rivera comes from a food background with 10 years in management in the grocery business and 12 with Jamba Juice. She used to run a home-based candy business that specialized in English toffee.
Rivera arrives at BooBoo Bean at 4 a.m. each day to start baking. And if you need any more proof of her devotion to her craft, check out the tiny cupcake tattoo on the inside of her wrist.
But what about that oddball name, BooBoo Bean?
Her pet name for her 8-year-old son is BooBoo. Her pet name for her fur baby Lucy, a five-pound Chihuahua, was Lulu Bean. BooBoo and Lulu Bean got combined to form BooBoo Bean. And just in case her 3-year-old daughter Grace feels left out, they named Gracie's chicken salad after her.
The bakery is open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays.
More Than Pizza
Clovis pizza lovers will likely recognize this place. More Than Pizza was so busy at its Shaw and Armstrong avenues location that it opened a second location, near the front of the shopping center.
The new place is run by Horacio Oliveira, 49, and his son, Manuel, 25.
There's all kinds of pizza (takeout, delivery, etc.), sandwiches, chicken wings, salads and beer.
"We try to make everything we can here," said Manuel Oliveira, including the dough, ranch dressing and Thousand Island dressing.
One thing to try here: The breadsticks. Made from pizza dough with a garlic white sauce and cheese, with just a hint of crunchy on the edges.