The new Mad Duck in Fresno has a lot more than the original — more beer, more space and more appetizing “one handers” — snacks that can be eaten with one hand while holding a beer in the other hand.
The Mad Duck Craft Brewing Co. that opened last week in the new development next to Fresno State called The Square at Campus Pointe is a sequel to the original location that opened in Clovis in 2010. That Mad Duck at Herndon and Willow avenues will remain open.
Mad Duck is also the second restaurant to open at Campus Pointe following Beach Hut Deli. It will probably be several weeks before a cascade of other restaurants, including an ice cream and a pizza place, open at the center near Highway 168 and Shaw Avenue.
But back to Mad Duck and its beer — the beer is really the big thing here. For the first time, Mad Duck is brewing its own on site. Diners can see the brewery and its tanks through glass from the dining room.
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“We always wanted to do a brewery at the original Mad Duck but we were 29 and broke,” says owner Alex Costa.
Over the past few years, the owners have experimented with making their own beer at out-of-town breweries and in Costa’s home (he tells stories of a brewery on wheels, a broken bathtub and a very patient wife).
Now on tap is a Honey Pot Blonde, a Pub Ale, an IPA and Citra, a pale ale that smells like orange juice and is named for a brand of hops. An oatmeal stout and a brown ale will be ready in a couple weeks.
That’s as fresh as it gets. You’re literally 30 feet from the tank.
Alex Costa, Mad Duck
Other craft beers are on tap, too.
One thing you might be surprised to see at the restaurant? People drinking out of strangely shaped glasses that look like they came from a lab. The jars have a handle and a spout to drink out of and are designed to be shared (the trick is to drink without it touching your mouth). Inside is a shandy, a mix of beer — either the honey pot or the Citra — and a little lemonade that makes a refreshing drink. It costs $12 and $10 on Saturdays.
As for the menu, it still has familiar favorites like burgers and sweet potato fries, but there’s new food, too.
“We wanted to stay far away from the classic brew pub pitfall of ‘let’s beer batter everything and fry it,’ ” Costa says.
Instead, the new “one handers” include chipotle short rib tacos and ahi lettuce cups. There’s also the shishito peppers and edamame dish that’s a bit of appetizer Russian Roulette. One in 10 of the blistered Japanese peppers served in a soy-ginger glaze are spicy (that’s nature’s doing, not Mad Duck’s).
The brewpub has also added more salads and vegetarian options.
And the new Mad Duck is much bigger than the original 56-seater. This one seats about 150 and has a large patio.
Its high ceilings and brick walls make the original space look downright tiny.
The name Mad Duck comes from the initials of the partners involved in the business.
But the new place is run by the same group of dudes in their 30s who forgot to buy wall art for the brewpub so they hired someone to paint a giant yellow duck on the brick wall, Costa says.
“Overall, the Duck hasn’t changed at all. It’s still guys in flip flops” and a group of buddies running a place with craft beer and good food, he says.
Mad Duck Brewing Co. is open 11 a.m. to midnight daily.
Two new Blaze Pizza restaurants are coming to the area. One will open in Fresno at Shaw Avenue and First Street and another in Tulare at Hillman Street and Hillcrest Avenue. It’s not clear yet when the restaurants will open.
Blaze makes fast-cooked, customizable pizzas.
You might be thinking of Blast 825 Pizza, a similar concept with restaurants at Sierra Vista Mall and Fashion Fair mall. Blast is based in Fresno and owned by the same company that founded Me-N-Ed’s and Piazza Del Pane. Blaze is based in Pasadena.
And making these pizza wars a little more tense is another similar restaurant, Pieology Pizzeria. Pieology has opened three restaurants in the area and will soon open another at Campus Pointe. Who do you think is the best?
Buffalo Wild Wings
Buffalo Wild Wings, the sports bar and restaurant known for its chicken wings, is opening a second location in Fresno, a manager has confirmed.
The company will open the restaurant in what used to be California Wok at 3331 W. Shaw Ave. near the Broadway Faire theater. California Wok closed earlier this year.
This one could take a while, with Buffalo Wild Wings possibly opening next year.
More on Blackstone
Remember when I told you about Krispy Kreme planning to build a new store near the Target on Blackstone and Bullard avenues? The Krispy Kreme will be built just north of the existing McDonald’s and open next year.
Even more restaurants are slated to go in north of that in another building that will be built closer to the car dealership, says Shane Anderson, a retail broker with Commercial Retail Associates.
Dickey’s Barbecue Pit and a Jersey Mike’s Subs have signed on. Another restaurant space and two retail spaces are still available for lease. Construction should start in August and the businesses would open next year, he says.
Ruth’s Chris + Tioga Sequoia
Similar to a wine dinner where a different wine is paired with each course, a glass of a Tioga-Sequoia beer will be paired with each of four courses.
The menu includes: a BLT salad with Half Dome California Wheat, spicy lobster with Tamarack amber, a petite filet with General Sherman IPA and a white chocolate cheesecake with Sugar Pine porter.
The dinner costs $75 per person, plus tax and tip. RSVP by calling (559) 490-0358.