The story of Fresno’s newest coffee shop, Collect Coffee Bar, started years ago when Jamal Anabtawi sold Sara Jarrar a car at a local dealership.
Something sparked during that sale of a convertible Mitsubishi Eclipse – it helped that their families already knew each other – and the pair started dating. Fast forward a few years, and the couple is opening their coffee shop at The Square at Campus Pointe at Fresno State on Aug. 1 – one day after their second wedding anniversary.
Collect Coffee Bar is one of several new businesses in a second wave of openings at the shopping center anchored by Maya Cinemas at Shaw and Chestnut avenues. Tofas Mediterranean Grill, Hino Oishi Japanese and teppanyaki restaurant, Nutrishop and Pieology are open. Farm Fresh Bowls is coming soon, opening a second location of its little drive-thru in Visalia selling healthy breakfast and lunches in bowls.
But back to Collect Coffee Bar, which is at the far east end of Campus Pointe. Jarrar, 26, originally from Jordan, and Anabtawi, 29, a Hoover High grad, are serving Stumptown Coffee.
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I just loved the culture of coffee in each town.
Sara Jarrar, Collect Coffee Bar owner about drinking coffee all over the world
It’s a brew you don’t find in the Valley very often. The Portland, Ore.-based coffee is known for its quality – so much so that Seattle Weekly readers, who live in the birthplace of Starbucks, voted Stumptown the best coffee this year.
Collect sells the beans along with regular drip coffee and a cold brew – coffee brewed without heat. The cold brew is on tap just like beer, stored in a refrigerated keg and pulled from what looks like a beer tap handle.
Also on tap is cold brew “on nitro.” That’s coffee infused with nitrogen gas added to it that tweaks the texture of the coffee and adds a frothy head like a glass of Guinness.
“It gives it a smooth texture and makes it a little thicker than (regular) cold brew coffee,” Anabtawi says. “It’s for those beer lovers.”
The coffee shop also sells espresso, lattes, cappuccinos and pour-over coffee, where a single cup is brewed by hand pouring hot water over grounds. Turkish coffee, which involves an elaborate process of making a small but strong cup without a filter, is also on the menu.
Collect also serves Fresno-based Raizana tea and uses it to make a matcha tea latte complete with vanilla flavoring, steamed milk and lavender tea. There’s also Red Bull with grenadine (which is nonalcoholic) on the menu because Anabtawi drinks them to stay awake.
Anabtawi and Jarrar kicked around the idea of running a business together before they were married. Jarrar has lived all over the world (England, Saudi Arabia and Palestine) and always loved the coffee culture in each place.
Jarrar’s father is an importer/exporter and his No. 1 seller is coffee mugs, Jarrar says. Impressed with the cafes in Italy during their honeymoon, they decided to open one back home.
You’re probably wondering why Collect is in the name. That refers to the mugs that are all over the shop. Customers are encouraged to collect them.
Regular customers get a card that’s stamped each time they buy and after every ninth cup, they get to choose a free mug off the shelf. The mugs can also be purchased for $3 to $12.
“This is maybe 1 percent of what we have,” Jarrar says of the coffee mugs.
She’s not kidding. They have 40,000 mugs in storage in about 1,700 different styles. They range from mugs featuring zodiac symbols and the Eiffel Tower to classic travel mugs.
The coffee shop isn’t their only creation. The couple are expecting a baby boy in January.
Collect Coffee Bar is open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays and later on weekends.
Tofas Mediterranean Grill
Some of you may be familiar with Tofas Mediterranean Grill at Herndon and Clovis avenues.
Tofas opened a new location at Campus Pointe a few days ago next to the movie theater that has a few upgrades from the Clovis restaurant.
The restaurant still serves the same fast-casual Mediterranean food such as salads, flatbread pizzas, several different kinds of kebabs and a lamb burger.
When customers walk into the Campus Pointe location, they can head to the right and order at a counter. If they head left, they can sit in the bar, where waiters and waitresses will take orders at the high-top tables.
The full bar is a first for Tofas. It includes a bar menu with appetizers including an onion ring tower, chicken wings and sliders.
And the friendly face behind the marble bar is Luis Chanon (whom you may know from Five Restaurant or SchoolHouse Restaurant), who is serving unique Mediterranean-influenced cocktails.
What does he recommend? The Mediterranean, which has rye whiskey and pineapple juice topped with fresh-squeezed lemon, a cinnamon reduction syrup that Chanon makes and a cinnamon-dusted pineapple wedge.
Tofas is open from 10:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and until midnight on the other nights.
The 6,600-square-foot restaurant isn’t the only thing that’s huge – the two menus are, too. The sushi menu includes everything from classic rolls to one that’s wrapped in tin foil and set on fire. It also includes a baby octopus salad and a “sushi for rookies” entree with seven pieces of sushi.
The rest of the menu has all kinds of dishes, from fresh seafood and udon noodles to steak and vegetarian dishes.
The restaurant has 12 teppanyaki tables, where chefs cook the food right in front of you while playing with fire and food. There’s also a full bar that’s open late on weekends.
As for the name, Hino means everyday and Oishi (pronounced “O-ee-shee”) means delicious.
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It’s not clear why. The owner, who also owns Dai Bai Dang, did not return a message seeking comment.
Four or five businesses are interested in the space, says Campus Pointe spokeswoman Tracy Kashian.