Dave & Buster’s, the bar, restaurant and arcade often dubbed “Chuck E. Cheese for adults,” is planning to open a location in Fresno.
Developer Ed Kashian has filed plans with the city for a conditional-use permit and requested a tweak to zoning rules at Friant Road and Highway 41. Plans call for building a 41,000-square-foot building, of which 30,000 square feet would go to Dave & Buster’s. The land is now a dirt lot between Applebee’s and the northbound highway offramp.
The Dallas-based business has long been on the wish list of what Fresnans would like to see open here, and rumors about its arrival have been swirling for weeks on social media. The “I would like to see Dave & Buster’s in Fresno” Facebook page has 3,930 likes.
Several approvals are still needed, but news that the process has started had fans excited Monday.
Phillip Bautista, 33, of Madera, visits Dave & Buster’s whenever he’s out of town.
“I thought it was the coolest thing in the world,” he says. “You mean I can drink beer and play games? Cool.”
All ages are welcome, but customers under 21 must be accompanied by an adult 25 or older, according to the websites of California locations.
“It’s basically like what you would find at John’s Incredible Pizza or an arcade area, except it’s for adults, so you don’t feel creepy wanting to be in an arcade,” said Lauren King, 24.
King, a 2009 Bullard High School graduate, lives in Davis now, but visited the Roseville Dave & Buster’s twice in the last month and said she’d visit one in Fresno.
The business has food and drinks geared for adults, such as $3 shrimp taco specials and bacon-wrapped sirloin medallions. The menu also features burgers, steaks, sandwiches, pasta and appetizers. There is a full bar with drink specials, and it is typically open until 2 a.m. on weekends.
The arcade features air hockey, Skee-Ball and video games.
“Their games were not just regular quarter games, but eight individuals could interactively race motorcycles on one huge screen,” Bautista said.
So far, the Dave & Buster’s project is moving through City Hall with no mishaps.
A lone member (the other four were no-shows) of a city planning advisory committee saw no reason to worry when the project was presented.
The request to tweak zoning for the area would allow a “family restaurant, game and entertainment center” to open there. The City Council could get the request as soon as March 26.
Kashian, head of Lance-Kashian & Co., which developed River Park, has applied for a conditional-use permit. This requires the developer to obey certain land-use rules. The application is being processed, city officials said.
Dave & Buster’s would take up the majority of the 41,000-square-foot building, with the other 11,000 square feet going to commercial/retail space.
The building will be on a two-acre piece of a 21-acre site expected to be commercial/retail.
Representatives of Kashian’s company and Dave & Buster’s did not return calls seeking comment.
Dave & Buster’s has 73 locations in 30 states and Canada, including nine in California. Each typically employs between 140 and 160 people.
The Dave & Buster’s website has job openings for three managers in Fresno.
Fresno City Council Member Lee Brand, whose district covers the area, said he’s 100% behind Dave & Buster’s plans.
“It’s unique. It offers something that Fresno doesn’t currently have,” he said. “This makes Fresno a little bit bigger in someone’s eyes, a little bit nicer place to be.”