Food & Drink

They’re tight-lipped about two restaurants in old World Sports Cafe space. Here’s what we know

A delivery man pushes a stack of boxes past the former World Sports Cafe space at River Park shopping center in January 2017. JPot, a hot pot Asian restaurant, will be one of two restaurants moving into the space.
A delivery man pushes a stack of boxes past the former World Sports Cafe space at River Park shopping center in January 2017. JPot, a hot pot Asian restaurant, will be one of two restaurants moving into the space. sflores@fresnobee.com

Two new restaurants are taking over the former World Sports Cafe space at River Park.

Fresnans have been intensely curious about what will happen to the high-profile spot since the restaurant and bar closed in January 2014.

We now know a little more about plans for the space – but mystery still surrounds them. There’s secrecy because they are new-to-Fresno concepts. One restaurant – by the owner of teppanyaki and Japanese food restaurant Hino Oishi at Campus Pointe – is still being fine-tuned. The owners of the other aren’t sharing details yet fearing someone could steal their idea, said River Park spokeswoman Tracy Kashian.

“They’re not announcing yet,” she said. “It’s such a new concept they don’t want anyone else to grab anything they’re working on.”

Here’s what we do know.

Both places have at least one local owner involved.

This will not involve a move for Hino Oishi, which will remain open next to Mad Duck Craft Brewing Co.

“He’s still creating his concept,” Kashian said of the owner. “His concept is new. It’s hip. It’s not here yet. It’s down in L.A.”

The restaurant will have a full bar and will be next to The Broilers. It will be the larger of the two spaces totaling 8,800 square feet that the World Sports Cafe left behind.

The owner could not be reached for comment about his plans for the River Park restaurant.

The second restaurant will be family friendly, Kashian said.

“It has a Disneyland feel to it, kind of like you’re going to a theme park,” she said, referencing the Soarin’ Over California ride at Disney California Adventure.

“There will be window areas to watch them make milkshakes and stuff like that,” she added.

The restaurant will serve beer and wine.

Other details, including the type of food, are under wraps for now at both places.

And we’ll have to wait a while to find out. The restaurants won’t open until sometime next year. The shopping center still has lots of work left splitting the space into two restaurants, Kashian said. That includes structural changes, including building a wall, and splitting the air conditioning system. It will probably be January before the restaurateurs can start their work on the interior of the building, she said.

Bethany Clough: 559-441-6431, @BethanyClough

  Comments