Food & Drink

Summertime dining at Sandals by the Beach Grill

Sandals at the Beach Grill in Friant sells food, drink and desserts like shave ice and Fresno State ice cream.
Sandals at the Beach Grill in Friant sells food, drink and desserts like shave ice and Fresno State ice cream. SPECIAL TO THE BEE

Summer is here and one little burger-and-milkshake place with outdoor dining is taking full advantage of it.

Sandals at the Beach Grill opened in Friant in 2013 around the same time as the Dam Diner closed. It’s about a 20-minute drive up Friant Road from Fresno to 17541 N. Friant Road, in the shadow of Friant Dam.

It’s busy ramping up for the summer, with live music scheduled on the weekends and lots of cold drinks and food for cyclists, many stopping after making the long climb up the hill. Car clubs are a frequent visitor, too.

This is an order-at-the-window type of place. The outdoor seating is shaded and misters keep diners cool.

Manager Craig Martin says Sandals’ most popular menu item is the hamburger – especially the barbecue bacon cheeseburger topped with an onion ring.

But it also sells sandwiches, hot dogs and all kinds of fried goodies. Sandals also sells Fresno State ice cream, date shakes and Hawaiian-style shave ice with optional condensed milk to sweeten it.

Breakfast – breakfast burritos and simple egg dishes – is served on Saturdays and Sundays.

The beach in the name refers to the sand in the volleyball court next to the restaurant’s dining area.

During live music nights, the restaurant sets up extra chairs in the sand.

“It’s really upbeat,” Martin says. “Kids enjoy it because they get to play in the sand. Parents enjoy it because their kids get to play in the sand.”

A special line serves beer during live music so customers don’t have to wait in the food line.

Sandals is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m Mondays-Thursdays, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturdays, and 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays. Live music is scheduled throughout the summer:

▪ June 11 – 6 to 9 p.m., country artist John Pemberton

▪ June 25 – 6 to 9 p.m., The Fat Penguins featuring AJ Fox

▪ July 2 – 6 to 9 p.m., country artist Danny Millsap

▪ July 16 – 6 to 9 p.m., Bullseye

▪ July 30 – 6 to 9 p.m., Masters of Rock

▪ Aug. 13 – 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., country artist John Pemberton

Bethany Clough: 559-441-6431, @BethanyClough

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