Bethany Clough

4 new restaurants open in Fresno

Cakes at Noah’s Ark Restaurant & Bakery, from left, Caramel and Nuts, Snickers and Opera.
Cakes at Noah’s Ark Restaurant & Bakery, from left, Caramel and Nuts, Snickers and Opera.

Here’s an odd coincidence: Two new local restaurants have opened with transportation themes.

One is Flight Line Cafe, the restaurant that has reopened at Chandler Airport. The other is Noah’s Ark Restaurant & Bakery, a central Fresno spot serving Armenian and Mediterranean food.

A couple more locations of chain restaurants have opened in Fresno too. More on those in a minute.

Noah’s Ark

But first, Noah’s Ark at 783 E. Barstow Ave. at First Street near Kristina’s Natural Ranch Market.

Why the name?

“We’re Christian and we go to church,” says David Mkhitaryan, who owns the place with this brother-in-law Armen Salmanyan.

They’re also Armenian and Noah’s Ark purportedly landed on Mount Ararat, which is a national symbol of Armenia.

Plus, Mkhitaryan has a 4-year-old nephew named Noah.

There’s a big mural of the ark on the wall and references to it on the menu, such as soups listed under the heading “40 days of rain.”

The kebab plates are the star of the show at the restaurant.

“Ninety percent of people go for the chicken kebab,” he says. “The other 10 percent is the beef [kebab].”

You’ll also find salads, stuffed grape leaves and baby back ribs marinated with Mediterranean spices.

Noah’s Ark Restaurant & Bakery technically been open for months, but only for special events. It’s now open to the public for lunch and dinner every day but Sunday.

Some of you may remember Mkhitaryan from Kabob Corner, the little drive-thru in the same shopping center. That’s closed now, but he plans to turn it into a coffee and crepe place.

Interesting tidbit about Noah’s Ark: There’s a table made from a fish tank with live goldfish in it. The low coffee table between two chairs has clear top that doubles as the tabletop.

Interesting tidbit No. 2: Dessert.

Noah’s Ark has a case of some of the most beautiful desserts around. Inside are two different kinds of tiramisu, baklava, Raffaello coconut cake, Snickers cake and an opera cake with layers of chocolate ganache and a frosted G clef on top.

Large orders of the desserts can be special ordered.

Details: (559) 225-1045 or find them on Instagram at @noahsarkrestaurant.

Flight Line Cafe

Remember Tailspin Tommy’s Aerodrome Eatery, the restaurant at Chandler Airport where you could watch small planes land and take off while you eat? That restaurant closed last year.

Now it’s got a replacement, Flight Line Cafe.

The new restaurant, Flight Line Cafe, is open for breakfast and lunch serving American and Chinese food from 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

The space had been empty for more than a year. Because the restaurant is part of the airport, which is public property, restaurateurs had to go through a formal bidding process with the city to run a restaurant there.

Patty and Henry Wang won.

Now they’re serving a traditional American breakfast of eggs, pancakes, omelets and French toast. Lunch is burgers, sandwiches and Chinese dishes like Kung Pao chicken and Mongolian beef.

Most recently, Patty ran the Flying Saucer, a little restaurant on G Street that will be bulldozed to make way for high-speed rail.

If you’re a longtime customer of the restaurants at Chandler Airport that have come and gone over the years, you may remember Wang. She worked here when it was a coffee shop when she was in her late 20s.

“I still remember their names,” she says of a few customers.

She also learned how to fly here.

“I just love this place,” she says, though she hasn’t flown in years.

Details: (559) 355-4186.

Jersey Mike’s

Last week, Dickey’s Barbecue Pit opened in the new construction at 5776 N. Blackstone Ave. near the Bullard Target.

This week Jersey Mike’s Subs will celebrate its grand opening in the same building Wednesday through Nov. 27. The celebration includes a fundraiser for Valley Children’s Hospital.

Jersey Mike’s is a quick-service sub and wrap shop that has opened a slew of locations recently, including two in Fresno and two in Clovis.

Bethany Clough: 559-441-6431, @BethanyClough