There is a lot of restaurant news this week to catch you up on. New restaurants – both local favorites and chains – are opening new locations in the Valley and sadly, there’s another closure of a local restaurant to tell you about.
Toledo’s Mexican Restaurant
First, locally owned Toledo’s Mexican Restaurant is opening another new restaurant any day now. It’s taking over the former Cazadores Bar and Grill near Save Mart at Milburn and Herndon avenues.
The restaurant has a patio, which seems to be a must with Toledo’s. This is the fourth restaurant for the family, which owns locations on north Blackstone Avenue and Shaw Avenue and Fresno Street in Fresno and Shaw Avenue near Sunnyside Avenue in Clovis. The Toledito’s in downtown Fresno is owned by different members of the family.
Cafe Via is planning to close when its lease is up this summer after five years in business. This is the eclectic Italian restaurant on Blackstone Avenue just south of Herndon known for its steak salad, garlic edamame and coconut cake.
There are a lot of reasons why the restaurant is closing, says chef and owner Matt Babcock. He didn’t want to go into them all, but the recent roadwork happening on Blackstone Avenues that has led to blocked lanes and bottlenecks has meant a drop in sales for the cafe, he says.
Babcock would rather focus on the positive though, saying it’s been a joy to serve his customers: “I love my customers. I love my staff. I love the community.”
The restaurant will try to stay open until July. Babcock isn’t sure what will come next for him.
Although it’s sad to lose yet another local restaurant, there’s an upside to this situation. Unlike restaurants that shut down abruptly, Cafe Via customers have time to say goodbye and maybe get one more piece of that coconut cake.
Three new Starbucks are headed to the Valley, according to reports of signed leases from Commercial Retail Associates. One is under construction now in Fresno next to the new Vallarta Supermarket at Clinton and Weber avenues. The building will also have a Panda Express.
The Starbucks will have a two-lane drive-thru and will probably open this fall.
More Starbucks are heading to Hanford and Tulare.
The Hanford location is under construction in front of Costco at Highway 198 and Highway 43.
The third Starbucks is planned for Cross Avenue and J Street in Tulare, though this one may take a little longer to open.
Clovis is getting a Firehouse Subs. This is the franchised restaurant that opened at Blackstone and Nees avenues in Fresno in 2015. It’s a sub shop, selling hot and cold sandwiches and salads.
The Clovis shop will be near Vons at Herndon and Fowler avenues and is expected to open in June or July.
The No. 1 seller is the Hook & Ladder sub with smoked turkey breast, Virginia honey ham, melted Monterey Jack and served “fully involved” — which means it has mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato, onion and deli mustard.
As you can probably tell, Firehouse Subs has a firefighting and first-responder theme. Expect to see lots of firefighting decor. They also sell $2 red pickle buckets (they’re empty but they used to hold pickles) and donate that money to buy equipment for fire agencies, from radios to fire trucks.