Bethany Clough

Eating Out: Clovis Hofbrau and Yolo Sushi open

Clovis Hofbrau has a hitching post out back

• Yolo opens with a name that’s both slang and similar to Hmong words for “old man”

• Fresno State gets a Robertito’s


The new Clovis Hofbrau is all meaty sandwiches and German-style dining, but the rest of the place is pure Clovis. There are moose and deer heads on the wall, ranchers’ brands burned into the bar and a hitching post for horses out back.

The restaurant and bar opened last week in a newly constructed building at 765 N. Temperance Ave., just off the freeway and tucked in behind the McDonald’s.

Readers have been asking for weeks when this one is going to open. Maybe the anticipation stems from the Silver Dollar Hofbrau’s January closure. Maybe it’s just because there’s not many places here where a “master carver” slices your pastrami paper thin and dips a bun made by Max’s in au jus while you watch.

Five kinds of meat are on the menu here: roast beef, turkey, corned beef, pastrami and ham. You can get a sandwich for $12 (or a half for $7.50) or a platter, which is the meat and two sides for $15.

The hofbrau is a walk up, order at the counter and seat yourself type of place.

You might recognize some of the people carving the meat. Leo Ovalle worked at the Silver Dollar off and on for 18 years. And his brother, Robert Amador, made the transition from carving at Silver Dollar for about 10 years to the Clovis Hofbrau, too.

Executive chef Allyn Taylor, who once was the chef at the old Hacienda at the Fresno Sheraton Inn, came out of retirement to oversee the kitchen.

The restaurant itself is owned by two local ranchers and a businessman who would rather remain anonymous, says manager Rocky Pimentel.

“As much as Clovis is growing, it’s still got a small-town mentality,” he says. “We’ve had people ride up on horses already.”

There’s a trail that runs near the restaurant — hence the horses — and Pimental flagged down a few riders and invited them to the restaurant.

“They said, you need [to build] a hitching post, so we did,” he says.

It fits right in with the fence around the patio, which is made from corral gates. There is a water fountain from which horses can drink if they’re tall enough.

Inside, the Western theme continues with spurs on the salt-and-pepper shaker holders and country music on the radio.

To get the brands on the wooden bar, the owners hosted branding sessions. They invited local ranchers in, served them beer and seared the cattle brand into the wood.

Cowboy boots are part of the dress code for employees, with women wearing them with denim skirts and shorts.

There is a dress code for customers too, printed on the front window and designed to address gangs — motorcycle and otherwise. Among other things, it specifies no baseball hats worn sideways and “pants pulled up around waist.”

The restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily with the bar open until midnight. Details: See the Clovis Hofbrau Facebook page.


And now for something completely different: A karaoke and sushi place in southeast Fresno.

Yolo Sushi Bar & Karaoke opened last month at 4907 E. Kings Canyon Road in the Asian Village Shopping Center.

The name, Yolo, is that slang term used by the younger, hipper folks to mean “You only live once.” But it also sounds like the Hmong words for “old man” says Chef Lee Yang.

“I’m an old man and I’m making sushi, so I guess it kinda goes together,” he says (though at 55, he’s not really that old).

Don’t be surprised if you’re greeted with “yolo” instead of “hello” when you walk in the door.

Yolo is open for lunch and dinner. It has a bar and the karaoke starts at 10 p.m., or earlier if requested. It’s 21 and older only after 10 p.m.

Yolo serves all kinds of sushi — the “pimp daddy” roll and the spicy crispy tuna are popular — along with noodle bowls, miso soup and tempura (fried veggies, shrimp, chicken, etc.).

A few things worth noting that aren’t on the menu: Pon’s salad and papaya salad.

Pon is Pon Phimmachack, who owns the place with his wife Janet. The salad is a seafood salad that the chef started making for Phimmachack when he was a customer at Yang’s previous restaurant in Modesto. It’s got green cabbage, octopus, tuna and salmon.

The papaya salad is a Hmong and Laotion dish. They weren’t planning to serve it but people kept requesting it so they do.

The multicultural mix here is a fun one: The chef is Hmong, the food is Japanese, Janet Phimmachack is Filipino and her husband is Laotian.

Yolo is in the space that was once home to the club Nite Track and still gets a few of its customers.

Details: or (559)374-5190.


Fresno State is getting a Robertito’s. The popular local Mexican restaurant is in the process of opening at the University Student Union Food Court.

It takes over for Chick-fil-A, which closed in May of last year.

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