Bethany Clough

Asada fries and ice cream on Fulton. Two restaurants open since mall became a street

Chelita's Taqueria opened Monday on Fulton Street. It's one of the first new businesses to open after Fulton Mall was opened to cars.
Chelita's Taqueria opened Monday on Fulton Street. It's one of the first new businesses to open after Fulton Mall was opened to cars. The Fresno Bee

Two new restaurants are open on Fulton Street, among the first businesses to open since the former pedestrian mall in downtown Fresno was opened to cars.

A taqueria serving Mexican favorites – including asada fries drenched in toppings – and an ice cream shop with Mexican snacks and drinks have opened recently at opposite ends of the street.

Chelita's Taqueria opened Monday at 1237 Fulton St., in the former Parsley Garden Cafe, which closed earlier this year.

The little taqueria serves all the Mexican food favorites, including tacos, burritos and tortas.

Those asada fries are french fries drenched in beef, sour cream, cheese and salsa. Menudo is available on the weekends.

The restaurant also serves breakfast all day, including breakfast burritos and a breakfast quesadilla with egg, cheese and bacon.

Chelita's hours aren't set in stone yet, but will likely be 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, employees said.

The restaurant opened quietly, without a big grand opening. Like most new restaurants, it will probably take a little while until everything runs perfectly.

Tutis Fruties

Down the street, Tutis Fruties is at 933 Fulton, about halfway between Kern and Tulare streets. It opened a few weeks ago and has a ton of goodies to explore.

The shop carries Thrifty ice cream in cones or dishes, in flavors like cookies and cream, mango and that neon blue bubblegum ice cream that makes kids' eyes go wide.

There are also fruit cups stuffed with watermelon, cantaloupe and other fruit. Tamales, tortas and aguas frescas – refreshing drinks made with fruit and sweetened water – are on the menu, too.

But it's the fun stuff, the mangonadas and tostilocos, that are top sellers here, said owner Joseph Ruiz.

A mangonada is a thick, cool drink made here with ice cream, natural mango syrup, mango chunks and chamoy and Tajín, a sauce and seasoning, respectively, used in Mexican cuisine. Walk down the street with one of these babies and you'll turn heads and get people asking where you got it.

The tostilocos are made with either Takis or Tostitos chips, and topped with pork skins, cucumbers, jicama and tamarind candy.

You can check out some of the food Tutis Fruties sells on its Instagram account @tutisfruties. The shop is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day but Tuesdays, when it's closed. It will stay open late for special events.

If these goodies sound familiar it may be because some of them are sold at the cart just down the street at Fulton and Mariposa Mall near the clock tower. The same family runs both the cart and Tutis Fruties and will continue to run the cart, Ruiz said.

The family has sold food and drinks in some form for years.

"We've been down here since '89 and we finally got our storefront," Ruiz said. "It feels good, it feels really good. We'd rather be here than anywhere else."

Several other restaurants are headed for Fulton Street, including the two restaurants that are taking over the former Payless ShoeSource at the corner of Mariposa Mall.

The Chicken Shack is shooting for a late June opening, and will be a second location for the restaurant of the same name in Hanford. (Chicken Shack also has a food truck that makes frequent visits to Tioga-Sequoia Brewing's beer garden and other places around town.)

Next to it is Toshiko Japanese Cuisine, another Hanford restaurant opening a second location.

Works is also continuing on Chicken King, which plans to open across the street from Chelita's.

And restaurant and craft cocktails bar Quail State is working on finalizing a location on Fulton Street.

Bethany Clough: 559-441-6431, @BethanyClough
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