Bethany Clough

River Park’s new mystery restaurant reveals details: It’s airplane-themed and it’s hiring

Changes are coming to River Park in north Fresno

Several new stores and restaurants will be taking over empty spaces at River Park shopping center.
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Several new stores and restaurants will be taking over empty spaces at River Park shopping center.

For years, people have been wondering what will take over the high-profile spot that was once home to the former World Sports Cafe in River Park.

When J Pot Mini Hot Pot & Bar opened in April in half of the building, the other half remained a mystery.

Now, we have some details.

The Hangar restaurant will open in early summer, though no specific date has been given. It’s airplane-themed, billed as an experience that combines a place to eat with a theme park.

The plane theme applies to the logo, the menu items and the decor.

The interior will have a retro airplane hangar-inspired atmosphere. Commercials emailed to The Bee feature cryptic previews of the restaurant using footage of small planes.

The owners aren’t releasing many details. Mostly they’re looking to hire workers at an event Saturday, June 8 (keep reading for more details on that).

Chris Lee, who grew up in Fresno and now lives in Los Angeles, says he has teamed with a creative leader at The Walt Disney Company to open the restaurant. He’s also partnering with the founder of Yard House Restaurants and Los Angeles chef Thatcher Mills.

“We will be building these all over the country but I wanted the first one to be built in my hometown, Fresno. I want to be able to give back to local charities and The Hangar will allow me to do this,” Lee said in a news release emailed to The Bee.

The restaurant

“Imagine combining world class delicious food with a theme park experience and airplanes. Why airplanes? Because who does not think airplanes are cool from a 2 year old on up. Everyone loves airplanes,” he said in the release.

It will be a fast casual restaurant, serving food like burgers, hot dogs, salads, sweet potato fries and crispy Brussels sprouts. It will use fruits and vegetables grown in the central San Joaquin Valley and feature its own in-house barbecue sauce.

The dessert menu, dubbed Landing Gear, will feature banana splits, ice cream floats and California-based McConnell’s ice cream. There’s also a dessert called “How you like them apples.”

The restaurant’s tagline is “Great Food, Great Hang.”

Jobs

The Hangar is hiring 50 people for all sorts of positions. It plans to hire on the spot.

The hiring event happens at the restaurant, at 190 El Camino in River Park, from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, June 8.

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Bethany Clough covers restaurants and retail for The Fresno Bee. A reporter for 20 years, she now works to answer readers’ questions about business openings, closings and other business news. She has a degree in journalism from Syracuse University and her last name is pronounced Cluff.

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