Bethany Clough

Salad bar 2.0? These new restaurants in Fresno, Clovis offer a twist on the familiar

New Fresh Bite opens in Fresno

Fresh Bite opens selling customizable salads in downtown Fresno on the ground floor of the T.W. Patterson building.
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Fresh Bite opens selling customizable salads in downtown Fresno on the ground floor of the T.W. Patterson building.

This is not your mama’s salad bar.

Two new salad bar restaurants have opened in the area – one in downtown Fresno, another in Clovis. A third is on the way in north Fresno.

They’re part of a trend that is exploding in cities like New York and Los Angeles, with chains like Chopt, sweetgreen and Tender Greens opening dozens of locations each.

The salad restaurants opening here are locally owned. And one of them also sells fresh-squeezed juices, including one that is blue. More on that in a moment.

Salad bars, of course, are nothing new. Sweet Tomatoes has been around forever, after all, and many pizza places have salad bars.

But the salad bar restaurants that are getting popular lately – think of it as salad bar 2.0 – are a more modern version of them. Options include quinoa and fresh burrata cheese. Some sell fresh-squeezed juices, oatmeal and acai bowls.

Downtown Fresno

Fresh Bite opened in late May at 938 Fulton St. in the T.W. Patterson building, in the space once occupied by Casa de Tamales. Find it by looking for the herbs and veggies growing in the window.

Customers here can choose a salad off the menu, like a chicken Caesar salad or a berry salad with spinach, apples and raspberries. Both come with slices of focaccia bread.

Or, customers can build their own salads. They start at $7.75, with customers picking toppings as they go, much like ordering at Chipotle. Premium toppings like avocado, tofu or goat cheese cost a little extra.

Proteins like grilled salmon, chicken, and shrimp are available, too.

The average salad costs $10.25, said Fresh Bite’s owner, Miguel Gamboa, who is also the property manager of the Patterson building.

He’s a familiar face in restaurants around Fresno, helping open Riley’s Brew Pub and working as executive chef at Elbow Room and Club One Casino.

“We opened this as an amenity for the tenants of the T.W. Patterson,” he said, adding that there weren’t many quick, affordable options around for vegetarians or people who eat meat only occasionally.

It didn’t take much to revamp the space. The biggest change is what used to be the bar. They pulled out the sinks from behind it to transform it into one long table with seating on both sides.

Fresh Bite is open from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays, and during downtown events.

Clovis

Jugo Salad & Juice Bar opened its first location at Champlain Drive and Perrin Avenue in northeast Fresno last summer. Its second location opened Wednesday at the northeast corner of Fowler and Herndon avenues in Clovis. At 1845 Herndon Ave., it’s between Cold Stone Creamery and Starbucks.

And a third is on the way. The owner has signed a lease for a Jugo to open at Herndon and Milburn avenues near Starbucks in northwest Fresno. He hopes that location will be open by the end of August, said owner Lewis Everk, who also owns LUXS lounge and entertainment venue at Champlain and Perrin.

Jugo (pronounced “WHO-go”) has six signature salads. The most popular is the tri-tip chop salad, which has tri-tip, bacon, blue cheese, tomatoes, red onion and romaine lettuce.

Customers can also customize their salads, choosing a base of lettuce, quinoa or brown rice. Jugo has a wide variety of other salad options to choose from, including meats, veggies and cheeses.

Salads range from about $8.50 to $12.50.

Jugo also sells acai bowls, the bowls with a base made from blended acai berries sweetened with date sugar and topped with fruit and other toppings.

It also sells cold-pressed juices with ingredients like green apples, pineapple, carrot and ginger.

The most popular juice? The “blu dream” made from blue spirulina (which gives it a blue color and is derived from a blue-green algae), lime, mint, ginger and agave.

Jugo is open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

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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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