Bethany Clough

Eating Out: Chipotle, Sourdough & Co., more chain restaurants coming to Fresno

Fresno’s newest Chipotle, at 4424 W. Shaw Ave., is scheduled to open Feb. 11.
Fresno’s newest Chipotle, at 4424 W. Shaw Ave., is scheduled to open Feb. 11.

What do you do with an empty RadioShack? Turn it into a Chipotle, of course.

Fresno’s newest Chipotle restaurant is scheduled to open Thursday, Feb. 11.

This one is at 4424 W. Shaw Ave. in the same shopping center as Winco and Costco, next to Popeyes.

The space obviously had a drastic remodel to make it look like a standard Chipotle.

But this one had a few extra changes. Instead of umbrellas on the patio, black shade cloth stretches artfully out from the building to shade diners.

The restaurant is about 1,000 square feet bigger than most, but you wouldn’t know it as a customer. That’s because that extra space is all behind the scenes with a meeting room where workers from the entire region can gather.

The food, of course, is the same quick-service burritos, bowls and tacos the company is known for.

The opening of the new restaurant comes just days after all the existing Chipotle restaurants will shut down for four hours at lunchtime Monday, Feb. 8, for an employee meeting.

The restaurant, which touts its “food with integrity,” is coping with recent outbreaks of E.coli and norovirus that sickened hundreds, sent sales tumbling 30% in December, and put a big dent in its stock price.

The company will use the downtime to talk about the outbreaks to employees – why they happened, outline steps taken outside the restaurant to make ingredients safer, and to thank employees for implementing new food safety programs. The company is also adding paid sick leave.

Sourdough & Co.

This one is a long ways off, but it sounds yummy, so I’m going to tell you about it anyway.

Sourdough & Co. is planning to open a restaurant in Fresno, next to the Dave & Buster’s under construction on Friant Road near Applebee’s. The sandwich shop will likely open in the fall, after Dave & Buster’s scheduled summertime opening.

The sandwich, soup and salad place has one restaurant in El Dorado Hills outside Sacramento.

Sourdough, of course, is their specialty bread for sandwiches, usually warm and fresh out of the oven, says founder Gordon Ross. They also offer wheat and marble rye.

The turkey sandwich is the most popular, followed by the hickory-smoked garlic pesto that is rubbed on the turkey.

A bit of trivia: Ross was born and raised in Visalia and his wife is from Fresno, so they know our area.

Jersey Mike’s Subs

The newest Jersey Mike’s Subs is open. The restaurant is at 8480 N. Friant Road, in the new building at Park Crossing.

It’s the fourth Jersey Mike’s in the area. The company was founded on the Jersey Shore and sells all kinds of subs, including hot ones, and wraps.

The opening included a fundraiser for Valley Children’s Hospital.

Five Guys

Another Five Guys Burgers and Fries is scheduled to open in Fresno this week at The Marketplace at El Paseo at Herndon Avenue and Highway 99.

Get ready to see a lot more Five Guys in our area, too.

The owners of the franchises in central California plan to open four to six more Five Guys in Fresno and the immediate surrounding areas. They are now scouting locations.

That number doesn’t include Five Guys already planned for Hanford and Merced.

Five Guys has long had a location in River Park.

What’s new about both the River Park restaurant and the northwest Fresno one is milkshakes. All the new restaurants are carrying them and the existing ones are adding them.

It’s a sort of a build-your-own milkshake, with a base vanilla shake for $4.49. Customers can get unlimited add ins, ranging from Oreos and chocolate to peanut butter and bacon.

So long, Panda

Two Panda Express restaurants inside Vons grocery stores are closing. The restaurants at Cedar and Shepherd avenues, and Kings Canyon Road and Clovis Avenue are shutting down as the restaurants’ leases expire, say Panda Express and Vons.

The spaces will be filled with “new fresh offerings,” says a Vons representative, but she did not say what that would be.

Bethany Clough: 559-441-6431, @BethanyClough