From the familiar sweet and sour chicken to the more obscure milk tea with boba, there are enough restaurants open at The Square at Campus Pointe now that there’s a virtual buffet of cuisines to choose from.
The new center anchored by Maya Cinemas at Shaw and Chestnut avenues next to Fresno State is nearing the end of its first phase of openings.
Several new restaurants have opened recently, including Yogurtland, Wok It Out and Tapioca Express. Tofas Mediterranean is coming next with a twist on its existing Clovis restaurant.
Of course, there are other restaurants that opened a while ago too that I’ve told you about in previous columns, including Beach Hut Deli with its giant sandwiches and full bar. Mad Duck Craft Brewing Company has been trucking right along serving beer made on site at its restaurant. Wahoo’s and Cold Stone Creamery are attracting crowds and Pieology Pizzeria opened not too long ago.
8restaurants open at Campus Pointe
One interesting tidbit about this shopping center: It’s attracting a lot more families than expected, notes center spokeswoman Tracy Kashian.
“We really thought this was going to be geared toward the college aspect because there’s college students living there so close to the school, but it’s actually turned out to be a really great family destination,” she says.
Business owners have echoed that sentiment, saying they’re getting business people on their lunch and families stopping in for a meal, especially at the places that don’t have bars, before or after a movie. That vibe may change as the center and its parking lot fills up, though.
But back to the food.
Wok It Out has been open for three months next to the theater. The restaurant is owned by the same owner of Dai Bai Dang in River Park. But you won’t hear them advertising that because the food and the restaurants are totally different (though the chefs here were trained by Dai Bai Dang owner and chef Anna Wang, the manager points out).
Wok It Out is fast food Chinese with that’s a little more on the healthy side.
It’s got all the basics – fried rice, chow mein and egg rolls – but it’s the apple pork and apple chicken manager Johnny Xu wants you to check out. The pork or chicken is cooked with sliced green apples, onions and green onions.
The most popular seller is the combo noodle soup for $7.50. It’s a bowl of noodle soup with a chicken broth with beef, chicken, shrimp and baby bok choy.
We want people to eat healthier.
Johnny Xu, Wok It Out
Most entrees are stir fried instead of deep fried, and no MSG is used.
Yogurtland opened last week with all various flavors and fruit and candy as toppings.
The Yogurtland is across the street from the Cold Stone ice cream place. That’s a little unusual as they could be seen as competitors. But the Campus Pointe Cold Stone does not have a frozen yogurt bar (it’s been rolling them out at some locations).
But if you’ve got someone in the family trying to be a little more healthy (or looking for nonfat gluten-free or no sugar-added dessert) you can compromise: One of you hits up the ice cream shop, the other gets froyo and you eat them on a bench outside together.
If you’re unfamiliar with these types of drinks, get ready to learn something new because there’s a lot to explain.
Tapioca is part of the name, but you won’t find tapioca pudding on the menu.
Tapioca Express owner Trinhity Huynh describes her business as making iced and blended drinks like Starbucks, but with tea instead of coffee.
Milk tea is the most basic drink here: fresh-brewed tea combined with a nondairy creamer and sweetened with brown sugar. Flavors range from Earl Grey to mango and can be made hot or iced.
The popular “snowbubble” drinks are similar to smoothies, Huynh says. They’re milk-based (almond, soy or coconut milk available upon request). Flavors range from honeydew – made with the fresh fruit – to cappuccino.
And of course, boba can be added to almost anything. Boba is the little chewy tapioca balls that you suck up through an extra-thick straw. Boba is made from cassava root, the same vegetable that tapioca comes from – but just to be clear, you won’t find tapioca pudding on the menu here.
“Our name is Tapioca Express so people think tapioca pudding and we have to explain,” says Huynh.
One highlight of the food menu here is the macarons. Not to be confused with the American macaroon, the French macaron is a colorful sandwich cookie.
Tapioca Express decorates theirs elaborately to look like characters such as Minions or Mario from the video games.
One bit of trivia: Check out the cute character on the pillows in the seating area. That’s Totoro, a strange little animal from the Japanese anime film “My Neighbor Totoro.”
If you are puzzled by anything else here on the menu or otherwise, just ask. Huynh left a job doing accounting for a pharmacy to open Tapioca Express. She wanted to do something more fun and surely trying to figure out if Totoro is a rabbit, a cat or an owl – or a combination of all three – fits the definition of a fun job.
The last restaurant to tell you about isn’t open yet, but you’ll see it under construction if you’re at Campus Pointe.
It will have all the kebabs, salads and sandwiches of the original, but also a full bar. Expect Mediterranean beer on tap and cocktails with a Mediterranean influence.
This Tofas will offer more appetizers, including wings, sliders and a trio of hummus dish.
The restaurant is schedule to open in early April.
The next phase of restaurants will include a coffee shop, Farm Fresh Bowls, Hino Oishi Hibachi & Japanese.