Bethany Clough

Cafe 309 takes a sad turn, Potbelly Sandwich eyes Fresno

Cafe 309 in the process of being torn down on March 14 to make way for high speed rail. The owner is not sure if she will reopen.
Cafe 309 in the process of being torn down on March 14 to make way for high speed rail. The owner is not sure if she will reopen. SPECIAL TO THE BEE

Remember Cafe 309?

The breakfast and lunch restaurant – which used to be Hall’s Drive In Restaurant – at 2395 S. G St. near Golden State Boulevard closed last fall to make way for high-speed rail.

On March 14 the building was torn down, much to the chagrin of longtime customers who loved the place. Several of them texted owner Fen Heng.

“I was like ‘Oh my God, I’m so sad’” she says. “My heart skipped a beat.”

When Cafe 309 closed, Heng wasn’t sure if she was going to reopen. And a sad turn of events has her still unsure of what comes next.

The state paid Heng for the property Cafe 309 was on. She also owns another building on Tulare Ave., the former Whiskey Creek building. She was considering reopening in that building and had moved her kitchen equipment and supplies there. But thieves broke in and stole much of it. They also stole copper wiring that will costs thousands of dollars to replace. Now she doesn’t know what to do.

But one thing she is sure of is that she loves and misses her customers and asked me to say so: “Can you please let my customers know that I miss them and I love them and I will always keep them in my heart?”

Potbelly Sandwich Shop

Chicago-based Potbelly Sandwich Shop is eyeing Fresno and the Central Valley for new restaurants. The shops are known for their toasted sandwiches and salads.

Potbelly is a franchise, meaning it must first find an acceptable franchisee to invest and run a location, and then find a spot to open.

Sometimes the process can take awhile – and it may not come through at all. Other franchises in recent years that have been sniffing around Fresno but not opened yet include the Tilted Kilt, Which Wich, The Melting Pot and Johnny Rockets.

Bethany Clough: 559-441-6431, @BethanyClough

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