What do you get when you combine pizza and beer?
For most of us, the answer is a good meal. But if you’re the brothers who run Me-N-Ed’s restaurants, the combination results in a new restaurant called Me-N-Ed’s On Tap.
The first such restaurant – part pizza parlor and part craft beer bar – opened Thursday, June 30 in Fresno. It features 32 self-serve taps that let customers try out all kinds of beer.
The Me-N-Ed’s On Tap is at 1731 W. Bullard Ave., on the southeast corner of Bullard and West avenues.
We’ll be seeing a lot more restaurants like this soon.
The spot was home to a regular Me-N-Ed’s before it closed in February for renovations. It now has new look and whole new way of doing business.
The biggest change is the wall of taps – sort of like a beer buffet – that features 29 beers, two wines and a cider. It holds old favorites such as Coors Light and lots of craft beers, including local ones like Madera-based Riley’s Brewing Co.’s hard root beer.
The restaurant is also debuting a beer made by Fresno-based Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Co. called Ed’s Red. It’s a red ale that is available from the tap and in bottles for purchase at the restaurant.
It’s not a fad. It’s here to stay.
Me-N-Ed’s John Ferdinandi about craft beer
The location has been completely renovated with a new floor, a new brick wall and tiles that mimic pallet wood, new TVs and tables and a stage.
The self-serve taps are a first for this company in Fresno. Here’s how they work.
First, customers pay for their pizza and beer at the counter. They can get up to 32 ounces (two 16-ounce glasses). The cashier hands customers bracelets with the Me-N-Ed’s logo that track how much beer the customers pour.
Customers pick their beer from the line of taps, each tap with a little computer screen that gives information about the beer, including alcohol content and price per ounce. When the bracelet gets near the tap, a green light appears giving the customer the go-ahead to pour.
The bracelet is communicating with the tap using radio-frequency identification, or RFID. It’s the same technology that Fresno libraries use in their book self-checkout systems, and is also used in pet microchips to reunite lost pets with their owners.
It also tracks how much of that Deschutes Fresh Squeezed IPA, for example, customers are pouring.
And this is where customers can get adventurous.
“You usually play it safe and [buy] a beer you’re familiar with. Here you can try something new,” says John Ferdinandi, president and CEO of Fresno-based Milano International, the company that owns Me-N-Ed’s, Piazza Del Pane and Blast 825 – the custom pizza restaurants like the one at Sierra Vista Mall.
70number of restaurants Fresno-based Milano owns, including Me-N-Ed’s, Blast 825 and Piazza Del Pane.
You can try a lot of something news, in fact – all 32 drinks potentially – since the bracelet tracks each ounce customers pour.
The company first tested the concept at a restaurant in San Luis Obispo and it did so well they decided to run with it.
Expect to see more Me-N-Ed’s remodeled into Me-N-Ed’s on Tap with the self-pour system in Fresno and Clovis.
The company will also be bringing the concept to future Blast restaurants in Fresno and Clovis too, calling them Blast & Brew.
One Blast & Brew is headed for Old Town Clovis. It will be in one of the new buildings that will be built at Centennial Plaza at Pollasky and Bullard avenues.
Pieology makes 11.5-inch customizable pizzas and salads.