We have a rule in our family that when we travel, we don’t eat at national chain restaurants. Why eat a meal in an exotic place that you can enjoy, well, anywhere?
The same goes for when family and friends visit from other parts of the country. We like them to experience what the Valley has to offer, so we visit eateries that you won’t find anywhere else.
If you have family coming into town for the holidays, consider the list of staff favorites below that will have your guests craving a return visit to Clovis.
BC’s Pizza & Beer
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When BC’s was established in 1994 I was 7 years old. I remember marveling at the giant 26-inch pizzas that seemed to take up the entire table. I can still remember biting into my family’s favorite: pepperoni and olive pizza, and pulling at the gooey mozzarella with my fingers.
BC’s is still my favorite pizza, and now that I’m old enough to drink, it’s one of my favorite places to grab a beer. There are more beer options bottled and on tap than there are food options (I counted), giving guests the option to sample brews from all over the world -- and from their own city.
My personal favorite pizza is the Volcano, which features salami, pepperoni, mini shrimp, tomato, jalapeno and mozzarella over marinara sauce. Pies can also be made with pesto sauce, creamy garlic sauce or ranch dressing. The crust makes the pizza, and BC’s is thick and delicious. I like to eat the pizza to the crust and then dip the breadstick-like log into marinara or ranch.
BC’s Pizza & Beer at 1315 Shaw Ave., near Sunnyside Avenue, is the perfect place to take family for a taste of the Valley. The family-friendly atmosphere is great for kids, and the bar on the opposite side of the restaurant is a winner for anyone who enjoys craft beer.
— Farin Montañez
Sandy’s Country Junction
Old Town Clovis is home to a number of delicious restaurants including Sandy’s Country Junction.
Located on Clovis Avenue, the local gem has been a hot spot for decades. It serves breakfast and lunch including biscuits and gravy, omelets, pancakes, waffles and French toast.
Although I like a mix of sweet and savory for breakfast, I typically order the Elaine’s McMuffin Sandwich. It comes with your choice of meat — bacon, Canadian bacon or sausage — and spuds — country potatoes or hash browns.
And you also get an order of biscuits and gravy.
Breakfast wouldn’t be complete without a cup of coffee or hot cocoa — or chocolate milk if you’re my boyfriend.
Hot drinks are served in a mug; cold drinks are served in a boot-shaped glass.
— Janessa Tyler
My mom and I picked up my sister, Melanie, from Fresno Yosemite International Airport. It was about 8 p.m. Melanie hadn’t eaten since leaving Wisconsin, her new home.
“What do you want to eat?” I asked, already knowing the answer.
Me-n-Ed’s is a staple in my family. It’s the No. 1 dinner request for visiting family members. I’ve also been known to pack a pizza in a cooler and take it with me on visits to family in Colorado and Louisiana and, soon, to Wisconsin.
Me-n-Ed’s has been around since 1958. It’s dough is made fresh daily using established recipes and practices, says its website. The pizza is smothered with sauce from vine-ripened tomatoes and topped off with Me-n-Ed’s special blend of five cheeses and more than 20 choice toppings. It’s then baked in a specially designed brick oven.
My mom, Melanie and I like pepperoni and pineapple. Or a veggie pizza with artichoke hearts, bell peppers and red onions — sometimes we do half pepperoni and pineapple and half veggie. Other family members are purists and like just pepperoni, and still others like pepperoni, sausage and other meats.
No matter what your favorite toppings are, no Me-n-Ed’s pizza is complete without the Ranch dip. And with more than 60 locations, there’s sure to be a restaurant close to you.
— Monica Stevens
House of JuJu
Full disclosure, here: I’m not a burger person by nature. But a little, well-known place in Old Town Clovis has done its damnedest to prove that fact wrong — and it’s safe to say it’s succeeded.
House of JuJu’s start came about quite quickly, with owners Julie — the eatery’s namesake — Scott and Justin Glenn developing the gourmet burger joint’s concept and menu in a mere six weeks before opening its doors in 2013. The staff and ambiance do a fantastic job of creating a welcoming, family-like environment for its diners, but the consistent, quality food is the foundation that keeps a steady rotation of newcomers and regulars passing through the intimate space each day.
There are six signature burgers offered at House of JuJu, including the JuJu Bleu, Calamity Jane, Dragon Lady, Leticia, Athena and Betsy Ross — each served on a lightly toasted Brioche bun with choice of side and meat.
The variety of meats range from USDA-certified Angus beef and all-natural free range ground turkey to grilled chicken breast and all-natural free range bison. Its sides are also diverse, featuring House of JuJu’s spring mix salad, Chef Will’s Chili, Dragon Lady Teriyaki Slaw and my personal favorite, Famous JuJu Roasted Potatoes.
Those who are undecided or are cutting back on carbs can opt for their choice burger in a bowl (without the Brioche bun) or sample three of the restaurant’s signature burgers as sliders. I typically choose the latter — more because it’s a way for me to enjoy the Leticia, Dragon Lady and Athena burgers in one meal than because my mind isn’t made up. When it comes to this place, the decision is always clear-cut.
But if I had to endure the difficult task of singling out one, my vote has to be House of JuJu’s Leticia burger. The signature concoction is made up of spicy chipotle cilantro sauce, pepper jack cheese, roasted Ortega green chile, lettuce, tomato and avocado, which perfectly complements the side of roasted potatoes with my choice of dipping sauce: chipotle.
House of JuJu is located at 453 Pollasky Ave.
Details: www.houseofjuju.com, (559) 298-3090
— Dani Villalobos
A photographer friend recommended this place to me when I was looking for a casual dining spot that could put out some good food in a hurry — in Hanford. Figaro’s Mexican Grill would be my best bet, he said, good food in a hurry. See my husband is a bus driver and we had a schedule to keep.
I ordered the chile verde burrito the first time there. You order at the counter and the food is delivered to your table.
In just a few minutes, our meals were in front of us. They looked delicious but HUGE! I could have split my burrito with my husband. Easily.
The second time I was smarter, and ordered the verde enchilada a la carte. Still more than enough for dinner, this enchilada was the stuff that dreams are made of. A creamy, yet delicately spicy sauce covered tender chunks of pork, wrapped in a tortilla and covered with that same sauce and cheese. Yum. The dishes are served with the restaurant’s crunchy tortilla chips and an all-you-can enjoy salsa bar.
Imagine my surprise when, a few months later, I saw a sign — right in my own neighborhood — that Figaro’s was coming soon! The Figaro’s Mexican Grill that’s in my neighborhood didn’t disappoint. It offers the same delicious food as the Hanford location. And by delicious food, I mean a mix of Tex-Mex, traditional Mexican and even some awesome salads.
I never leave disappointed. And, as an insider’s tip, you have to try the flan. This creamy caramel custard dessert will satisfy. Served with a cinnamon churro crunch on the side, it is a feast for the eyes as well as the taste buds.
The Clovis location is at Ashlan and Fowler avenues. A Fresno location also just opened at Friant Avenue and Fresno Street.
— Carey Norton
Kuppa Joy Coffee House
Although I was born and raised in Fresno, I spent a number of years post-college in the Midwest and then the Bay Area. So during trips home, when I wanted to hang out with high school and college friends, I encountered a small quandary: I didn’t own a home in the area, so I couldn’t host anything. Yet inviting myself into somebody else’s (or somebody else’s parents’) home was just kind of weird. Thus, local coffee shops often served as our reunion site.
I can’t remember all of the coffee houses that came and went in the Fresno-Clovis area during those years, but these days I like to treat friends to coffee at Kuppa Joy Coffee House.
I don’t live in Clovis, but a lot of my friends do, so Kuppa Joy’s original Old Town Clovis location (there is a second shop in Fresno’s Tower District) makes for a convenient meeting spot when want to take a holiday break from our jobs and families.
Kuppa Joy may best be known for its flavored lattes, but I recently discovered the iced chai latte and I’m hooked. I’m not really a tea person at all, but its not-too-bitter, not-too-sweet combination of tea, milk and spices is spot-on — and reminds me of all the times I ordered the same drink with the same people. My old friends and I don’t see each other very often, but when we do it’s like no time has passed. Kuppa Joy helps make that happen.
— Katie Fries