Clovis News

Best Locally Owned Business Award winner bios

BEST BREAKFAST HOUSE

Batter Up Pancakes – Jeff and Becci Colla, Owners

Jeff and Becci Colla, the owners of Batter Up Pancakes, opened the business with the belief that, "To be simple is to be great," which is how they prepare every one of their pancakes. Batter Up Pancakes is a family run business, offering the same great quality and friendly service every day – and if you've ever been greeted by their grandson, Benson, you may notice the resemblance in their logo. They're open 7 days a week, and recently opened their second location.

BEST FRESNO STYLE

Ooh La La

Ooh la la is a high end women's boutique that sells the latest women's fashions and accessories. Recently voted "Best Boutique" by the Fresno Bee, Ooh la la has recently celebrated its second store opening in the Pavilion West Shopping Center. Their success is a result of always offering the latest fashions at affordable prices, feeding a niche market that is growing in Fresno.

BEST LOCAL SPIRITS

Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Company – Kevin Cox, "Brew Myster"

Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Company was founded in 2007 with a mission of producing world class beers that could bring awareness and resources to the preservation of the Southern Sierra Nevada mountains in California. The award-winning Brewmaster, Kevin Cox, has been spent over 20 years in the brewing industry and has won five gold medals at the Great American Beer Festival. With the recent opening of their new downtown location their goal is to develop newer craft beers with more local ideas, more local flavor and the capacity to mass produce for the entire valley and beyond.

BEST PLACE TO GET YOUR MUG FILLED

Teazer World Tea Market

Teazer's World Tea Market opened in 2003 in the Tower District and offered 35 different kinds of loose teas and now has three locations including one in downtown Fresno and one in Riverpark and offers 200 different kinds of loose teas. Although Teazer's continues to grow their number one priority is serving their customers the highest quality and assembly of international teas and providing a friendly atmosphere- all things that contribute to a healthy lifestyle.

THIS PLACE KNOCKS ME ON MY FATOUSH

Mediterranean Grill & Café

Heiam Elaawar opened Mediterranean Grill & Café in 1993 serving traditional Lebanese recipes. Every plate that is served has the same consistency and quality, and are all made with her mother's families recipes. The Mediterranean Grill and Café offers a great downtown location for lunch, whether you work downtown or just want great Lebanese food, it always has a packed house. It is often filled with the "regulars," some that have been going there since it opened.

BEST LOCALLY-GROWN PRODUCTS

Gazebo Gardens – Scott Miller, Owner

Gazebo Gardens has been the largest nursery from LA to San Francisco since 1922. Located at the beginning of historic Christmas Tree Lane, in one of Fresno's oldest neighborhoods, Gazebo Gardens has been a family tradition for generations of loyal customers for nearly a century.

BEST FINE DINING

Cracked Pepper – Chef Vache, Owner

The Cracked Pepper Bistro offers a European style dining that is much different than anything else you will find in Fresno. Cracked Pepper is known for using only the freshest and highest quality ingredients, which are grown or found locally, as often as possible. The key is combining simple, quality ingredients to create complex flavors that each guest will enjoy. If you've ever been out to the Vineyard's Farmer's Market on Saturday mornings, you might have run into Vache, the mastermind behind the Cracked Pepper.

BEST TEXT APPEAL

Fig Garden Book Store

Located in Fig Garden Village, Fig Garden Book Store has been serving Fresno residents for 20 years offering over one million readily available titles – and if you cannot find what you're looking for they will be happy to order it for you. In addition to their selection of books, Fig Garden Book Store also offers a great selection of children's clothing and toys- providing an all around unique shopping experience.

BEST TRAVELING FLAVOR

Love and Garlic – Nancy Vajretti, Owner

Locally in business in Fresno since 1986, Nancy is passionate about local seasonal foods, sourcing local vendors and celebrating our Valley's 'San Joaquin Cuisine'.

BEST MEAT-A-BALL

DiCicco's – Linda Vitucci, mother of Joanna Vitucci who is the actual owner

Dicicco's opened in 1956 by Mamma and Papa Dicicco and their four sons, and has since grown to almost two dozen locations. While each location may differ, reflecting the specialties of that owner, all stores continue to strive to serve fresh and delicious Italian food.

BEST PLACE TO CURE YOUR SWEET TOOTH

La Boulangerie – Patrick Bourrel, Owner

La Boulangerie opened November 1, 1980 and has been located in Fig Garden Village since 1985. Influenced by French products, their menu uses only fresh and wholesome ingredients. From a single cup of coffee on our patio, to a light lunch of soup or salad, to a cake for a special occasion, La Boulangerie is truly your neighborhood bakery.

BEST SALSA

Sal's Mexican Restaurant – Lorraine Salazar, Owner

Sal's Mexican Restaurant has been serving its famous family recipes since it opened its first location in Selma in 1942 by Salvador Salazar. Lorraine Salazar, the daughter of Salvador is the current co-owner of Sal's Mexican restaurant and while she is constantly keeping up with the latest food trends, serving as the Chair of Government Affairs for the California Restaurant Association, she manages to continue her family's tradition of Mexican Hospitality, authentic food and family friendly service.

BEST MEATERY

The Meat Market

The Meat Market had its start in 1976 as a small family owned company offering great customer service and fantastic food to local residents and restaurants. After overwhelming requests from their customers, they opened their first "grill" and recently opened their second location on Fowler and Shepherd. Still family owned and operated we plan on serving the Fresno and Clovis area for generations to come.

BEST NEIGHBORHOOD SPORTS BAR

World Sports Café

World Sports Café was designed on the belief that sports bring people together like nothing else can. The restaurant offers a stadium design, a basketball key bar, a pressroom, upper and lower deck seating, and uninhibited viewing to sporting events from all over the world on more than 30 televisions.

BEST PLACE FOR MY BEST FRIEND

Whitie's Pets – John Shafer, Owner

John Shafer not only had the opportunity to grow up in a business, he grew up with a business. The pet industry was a completely different animal when his parents: Don and Sue Shafer bought the 1200 foot pet shop in 1963. John was nine and the terror of the neighborhood on his stingray. In 1968 they found Whities a 7,000 foot building, at the time, there wasn't enough merchandise to fill that much space. John was 14 and the terror of the price sticker gun. Whitie's continued to grow over the years, despite the invasion of not one, but four big-box pet stores in one year, and various economic downturns. It has been their expert staff and customer service that keeps generations of customers shopping for their pets at Whitie's Pets. John's youthful look belies his experience. His sign is Aquarius, and his favorite color is blue.

BEST ASIAN CUISINE

Wassabi's

K.C. Choi opened Wassabi with the expectation of a small operation that could be managed by a struggling college student from Korea and be successful enough to support his family. His vision was to create a fun environment for sushi lovers, offering a unique presentation with every dish.

BEST SLICE

Me-N-Eds – Marcel Bustos

The first Me N Eds opened its first location 1958 and to date has over 50 locations. While Me-N-Eds is known for its thin crust, it's the five premium selected cheeses, vine ripened tomatoes and custom herbs and spices, that have made Me N Eds a Fresno favorite. John and Tom Ferdinandi, the brothers that co-own Milano International, the parent company for Me-N-Eds, believe that consistently serving Fresno's Best Slice is equally as important as giving back to their community.

BEST MEATERY

Sam's Italian Deli & Market

When Sam and Angela Marzliano opened Sam's Deli in 1980, they were not exactly beginners in the Italian Market business. They actually started when they were 23 and spoke very little English, in Toronto, Canada. After one trip to Fresno to see Sam's Aunt in 1976, the Marziliano family made Fresno their home in 1979. Celebrating over 30 years in business, Sam's Italian Deli and Market continues to grow and continues to be a Fresno attraction.

BEST INVESTMENT

Educational Employees Credit Union – Tom Gray, Vice President

The Educational Employees Credit union is the 60th largest credit union in the U.S. and the 12th largest in California. However, EECU does not boast its size, rather its strength in numbers. With over 178,000 members this non-profit corporation is solely owned by its members, each with equal standing. So it's not surprising that that last year's annual member survey showed that 98.2 percent of EECU members were "satisfied" or "very satisfied" with the quality of service that EECU provides.

BEST PLACE TO DO WHAT YOU LOVE

Herb Bauers Sporting Goods – Berry Bauer, Store President

Herb Bauer sporting goods store has a full-line of sporting goods ranging from kayaks to snow skiis, and has offered the best quality of products for close to 60 years. What makes Herb Bauer unique is that each Department is filled with its own set of experts who are able to offer the best and most up to date information on any sport that strikes your interest.

BEST NEW BUSINESS IDEA

Dusty Buns – Dustin & Kristin Stewart

Dustin and Kristin found their perfect 1975 vintage taco truck while searching for a restaurant space closer to their families in the Valley. This was the perfect fit for their vintage concept of quality and the perfect way to spread local produce and the slow food movement to many valley communities.

BEST USE OF SPACE

K-Jewel KYNO – John Ostlund, Owner

(These are from John)

If Bruce Batti is speaking:

"On behalf of the brilliant and handsome owner of K-Jewel and KYNO, Mr. John Ostlund – a man who taught me everything I know about advertising and wild women, I want to say that without his personal guidance and career coaching over nearly 3 decades, I wouldn't be the man I am today. I love you, man."

Or,

"Locally owned K-Jewel and KYNO are actively involved in the revitalization of downtown Fresno, located in the historic and beautiful H. Waxman building in the Cultural Arts District, where they host Art Hop on the first Thursday of every month."

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