Cool down with seven new Fresno restaurants; American, Armenian, Kuwaiti and Asian (2024)

It’s hot. Too hot to turn on that oven and cook dinner.

And broiling summer days are typically slow for restaurants, so they are likely to be empty and ready to serve you.

So consider this your excuse to let someone else do the cooking. It’s your civic duty to help out your local economy, really.

With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of seven new restaurants to check out this summer in Fresno.

Some serve ice cream, or other hot weather treats. Others have meals that are on the lighter side. Here’s a look at who’s doing what.

Cool down with seven new Fresno restaurants; American, Armenian, Kuwaiti and Asian (1)

Nummy Yummy

Summer. Ice cream. Family. All good things on their own, but put them together and you get Nummy Yummy, a dessert and ice cream shop opened by a trio of sisters in May in northeast Fresno.

The business founded by the 20-something Hmong sisters serves ice cream and taiyaki. That’s a Japanese pastry, cooked fresh and served warm in the shape of a fish.

You can get it served atop a bowl of ice cream, or as a cone with ice cream inside. All sorts of toppings and fillings are available too.

There’s regular ice cream in flavors such as vanilla and strawberry. The soft serve comes in flavors popular among many Asians and others, including the purple ube (a purple yam) and pandan (a green plant with a nutty flavor).

Some flavors rotate and cross cultural lines, including horchata, mango and the berry-like lychee.

You can also get taiyaki without ice cream, stuffed with sweet or savory fillings — including a fish pastry that breaks open to reveal pizza toppings inside.

Nummy Yummy was born when the mother of the Lee sisters was diagnosed with breast cancer several years ago. A lawyer, she had taken off work to go through chemotherapy. Her daughters wanted to provide a little more income while she wasn’t working.

“Through just a random talk on a random day ... we thought that we should open a shop,” said Cerena Lee, 23.

She, along with Sierra Lee, 20, and Diamond Lee-Sok, 28, launched the business in the food court of Fashion Fair mall in 2022. After the first year, they were able to make some money for their mom.

She has since beaten cancer, but they’re still working to support her so she doesn’t have to work as much.

They closed the mall location and moved to the Cedar Tree Village shopping center, next door to L’Aperitif Bistro, where they have a lot more flexibility with hours and the menu.

Cerena is brain behind the creative flavors. She uses a base mix for the soft serve, finding ways to add flavor, including freeze-dried durian fruit, fresh fruit or syrups.

“A lot of these are things that are flavors that southeast Asians grew up on,” notes cousin and marketing specialist Faith Vang.

Cerena Lee adds: “We’re also trying to do what people like — horchata, cookies and cream.”

Details: 6648 N. Cedar Ave. Hours: Noon to 8:30 p.m. Mondays through Wednesdays, noon to 9:30 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays.

Kingdom Kafe

This 7-month-old cafe has a patio that is attracting customers with its greenery, shade and secluded atmosphere.

It’s next door to the Karabakh Farmers Market, a Middle Eastern grocery store, at Shaw Avenue and First Street.

Kingdom Kafe originally opened late last year as a boba shop, but the owners quickly rebranded.

“It didn’t go with our healthy choices, healthy options, so we decided to take boba out,” said Tatev Martirosyan, who owns the cafe with her family.

Now, the cafe serves all kinds of coffee drinks, including a pistachio and cream latte, and non-coffee “refreshers.”

It also serves breakfast, brunch, smoothies and sandwiches all day.

The most popular item is the chicken pesto sandwich made on sourdough bread baked in house. A lahmajoon wrap is made with the traditional Armenian lahmajoon (thin bread topped with seasoned ground beef) rolled into a wrap and stuffed with tomatoes, cucumbers and feta cheese.

“We are Armenian, so that goes into the food a lot,” Martirosyan said.

Her daughter named the business, wanting to reflect the family’s religion.

Details: Kingdom Kafe is at 5030 N. First St. Hours: From 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays. 559-404-3794.

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The Third Place

This new Clovis restaurant has a prime patio — and indoor, air-conditioned places to eat.

The remodeled building on Pollasky Avenue in Old Town Clovis is home to several eateries. Inside The Third Place, you can find international cuisine at the counter and eat inside. (Regular readers may have caught our recent story about the Peruvian food and the “micro food hall” that moved in.)

The Third Place is also home to a drink and dessert counter, Seconds. Its menu features soft serve, including Dole Whip.

There are also cooling drinks, including boba, iced lattes and a a coconut-hibiscus horchata with a cloud of pink hibiscus cream on top.

For those willing to brave the outdoors, there’s a patio with a rock wall fountain, trees, twinkle lights, fans and misters.

Clovis craft brewer Crow & Wolf Brewing Co. has a beer bar outside serving seltzers, sours and other beer.

Details: The Third Place is at 836 Pollasky Ave. Hours: Brunch is served Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Regular menu horus are from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. 559-472-1113.

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This little shop in Clovis has the concept of cooling treats down pat.

BubbleBee has been open about six weeks near Starbucks, at Herndon and Fowler avenues. It has an existing location in Fresno at West and Herndon avenues near The Market.

It’s a boba drink shop, but serves a lot more, including acai bowls and chia pudding made with the little seeds (and soon, Korean corn dogs).

BubbleBee makes its boba fresh every four hours. It also specializes in popping boba, the little sweet balls that pop in your mouth.

All kinds of drinks are available — with or without boba — including lemonades and beverages blended with energy drinks.

Details: BubbleBee is at 1845 Herndon Ave. Hours: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Sundays, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturdays.

WaBa Grill

WaBa Grill opened its first location in Fresno last week. It has nearly 200 locations in four southwestern states. It’s essentially a rice bowl restaurant— with salads and plates too — offering a healthy menu.

The restaurant is at Herndon and Brawley avenues, near Dutch Bros Coffee.

The customizable bowls are available with your choice of protein, including chicken, rib-eye steak, salmon, shrimp, tofu or a plant-based steak. Customizable tacos and salads are also on the menu.

Details: WaBa Grill is at 6770 N. Brawley Ave. Suite 104. Hours: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. 559-375-1702.

Juice time

This north Fresno business may have “Juice” in the name, but there’s a lot more on the menu — and most of it is ice cream. Juice Time also sells milkshakes, brightly colored soft serve, drinks, and crepes drowning in chocolate.

The business is a franchise based in Kuwait. The owners of this one are the same people who own Kabab Time, a Mediterranean restaurant in northwest Fresno. Juice Time is at Sommerville Drive and Perrin Avenue.

It’s a brand that co-owner Hafed Alwajih grew up with, with 400 locations worldwide.

The most popular option menu item? The heart attack. It’s a blend of vanilla ice cream, mango juice and strawberries.

Several drinks are available too, including 18 kinds of juice. The best one for a triple-digit day? The lemon-mint juice, Alwajih said.

Energy drinks blended with various flavors are also on the menu.

Details 9525 N. Sommerville Drive. Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. 559-475-0272.

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Oak Hill

If you’re looking for more formal dining, the newly opened Oak Hill Bistro + Wine has it.

The wine-themed restaurant with a co*cktail bar has plenty of air-conditioned seating inside. Formerly Vino Grille & Spirits, it’s at Champlain Drive, just north of Shepherd Avenue. You may have caught The Bee’s profile of the restaurant and the cultural influences on its menu last month.

The new owners revamped the patio. It now has new seating, misters, shade cloth and greenery.

The tall top of the building shades the patio starting around 4 p.m. or 5 p.m., noted co-owner Jovanie “Jo” Gutierrez.

“It blocks out the sun completely,” she said. “The evenings here are quite nice.”

If steak and mashed potatoes is too much for a hot summer evening (they’re on the menu), the restaurant also offers shareable plates. Diners can get a charcuterie board, house-made foccacia and steak bites with blue cheese — all paired with wine or a co*cktail.

Details: Oak Hill Bistro + Wine is at 1440 E. Champlain Drive. Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. or later, with small plates served between lunch and dinner and the bar open late. Closed Sundays and Mondays. 559-228-9764.

Cool down with seven new Fresno restaurants; American, Armenian, Kuwaiti and Asian (5)

Cool down with seven new Fresno restaurants; American, Armenian, Kuwaiti and Asian (6)

Cool down with seven new Fresno restaurants; American, Armenian, Kuwaiti and Asian (7)

Cool down with seven new Fresno restaurants; American, Armenian, Kuwaiti and Asian (2024)
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