Adventist Health is building a new hospital adjacent to the 250-acre Bakersfield Commons project. The hospital is listed on the map just east of Coffee Road.
Adventist Health Bakersfield
Adventist Health will be building a new hospital in Northwest Bakersfield.
Sharlet Briggs, president/CEO of Adventist Health Bakersfield, said the hospital will be built off Coffee Road near Brimhall Road, next to what will become the Bakersfield Commons, a 250-acre mixed-use development that will include retail, residential, recreational and other types of space.
Briggs said the new hospital, which will be the third in Kern County once the new Tehachapi hospital opens, is still in the early stages of planning, with construction work expected to start in 2021 for an opening in 2024.
“At Adventist Health, we’re known for our quality,” she said. “As we look at opening a new site, we take that with us there. We look at how do we take the best, safest care available to our citizens of Bakersfield and Kern County? That’s our responsibility.”
Briggs said hospital employees were notified about the new facility last week and will be having talks with them to get their feedback on the new hospital.
Briggs said Adventist Health is still looking into what kind of specialties the hospital will have and what is most in need.
“We’ll get our employees involved, our physicians involved and the community involved in really defining what this next hospital is going to be,” she said.
Why a new hospital in town? Briggs said the current hospital off of Chester Avenue in downtown Bakersfield has been near or exceeded capacity with the 254 beds it provides for years. She said the hospital has considered a new facility in town for the past several years.
“We keep looking at how can we better serve the community so that next patient who walks into the hospital has a bed ready for them,” she said. “This has been on our radar for a long time, and now we’ve gotten approval to move forward.”
Briggs said the new facility won’t be as large as the downtown hospital. She said Adventist Health will be hiring workers for the hospital but said the exact number of hires has yet to be determined.
The Madera County Board of Supervisors is expected to vote next month on a $20 million project that would bring an upscale hotel and conference center to Oakhurst.
The facilities would be built near the Hounds Tooth Inn over a projected three to four years. The hotel would consist of about 120 rooms and the 10,000-square-foot conference center would fit as many as 500 people, said District 5 Supervisor Tom Wheeler.
“I think it would be one more straw in our hat. One more reason to come up here to eastern Madera County,” Wheeler said. He said it would also create at least 100 jobs for the community.
The development group tasked with planning and building the facilities, Zero Capital, came to an agreement with Madera County that, in exchange for its involvement with the project, they would receive 50 percent of the transient occupancy tax (TOT) from the proposed hotel over 25 years.
TOT is a tax placed on all lodging costs across California, which varies from region to region. Madera County’s TOT is 9 percent.
Wheeler estimated the county and Zero Capital would split $15 million over those 25 years.
Gautam Patel, principal of Zero Capital, explained the incentive was requested due to the group not seeing any financial return from the conference room, the driving force of the project. He assured the group is not making out with any extra money.
“The way that it’s structured is that we will be recouping the investment we put into this over 25 years. We’re not trying to get anything that we’re not putting into the project,” Patel said.
Also, Zero Capital will not begin to receive their incentive until the project is completed.
Patel said the goal of the facility is to bring people to the area when the tourism dies down by providing a conference center and hotel suitable for corporate meetings and gatherings. He said facilities of the quality of the proposed hotel and conference center are not available in Oakhurst.
“It’s gonna be on par with something you would see at resort, but with a bit of a natural touch to it,” he said.
Hotel rooms will draw inspiration from cabins, while also maintaining an “upscale” feel.
Since the announcement of the project, the community has already begun voicing concerns. Wheeler said one of the community’s biggest was the hotel and conference center’s water supply and whether it would impact the community’s.
He said the hotel would be operating on a private water well, completely separate from what the public uses.
Others argue that Tenaya Lodge offers the same exact capabilities as this proposed project. But Tenaya Lodge is actually located in Mariposa County — so Madera County does not benefit from any of its foot traffic.
Last year, visitors spent a total of $145.3 million on stays in hotels and motels in Madera County and Wheeler said there is always room for growth.
“If you’re not growing all the time, you’re going to die on the vine,” Wheeler said.
There are three other hotels still being constructed in Oakhurst. They have been under construction for five years due to a number of delays caused by a number of procedural violations, including starting work before building permits were issued.
Zero Capital has already made tentative renderings of what the hotel could look like, but Patel was quick to point out that these are in no way finished and development will continue if the project is approved.
The supervisors will vote on the project during an Oct. 16 public forum at the Oakhurst Community Center, as part of their “On the Road” series.
Forget the stereotypes of California state government’s painfully slow process for hiring new workers.
This summer, it was possible to walk into a Caltrans hiring fair and leave with a job offer.
Motivated by a wave of retirements and an urgency to fill new positions created by the state’s gas tax increase, Caltrans devised a bureaucracy-defying human resources program that let it bring on hundreds of new employees at a time during hiring events. Almost 600 people have joined the department through those two-day job fairs.
“It was a very quick turnaround,” said Andy Chou, 29, a new Caltrans structural engineer who went to a hiring fair at Sacramento State in May had a job offer within days. He started work last month. “I was definitely surprised by” the speed of the department’s hiring.
There’s more good news if you know someone looking for a job – Caltrans still has another 1,100 vacancies.
The rush to hire comes mainly from Senate Bill 1, the 10-year gas tax and vehicle fee increases the Legislature adopted in 2017 to fund a decade’s worth of transportation projects.
Voters in November will see a bid to repeal the tax on the ballot which would jeopardize funding. So far, unions, contractors and local governments working to defend SB 1 have raised more than $26 million to defeat the repeal. Groups that want to repeal the tax have raised about $2.5 million.
Caltrans is moving forward as if the repeal initiative would fail, and is filling jobs at a fast clip. The state budget Gov. Jerry Brown signed in June sets Caltrans on track to add 1,150 new positions over the next 11 months, up from 19,109 last year.
“We are making a dent,” said Michelle Tucker, the department’s human resources director. “I’m really pleased with the innovative hiring techniques we’ve done this summer.”
California’s web site for applying for state jobs – jobs.ca.gov – has been redesigned to guide applicants through the hiring process.
It’s racing to add staff in a hot economy in which other engineering firms and local governments also are bulking up.
“They need design staff to deliver state highway projects,” said Ted Toppin, executive director of Professional Engineers in California Government. “That’s what Californians expect. Right now they’re competing with other state and local departments and the private sector for engineers, so the need to on-board them is real or they’re going to lose them.”
Caltrans had a long-approaching retirement wave, especially among its engineering ranks. In 2016, the average age of the state’s civil engineers was 51, and 52 among electrical engineers.
Meanwhile, the Brown administration shrank the headcount at Caltrans over much of the past decade. The department had 10,143 employees in the division that plans road projects in 2013. That number shrank to about 7,000 two years ago. It’s expected to grow again to 8,700 by next year.
“The department did not hire engineers and related staff for over 10 years,” Toppin said. “From 2007 to 2017 they sort of shed 3,500 positions,” he said. “Year after year, it was no replacement of folks who retired, so they’re an older workforce.”
PECG’s three-year contract that expired in July also did not give engineers a reason to stay. Brown did not commit to a raise this year when his administration negotiated the contract with the union in 2015.
Between July 2017 and July 2018, 922 Caltrans employees retired.
PECG’s new contract includes some incentives that would keep longtime engineers in the workforce developing projects funded by the gas tax increase, including an immediate 4.5 percent raise and an escalating seniority differential that rises to an extra 5.5 percent for engineers with 23 years of experience at Caltrans by 2021.
Caltrans crafted four rapid-hiring events it held this year with the state human resources department. They allowed people to apply for jobs in person, be interviewed by panels of managers, have their qualifications reviewed and references checked within two days. If they passed, they’d walk out with a conditional job offer.
“We’re able to do hundreds of interviews in a day,” Tucker said.
Usually, landing a state job takes much longer. The only other state departments that regularly use rapid-hiring events are the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and the Prison Industry Authority, Cal HR spokesman Andrew LaMar said.
Jeff Wiley, Caltrans’ assistant division chief for project management, said the department has been attracting engineers with a range of experience, from new graduates to veterans from other states.
The department and PECG negotiated a compromise to get more experienced engineers working on projects as soon as possible. The agreement lets Caltrans slightly increase the amount of work it sends to private contractors, although the department has not yet exceeded its traditional outsourcing cap.
“We’ve got some plans out for making those goals,” Wiley said.
Toppin said the agreement was reasonable considering the department’s “sudden increase in revenue” and shortage of experienced engineering staff.
HANFORD — Faraday Future officials welcomed newly hired employees Tuesday at its Hanford factory and have announced even more hiring efforts.
The announcement comes just in time, as the first pre-production FF 91 luxury electronic vehicle was recently built at the Hanford facility, which is located in Hanford’s Industrial Park.
Vince Nguyen, director of human resources and recruiting – product and technology at Faraday Future, said the company has hired around 100 employees to work in the Hanford facility and ultimately hopes to employ around 1,000 people by mid-2019.
Currently, Nguyen said a majority of the new hires have original equipment manufacturer (OEM) backgrounds and the company is looking for talented individuals who have experience in that area, especially locals.
“There really are a lot of genuine listings for Hanford on the corporate [website], so it’s not just a small part, there’s significant hiring going on right now,” said Matt Davis, senior manager, product communications.
Hanford City Manager Darrel Pyle attended the announcement and spoke with the employees. When he asked the group of about 50 people how many of them had grown up in the Valley, a majority of them raised their hands.
Pyle told them he never would have expected a company like Faraday Future to locate in the Central Valley.
“We’ve got some big businesses here in the Valley, but I can tell you none of them generate the interest in Hanford that you have,” Pyle said. “You have not put Hanford on the map, you have put us on the globe.”
Pyle said the most exciting aspect is that this is only the first wave of employees to step into this new venture and he can’t wait for more people to jump at the opportunity.
• Central Valley’s major markets expected to see some job growth
• Stockton, Sacramento to outpace national growth rate
California employers expect to hire at a solid pace during the fourth quarter, according to surveys by the stafﬁng ﬁrm ManpowerGroup (NYSE: MAN).
Among the state’s employers surveyed, 25 percent plan to hire more workers from October through December. This number is offset by the 4 percent that plan to reduce payrolls, while 70 percent of employers expect to maintain current staff levels and 1 percent indicate they are not sure of their hiring plans. This yields a net employment outlook of 21 percent.
“Employers in the California anticipate a stronger hiring pace compared to Q3 2018 when the net employment outlook was 18 percent,” says ManpowerGroup spokesman Frank Armendariz. “At this time last year, employers expected remain stable hiring activity when the outlook was 20 percent.”
Manpower’s net employment outlook is derived by taking the percentage of employers anticipating an increase in hiring activity and subtracting from this the percentage of employers expecting a decrease in hiring activity.
Here are Manpower’s outlooks for the Central Valley’s four largest markets, from south to north:
• Bakersﬁeld Bakersﬁeld employers expect to hire at a “respectable” pace during Q4, says ManpowerGroup.
Among employers surveyed, 21 percent plan to hire more employees from October through December. This number is
offset by the 5 percent that plan to reduce payrolls, while 72 percent of employers expect to maintain current staff levels and 2 percent indicate they are not sure of their hiring plans. This yields a net employment outlook of 16 percent.
“Employers in the Bakersﬁeld MSA anticipate a stonger hiring pace compared to Q3 2018 when the net employment outlook was 13 percent,” says Mr. Armendariz. “At this time last year, employers expected less hiring activity when the outlook was 20 percent.”
• Fresno Fresno area employers expect to hire at a positive pace during the Fourth Quarter, says Manpower.
Among employers surveyed, 17 percent plan to hire more employees from October through December. This number is offset by the 3 percent that plan to reduce payrolls, while 80 percent of employers expect to maintain current staff levels and 0 percent indicate they are not sure of their hiring plans. This
yields a net Employment Outlook of 14 percent.
“Employers in the Fresno MSA anticipate a steady hiring pace compared to Q3 2018 when the net employment outlook was 15 percent,” says Mr. Armendariz. “At this time last year, employers expected similar hiring activity when the outlook was 15 percent.”
• Stockton Stockton-Lodi MSA employers expect to hire at an active pace during Quarter 4 2018, according to ManpowerGroup.
Among employers surveyed, 26 percent plan to hire more employees from October through December. This number is offset by the 2 percent that plan to reduce payrolls, while 71 percent of employers expect to maintain current staff levels and 1 percent indicate they are not sure of their hiring plans. This yields a net employment outlook of 24 percent.
“Employers in the Stockton-Lodi MSA anticipate a stronger
hiring pace compared to Q3 2018 when the net employment outlook was 19 percent,” says ManpowerGroup spokeswoman Danielle Switalski. “At this time last year, employers expected similar hiring activity when the Outlook was 26 percent.”
• Sacramento Employers in the metropolitan Sacramento area expect to hire at a solid pace during Quarter 4 2018, according to Manpower.
Among employers surveyed, 29 percent plan to hire more employees from October through December. This number is offset by the 6 percent that plan to reduce payrolls, while 64 percent of employers expect to maintain current staff levels and 1 percent indicate they are not sure of their hiring plans. This yields a net employment outlook of 23 percent.
“Employers in the Sacramento MSA anticipate a steady hiring pace compared to Q3 2018 when the net employment outlook was 24 percent,” says Mr. Armendariz. “At this time last year, employers expected more hiring activity when the Outlook was
Statewide, for the coming quarter, job prospects appear best in the following job categories: construction; durable goods manufacturing; nondurable goods manufacturing; transportation & utilities; wholesale & retail trade; information; ﬁnancial activities; professional & business services; education & health services; leisure & hospitality; other services and government.
Of the more than 11,500 employers surveyed in the United States, 22 percent expect to add to their workforces and 5 percent expect a decline in their payrolls during Quarter 4 2018. Seventy- one percent of employers anticipate making no change to staff levels and the remaining 2 percent of employers are undecided about their hiring plans.
When seasonal variations are removed from the data, the net employment outlook is +19 percent which is relatively stable compared to the Quarter 3 2018 Outlook, +18 percent.
About the surveys The ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey is conducted quarterly to measure employers’ intentions to increase or decrease the number of employees in their workforces during the next quarter. The United States results are based on interviews with 11,500+ employers located in the 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, which includes the largest 100 Metropolitan Statistical Areas based on the number of business establishments. The mix of industries within the survey follows the North American Industry Classiﬁcation System Supersectors and is structured to be representative of the U.S. economy.
The Merced County employee overseeing the rebirth of the former Castle Air Force Base says the key lies in a strategic plan and not just filling up space.
The 1,900 some acres of Castle Airport and its surrounding area has grown in popularity, especially among companies looking to test autonomous vehicles, according to Mark Hendrickson, Merced County’s Community and Economic Development director.
A roughly 310-acre space is now being called the California AutoTech Testing and Development Center, a project that benefited from a $6.5 million injection of cash in this year’s state budget attributed to Assemblymember Adam Gray, D-Merced.
Merced County residents are likely aware that Google’s autonomous cars project, called Waymo, already rents space at Castle for a mock city used to test the vehicles. But the testing center has also been used by Samsung Electronics, Mercedes-Benz-maker Daimler AG and several others officials say they can’t discuss, according to officials.
About a year ago, the county inked a deal with the Port of Los Angeles, the largest port in North America, according to officials. Leaders have dubbed that space the Mid-California International Trade District.
About once a year county officials trot out their plans for Castle. Hendrickson said he often hears from frustrated residents who wonder why officials don’t fill up Castle with renters.
That was the plan 15 years ago, and it didn’t work, he said.
“It’d be real easy just to go out and fill space, but we don’t want to fill space. We want to do it with a purpose,” he said. “We got a lot of work to do. We’re at Step 2 of probably a thousand more steps.”
Castle and the county took a hit when AT&T closed its call center in 2014 but has since rebounded, according to Supervisor Daron McDaniel. About 400 people were laid off four years ago.
The former air base has more than 75 tenant businesses operating on site.
“There are more jobs at Castle today than there were when AT&T was there,” McDaniel said.
Along with the autonomous car project, the county and its corporate consultant GLDPartners look to make Castle a central hub for shipping. That dream has come closer to reality with plans to finish half of the “Merced loop” and free up funding for the Atwater-Merced Expressway.
The idea is to carve out a place for big rigs and trains transporting goods to stop in Merced County, according to Adam Wasserman, a managing partner of GLDPartners. The county is working on developing the relationships with the Port of LA, Oakland’s port and the BNSF Railroad.
Those kinds of connections have the potential for companies to truck in goods shipped into ports from Asia and vice versa, he said.
“This project will be a global project the day it’s opened,” he said. “It’s because we happen to be next to Silicon Valley. It’s our gift. Now it’s our job to turn it into unique value.”
Mark Hendrickson, department director of Merced County Commerce Aviation and Economic Development, speaks about plans that call for a section of land at the former Castle Air Force base to be developed into a high-tech environment for the testing of autonomous vehicles as well as associated equipment in Atwater, Calif., on Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2018. “There’s really no other comparable place in this country to do exactly what we’re contemplating doing, which is providing an environment designed by industry, for industry so that this technology can be advanced ultimately to the market place,” said Hendrickson. Andrew Kuhnakuhn@mercedsun-star.com
University researchers say coffee can help people achieve better scores on math tests, if they do this with it. Buzz60
Jonathon Anderson and Greg Amend had one mission opening Component Coffee Lab in Downtown Visalia: “To pour the best cup of coffee in town.”
The jury is still out on whether the business partners have succeeded, but if their consistently full parking lot and seating area — a behemoth 1,500 square foot industrial space on 513 E. Center St. (just off of Santa Fe Street) — is any indication, the Visalia natives are doing something right. (Component also has an entrance from Main Street through its patio.)
Amend and Anderson bring over a decade of combined coffee experience to Visalia. Anderson spent years as a Starbucks barista, while Amend won accolades as one of Fresno’s leading coffee luminaries with his Slow Train roasting operation.
They’re joined by fellow co-owners Miguel and Mikayla Reyes, who started Quesadilla Gorilla, another fixture of downtown dining.
Together, the four are serving specialty coffee and eats the likes of which Visalia has not yet seen, with an inviting atmosphere to match.
The shop’s signature drink, for instance, is an espresso tonic: Topo Chico topped with a lightly roasted Peruvian espresso shot. It’s a bold but simple concoction that’s particularly refreshing on a sweltering summer day.
Component have all the traditional bases covered, too, with Americanos, sweet lattes, fresh drip coffee, and an assortment of teas.
“We source high quality beans from sustainably operated farms, who are paying their workers above-average wages, throughout Central and South America,” Amend said.
This concept applies to all of Component’s ingredients. Their eggs and fruit come from the farmers market, for example, and their milk is delivered fresh from Tulare’s Top O’ The Morn Farms.
Amend’s roasting expertise is matched by the establishment’s cutting edge espresso machine, the Slayer 17. This Seattle-built beauty allows Component baristas unprecedented control over critical brewing variables such as extraction, pressure, time, and weight.
Geekery aside, the result is a smooth cup of joe that even those who don’t identify as coffee snobs will appreciate, for prices comparable to big chains like Starbucks.
Prior to Component’s late-June grand opening at the Center Street location, Anderson and Amend could be seen carting their fancy Slayer 17 espresso machine around the Downtown Visalia Farmers Market, serving drinks to curious shoppers.
“We wanted to build hype and give people in the community a chance to see what we were all about,” Anderson said .
The gambit paid off.
Amend and Anderson were unprepared for the success Component’s physical location saw right out of the gate. They attribute their success to their “focus on executing one idea very well.”
This single-minded devotion applies to the kitchen, as well. Miguel and Mikayla translate their monomania from quesadillas to donuts with predictably delicious results.
“We had a layover in Portland last year, so we chanced a visit to Voodoo Donuts, and they were amazing,” Miguel said. “We realized Visalia had no place like it.”
In February, the couple returned to Portland for what sounds like a dream vacation: A donut tour of the city. Upon returning, however, they went to work in the kitchen to perfect a variety of eclectic and classic flavors.
Miguel can arrive as early as 4 a.m. on busier days to prepare an assortment of donuts, including current favorites strawberry and raspberry mint.
Beginning in September, Component will offer a seasonal donut menu that changes with each month. Patrons can look forward to a PB&J donut with house-made plum jam — just in time for the back-to-school crowd.
Component also offers a weekend brunch menu from 8 a.m.to 11 a.m. featuring staples with a unique twist.
The Reyes’ take on a breakfast burrito, for example, features sunny-side up eggs instead of scrambled and a chipotle sour cream. Their Nashville-inflected fried chicken and waffles, meanwhile, comes served in a waffle cone with maple whiskey syrup drizzled on top.
The four co-owners met through attending Radiant Church just next door to Component. Though they barely knew each other at the time, Anderson had attended the Reyes’ wedding five years ago. The party favors? Amend’s coffee beans.
This week, the Reyeses celebrate both the birth of a new child and a successful second Downtown Visalia venture.
“It’s all come full circle,” Miguel said. “We couldn’t be happier.”
Anderson hopes Component can be a hub for the community, similar to the role the church has played in his own life. He envisions people of all faiths — or none — united around a great cup of coffee.
It’s a vision that seems fully realized only two months out from Component’s launch: snuggling couples and frazzled students share tables with Kaweah Hospital employees and retired schoolteachers; oil paintings from staff and community members line the interior walls; music from a personal record collection fills the room.
“I don’t just come for the coffee,” said Danny Sciacqua, a recently retired Porterville College professor and Component regular.”I’m here for the atmosphere, the ambiance and the staff, who are all polite and fun to talk with”
“But the delicious donut holes and pour over don’t hurt, either.”
As the Labor Day weekend marks the unofficial end of summer, the San Joaquin Valley is poised to benefit from more than 100,000 job openings in five key industries over the next six years.
In Fresno County, the job market has been marked in the early and middle stages of 2018 by the opening of two major retail distribution centers. Ulta Beauty has its new 670,000-square-foot warehouse at the south end of Fresno with a workforce of about 540 workers that can expand up to 1,000 jobs during peak seasons. Less than a half-mile away, retail giant Amazon opened its 855-000-square-foot e-commerce order-filling center in June with plans to hire about 1,500 employees.
Now, the latest projections by the state Employment Development Department predict that more than 47,600 job openings are expected to arise between 2014 and 2024 in the region in health care and social assistance — a broad sector that includes high-paying occupations in the medical field as well as an abundance of relatively low-paying jobs as home-health and home-care aides.
Ulta Beauty, one of the nation’s biggest retailers of cosmetics and beauty supplies, is ramping up the staffing of a major distribution center in Fresno to serve 400 stores and fill online orders from customers across the western U.S.
The state’s annual Labor Day forecast for the Valley region covers from San Joaquin County in the north to Kern County in the south, as well as sparsely populated Mono and Inyo counties on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada.
More than 51,000 additional jobs are forecast in two other major industry sectors dominated by low-wage work:
About 28,500 jobs in accommodation and food services, which encompasses jobs ranging from hotel clerks and housekeepers to restaurant and food service workers including chefs, waiters, busboys, and fast-food cooks and cashiers.
About 23,400 jobs in agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, a field that includes workers on farms and ranches that are the economic engine for the region.
The construction industry, which absorbed huge job losses in the 2007-09 recession and has yet to rebound to pre-recession employment levels of the mid-2000s, is expected to gain 20,170 jobs by 2024. And private-sector educational services, which include schools and colleges outside of the public schools districts, community colleges and state universities, are on pace to add 17,400 jobs by 2024 in the region.
Those same five sectors also represent the largest crop of current job openings in the 10-county region, according to The Conference Board’s Help Wanted Online database for July 2018:
Educational services, 1,095 jobs.
Health care and social assistance, 728 jobs
Accommodation and food services, 171 jobs.
Construction, 80 jobs.
Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, 66 jobs.
In Fresno County, 422,500 people were working in July, second only to May 2018 for the greatest number of employed in the county’s history. The county’s official unemployment rate was 7.2 percent, only four-tenths of a percentage point off the lowest jobless rates since 2006, before the economic recession. July was the 82nd consecutive month of year-over-year improvement in Fresno County’s unemployment rate.
New burger joints have been popping up across Visalia and Tulare — and these aren’t just your run-of-the-mill burgers either.
Restaurants have been turning the burger on its side and residents are up for the change.
Here are some new places to grab a quick burger around town.
New spot Burgerim, located in the Kohl’s shopping center, has 11 different patty options and dozens of ways to customize your burger.
The menu includes several types of beef, turkey, salmon, chicken and lamb patties. For those who don’t eat meat, the restaurant also offers veggie and falafel burgers.
Rose Oganesyan, who owns the Visalia location, said she fell in love with the restaurant when she first tried it in Los Angeles.
Her favorite? The garlic aioli fries.
The made-to-order, 3-ounce burgers are bigger than a slider but smaller than what American tastebuds are used to.
Perfect for those concerned with portion control, Oganesyan said.
The store also offers family and party boxes for larger families or events and beer and wine.
Don’t want to wait in line? Soon, the Visalia restaurant will also offer Uber Eats delivery services.
Other than burgers, customer favorites include the milkshakes and chicken wings, Oganesyan said.
“Customers say they like the atmosphere,” she said. “Everyone says they like it because it’s something different in Visalia.”
The store is one of only 40 open in the United States. The chain restaurant was started in Israel about seven years ago and made its way to America in 2015, Oganesyan said.
More than 270 locations are in the works across the country, including just a few miles down the road in Tulare.
Oganesyan is currently working to open a Burgerim next to Bravo Farms at the Tulare Outlets.
For those who are overwhelmed with the menu, Oganesyan said to just ask for help.
“The first time may be a challenge, but we will try to help you and offer suggestions,” she added. “We’re new to town, just give us a chance.”
Wimpy’s to land in Visalia
Wimpy’s Hamburger, one of Tulare’s most beloved eateries, has set its eyes on downtown Visalia.
The burger joint will take over the former Gumbo Express on Court Street.
The restaurant’s owners plan to refurbish the location and expect to serve Visalians their tasty fries and burgers by next year, co-owner Willy Espinoza said.
Opening the location in Visalia will bring an additional choice for those who frequent the vibrant downtown scene and will fill the void Checkers left when it closed, Espinoza said.
“We have always liked downtown Visalia,” he said. “It’s a place where there are a lot of people walking around. There’s nothing like this in the area.”
With the downtown Visalia location, Wimpy’s Hamburger will have three locations. A location in Dinuba opened in December.
More meat in downtown
Well-known developer JR Shannon is leasing a former antique store at 531 E. Main to a local burger maker. Kingsburg’s Stacked Bar and Grill will be offering their “humungous” burgers here this summer after the 5,500 square-foot building is remodeled.
The restaurant will be open for lunch, dinner and late night snacks.
More: Rumor has it Visalia is booming with new restaurants
Todd Asajian and Noah Murguia, the owners of Stacked just celebrated their 1 year anniversary at their downtown Kingsburg location. Asajian also owns and operates multiple Deli Delicious stores in Visalia and Kingsburg.
Like its neighbor, BarrelHouse Brewing, Stacked will feature a backyard patio.
“This is the third new venture I am doing along East Main since the new brewery district was formed” said Shannon.
Burger of options in Tulare
Tulare burger connoisseurs will have plenty of options to grub on in the next few months.
Two new burger joints will be opening their doors to Tulare residents: The Habit Burger and Wayback Burger
Construction is well underway for The Habit Burger located on Prosperity Avenue.
The burger restaurant, which also has a location in Visalia, took over the spot that long-housed fast food restaurant Long John Silvers.
Not too far from The Habit Burger, construction crews are also hard at work to open Wayback Burger along Tulare Avenue near Tulare Union High School.
City officials foresee the burger joint being a hot spot for students.
“I think it’s a lot better to have a hamburger restaurant so close to the high school,” said Jeff Killion, Tulare planning commission chairman. “I am glad to see that change.”
Tulare Associate Planner Steven Sopp said Wayback Burger will only take about half of the current 5,300 square-foot empty building.
Also, Wayback Burger can be a place millennials consider their third spot, what’s described in marketing as the place to go after home and work.
“Kids have money to spend. If they want to patronize the downtown businesses, it’s good for business,” he said. “This is going to be an upscale meeting place. It is going to be a different type of atmosphere.”
According to its website, Wayback Burger was founded in 1991 in Newark, DE. Currently, the hamburger chain has 142 locations in 28 states, including restaurants in Firebaugh and Tracy in the Central Valley.
Wayback Burger also has locations in Argentina, Malaysia, Morocco and Saudi Arabia.
While trying new things is great, sometimes a good old-fashioned burger from your favorite hometown hangout is all you need.
Here are some of Tulare County’s best burger places, according to readers.
In 2016, 37,000 Americanswere killed in traffic accidents. That’s nearly half the population of Merced – a horrifying statistic.
Unfortunately, humans are responsible for the vast majority of these accidents. Soon, a new type of vehicle will travel our streets, powered by equally innovative and world-changing ideas: self-driving cars. The new technologies powering these vehicles will exist due in part to Merced County, California.
Unlike humans, autonomous vehicles don’t get tired, don’t get road rage, don’t text and are physically incapable of drinking and driving. Using a network of sensors, self-driving cars see further than the human eye in all directions – even in pitch black – and react faster than an Olympic athlete.
Earlier this year, we visited Waymo’s facility on the former Castle Air Force Base, now branded the Mid-California International Trade District. That’s where Waymo is testing its self-driving cars.
It’s hard to overstate how significant this technology will be in our future.
Walking onto Waymo’s facility, dubbed Castle, feels surprisingly familiar. Through a combination of old buildings and new streets, Waymo has created its own custom-built cityscape specifically designed to test and retest complex problems that self-driving cars might encounter on real streets, based on real locations.
The types of tricky situations you see in everyday driving – from unexpected jaywalkers to double-parked vehicles on tight streets – are painstakingly recreated and the self-driving cars are tested thousands of times to ensure they can safely handle any situation or occurrence.
These meticulously structured tests at Castle, along with Waymo’s 5 million miles of driving on public roads, demonstrate the type of commitment to safety any company bringing such game-changing technology to our streets must hold. Such comprehensive testing is vital to the safe operation of self-driving cars.
The fact that Waymo has chosen Merced County for this sort of groundbreaking work is a confirmation that our community fosters innovation and is open for business.
We left Castle excited, not just because of the incredible technology we witnessed in action, but because of the promise it holds. Imagine that commute down Highway 99 every morning, but instead of driving in bumper-to-bumper traffic, you can enjoy the morning newspaper (brought to you on a digital screen), catch up on emails, or get an extra hour of shuteye.
Building on Waymo’s success, we have secured $6.5 million in the California State Budget to be matched by private and local investments for the construction of a test track and auxiliary facilities that will see Castle become the preeminent high-tech vehicle testing facility in California.
After seeing Waymo’s site, and Castle’s new testing facility on the horizon, it’s clear to us that the future is just down the road, and it’s starting in our backyard.
Daron McDaniel represents the 3rd district on the Merced County Board of Supervisors. Adam Gray represents the 21st Assembly District, which includes Merced and part of Stanislaus counties. They wrote this for the Merced Sun-Star.