Year in Review: A look at Visalia’s new restaurants and what’s on the way

From family-owned start-up businesses to chain restaurants, Visalians now have more food options than before – with even more eateries on the way.

Here’s a quick look at some of the restaurants Visalia welcomed to town in 2022, as well as a few businesses planning to open shop next year:

This eatery offers customers a variety of mochi-themed treats, including donuts and waffles. Mochido also has Korean hotdogs — topped with Hot Cheetos or Ramen — on its menu Friday through Sunday.

Mochido is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Monday and Wednesday through Sunday. It’s located at 4237 S. Mooney Blvd.

Our Little Pizza Place offers take-and-bake pizzas, sandwiches and calzones using homemade red sauce and dough. Everything is customizable, and they even have a secret menu! This eatery is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday at 310 N. Mooney Blvd.

Texas Roadhouse offers hand-cut steaks prepared by an in-house butcher as well as freshly baked bread – made every five minutes and served with cinnamon butter – on top of ice-cold beer and margaritas. The restaurant is open from 3 to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 3 to 11 p.m. on Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday at 4425 S. Mooney Boulevard.

Crumbl Cookies is a bakery that offers its customers the sweetest of treats – cookies made fresh daily – packaged perfectly in a pink box. The bakery has a rotating menu of cookies; however, their iconic milk chocolate chip cookies and pink sugar cookies are almost always for sale. On the menu this week, Galaxy Brownie, Tres Leches, Vanilla Crumb Cake, and Ultimate Peanut Butter. Crumbl Cookies is open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to midnight on Friday, and 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday. The store is closed on Mondays and Sundays.

South Mooney Boulevard is the new home to Visalia’s third Mountain Mike’s Pizza. The eatery offers customers “mountain-sized” hand-made pizzas using fresh ingredients, including its iconic pepperoni. The new location at 3103 S. Mooney Blvd. is open from 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 10:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

Located in the back of 1852 Visalia – a family-friendly indoor/outdoor soccer venue – this microbrewery features five core beers and a community series suds, “El Martillo,” or “The Hammer,” a brown ale. 1852 Visalia, located at 707 W. Murray, is open from 4 to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, noon to 10 p.m. on Saturday, and noon to 8 p.m. on Sunday.

Located off of West Walnut Avenue and Akers Street, this eatery offers hungry customers 100% all beef dogs with no added nitrates, as well as hand-shaped, freshly baked buns, locally grown vegetables for toppings, and house-cooked potato chips. JoJo’s Grill-A-Dog, at 5101 W. Walnut Ave. Suite B, is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday, and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.

Butter + Milk Biscuit Bar is a family-owned restaurant and is the perfect early morning stop. The eatery offers its customers homemade biscuits, sandwiches, burritos, tacos, coffee and more. Butter + Milk Biscuit Bar, located at 3129 W. Noble Ave., is open daily from 6 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Ono ― which translates to “delicious” ― Hawaiian BBQ was founded 20 years ago, offering customers Hawaiian–inspired dishes using authentic recipes, including house-made Katsu and Teriyaki sauces. This restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays at 708 S. Mooney Boulevard.

Mango Crazy started as an ice cream shop but quickly transformed into a restaurant serving savory and sweet treats alike. The eatery still has ice cream on its menu with various flavors including butter pecan, cookie monster, bubble gum and cotton candy. The eatery is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Sunday at 5221 West Walnut Avenue.

RareTea offers customers baked goods, like Thai tea macaroons, as well as boba, milk tea and coffee. Located near GameStop and Target, RareTea uses organic milk, locally sourced, fresh fruits, and real cane sugar in fruit jams and purees. The restaurant, located at 3318 N. Dinuba Boulevard, has an opening date set for noon on Jan. 8.

House of JuJu offers customers gourmet burgers and sliders, like the Dragon Lady – a juicy patty served with homemade spicy garlic aioli, house pickled onions, topped with teriyaki slaw – as well as other many staples like salads, wraps, hotdogs and flatbreads. The restaurant will be located off of West Main Street and North Locust Street, near Sequoia Brewing, and is rumored to open in January or February; however, an exact opening day is not set in stone.

Coming soon to the Sequoia Mall, Sprouts Farmers Market is a much-welcomed addition to town, offering customers fresh produce and organic food options. There is no official opening date yet. Construction is already underway at 3303 S. Mooney Boulevard, in the former Sears building.

This article originally appeared on Visalia Times-Delta: Year in Review: A quick look at Visalia’s new restaurants


30 million sq ft ‘carbon management’ business park coming to Kern thanks to federal energy grant

One of the great challenges of our time is what to do with all that carbon in the atmosphere. On Tuesday, Kern County stepped forward with the seed of an answer. Or, multiple answers, as the case may be. One answer is to put it deep in the ground. Carbon sequestration, it is called. But there may be more solutions, and on Tuesday Kern County officials announced an innovative and potentially game-changing approach to discovering them. An approach that might be an example not just to California but the world.

Kern County, with help from the U.S. Department of Energy, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory,  and other partners, will develop a 30 million square foot, 4,000 acre business park dedicated to dealing with carbon  – a natural byproduct of fossil fuels and other emissions and the central culprit in climate change. And powering the whole thing – a 30,000 acre solar farm on land no longer viable for agriculture. The Clean Energy and Carbon Management Business Park in west Kern – still in the very early stages of development – is intended to be the home of private sector investment in new carbon management technologies, from Direct Air Capture to Green Hydrogen. All five county supervisors along with three key county administrators gathered Tuesday to make the announcement. Supervisor Zack Scrivner’s district includes much of the county’s oil fields. “This process will include a stakeholder process with our partners and community,” he said, “in understanding what types of industries and jobs could be a reality in just the next few years.”

Renewable energy brought $60 billion of private and public investment to the county over the last 15 years and the hope is that the business park can do it again. If any of this sounds vague, that’s because much of it is. The purpose of the research grant is to help Kern and its several partners – among them Cal State Bakersfield, the Kern Community College District,  and the City of Bakersfield – in the development of clean carbon management  industries. Kern County wasn’t the only local government making announcements about our energy future. The City of Bakersfield and the Kern Community College District made a separate announcement Tuesday afternoon about a Department of Energy research grant of their own – part of the same Local Energy Action Program – designed to help communities create plans that reduce local air pollution, increase energy resilience, and lower both utility costs and energy burdens. Bakersfield and Kern County are two of the inaugural 22 jurisdictions around the country receiving these DOE grants, funded by the Biden administration’s $1.3 trillion infrastructure bill.

Dalfen Industrial Acquires Central Valley Property

Dalfen Industrial has acquired a 417,600 square foot industrial building in Lathrop, CA – a submarket within East Bay’s Central Valley. The opportunity was sourced off-market and is 100% occupied with an additional 10.85 acres of prime developable land. The property has a strategic last mile location with close proximity to I-5 as well as the Port of Stockton and the Union Pacific and BNSF Railroads. This location offers access to over 839,000 people within a 30-minute drive with a population that is growing at a rate 47% faster than the national average. Other companies in the area include Home Depot, Wayfair, Tesla, Amazon, DHL and Kraft.

“Strong growth dynamics in this region have resulted in increasing industrial demand, making this a great addition to our west coast portfolio,” said Rich Weiss, Market Officer for Dalfen. “The Central Valley is a major west coast distribution hub with same-day delivery capabilities to nearly 46 million people between San Francisco, Sacramento, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Las Vegas, and all the cities in between.”

“This acquisition exemplifies our continued focus of adding strategically located west coast industrial assets to our portfolio in order to bolster our last mile fulfillment center footprint in the region” markets.” said Sean Dalfen, President and Chief Investment Officer at Dalfen Industrial. In 2021, Dalfen Industrial has acquired and developed $2.3 billion in industrial properties.

Intero Real Estate Services-East Bay Expanding to the Central Valley!

The Company is pleased to announce that their franchise is growing. A new office location will be opening in mid-August. This 3500-square-foot office space at 118 E. 11th Street, Tracy, CA 95376, is in the heart of Tracy. “I am truly honored to be part of such an amazing company under the leadership of Rishi Bakshi. I am looking forward to spearheading our Central Valley office in Tracy and being a part of this amazing opportunity for us all.”

Broker and General Manager, Rishi Bakshi says, “This new location will be our seventh office and we look forward to building a team there. In every market our agents serve, there is a community that will see a benefit from it. Tracy presents a great opportunity to be a difference maker not only in the real estate business but in the neighborhoods we service.” He also went on to announce that Sharmaine Capelli, current Broker and Assistant Manager of the Livermore Office, will be leading the new Tracy office as the Branch Manager. Ms. Capelli says, “I am truly honored to be part of such an amazing company under the leadership of Rishi Bakshi. I am looking forward to spearheading our Central Valley office in Tracy and being a part of this amazing opportunity for us all.”

Mister Car Wash expands presence in California’s Central Valley

Mister Car Wash Inc. is expanding its presence California, United States, with the addition of two new Central Valley locations in Turlock and Riverbank, announce the company.

The Turlock location opened earlier this week, and the Riverbank location is scheduled to open in August. Mister has 39 locations throughout the Golden State.”We’ve seen tremendous growth in California since first entering the state in 2017,” said Ryan Darby, vice president of development and construction at Mister Car Wash. “These two new locations expand our footprint in the Central Valley and complement the existing network of stores throughout the region giving our customers and members even more options to keep their cars shining.”

Headquartered in Tucson, Arizona, and with over 25 years of car wash experience, Mister Car Wash, Inc. operates over 340 car washes nationwide and has the largest car wash subscription program in North America.

East Hills Mall sells to investors in Southern California

A Southern California-based real estate development partnership has paid about $7.2 million for the former East Hills Mall, reviving hopes that the dilapidated property in northeast Bakersfield can be put to good use after years of disuse. The new owners, led by developer-investors Stephen Zimmerman and Michael Heslov, on Thursday announced plans to demolish the entire 350,500-square-foot mall and possibly replace it with a mixed-use project. Details of their proposed redevelopment were not disclosed.

The transaction represents the first sign of investment at the 36-acre site since 2017, when a group of local investors agreed to pay $8.75 million for the property. Their plans ultimately fell through, and in December 2019 ownership of the 33-year-old mall reverted to owners led by Modesto-based Save Mart Supermarkets. Zimmerman said in a news release Thursday the new owners were impressed by Bakersfield’s diverse economy and quality of growth and development. “This property is extremely well located and is ideally suited for new commercial and perhaps mixed-used development,” he stated. Added Heslov, “The city of Bakersfield has demonstrated support for the redevelopment of this property and we look forward to working with them and the community to bring about a quality project.”

City government said by email it is hopeful about the project and what it can offer the surrounding community. “We also look forward to working with the developers,” he said. “The city stands ready to facilitate the development process and have productive discussion when a project proposal comes forward.” Observers in the local real estate industry have long speculated what might make the best reuse of the property, which has deteriorated in recent years as people have repeatedly broken into the vacant mall and caused extensive damage. Some real estate people have said housing might make sense there, or entertainment, or some combination of the two. Retail might also work there but there’s a worry that e-commerce has limited consumers’ appetite for a large grouping of conventional department stores and shops.

State records show Zimmerman is president of Arizona-based ZDI Inc., which has offices in Santa Monica and Van Nuys. They show Heslov is active in Southern California as well. Kern County property records indicate the sale was recorded Wednesday. They show the property’s ownership was divided among five limited liability companies. The largest share went to 1240 Palmetto LLC, with 47.7 percent of the property. Palmetto Group LLC took 26 percent and Valley Oaks Investments LLC got 15.3 percent. Terrace Properties LLC obtained 6.2 percent and Hope Shields LLC (misspelled on the deed as Hope Sheilds LLC) secured 4.8 percent.

Among the ownership entities, only one — Nevada’s 1240 Palmetto — is based outside California. The seller and buyers were represented by Orbell Ovaness, Ara Rostamian and Aren Ohanian of Marcus & Millichap. Cushman & Wakefield/Pacific principal Vincent Roche consulted on the transaction.


A new $350M casino is breaking ground off Highway 99

The Las Vegas company behind bringing a new Native American casino to Madera County is close to breaking ground, according to a high-ranking official close to the project. The California State Supreme Court cleared the way in September for Las Vegas-based Red Rock Resorts to build North Fork Rancheria’s casino off of Highway 99 near Avenue 18 just north of Madera, less than 40 miles east of the Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino and Table Mountain Casino.

The new casino could take about 18 months to finish once crews break ground, which is expected by the end of June, according to Stephen Cootey, chief financial officer for Red Rock. “As of now, the budget for the full completion of this project excluding any financing costs is expected to be between $350 million and $400 million,” Cootey said May 4 in a call with investors. He went on to say the project is expected to cover 213,000 square feet, including 100,000 square feet in casino space, plus 2,000 slots and 40 table games. There will also be two restaurants and a food hall. Officials with the North Fork Rancheria, home to the Mono Indians, said more on the new casino may be available in the coming month or so but declined to discuss it on Monday, according to Charles Altekruse, spokesman for the North Fork Mono.


The success of new hospitality destinations in an area not already known to draw a large amount of tourists can be hard to predict, according to economist Jeffrey Michael from the University of the Pacific in Stockton. “That’s the tricky thing with a lot of hospitality, drawing new visitors or just diverting dollars from others nearby,” he said. But, Madera County officials are more confident of the long-term success of the new casino that’s taken nearly two decades to clear legal hurdles.

Madera’s casinos do draw tour buses of people from out of the area looking to play slots and table games, Kahn said. He added that the new casino will likely be a hot commodity when it’s first built, but shouldn’t be a long-term damper on other tourist attractions in the area. “I think it will have some affect, naturally,” he said. “I think in the long-run it will all level out.” The North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians is a federally recognized Native American nation with more than 2,200 tribal citizens and government offices in Madera County.

This global company is bringing a new dessert shop to Clovis

Beard Papa’s, an international dessert shop specializing in cream puffs, plans to open its first shop in Clovis. The shop is expected to open in late summer, according to the company.

Founded in Japan, the company is keeping mum on where it will be, but real estate firm Retail California reported to The Bee’s leases section that the company has leased a spot in The Trading Post shopping center at the southeast corner of Herndon and Clovis avenues. Beard Papa’s is slated to take over the empty space next to Baskin Robbins. The shop sells cream puffs – a light French pastry filled with custard in various flavors. “All of our puffs are this golden flaky shell on the outside, with a soft, airy custard on the inside that is so amazing,” said Tucker Kaufman, head of marketing and social media.

The shop offers several types of shells of puffs, the tops dipped in the customer’s choice of glaze, like chocolate, strawberry or an Oreo topping. Customers also pick which filling they want from the menu – vanilla, chocolate or green tea custard. In addition to the standard menu flavors, Beard Papa’s also has monthly flavors like a churro cream puff with horchata filling, or a boba puff with the little round balls from boba tea inside the custard.

The cream puffs sell for around $3.40 each. A little smaller than the average person’s fist, the puffs are larger than the ones typically made by home cooks or sold in local bakeries, Kaufman said.


Beard Papa’s got its name from Yuji Hirota, who opened a bakery in 1999 in Osaka. His fluffy white beard was so noticeable that he became known as “beard papa” to his customers. The company has more than 400 locations worldwide and is expanding in the United States. It has shops in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Chicago and several other large cities. Beard Papa’s has a few other desserts on the menu, including mini cheesecakes, and drinks. But its specialty is the cream puffs. “We have this amazing cult following,” Kaufman said. “People who know us, they love us.”

The company joins others opening in the Fresno area that specialize in one dessert, like the new locations of Crumbl Cookies, Nothing Bundt Cakes and Crave Cookie, which opened its first shop with a drive-thru recently. Said Kaufman from Beard Papa’s: “It’s such a niche dessert, but we are a luxury dessert destination. It’s not like doughnuts where you find them on every street corner.”


Nearly 200 people were in attendance earlier this month for the groundbreaking of the new Eagle Mountain Casino in Porterville. The casino, currently located on the Tule River Reservation in the foothills, will be moving 20 miles down the mountain near the Porterville Airport. Located on 40 acres at 2760 W. Yowlumne Ave., the new casino will have 1,750 slot machines, table games, a 2,000-seat event center and a few restaurants on 100,000 square-foot property.

An artist’s rendering show the interior and exterior of the new Eagle Mountain Casino being built in Porterville.  “When we put those shovels in the ground, my heart goes out thanking you who put in the long hours, those of you walked the halls in DC and the State Capitol, those that moved machines all night long, those that worked double shifts because it was so busy and you didn’t want to leave your teammates hanging there—I thank you on behalf of the tribe, tribal members, descendants, and everyone whose been benefiting,” said William Garfield, Tule River Tribe chairman.

National hospitality design firm HGB designed the casino and W.E. O’Neil was selected to do the construction. W.E. O’Neill has offices all over the Western U.S. The casino will integrate local key elements of the tribal land and the tribe’s relationship with it. It will feature a lodge aesthetic with wood and stone structural expressions, according to a news release. “Since we began the planning and design process, the ownership team has always been extremely open and professional in sharing their project vision and goals, inviting our team to become partners in their development journey,” said Joe Baruffaldi, principal at HBG Design. “They have immersed the design team in tribal culture and heritage and graciously embraced our conceptual storytelling as it extends into the architectural and interior design aesthetic.”

The new Eagle Mountain Casino is expected to open in December 2022. The casino project is expected to create approximately 400 construction jobs and 300 or more full-time and part-time casino operation jobs. “Moving forward, this is about our people and our neighbors working together to make a project that is going to benefit us all. Providing additional law enforcement, fire protection and EMS services and ensure everyone is kept safe and enjoyable time,” said Tribal Chairman Neil Peyron.


After some three years of negotiations, phone giant T- Mobile has inked a lease of the former K-Mart building in Kingsburg, according to real estate sources. The property is owned by State Foods grocery chain owner Mike Alamsi, who was unavailable for comment. San Francisco-based Swinerton Builders has received a permit to begin demolition in the interior of the sprawling K-mart building that will house the new T-Mobile call center. The demolition permit alone is $1 million. The same big builder will be doing the tenant improvements that will follow. The vacant 105,000 square-foot building is at 333 Sierra St.

A demolition permit was issued Jan. 26 for the major project that is expected to bring hundreds of new jobs to the area in early 2022, says Kingsburg Economic Development Coordinator Jolene Polyack. The center is expected to employ around 1,000 when in full operation.