A new restaurant brings a little slice of Margaritaville to Friant. Sandals at the Beach opened last week serving breakfast, lunch and dinner from a walk-up window by the side of Friant Road. Diners sit outside, noshing on meals and milkshakes and surrounded by umbrellas, tiki torches that light up at night, and a beach volleyball court that’s open to the public. These people really laid on the beachy charm. The restaurant has a thatched roof and our interview happened in a second story tiki hut.
The food is your basic hot dogs, burgers and sandwiches, but there’s some creativity thrown in there. You can get “sunburned bacon,” — spicy bacon flavored with Tabasco sauce — and there’s a vegan burger for the veggies and a protein burger for the no-carb types. Sandals sells ice cream from Fresno State and Rosa Brothers, including a date shake. One of the owners grew up in Hawaii and insisted the restaurant carry real shaved ice — not that granulated stuff — and a topping that he says is similar to condensed milk.
So far, the restaurant has been getting local customers (the residents of the mobile home park across the street mosey on over all the time), people coming to and from nearby Millerton Lake and lots of cyclists. There’s a good-size bike rack for the cyclists and a sugar-free vanilla shake the healthy riders requested. If you’re driving up to Millerton from Fresno, the restaurant is on your left, just past the Dam Diner (which, by the way, is temporarily closed according to a sign on its door).