Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

Westwoods BBQ open in north Fresno

Westwoods, Borders 041Westwoods BBQ & Spice Co. is open, the newest big restaurant to catch Fresno’s attention. The restaurant took over the former Claim Jumper space at Blackstone and Nees avenues. Despite opening just last week, this one was packed last weekend.

The restaurant is a modern twist on barbecue. The meat isn’t drenched in sauce and there’s salads on the menu (check out the food pics on the Facebook page). So far, the burnt ends brisket, which spends 12 hours in the smoker, is a popular seller, along with the fried chicken and tri-tip. The Westwoods pastry chef tried 200 recipes before perfecting her cornbread. The owner and his chefs came up with the menu after a three-week cross country trip trying every barbecue restaurant they could find.

The owner is top Fresno restauranteur Dave Fansler. He’s the guy who created Tahoe Joe’s, Pismo’s Coastal Grill and Yosemite Ranch restaurants. He’s poured millions into revamping the Westwoods space so that it looks nothing like Claim Jumper — as in, knock-down-walls, tear-out-a-fireplace and relocate-the-bar kind of renovations. The restaurant is an homage to Fresno County and its farmers, so you’ll find plenty of ag-inspired details. The windmill out front was rescued from a Sanger property and the wood ceiling made from old barn wood, for example. You can see more details in this video.

The restaurant is half quick service – where you order at a counter and are handed a pager – and half full service, where a waiter or waitress takes care of you. One interesting tidbit: That pager never buzzes or lights up. It connects to a magnet in the table and uses technology that allows the server to know exactly where your food needs to go so you don’t have to get up.

Responses to "Westwoods BBQ open in north Fresno"

George B. Feist (DUKE) says:

Been there already….as soon as they get some kinks out I bet this place with be HUGE

Richard Parr says:

I found the tri tip to probably be the best I have ever had, an inch and a half thick and I cut it with my fork…and the gb3 salad, while healthy, was very tasty! I tried my buddies ribs, and they were amazing…thick and fell off the bone…and we split a burger…which was just as awesome! The service was fantastic, as it seemed each server only had 3-4 tables to satisfy! Having 20+ beers on tap to try is awesome too! I give this place a major thumbs up!

Ricferg says:

Without a doubt a few quirks in the beginning that will be worked out. Pulled porked had a excellent smoky flavor and was lightly sauced. Jasmine rice pilaf and GB3 slaw were very good. Thick tri tip steak was tender and delicious. I liked the medicine jar bottles of barbecue sauce and peppercorn sauce at the table. Waitress forgot the cornbread and two glasses of wine took 12 minutes to get to us, but that was forgivable for an opening weekend. Staff was friendly and never had that deer in the headlights look you sometimes see when a new restaurant opens. I’m hoping to find a dish at Westwoods that knocks my socks off, and I think it could be there. I’d like to see some some Mac and cheese on the menu, and maybe a can’t miss dessert like a banana pudding or something which reminds me of other barbecue places I’ve been. Overall, Westwoods BBQ is off to an excellent stop.

Marc Anderson says:

First time visitor,
Food was delicious, too many T.V.’s, very loud and one show that I did not need.

To my disbelief there was a child who walked across one of the shared tables four times. At one point the child was lying across the table playing with the parent’s phone and kicking his feet like this was just a normal day lying around at home. This is not something one is prepared to see in any restaurant. Our server Dean was less than enthusiastic about dealing with the event. After some intense prodding and mentioning that this was an unsanitary practice I convinced him to get the manager. Only after I complained loudly and repeatedly did the patrons who shared the table with this atrocious family and are only six inches from the child walking and lying on their table, actually complain to Dean the server who looked to have the same level of enthusiasm about dealing with the event. When the busser came to clean the table I informed him about the event and suggested that the tablecloth should be changed. After the horrified look left his face he promptly removed the tablecloth. At least one employee recognized that this is unacceptable behavior.

The worst part is that the child’s father was laughing and making a joke about the entire event.

I traveled a long way to try this restaurant for my birthday and I doubt I would make the trip again.

I do have one other regret; I did not get a photo or video of this horrific event.

Mortified in Hanford CA

Sharon Anderson says:

Tonight we went to Westwood’s Barbecue & Spice Company, Fresno, for the first time. We were celebrating an important event – a 40th birthday. The restaurant was packed. We waited 45 minutes for a table. The chicken skewers were dry and a little disappointing —that’s why they have sauce to dip it in. We were seated at one of the shared tables. As we began our meal I looked towards the table directly in front and connected to mine. A child stood up and walked across it to the other side. His father smiled — I gave him a disapproving look. The child continued to do this at least 4 more times while a group of 4 other non-related diners were seated at the opposite end of the child’s table. The child then lay down across the table, inches away from the unrelated diners – like he was at home. The parents said nothing. I complained to our waiter, Dean. He stated he could do nothing. My son pointed out that it was unsanitary and urged him to get the manager. The 4 unrelated diners complained as well. Someone appeared to speak to the family but they didn’t stop the child. For all we know, the child walked down the entire table before the 4 new adults sat down. When the family finally went to leave the child was standing on the table again. I told the busboy that he needed to change the table cloth since a child was walking across it. He was horrified in disbelief and quickly changed the table cloth. I am only sorry that we were so disgusted and horrified that we didn’t think of getting a picture.
Signed — Never to return in Clovis

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