Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

New place to eat: House of JuJu in Clovis

JuJu and Zest 018Here’s something a little different for Clovis. The House of JuJu opened during the first week of December in Old Town, in the space formerly occupied by Salsa’s and California Hot Dogs at 453 Pollasky (in the Dewitt building with the breezeway). It’s a gourmet burger place that also sells hearty salads and wraps, along with local wine and beer. You’ll find burgers on the menu such as the “JuJu bleu” served with crispy bacon, caramelized onions and blue cheese. Or the “Dragon Lady” with teriyaki slaw, pickled onions and spicy garlic aioli.

The restaurant has an emphasis healthy eating, in part because co-owner Scott Glenn lost 120 pounds on a low-carb diet. That’s why you’ll find a “burger in a bowl” option, along with a lean bison burger and Mary’s all-natural chicken. There’s also no fryer. They serve fingerling potatoes instead of fries and their coleslaw is made with teriyaki sauce, not mayonnaise.

JuJu, by the way, is a nickname for co-owner Julie Glenn. It’s what her grandkids call her and as you can imagine, the restaurant is having all kinds of fun with the “good vibe” definition of the word. You can also find Clovis-based W Brewing’s 559 beers on tap at the restaurant. The family that owns House of JuJu is the same family that owns On The Edge coffee shop. You’ll see daughter Jaynae working at both places. My column Wednesday focuses on the Glenn family, who has a long history of running businesses in Clovis.

Two new hot dog restaurants open

Fresno’s next big food trend? The hot dog, at least if two new hot dog restaurants are any indication.

  • California Hot Dogs — or Cal Dogs for short — opened last month in the Dewitt Building at 543 Pollasky Ave. in the former Salsa’s location. (Salsa’s moved down the street to 410 Clovis Ave.)

Cal Dogs combines hot dogs with California history, and even has a mascot — Gus the Gold Miner.

All 20-plus hot dogs are named after California history. There’s the Hidalgo dog, for example, a hot dog served with enchilada sauce and jack cheese, wrapped in a tortilla and topped with chilies. It’s named after the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which ended the Mexican-American War in 1848. The menu is at left. Click on it to make it bigger.

Cal Dogs is run by the Taliaferro family, who also run Serenity Funeral Services — no connection between the businesses other than family, they stress. The family is confident this restaurant concept will work because they’ve done it before. About 27 years ago the family ran a similar restaurant in the Bay Area. It was successful, but with babies at home they put aside the restaurant to focus on family — until now. Now those babies — Ross and Chris Taliaferro — are running the restaurant.