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Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

4 new restaurants on the Fulton Mall — and one really entertaining restaurateur

EATING OUT 1There’s a flurry of restaurants opening on the Fulton Mall. Two are open so far: Trendy Pasta Company and Indian Heritage Restaurant Express. Two more are coming: Take 3 Burgers and another Casa de Tamales restaurant. You can read more about them in this week’s column.

But one restaurateur wins the prize for most entertaining: Mike Cook at Trendy Pasta Company. When you go in there, you’ll likely be greeted loudly and flamboyantly by Cook, possibly in Italian. He’s not the only one working there — his wife Rosalie works the counter and co-owner Matthew McComas is usually hiding in the kitchen (but that’s McComas’ gorgeous artwork on the walls). But it’s Cook who’s in charge of making sure customers have a good time. If they like him — in addition to his food — they’re more likely to come back, he figures. You can get a glimpse of Cook’s goofy personality, including him pulling my leg a little, in the video below.

Could Fresno ever have a permanent food truck park?

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The SoMa StrEat Food Park in San Francisco is open seven days a week and has permanent seating surrounded by food trucks that rotate. Photo: SoMa StrEat Food Park.

Today’s column is all about food truck news  (including Benaddiction and Casa de Tamales opening restaurants) but it’s what’s happening with Dusty Buns that has me thinking. The hugely popular Dusty Buns Bistro Bus has added a second truck, but it’s not in Fresno. It will be parked at the SoMa StrEat Food Park in San Francisco. It’s a permanent place for food trucks to park for lunch and dinner, open seven days a week. The trucks rotate in and out so there’s some variety. And there’s a truck that sells beer (0ther food truck parks have more permanent local beer vendors). It’s sort of Gazebo Gardens food truck night happening all the time.

Dusty Buns co-owner Dusty Stewart, a driving force behind the Fresno food truck movement, says he’d love to see Fresno get such a place. What do you think? Would that be a good fit for Fresno? Do you think it would attract enough customers to make it worthwhile? Or would the appeal be lost if food trucks start turning into something close to regular restaurants? Where would a good place for it be?

If the street food park concept is still a little vague, let me share a little more about the one Dusty Buns is parking at in San Francisco. It’s got covered and heated seating, free wifi, restrooms, an ATM, bike parking and is pet friendly. Customers can reserve a table or revamped school bus with tables for large groups. There’s TV screens for big games and a projection screen for movie nights, along with other various themed nights.

More food trucks downtown on Fridays

The new Cart Hop food truck event starts today. From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., six food vendors will be selling their yummy lunches at Eaton Plaza near the water tower. (See map here.)

Participating are:

 

Mobile food feast CArthop begins today

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Today Fresno welcomes another step forward in its growing mobile food culture. CArthop, a weekly gathering of mobile food vendors, debuts at 10 a.m. on the Fulton Mall. The event is a joint effort from Dusty Buns Bistro Bus and Fresno Brewing Co.

It’s not quite Fresno’s version of Off the Grid. Instead, CArthop focuses on local, organic food. There’s also live music and art, making it seem a bit like a smaller, food-focused version of the Catacomb Party that happened in July

Today’s vendors include Dusty Buns, of course, plus Casa De Tamales, Summertime Pies and Mattie’s Mobile Wood Fired Pizza. It’ll take place on the mall, outside Fresno Brewing Co., which is at 1243 Fulton Mall, just south of CVS.

The Bee’s Bethany Clough had a nice piece about CArthop in Wednesday’s paper. You can read the whole thing, but this part will tell you more about the motivation behind the event:

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