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Hip, trendy HCK restaurant opens

HCK 011The newly opened Hermosa California Kitchen brings something different to Fresno’s bar and restaurant scene. The restaurant — which goes by HCK for short — opened last month at Champlain Drive and Perrin Avenue, in the former Aqua Shi spot.

What do you notice when you walk in? Loud music, red and purple lights, waitresses in black tank tops and denim shorts, a stage for a DJ (yes, at dinner) and live music, and the most amazing set of Dia de los Muertos-themed murals by J. Esparza of Resistance Gallery.

The restaurant had a decidedly young crowd when I dined there at 8 p.m. Saturday, but the owners say the restaurant isn’t targeting any one age group.

As for the food, it’s a mix of American and Mexican fare, with fajitas, burritos, burgers and salads. Most entrees are under $13. HCK opens for dinner at 4 p.m. on weekdays, with its kitchen open til 12:30 a.m. for your late-night munchies (seriously, $2 bottomless chips and salsa, in addition to the rest of the menu). It opens at 10 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays for breakfast (which runs through 2 p.m.). And they have bottomless mimosas when you buy an entree at breakfast.

The owners include the current owner of Salsa’s Cantina in Clovis; Lewis Everk, an event promoter who has worked in restaurant management and marketing over the years; along with builder Tommy Phelen.

Lucy’s Lair Ethiopian restaurant has reopened

Lucy’s Lair, the beloved Ethiopian restaurant that used to be waaaay out in northeast Fresno, has reopened closer to civilization. The restaurant opened earlier this month at Champlain Drive and Perrin Avenue in the same shopping center as Save Mart.

Owner Sossena Mariam said customers kept getting lost in the previous location and even their GPS sometimes couldn’t find Lucy’s, hence the new space.

She hasn’t changed much else. The menu is still mostly the same, though she has added appetizers. Now there’s sambusas, little phyllo dough triangles stuffed with either lean beef or vegan lentils that are cooked with garlic, jalapenos and lots of spices. That’s in addition to the traditional favorites like doro wot — a spicy chicken dish marinated in lemon and sauteed in purified butter — and other eat-with-your-hands entrees still on the menu.

This makes two Ethiopian restaurants for Fresno since Fasika opened.

If my quick visit to Lucy’s Lair was any indication, people love this restaurant. Customers were hugging the owner and vowing to tell all their friends about the new address. And it was jam packed on its opening night. She won’t need to do a whole lot of marketing to get the word out because her customers are taking care of that.

You can see more details on the restaurant’s Facebook page here.

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