Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

Closures hit Fresno restaurants

There’s so many new restaurants opening lately, but sadly, there’s been a mini spate of closures lately too. Here’s the rundown.

California Wok on West Shaw Avenue by the movie theater has closed. The booths and tables are gone and the granite counter tops were in a pile on the floor last time I was out there. I was hoping to have more news about it to share, but haven’t been able to reach the owner. Word that the restaurant was going to move to the corner of Shaw and West avenues was circulating, but the landlord for the space in question said the California Wok folks toured the place, but never made a proposal. I’ll keep you updated if there is more news.

Big D’s Tri-tip downtown closed after about a year in business. This was the place in the funky brick building with the little entrance that turned into a much bigger restaurant at 1950 E. Divisadero St., near the hospital. It got great reviews on Yelp, but it’s closed now.

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PCH Subs in Clovis closing Sunday

PCH Subs is closing Sunday after about 13 years in business. The surf-themed sandwich shop — PCH is short for Pacific Coast Highway — at Herndon and Fowler avenues in Clovis just couldn’t make it any longer, says Guy Foell, who runs the shop owned by his parents, Dick and Chic Foell.

The shop’s lease is up and it’s been struggling since the Blockbuster next door closed and people stopped picking up sandwiches to eat during their movie, Guy says. Rising minimum wage and other factors played a part too, he says. “I think it’s just tough for mom and pops to compete and [with] the price of everything going up … it’s just tough,” he says, noting that there’s seven sandwich shops in a two-block radius of his restaurant.

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Closures hit locally owned restaurants, clubs

It’s been a rough few weeks for local restaurants, bars and nightclubs. You’ve read about some of these closures here at the Beehive, but here’s the final tally:

They all closed for their own reasons, and you can read more about them in this weekend’s story that takes a look at the problem. The one thing they all have in common is that they’re still struggling with the lackluster economy.

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Starline Grill may be latest local casualty

Starline Grill appears to be the latest business added to the list of recent closures.

Two employees confirmed today that the Tower District restaurant and bar is closed (not to be confused with Starline the club next door, which is still open).

It’s not clear why yet and the owner hasn’t returned our calls, but we’ll update you if he does.

Starline Grill first opened in 2006 as Lipari’s Italian Grill and quickly morphed into a late-night hangout spot, with the outdoor patio and bar a refuge for smokers.

It joins other recent closures, including Roe, Express and Iron Bird Cafe.

Another nightclub closure: Roe

We’ve already mourned the loss of one nightlife staple today, now here’s another, on the opposite spectrum: North Fresno nightspot Roe has closed it doors too.

The news is getting passed around Facebook (above) and I’ve confirmed it with in-the-know nightclub sources. The Roe Facebook page, which disappeared for a while today, is now back with some remembrances from employees.

The club and sushi bar (but did anybody actually eat there? apparently not) at Palm and Nees has been a staple since that Park Place shopping center opened in 2007. It’s gone through a number of promoter changes, a time when people thought it was closing and some drama, but Roe managed to outlast its ultralounge peers Twist and 2039, all three of which opened in late 2007/early 2008.

No word yet on what’s happening next at the space, but it’ll certainly become something again soon. Anything you’d like to see in its place?

Popular Fresno gay club The Express is closing

Ten years is longer than many Fresno nightclubs make it. That’s a mark The Express — a gay/lesbian-centered club on Blackstone Avenue under Highway 180 — recently hit. But it won’t make it 11 years. Not under its current regime anyway.

The Express’ ownership used New Year’s Day to announce that its club would be closing this week. On Facebook, the news was met with sadness from customers saying things like: “With no Express there’s no more gay nightlife in my eyes.”

No exact closing date was given, but the club is expected to announce a few more events before week’s end. From the announcement  by Lee Morris and Steve McBride:

As we complete our 10th year in business as the operators of the historic Express Nightclub, it is with great sadness that we must call it quits. Our decision is based on a combination of a bad economy and too many nightclubs catering to our targeted customer base. We have supported the club through this time with all of our personal financial resources, and there is just nothing left to give. We have resisted the temptation to broaden our customer base, instead focusing on traditional LGBT culture and activities. It unfortunately didn’t work. Although we have held many successful events since the remodeling, it just isn’t enough to allow us to continue the operation.

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