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Food news: So many good things to eat!

buns

Photo courtesy of Mabel’s Kitchen

The food news keeps pouring in. Here’s what you need to know this week.

Mabel’s Kitchen, the lunchtime and bierock spot that reopened at 2134 Kern Street recently, will be open for dinner from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. this Friday. Normally, the restaurant is just open for lunch, but owner Susan Valiant is hoping to catch some customers who can’t make it there during the week. Susan — who says she misses seeing kids around — hopes dinner will be a family-friendly affair. It may also be a dinner option for folks who are going to see “Wicked” that day or going to the Grizzlies home opener. The regular menu and bierocks will be available.

Gazebo Gardens food truck nights are now happening every Friday as well as Saturdays. The Saturday event has gotten so busy that they’ve expanded it. There’s live music, craft beer and an all-around fun community vibe. Food trucks including Dusty Buns, Casa de Tamales tapas, Benaddiction and others are there. My February column about the Saturday night event is here.

Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt is coming to Fresno, a retail broker confirms. The chain will be opening in the new Marketplace at El Paseo on Herndon Avenue near Highway 99. It could be a while — as in, a year — before it opens though.

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How many pancakes can you eat?

Pancakes_5stackIHOP restaurants are inviting diners to eat as many pancakes as they can as part of its “Pancake Bowl” competition. (Am I the only one who pictures a taco salad shell-like bowl made out of pancakes when I hear that term? That’s not what this is. Though maybe someone should invent that and fill it with eggs and sausage.) Anyway, IHOP restaurants already offer all-you-can-eat pancakes for the next few weeks. Between now and Jan. 26, people who really like pancakes can compete to participate in the Feb. 1 Pancake Bowl.

To qualify, you first need to eat as many pancakes as you can at a local IHOP and earn a spot on the restaurant’s leader board. The top pancake eater at each restaurant wins free pancakes for a year. The top 10 pancake eaters in Fresno get to participate in the Pancake Bowl. The overall winner of the Feb. 1 pancake bowl that gets a $500 IHOP gift card.

Free frozen yogurt and pancakes this week

fozenyogurtToday is National Frozen Yogurt Day. Every day is some sort national food day, but I’m noting this one because you can get free frozen yogurt.

From 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. today at the River Park Yogurtland, the froyo is free. You can fill the container as high as you want and get all the toppings you want too, the owner assures me.

The store has recently added Greek frozen yogurt — in a banana raspberry flavor — and now has two dairy-free sorbets — strawberry lemonade and grapefruit guava.

You can get more free food tomorrow too. IHOP restaurants are offering a free short stack of pancakes to each guest from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday. The restaurant is asking that for every free stack, customers make a donation to the Children’s Miracle Network, which supports Children’s Hospital Central California.

The program raised $3 million nationwide last year and IHOP is hoping to raise that amount again this year.