For Ali Saleh, the chef who owns Taqueria 2 Palmas, a great meal isn't just about sustenance. It's a performance meant to entertain and intrigue. That's why restaurants and live music make such as dynamic duo. When Ali bought his first storefront on East Tulare Street, he immediately built a stage so the restaurant could also host concerts. These days, his 24-hour eatery teems with mariachi bands that serenade guests with romantic ballads and vibrant pasodobles. The sultry sizzles of hot plates chime in as servers deliver chicken fajitas and Tampiquena-style steaks to nearby tables. In contrast, shrimp cocktails and fresh oysters are as cool as an igloo full of Elvis impersonators. To fuel morning exploits such as newspaper crosswords and WiFi surfing, the restaurant also serves huevos rancheros and other hearty Mexican breakfasts.
Caterers Justin and Jamie Dukes deliver their specialty meat-stuffed sandwiches to a wide range of events—everything from “a barbecue for 4,000 people to baby showers,” according to the Fresno Bee. An arm of their concession and catering fiefdom, Duke's Downtown Sandwiches serves up hearty, towering sandwiches stuffed with salami, pickles, olives, and turkey, or flavorful Greek-style wraps filled with feta and spinach. Dine-in patrons savor piping-hot bowls of clam chowder or meaty cheesesteak sandwiches, and banquet guests sample catered plates filled with fresh fruit and cold cuts, or sword-fight with skewers full of crudités and cheese.
Experts in all things wine, The Grape Tray's staff can help patrons choose their ideal wine while sampling vintages from vineyards such as Silver Oak, Chateau Lynch-Bages, and Sleepy Hollow. A roster of dessert and sparkling wines rounds out the corked collection, which includes selections from popular spots like France and Spain as well as lesser-known wine-producers, including New Zealand and Austria. The Grape Tray’s staffers also craft tasty sandwiches from its deli counter, piling corned beef, vegetable medleys, and crab and chicken salad between slices of bread from nearby bakeries.
In an effort to find a healthy alternative to fast food without sacrificing speediness, the creators of Pita Pit began assembling their signature sandwiches for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and late-night snacks. At each location, thin, Lebanese-style pitas encircle lean, grilled meats and fresh veggies, all grilled to order. Sandwich selections span the spectrum from gyro meat and falafel to turkey and prime rib. The staff empowers customers to make healthy choices by displaying nutrition information for each bread, meat, and post-meal toothpick and corralling a selection of healthy sandwiches.
Behind courtyards filled with lit fountains, verdant trees, and grassy spaces stands the glossy façade of River Park shopping center. During each annual A Taste of River Park these courtyards fill with local chefs serving tastes of their restaurants' signature dishes and Central Valley wineries pouring samples of their wines. While visitors stroll through the outdoor festival, the mall's retailers put on a fashion show of upcoming fall fashion trends and demonstrate the 21 ways to button a cardigan. Visitors can also thrill to the sights and sounds of the featured live entertainment.