Bonafede-family matriarch Anita started JoJo's Pizza Kitchen more than four decades ago, and her discerning taste for ingredients is still identifiable in the menu. Though her son Joe, who napped on flour sacks in the back of the restaurant as a child, now runs the eatery, fresh basil and plum tomatoes grown in Stanislaus County still release aromas that hint at sun-soaked furrows. Through a dining room window, guests catch glimpses of chefs tossing freshly risen dough for pizzas or smaller chefs for their adorable giggles. They grate fresh parmesan cheese as wine cooks slowly down with mushrooms on the stovetop and chicken marinates in lemon and garlic. Servers bustle past, filling glasses with house wines or draft beers.
From panang curry to crispy pork in garlic and oyster sauce, chefs use USDA-certified meats and quality ingredients to create fresh Thai dishes with no MSG or preservatives. The kitchen combines three distinctive cooking styles—authentic, signature, and Bangkok style—to highlight Thailand’s diverse recipes. Expansive leather booths and spacious tables give customers space to stretch out and do short sprinting drills as they dig into the chefs’ creations.
The first Baja Fresh opened in 1990 as a rebuttal to the country's spate of traditional burger-and-fries chains. Today, each location upholds the eatery’s original mission of providing an alternative to traditional fast food with a kitchen that fires meats, chops farm-fresh produce, and pours house-made salsa over grilled tortillas. Guests can nosh on tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and fajitas amid a dining room with decor more bright and cheery than the sun after it eats a bag of pixie stix for breakfast.