7 Locally Owned Places to Eat in Fresno/Clovis

California Guest Author March 26, 2023

With the Valley’s rich agricultural history, it’s not surprising that the Fresno/Clovis area is home to a variety of outstanding restaurants. And with the more-than-normal rain this winter season, what better way to stay dry than in one of our many locally owned restaurants!? 

Below are some of California Relocation Network’s favorite, LOCAL places to eat; whether dining with clients, meeting friends for drinks, or celebrating a special occasion, here are some of the restaurants we recommend:

1. Max’s

Located at Bullard and West, this family-owned bistro is a mainstay in Fresno. Just voted Best Dining in CVLUX magazine’s Best Of for 2023, Max’s features quality cuisine and service. Owner/operator J.J. Wettstead is a gracious host and his attention to his patron’s needs is exceptional. About Max’s Wettstead remarks, “we strive for a consistent experience while delivering on creativity, attentive service, and menu innovation. We have the best job in the world, we get to create joy for our guests every day.”

Executive Chef McKinzie Bridges works with the freshest ingredients to create dishes that are flavorful and unique. For an appetizer, try the sweet potato fries. The braised short rib-when in season-is a fan favorite, but with seafood delivered fresh each day and with locally sourced ingredients, the seafood special is always a good choice.

2. Lime Lite

A Fresno staple for 55 years, Lime Lite offers “good vibes, stiff drinks & delicious food showcasing the best” of what the valley offers. Tucked away near Shaw and Palm, the Lime Lite offers classic cuts of meat and fresh seafood entrees. CRN client Bria O’Brien says of the restaurant, “Lime Lite has an intimate, classy environment with beyond exceptional service. But it’s the food that keeps us coming back! You cannot go without the surf and turf appetizer! But my favorite is the rib eye entrée with Brussel sprouts. To die for!”

When dining at the Lime Lite be sure to try the surf and turf appetizer, the ribeye, or the macadamia crusted halibut! The cuts of meat are generous, so don’t forget to bring home some leftovers for your four-legged buddy at home.

3. Cracked Pepper Bistro

One of Paul Ladwig’s favorite places to eat, we make a yearly visit to the Cracked Pepper Bistro for Paul’s birthday. Nestled in the southwest corner at Herndon and Palm, the Crack Pepper was opened by Chef Vatche Moukhtarian in 2006. According to their website, “the Cracked Pepper Bistro is a beloved establishment, and Chef Vatche is recognized for supporting local farmers and wineries, with 60 percent of his wine list coming from the nearby Paso Robles appellation.”

Famous for its bread pudding, the Cracked Pepper offers selections including prime filet, lamb chops, and seared scallops. They offer specials as well and at our last visit we tried the Wagu burger which was juicy and tasty. We recommend trying the mala insana napoleon-a pumpkin seed encrusted eggplant, walnut pesto, goat cheese, roasted tomato, reduced balsamic vinegar-appetizer, the scallops, and, of course, the bread pudding for dessert. 

4. Elbow Room

A Fresno classic, the Elbow Room is located in popular Fig Garden and is a great place to gather with friends or for a special occasion. From a spacious dining area to a large, outdoor patio, the Elbow Room offers classic fare and sip-worthy drinks. Owned by Mike Shirinian, the Elbow Room offers “elevated comfort food classics to innovative new steak and seafood specials, we’re always updating our menu to keep pace with the freshest local flavors and ideas in food.”

The Elbow Room’s menu offers filet mignon meatloaf, seafood dishes such as pan seared calamari steak, shrimp scampi pasta, and pan seared Alaskan halibut, and butcher shop selections such as 28-day dry aged New York steak, Rib eye, and UDSA Prime Elbow Room famous steak sandwich. 

5. Saizon

This is the newest place to dine in Fresno/Clovis and it will not disappoint. According to its website, “Saizon is our interpretation of Napa Valley meeting Mexico City. We serve contemporary American cuisine with Mexican influences & a distinct California point of view. It represents the flavors that blend deep-rooted traditional techniques with new flavor combinations and unique presentation. Our beverage program features craft cocktails that mirror our cuisine, letting high quality ingredients shine. All of this is served up in a vibey atmosphere with a focus on energetic hospitality.”

After walking into this restaurant, you will forget you are in the Central Valley. The vibe is sheik, spicy, and metropolitan. There is a large bar area for mingling and sipping. Besides the spacious interior, there is also a lovely patio area complete with heaters for the chillier valley months.

The food is eclectic and delicious, and there are almost too many choices to mention. We recommend the tiger ceviche, grilled oysters, the costilla, and the Australian elk chop to name a few.

6. Five

Located at Champlain and Perrin, FIVE “offers an exquisite blend of contemporary Californian and Italian cuisine and features a private wine room, an outdoor dining patio and full bar. The engaging atmosphere and energetic ambience are perfect for a romantic dinner or a night out with friends.”

Opened in 2005, Five offers classic pasta dinners such as spaghetti & meatballs, lobster ravioli, and lasagna. In addition to their Italian flavors, Five also offers blackened salmon, short ribs, and an assortment of pizzas. For an appetizer we recommend the meatballs, for dinner the lasagna or eggplant parmigiana. Come hungry and you will not be disappointed. 

7. 13 Prime Steak

Located in Clovis at Willow and Nees, 13 Prime Steak is a locally owned and operated prime steakhouse featuring American Regional Cuisine. Describing their restaurant as “chef driven,” 13 Prime Steak boasts, “We want our guests to have a memorable dining experience from the minute they walk into the restaurant, to the time they leave. Every aspect of your dining experience is carefully planned out and executed. We invite you to come in and spend the night with us.”

And if you do, you will not be disappointed. The main dining room is eclectic and intimate, featuring a Steampunk inspired bar. The menu features a crispy lobster starter, assorted certified angus prime beef, and chef’s specials that include Colorado rack of lamb and creole shrimp and grits. 

California Relocation Network believes in supporting local business in this great valley of ours!


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