Innovation is a sight to behold. It takes an existing idea, product, or business, and tweaks it just enough to make it exciting and new. It's often said there's nothing new under the sun, but businesses like Beyond the Wine in Fresno prove that wrong.
We're all familiar with bars and even cocktail lounges, but Beyond the Wine takes the idea a direction that distinguishes it from the crowd.
Owner Santiago Soto started the business just this last December in the old location of The Tasting Room, and has created a place for date nights and causal hang outs alike.
At Beyond the Wine you'll find live music like jazz, folk, and even country, depending on the night. There's a vast selection of wine, beers, cocktails, and a menu of appetizers and hors d'oeuvres, all unique and delicious. It's a perfect place to hang out and enjoy a nice evening no matter the company.
What makes Beyond the Wine more than just a bar or cocktail lounge is what lies behind the surface. For one thing, the cocktails are not your average cocktails. All the liquor at Beyond the Wine is fermented rather than distilled. That's not something you'll find at just any bar. For those unfamiliar, most liquors are distilled, and the fermentation process actually makes most liquors smoother and more flavorful. Any cocktail instantly becomes tastier, and one of a kind.
The wine and beer menus are filled with options that are mostly local to California but are not necessarily things you'll find just anywhere. They like to focus on unique wine and beer options to open their customers up to new breweries and wineries that don't normally get as much recognition.
The cocktails on their menu go a step further though. You'll find wine cocktails, made with moscato (the Queen Bee) and rosé (the Devious Lemonade). Ever had a wine cocktail? You might want to try these. They're crowd favorites. The Devious Lemonade in particular is one of the most popular, made with both rosé and their homemade blood orange lemonade. Sounds amazing right?
The menu is also full of delicious options such as charcuterie boards, hummus, and flatbreads. They always pair well with the drink options available, be that wine, beer, or a cocktail.
Even though bars are closed for the next three weeks, you can still enjoy Beyond the Wine via takeout. Get any of their options to-go. Right now, you can also get their cocktails packaged in freezer ready bags so you can enjoy them in slushie form!
Bars and lounges like Beyond the Wine need our support during this time due to the new orders from Governor Newsom for them to shut down for the next 3 weeks due to concerns over coronavirus. If you're in the mood for a drink or a bite to eat, go support Beyond the Wine.
If you'd like to find out more, check them out on Instagram @beyondthewinenorth, or give them a call at (559) 432-8584.
One of the most incredible things about local artisans is their ability to see beauty, uniqueness, or utility in things the average person doesn't. It's almost an art form, to take something that would otherwise be thrown out or passed over, and make something of it. We get to benefit from their out of the box thinking, and enjoy the fruit of their labor, appreciating the work and creativity it takes to see what they saw.
The Old Box Shop in Reedley is one such place. Although the business was started just recently, the subject of their work has not. Their speciality is vintage boxes, particularly vintage fruit picking boxes like the ones pictured below. These boxes in some cases date back as far as 1920 and are made entirely of wood, used formerly for picking and transporting fruit.
With the rise of the farm house and boho decor and it's distinctly vintage or eclectic flair, these boxes have become a hot commodity. One of the best qualities of The Old Box Shop is that their boxes actually are old. In many cases, simply the look of antique or vintage will do for many people, but Bobby believes the genuine look can only be had by what is genuinely vintage. Those who decorate their home with these boxes get the best of both worlds.
What started off as a hobby has turned into a business for Bobby and his partner. In addition to the vintage boxes, they have also moved into repurposing reclaimed wood from barns, farm equipment, and more. As you can see from the pictures, this has resulted in items such as planters, tool boxes, stools, barn doors, and more!
For those of us looking to upgrade our look, The Old Box Shop is a great place to do it. If you're looking for great, authentic antique or reclaimed wood boxes or other such items, you won't find a better source than The Old Box Shop.
As previously mentioned, Bobby and his business partner both have a commitment to the real thing. They are the artisans who see the beauty in what's been forgotten. Those old abandoned barns, the fruit picking boxes, or the farm equipment would otherwise be left to rust, be thrown away, or torn down.
Instead, they have claimed them for a new purpose: to live on as something to be admired.
Many of us wouldn't see that in these things, but thanks to The Old Box Shop, now we do.
So if you're looking to re-decorate, or want to add to your existing decor, go check out The Old Box Shop.
You can visit their website and find out more here, or check them out on social media.
As always, #shop559 and #support559!
The winery has been open for 5 years, and grows 12 varieties of grapes on 40 acres of land right here in the Valley. Along with coffee and beer, wine is one of those drinks that is widely popular. A lot of us drink wine with dinner, to relax in the evening, or make it a social event with wine testing or events. As we've seen with previous feature stories, a lot of our favorite drinks like coffee, beer, and even brandy are produced by businesses right here in the Valley, and wine is no different.
Our feature today is about Kings River Winery. The winery has been open for 5 years, and makes every one of their wines with grapes they grow on their own land. Currently, they grow 12 varieties of grapes on 40 acres of land right here in the Valley.
With Kings River Winery, you'll find an overall unique experience. They offer a diverse selection of wines including reds, whites, blends, rose, and sparkling- so there's something for you no matter what your palette prefers. Animal lovers will also love their Rescue Red blend- for every bottle sold $10 goes back to the Valley Animal Center to help rescue and take care of animals throughout the Central Valley.
The wines are all extremely delicious such as their popular Alicante Bouchet which is a good balanced wine that has great touches of fruits like dark berries, cherry, and plum, as well as a nice slight oak finish. Sounds amazing, right?
You can buy all their wines through their online store, but the experience of KRW goes even beyond the wine itself.
Out in Sanger they have set up a full tasting room where you can try out all their wines, in addition to an outdoor tasting area where you can enjoy the beauty of the Valley! You can even turn this into a picnic as well with their picnic packs that include locally sourced meats, cheeses, nuts, chocolates, jams, crackers, and more! Bring your own food as well if you wish. It's a good place to have a nice relaxing afternoon or evening (or date because this will definitely be added to our 559 Dates list).
In addition to all this, they also have an event center for hosting weddings, parties, and more, a book club called "Reading Between the Wines", and some awesome public events like a grape stomp, concerts, and Ladies Night Out.
If you're interested in checking out Kings River Winery, they are still doing tastings and serving food, but outdoor only per Governor Newsom's new order. You can also buy wine, gift cards, and e-cards online through their website here.
Either way, you'll definitely want to check out this local winery for an awesome tasting experience, event, or at home enjoyment!
Go to their Instagram here as well to get regular updates. Rumor has it there will be a Case Blowout sale coming soon as well so stay tuned!
Pretty much all of us drink coffee every day. It's been one of the most popular drinks in America for decades. It wasn't until recently though that we started thinking about coffee a little bit differently. To most of us, coffee has just been a drink we have in the morning to energize and wake us up for the day. Things like the taste, flavor profiles, or the source never really used to be that important to us. Companies like Lanna Coffee Co. are changing that all around though, giving us not only better coffee, but peace of mind knowing that our morning habit is also doing something good in the world.
Based in downtown Fresno, Lanna Coffee has been around since 2015, although the idea got its inception much earlier. During a missions trip to Thailand, the now owners met a group of villagers growing coffee who were trying to branch out and find more ways to sell their product. They saw an opportunity to help these villagers out while also providing an amazing product.
Now, many of us are more familiar with coffee being grown in places like Colombia, Africa, or maybe Indonesia or Sri Lanka, but not necessarily Thailand. It actually grows quite well there given the climate and elevation, but the coffee you'll find from that region is quite different than what we're used to- in a good way.
The villagers that Lanna Coffee works with primarily grow a variety called the Catimor bean, which is known for its herbal, nutty, and even fruity flavors. This makes for a much more unique, and delicious coffee drinking experience.
Aside from the great coffee, what makes Lanna Coffee such a great company to buy from is that they still support these local villagers. In fact, they have an entire non-profit wing of their business that focuses solely on projects in Thailand such as education, clean water, health, and of course, agriculture and coffee cultivation. So every bag of coffee, jug of cold brew, or mug that you buy has an immediate impact in another part of the world. You can find out more about the foundation here, where you can read all about what they're doing to help the Thai region, donate, and even volunteer!
If you'd like to buy some Lanna Coffee, you can do so on their website here, or check them out on social media. You can buy single origin and coffee blends by the bag, cold brew, brewing equipment, mugs, and even green coffee beans to roast yourself. For customers in the Fresno area they have FREE delivery and curbside pick up. They also ship all over the US, so you don't need to be in the Valley in order to buy this delicious coffee.
We all are becoming more aware of the impacts our purchases have, both to us and to others. It's great to see companies like Lanna Coffee that put a focus on providing products we can enjoy, but that are also committing time, energy, and funding to projects around the world.
So go buy some Lanna Coffee today!
Many of the things we use every day are how we reflect or present ourselves to the people we come into contact with. This includes the obvious things such as clothes, but also some less obvious ones- like our tumbler. Whether you use a HydroFlask, a Starbucks tumbler, or a generic one you bought at Costco, it can be an opportunity to communicate something about yourself. Kate Allen of 1824 Designs in Fresno helps make that possible with her custom made tumblers.
Kate started her business just a few years ago after getting a Cricut machine for the first time and exploring the fun of creating new things. Initially she was making all sorts of items from t-shirts to signs, but just in the last few months her custom made tumblers became the focal point.
Custom tumblers are widely popular because of the unlimited options you can design them with. In her workshop, Kate makes everything from sports teams, fashion brands, bible verses, and popular trends like Baby Yoda into tumblers of all sizes that people can show off.
They make great gifts for every occasion: Christmas, birthdays, graduation, Mother's Day, Father's Day, and more!
Here's a few examples of her work:
You can see much more on her Instagram page here.
If you'd like to order a tumbler from Kate you can do so by visiting this link and filling out an order form to tell her the design and size you're looking for.
What makes 1824 Designs so unique is the customization. They may sell tumblers at Target, Walmart, and Starbucks, but you have to choose from their selection. With Kate, you can make your very own design, one that reflects you!
Her favorite thing about her business is that she gets to have fun and create great things for people to enjoy. That's what you get with local artisans and creators that's so important. They put immense effort and pride into their work that you know produces some real quality results.
That's why it's worth it to #shop559!
Go check it out!
One of the best things about The 559 Review is coming across new artisans, creators, and businesses I hadn't known about before. I came across another one of those this week when I talked to In Distill of the Night Spirits. Fresno has quite a few craft breweries and wineries, but did you know we also have a brandy distillery?
That's right! In addition to the fantastic play on words in their name, In Distill of Night produces some incredible small batch artisan brandy right here in the Valley.
Brandy may not be as popular of a liquor as tequila, vodka, or whiskey, but it certainly should be. If you're unfamiliar with Brandy, it's made from distilling wine grapes. Unlike wine though, it's got an alcohol content slightly higher than some of your more common liquors, typically 45-50%. So shots of brandy are not a good idea, and even more so because Brandy is meant to be a sipping liquor similar to Scotch. It's smooth and has unique flavor profiles. You'll definitely want to take your time and enjoy it- preferably as an after dinner drink.
In Distill of Night is a true mom and pop, family operation, too. The bottles are filled, labeled, and packaged by members of their family each time a new batch is rolled out.
They started making their batches 10 years ago at their distillery up in Atwater. Operating on a batch system means each one comes out just a little different from the last with unique flavor profiles. That means this is truly an artisanal product, not some commercialized spirit like the ones you normally see. It's been a hit too. On their website you can see the numerous awards their batches have earned them.
It's no wonder. I'd never tried Brandy before, so I decided to try it for myself and it is as incredible as the awards say! Normally a scotch drinker, I was surprised at how smooth and rich it was.
If you're looking for something new and amazing to try, you're not going to want to pass up the opportunity to drink Velvet Night Brandy.
Right now, you can purchase it via their website. If you're feeling creative, or want to hone your bartending skills a bit, go to their recipes page for some great cocktails you can make with it.
On July 2nd, they will be having a virtual tasting with Crafty Cask Sommelier and will be discounting their bottle $10 shortly after. Details will be on their social media pages in the coming days, so follow them on Facebook and Instagram (@indistillofnightspirits).
It's a pleasure to meet people so creative and passionate about their niche. When you try local products like this instead of our usual commercial ones, you get to take part in something truly incredible. This is a unique creation, and we have the pleasure of it being right here in our backyard.
So go give Velvet Night Brandy a try and #drink559!
Ever heard someone say there's nothing to do in Fresno? Then you should tell them to check out the Forestiere Underground Gardens! Whether there's triple digit weather, or a nice cool Spring day, the gardens are a great place to be a tourist in your own city.
Located on Shaw between 99 and Golden State, the Forestiere Underground Gardens incorporate the best features of any local adventure: exploration, history, and beauty!
The history of the gardens is fascinating. They were created over the course of 40 years by an Italian-American immigrant named Baldassare Forestiere who settled in the Central Valley with the hopes of building his own citrus empire. The land upon which the gardens sit is just a portion of his original 80 acre property that he bought back in 1905 for just $80. After finding out that the soil on his land was nothing but hardpan, his plans were put on hold.
How did the gardens come about? Baldassare found the insane summer heat of the Valley unbearable, and wanted to find a way to escape it. After years of digging subway tunnels on the east cost, he remembered that it always felt much cooler underground. He found a way through the hardpan, and ended up digging out space for his entire living space underground.
The digging didn't stop there though. He heard from his visitors that they liked the cooler feeling of being underground, and so he decided to create some courtyards for them to hang out in. Then the idea dawned on him: maybe he could create a community spot for people in Fresno to come and gather to escape the heat.
Over the course of 40 years he dug passageways, courtyards, and more into about 20 acres of his property.
More than 100 years later, we have an amazing historical spot that still serves Baldassare's purpose for it.
When visiting the gardens, you can get a full tour and all the stories about the creation of the gardens while you explore the passageways, courtyards, cellars, rooms, and even ballroom spaces that Baldassare dug out. Or, if you're feeling independent you can do a self-guided tour and explore the place on your own.
Either way, it's an amazing creation right here in the town we all live in!
It may be considered a historical landmark, but it's also a beautiful integration of nature and art. Beyond creating a place for people to gather and explore, Baldassare's legacy lives on in the uniqueness of his creation. Painting is art on canvas, sculpture is art in material, and the Forestiere Gardens are art carved into the earth itself.
Right now, the gardens are closed, but they are opening again on June 15th. You'll be able to make reservations for guided tours, and self-guided tours will be first come first served. They will only take up to 50% normal capacity due to precautions against Coronavirus.
At some point in the near future they are also planning to open back up the ballroom area for various local functions like wine tastings and live music.
You can make reservations or find out more on their website, or visit them on social media.
The Forestiere Underground Gardens prove there's hidden gems in the Valley. Sometimes you just have to look underground.
So get out there and #explore559!
We’re all familiar with the concept of fast food restaurants with play structures. Kids get to enjoy chicken nuggets or a cheeseburger and then play on an indoor playground or with other toys while their parents watch and eat relax. There is something for everybody, but there is nothing that feels special or unique about it. The food is okay, it never feels that clean, and it's always fast-paced and never feels comfortable.
Enter Uptown Sprouts.
In the town of Kingsburg, owner Pam Stepanian found a unique opportunity to give the Central Valley a twist on this concept, by creating a space that everyone can enjoy, but with great food, a clean environment, and a comfortable, go at your own pace atmopshere.
Uptown Sprouts is a unique, locally owned and operated cafe and play place, perfectly suited for both parents with young kids, and anyone wanting to grab a bite to eat. Rather than a typical restaurant or fast food dining room, Pam decided to go a unique route to make sure the place felt unique and homely. Her idea was to bring the "outside in", meaning the theme is an outdoorsy, yet frontier-southern comfort and down to earth atmosphere. It's a comfortable and inviting environment for all ages, but also incredibly unique.
In the play area there’s a wide variety of fun options for the kids including a rock wall, a tree house slide, board games, train tracks, and more. They can run around and have lots of fun while their parents sit down and grab a bite to eat. It’s a particularly great concept for moms with children. If you need a fun activity to plan for the day, or are looking for options for play dates, come to Uptown Sprouts and have lots of fun!
If you don’t have any children, Uptown Sprouts is still a good spot to visit as they have a great menu of food for people of all ages. It is a true cafe and restaurant with a distinct menu, and options for dine-in and take out. You can enjoy freshly prepared smoothies, panini sandwiches, baked goods, and more! Everything they serve is delicious and made fresh in-house .
On top of that, during the non-coronavirus lockdown season they regularly do events like paint nights, various classes for kids, and offer their space for events, including a great little area known as "The Cottage", their take on a conference or meeting room, with a table and chairs, a set up for meals, and a very cozy ambience.
Overall, it's a great community staple that you can trust to be clean and well looked after, while offering something to any age group.
Even though coronavirus has closed down the dine in and play portions of the business for now, you can still support Uptown Sprouts through curbside pick up. They are still offering their full menu alongside some specials like berrocks and tri-tip sliders. Just walk up to the door and order!
If you’re interested in finding out more you can check them out on Instagram and Facebook, or visit their website.
Uptown Sprouts offers something for everyone, so come check it out!
One of the great things about lifestyle stores is that each one has its own personality and charm. No two are the same. Often the products are sourced from the area or region as the owners tend to make relationships with local vendors and artisans, which makes the shopping experience distinctly different that any other store.
Letter & Grain in Visalia is a lifestyle store that truly owns its uniqueness, and offers a truly diverse range of local products to its customers with its modern farmhouse/boho decor. Stocked on its shelves you'll find products from local artisans such as honey, candles, jewelry, chocolate, bags, and even creamery in addition to home decor, and baby/kids items. These are all from businesses right here in the Valley such as Bradshaw Honey Farms and Dirty Bird Soap Co.
Ericka, the owner, along with her mother have teamed up to bring these great local products to Valley residents. It can be difficult knowing all the options for buying local, as there are many different vendors out there and social media and the internet are both large places. Stores like Letter & Grain have sought out and established these relationships so they can bring all the best products straight to their customers, and all in one place!
There's also one item you won't find many other places in the Central Valley: Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. Originating from the UK, this paint produces a chalky or aged effect on any surface you paint with little to no prep work involved! It's great for most surfaces and is also non-toxic, which makes it extremely versatile.
The paint itself is trademarked by Annie Sloan, so the original chalk paint is rather hard to find. Have no fear though, Letter & Grain is a licensed "stockist" of the original Annie Sloan chalk paint! That means you don't have to go for a knock off brand or spend hours searching for it online, you can get the real stuff right here in the Central Valley!
Hopefully the store will be back open soon, but for now you can continue to support Letter and Grain through curbside pick up and delivery. They showcase products every week on their Instagram page, but you can also call if you have any questions. To place an order, send a DM to their Instagram page or call the store!
If you're looking for something to brighten up your home or to support more local businesses, Letter and Grain is the place to go to #shop559.
There's nothing like freshly baked bread- and it's almost a delicacy these days.
In a world where everything is mass produced and commercialized, something that is handmade and natural brings uniqueness back to the experience of something that is now mundane. Even something as simple as bread.
Bread has been around for thousands of years as a staple in most human diets, so to have such a revolutionary feeling in such a common item is proof that local is where it's at.
If you want proof of that, check out Culture Bakehouse in Clovis. In Fresno's new, one of a kind artisan micro-bakery you can find a great assortment of naturally leavened, slow fermented sourdough breads that are freshly baked every single day using only the highest quality grains around.
Owner Ami started the bakery business just a week before the stay at home orders went into place, but the community has really rallied around her giving her shoutouts all over social media and spreading the word about the amazing breads she makes. Thankfully, Ami has done well despite the lockdowns, and good thing, because the bread is fantastic.
Why is the bread so good?
For one thing, it's not mass produced and that always makes everything better. Everything is made personally by Ami with the help of her old fashioned Belgium bread oven.
It's also slow fermented and naturally leavened, which means bacteria in the fermentation process are allowed to further break down the macronutrients in the bread, making it easier to digest for most people especially those with sensitivity to gluten and phytic acid. It also makes the bread a lot more delicious and fresh tasting, not bland and stale like most bread you can buy in grocery stores.
That also means it's healthier for you, particularly for your gut biome. Just like it's healthy to eat yogurt for the probiotic bacteria, the bacteria from the slow fermentation process are just as healthy for you.
There's more time involved in the baking process too, hence the "slow" in the fermentation process. Quality is never rushed.
As of now, there's no other place in Fresno that uses this process to make their bread, making Ami's bakery one of a kind.
Culture Bakehouse offers a wide assortment of breads including a country loaf, a roasted garlic and rosemary (my favorite), a baguette, and even sandwich bread. All of them are fantastic and definitely worth a try. You can't get bread like this just anywhere.
If you'd like to know how you can get your hands on this delicious bread, you can check out Culture Bakehouse on Facebook and Instagram, or visit her website to check out the breads she offers, and place an order.
Right now, you can try her newest addition: a jalapeño and cheddar cheese sourdough!
Delivery is offered for a certain radius but curbside pick up is available as well.
Go check out Culture Bakehouse and help support bringing homemade quality back to bread!