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!
Fresno is a great place for finding unique items for your home or lifestyle. There's a great spirit of localism in the Central Valley, and its spurred along by entrepreneurs like Marielle Parrish who owns Happy House over on Palm and Bullard.
Happy House is a lifestyle store dedicated to helping Central Valley residents great a stylish and happy home. What makes Happy House unique is her commitment to supporting local artisans and entrepreneurs, whose products and goods she sells in her store. It's a great way for Fresnans to explore local versions of the products they buy every day, and support businesses in their community rather than big corporations.
Marielle takes this a step further though, because it's more than just a product. She understands that each local business is owned by someone in our community, with a family and story just as unique and worthy of sharing as hers. For each piece or product she sells in her store, she likes to get to know the people who make it, and share that with her customers. It creates a far more intimate shopping experience when you not only are supporting your neighbors, but know the story behind their business.
This is the character that defines her store. The Happy House brand is one that truly cares about promoting everything Fresno, from the creatives and artisans to the residents who are purchasing various items for their home.
Over the last few weeks, she has been using Instagram to advertise her self-care and Mother's Day bundles. Looking through the catalog of options on the bundles, you can get an idea of the types of local items she sells in her store. This includes candles, bath products, locally produced snacks and treats like Pop's Caramels, scrunchies, eye pillows, water bottles, etc. It's a great option for quality self-care or to show some love and appreciation on Mother's Day.
There's much more than this though as Happy House also has dinnerware, kitchen items, jewelry, and more!
Right now, you can continue to support Happy House through her Instagram page. They are currently running contactless delivery most days of the week. Just send a DM, email, or phone call her way and let her know your order.
Stay in the loop as well because soon Happy House will be launching a website with some pretty amazing features about life in Fresno!
Happy House is a great way to support local businesses. Not only is the store native to Fresno, but all the products she sells in her store come from Valley businesses as well. There's hardly a better way to help the community!