Beer selection, Yeti burger and local bands draw large clientele
Whether it’s a bite to eat at lunchtime, some live music with a pint of local beer at the end of the day or a quest to conquer the legendary Yeti burger, Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Company Bar and Grill has something to offer any crowd in Fresno whether they’re over 21 or not.
Scott Kendall, owner of Tioga-Sequoia since its opening in 2000, said his business serves a clientele that includes “all of the above” in terms of demographics.
The original location is in Fresno’s historic Tower District. Kendall said the spot receives a vast amount of business from people on lunch breaks or leaving work in the area. He said Fresno City College students also frequent this location since the school is just blocks away.
Brenae Lopez, a 22-year-old Fresno State alumna, said she used to live right
near the Tower District and that’s how she found Tioga-Sequoia.
“The ambiance is so great here,” Lopez said. “I really rarely go anywhere else but Tower and downtown.”
Lopez said she goes to Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Company about twice a month for the beer selections.
“You can’t get beer like this anywhere else,” Lopez said.
Kendall said the company’s second location opened in 2006 and is at the corner of Champlain and Perrin. He said the north Fresno location is largely surrounded by residential neighborhoods and thus serves more families than in the Tower District.
“We just felt there was a need up here on this side of town for what we do,” Kendall said. “It’s almost like two different worlds.”
Lopez said she’d been to north Fresno location before but probably wouldn’t go back.
“It was more calming and relaxing,” Lopez said. “It wasn’t as much fun.”
Kendall said there are always ten regular beers on tap with two more rotating specials. Marcello Mencilla, general manager of the Tower District location for almost seven years, said the most common choices are the Sequoia Pale Ale and the General Sherman IPA. Mencilla said the current special, the Red Horn IPA, is also very popular.
Marie Garcia, a 24-year-old Fresno State kinesiology major, said she typically goes to Tioga-Sequoia on her breaks from work in the late evenings. Garcia said she goes there mainly for its salads, sandwiches and live music on weekends.
Ryan Rogers, a 19-year-old sophomore music major at Fresno State, said he lives near the north Fresno location and goes there for the fantastic live music scene.
“I like how close the stage is to the seating,” Rogers said. “It makes it easier to connect with the musicians.”
Kendall said popular menu entrees include the sequoia cut steak and mushroom chicken. For appetizers he recommends the calamari or award-winning fried pickles.
But Kendall said there’s one item on the menu that steals the spotlight: the mighty Yeti. Mencilla said the Yeti is a burger with a one-third pound Angus beef patty, two slices of ham, two fried eggs, four slices of smoked bacon, three onion rings, three slices of cheese, shredded lettuce, tomato, pickles, and Thousand Island dressing.
“It’s pretty much everything in the kitchen stacked on a hamburger bun,” Kendall said.
Any day of the week customers can take part in the “Yeti challenge.” Former general manager Conor Milligan said the challenge is eating the massive burger in less than five minutes.
If you can, Milligan said you receive a free T-shirt that says “I conquered the yeti.” Milligan said he was challenged by customers almost weekly to beat his time of 2 minutes.
Kendall said he and his wife Michele are always looking to expand and improve their business. For the future, Kendall said be ready to enjoy a patio at the Tower location and possibly some expansion at the north Fresno spot as well.
“We’re always in the works with something new,” Kendall said.