Eat & Drink

Saturday, Sep 29 2012 03:34 PM

The Food Issue: Restaurant profiles

By Bakersfield Life

La Rosa Fruit Bars & Ice Cream Co.
Since 1980, the Diaz family has been serving these wonderful treats in neighborhoods around Bakersfield and beyond. Now, 32 years later, the company is distributing its bars at convenience stores, supermarkets and what has turned out to be one of the happiest accomplishments — having their items stocked in Costco. Future plans include the release of a new type of bar, which is top-secret and geared toward athletes (but you didn’t read that here). The shop is located at 1317 Niles St.; 323-6877;

Rice Bowl
In business since 1948, Rice Bowl, a landmark restaurant, has been serving Chinese cuisine to the families of the Golden Empire for more than 60 years. Putting in long days to bring the best possible food to all who enter, the restaurant has recently completed a remodel of the dining area and kitchen to freshen up the atmosphere. Local favorites include orange chicken, beef and broccoli and the popular fried shrimp. Stop by and see the new downtown Rice Bowl. 1119 18th St.; 323-2901

Related Photos

Village Grill

Valentien's Restaurant and Wine Bar.

Quick One Chinese Cuisine

Petroleum Club of Bakersfield

Beef and chicken combo fajitas at Mauricio’s Grill & Cantina

Mauricio’s Grill & Cantina

Lots of pasta is served everyday at Luigi’s Delicatessen

Clara's fried chicken dinner with mustard greens and black-eyed peas and a plate of chicken and waffles from Linda's Place.

Alaskan salmon with mixed vegetables and rice pilaf paired with a bowl of navy bean soup at KC Steakhouse.

Hungry Hunter

Great Castle Chinese Restaurant's spicy seafood noodle soup has all the good stuff, including, shrimp, squid, and scallops.

Baked mostaccioli and soda pasta special at Frugattis.

Tutti Frutti

Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace

Cubbies Chicago Style Pizza offers a wide assortment of Chicago-inspired dishes. (Clockwise from top left): Chicago-style deep dish pizza, Chicago thin style Chi-Town combo pizza, Polish dog, Italian beef sandwish with au jus, Chicago dog, and breadsticks.

Cheryl's Diner in Kernville.

Chef’s Choice Noodle Bar: (Pairings from left to right) Crab Rangoon with sweet and sour sauce, fresh roll with shrimp paired with fresh roll sauce, deep-fried calamari with sweet and sour chili paste, toast, chicken satay with Thai peanut sauce, and a cucumber salsa with citrus vinaigrette. Beer is Sapporo.

The Katie Holmes with sprouts and a bowl of tortilla soup a Bonnie’s Best Cafe.

Grilled onions make it tasty on the 34th Street Deli burger at 2301 H Street inside the Sparkling Image Car Wash.

24th Street Cafe

The Martinez family at Tony's Pizza.

Los Taco de Huicho

Steak & Grape's signature dish is the New York Sizzle.

Bakersfield Music Theatre, Stars Lounge

The Sequoia Sandwich Co.

Rice Bowl

Red Pepper

Luigi’s Delicatessen
Luigi’s has been in Bakersfield since 1906, when Joe Lemucchi came to California from Lucca, Italy. A small part of his collection of sports memorabilia hangs on the walls in this East Bakersfield location, which beckons onlookers. Even though Luigi’s has a long, local history, it has recently updated its look with an additional outside bar and extended patio. Future plans for the restaurant include expanding the kitchen and parking lot. Stop by for pasta with meat sauce, any way you want it or for daily specials. 725 E. 19th St.; 322-0926;

24th Street Cafe
Opened by Mark Huggs in 1987, the cafe is the place for breakfast or lunch. From chicken fried steak and eggs, to omelets and burgers, it’s all here. Consistency and quality keeps folks coming back. “I’ve had the same cooks for over 20 years, a lot of the waitresses have been there for 15 years and my manager has been with me a long time,” Huggs said. “People know what they’re going to get.” 1415 24th St., and open daily from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. 323-8801 or

What began as a truck stop 46 years ago is now a family restaurant serving real homemade food. Milt’s is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and serves a variety of foods from omelets, breakfast sandwiches, burgers, barbecue sandwiches, New York steaks and spaghetti. Everything is done in house, from the cutting of chicken and grinding of sausage. The full menu can be viewed 6112 Knudsen Drive; 399-4975

Los Tacos de Huicho
Los Tacos De Huicho is a great little find. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner and cater events. They are in a beautiful turquoise building near the corner of 18th Street and Union. Their most popular dishes are tacos al pastor marinated pork; fish tacos, made with breaded fish, cabbage with a wonderful homemade sauce and sopes, a little corn bowl with beans, meat, lettuce, tomato sauce, sour cream and cheese. Rigo and Nadia Nunez have owned this restaurant for 17 years. Their motto is “We don’t serve fast food … we serve fresh food as fast as we can.” And they do. 123 E. 18th St.; 328-9490

RJ’s Bar & Grill
Celebrating its 10th anniversary in September, RJ’s Bar & Grill is the go-to casual dining spot to enjoy lunch, dinner and weekend breakfasts. What draws customers to RJ’s is its comfortable environment and delicious foods. The rib-eye steak is cut to their specification and is definitely a flavorful meal. It’s one of the bestsellers on the menu, along with the avocado egg rolls and chili verde nacho appetizers. Their selection of juicy burgers is another crowd pleaser along with the blackened chicken tortellini. 9440 Hageman Road, Suite C; 587-4723 and 1660 Pine St.; 324-4193;

El Taco Loco
Since opening its doors in 1977, El Taco Loco has become a favorite among local residents who keep coming back for fast, affordable and delicious food. The burritos are a meal in themselves. And be sure to bring a huge appetite if ordering the nachos locos, many attempt but few have been able to finish this dish alone. El Taco Loco is the perfect spot to enjoy a meal without skimping on quality. 4150 Stine Road; 827-8248; Facebook search: El Taco Loco The Original Fresh Mexican Grill since 1977.

Petroleum Club of Bakersfield
If you’re in the mood for a variety of cuisine, the Petroleum Club is the place to go. Serving fresh seafood and other organic products, it caters to a number of cultures and ethnicities. This members-only bar and grill is the perfect place to watch the game, have a drink with a friend and socialize. The Petroleum Club also includes a separate room with an upscale dining atmosphere for a formal meal. There’s a reason The Petroleum Club has been open since 1952!
5060 California Ave.; 324-6561;

Maui Pho
This family-owned Hawaiian barbecue and Vietnamese fusion style restaurant has been serving up noodles, ribs and other gastronomical creations since it opened its doors five years ago. The relaxed atmosphere and casualness of the restaurant beckons patrons to come in and enjoy its hospitality. The staff at Maui Pho, (pronounced “fa”) is eager to serve and is happy to try out a good idea for a dish; some of which have landed on the menu. Customer favorites include Hawaiian short ribs, any of the pho (Vietnamese noodle soup) or the delicious Howard noodle bowl. 4011 Ming Ave.; 834-3235; Facebook search: Maui Pho

The Sequoia Sandwich Co.
Co-owners Jeff Simpson and Gary Blackburn have one basic philosophy when they opened The Sequoia Sandwich Co. in downtown Bakersfield in 1999: Use fresh quality ingredients, serve generous portions and be consistent. The product spoke for itself. Sequoia Sandwich Co. now has four locations — three in Bakersfield and one in Clovis. Sequoia offers local favorites like the all-American and pastrami, and seasonal items like the gobbler that’s described as “Thanksgiving dinner on a french roll.” Bakersfield locations:1231 18th St.; 9160 Rosedale Highway; 9500 Ming Ave.;

Wool Growers Restaurant
Wool Growers Restaurant has been an iconic place in downtown Bakersfield for many years. With its friendly staff, this family-owned and operated business serves dishes from the South of France and Northern Spain — a region known for its long-standing culinary traditions. The restaurant’s founder, Mayie Maitia, was raised in France and brings her hometown to locals who enjoy Basque cuisine. The lunch menu consists of steak, shrimp halibut, shrimp scampi, lamb and a number of other Basque dishes. It also serves a hot and steaming Basque soup of the day that goes great with any meal. 620 E. 19th St.; 327-9584;

Cubbies Chicago Style Pizza
Whether you go to get your grub on and watch a sports game or visit with the family, Cubbies Chicago Style Pizza is a local hot spot that serves legendary pizzas. So legendary, in fact, that there’s a pizza called “the legend,” which is topped with five meats and five vegetables on a thin, thick or special Chicago-style deep-dish crust. The cowboy pizza is another customer favorite with barbecue sauce, ground beef, bacon, mozzarella cheese and onion rings. The Frito boat pizza is another special dish topped with chili, mozzarella, cheddar and Frito’s that add the perfect crunch to each bite. 9510 Hageman Road, Suite A; 587-6555;

Valentien Restaurant & Wine Bar
Since November 2002, Valentien Restaurant & Wine Bar has been serving mouthwatering entrees and a variety of wines for the aspiring connoisseur. Its fall menu includes bacon-wrapped pork with apple fig sauce as well as an herbed polenta that makes a comforting meal. Valentien also offers an artichoke pancake with tomato confit, balsamic onions and goat cheese — a dish that will satisfy the taste buds of vegetarians and carnivores alike with its savory, sweet flavor. The saffron lobster risotto is highly recommended and often requested by customers who enjoy a creamy and rich taste. 3310 Truxtun Ave., Suite 160; 864-0397;

Narducci’s Cafe
The food? Delicious. The atmosphere? Unforgettable. Narducci’s has been a favorite among local residents since 1967, especially for serving some of the finest Basque cuisine in town. Its old, tavern-style atmosphere is the perfect place to be for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The menu contains hardy panini sandwiches, rib-eye steaks and the popular pickled tongue paninis, along with a number of other Basque favorites. The affordable prices also make Narducci’s the place to go. 622 E. 21st St.; 324-2961; Facebook search: Narducci’s Cafe

Steak & Grape
Although it has only been open for nine months, former Cafe Med co-owner Shai Gordon, is no stranger to the restaurant culture in Bakersfield. Gordon left the restaurant industry in 2006, and went on to pursue his interest in real estate, but realized he missed the fast-paced life of being a restaurant owner. Steak & Grape hosts gourmet dinners and wine tasting events every first Friday of the month. A customer favorites are filet and New York steak, which is angus-certified choice grade beef. Enjoy the casual elegance where people from all walks of life come to dine. 4420 Coffee Road, Suite A; 588-9463;

Amestoy’s on the Hill
Frank and Marie Amestoy moved from the current Narducci’s spot to their location in East Bakersfield in 1948, when they saw the financial opportunity that the area had to offer. Amestoy’s is known for its chili verde tacos, deep-pit beef sandwiches and breakfast brunch. It’s also popular for the blueberry comicazi and waterfall, which is a shot of peppermint schnapps and a rocks glass of beer. Amestoy’s is looking forward to a second round of Yatzee tournaments this year to raise money for Links for Life. 2303 River Blvd.; 871-2303

Village Grill
This Westchester eatery is best known for its large selection of breakfast foods such as eggs benedict, omelets, specialty pancakes and its fine, freshly roasted coffee, the Village Grill has been serving the Bakersfield community for almost 13 years. Village Grill is continuously creating new items to offer its customers, as well as providing accommodating service. Enjoy a relaxing meal in the beautifully, tree-shaded courtyard patio. 2805 F St.; 325-1219

Bakersfield Music Theatre
For a comfortable dining experience, check out the Stars Lounge in downtown Bakersfield. Its menu offers a selection of salads, sandwiches, pizzas and soups. Popular items include the black and blue burger, French dip sandwich and the gingham salad, served with the freshest fruit of the season. The Bakersfield Music Theatre’s Stars Lounge has been serving our community since 1999, although the theater itself has been entertaining locals for 43 years. 1931 Chester Ave.; 325-6100;

Tony’s Pizza
Tony’s Pizza was founded in Delano in 1979 and has established locations in Bakersfield, as well as the recently opened new restaurant in Shafter. Tony’s Firehouse Restaurant offers a full menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Tony’s Pizza is popular for its chili verde pizza, breadsticks and Tony’s combo, which consists of salami, pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, olives, bell peppers, linguica and onions. Various locations: 3615 Mount Vernon Ave.; 4750 Coffee Road; 4130 California Ave.; 300 Lerdo Highway;

Quick One Chinese Cuisine
Quick One Chinese Cuisine is quick and delicious! They make your order fresh and fast. Forget the pre-made buffets, this family-owned business will make it for you hot and yummy, right before your eyes. Popular dishes are the General Tso chicken, which is a little spicy or the sesame chicken, which is similar, just not so spicy. Another very popular dish is the beef with broccoli and the kung pao chicken. Try some of the specialty dishes like the seafood platter with scallops, shrimp and crab meat with mixed vegetables. They deliver within a five-mile radius of the store, or you can call in and pick up or dine in. 9440 Hageman St., Suite B; 587-8838;

34th Street Burgers and Deli
How far would you travel for a burger? For one San Diego couple, the answer is about four hours. The couple drove all the way from their home at the beach, into the Central Valley to enjoy a meal from the 45-year-old, 34th Street Burgers and Deli. Its most popular items include the signature burger, made with fresh half-pound patties; the breakfast burrito, made with homemade tortillas; and biscuits and gravy, made from scratch. Check it out for yourself! 2301 H St.; 324-8455 or 3951 Wible Road; 831-3311

Mauricio’s Grill & Cantina
Mauricio’s may surprise you. Don’t let the cantina, Spanish for liquor bar, in the restaurant’s name fool you. This Bakersfield mainstay is fully equipped to handle large family parties and droves of hungry customers, itching for the steak and chicken fajitas, the most popular dish on their menu. With a full catering service, in-house banquet rooms and expansion plans on the horizon, owner Sal Avila is confident in Mauricio’s ability to handle the sheer volume of patrons at its two locations. Avila assures there is no wrong time to visit Mauricio’s, “but if you prefer a little more tranquility, visit around 3 p.m.” 10700 Rosedale Highway; 589-5292 and 6401 White Lane; 837-9570;

Cheryl’s Diner
This family-owned diner has been happily serving the community of Kernville since it was established in 1985. The service and friendliness of the diner welcomes visitors to come in and enjoy a fresh home-style meal. The staff at Cheryl’s has waited on lots of people including actress Olivia Newton John and actor Henry Winkler of “Happy Days,” but nothing is more memorable than serving the local regulars, who have become part of the family. Some customer menu favorites include the chicken fried steak, hamburgers and the New York steak sandwich because it uses fresh ingredients and are not pre-made. 11030 Kernville Road in Kernville; 760-376-6131; Facebook search: Cheryl’s Diner

Tutti Frutti
Even though Tutti Frutti has only been open one year, it was voted the best yogurt shop for the 2012 Best Of The Bakersfield Californian Readers’ Choice Poll. Its most popular flavors include: chocolate because it is rich and creamy, pomegranate because it is refreshing and Splenda strawberry because it’s a guilt-free treat with no added sugar. Tutti Frutti also offers soy options along with a plethora of other flavors. As for toppings, customers can choose from fresh fruit, cheesecake bites, brownies, nuts, candy, chocolate-covered pretzels and much more. Owner Joe Zhou said this fun and friendly environment is a great treat for families and friends to enjoy together. 8200 Stockdale Highway, Suite M2; 396-8000;

Red Pepper
This Bakersfield gem has a rich history with locals. The employees at Red Pepper have been striving to please customers and make them feel like part of the family since 1979. The owners also recognize the importance of keeping up with the times and staying true to their roots. On the menu, guests will find traditional Mexican fare as well as other flavorful dishes like walnut encrusted sea bass with bold sauces, a rack of lamb lollipop with jalapeno mint sauce, tequila lime salmon and bacon-wrapped shrimp with queso fresco and other spices. Drop in and see for yourself! 2641 Oswell St., Suite G; 871-5787;

Hungry Hunter
Hungry Hunter’s happy hour may be the best-kept secret in town. Offering half-priced beers, wines and appetizers available during football season’s busy Sundays and midweek games, this restaurant packs a menu full of value! With its casual atmosphere and proximity to many neighborhoods in Central Bakersfield, it makes for the perfect happy hour stop with friends. However, according to owner Kevin Lawless, Hungry Hunter can also change its game-day gear for a romantic dinner date, offering the best prime rib dinner in town. So stop in and try its signature dish this fall. 3850 Rosedale Highway; 328 0580;

Great Castle Restaurant
For more than 30 years, Great Castle has been serving some of the best Chinese food in the Southern Valley. With a focus on quality food, the list of the most popular items is extensive. Favorites like shrimp kung pao, walnut shrimp, orange peel beef, crispy duck and sizzling rice soup are just a few. The staff at Great Castle work hard to take care of its clientele, but their happiest moments are with the regulars, who have become their extended family. Some have even been invited to family parties. 410 Union Ave.; 325-3311.

Bonnie’s Best Cafe
In business for more than 15 years, Bonnie’s Best Cafe’s famous chicken pot pie is a Wednesday classic for Bakersfield families. “Recently, I had an elderly customer come in who loves buying our casseroles. He brought us a thank-you note from his wife, who was ill and unable to cook. She was thankful for our easy-to-serve meals that helped bring back her appetite — that really put a smile on our faces,” said owner Laurie Watson. Looking for comfort food? Stop by Bonnie’s Best even after it closes at 5:30 p.m., customers can come in as late as 6:30 p.m. to pick-up a take-home casserole. 1900 21st St.; 323-7224 or 1002 19th St.; 637-1002;

Chef’s Choice Noodle Bar
Priding itself in making its own sauces from scratch, Chef’s Choice Noodle Bar has quickly made a name for itself as an affordable option to savory authentic Thai food. Noodle Bar has become such a hit in the Bakersfield restaurant scene that for its first wine dinner, it attracted more than 90 people only six months after the grand opening. Aiming for an atmosphere of casual elegance, manager Eden Abercrombie encourages customers to save room for dessert, which she said people are usually too full to try. If you’re looking for an alternative to the popular classic pad thai dish, try the drunken noodles next time. 1534 19th St.; 325-1234; Facebook search: Noodle Bar Bakersfield

Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace
Established in 1996, by country music star Buck Owens, who wanted to build his own venue, the Crystal Palace is an all-in-one restaurant, museum and theater that showcases the rich history and sounds of West Coast country music. Seen on national TV specials, it features outstanding food, fascinating memorabilia and great live music, including the Buckaroos and special guests most Friday and Saturday nights. It has also hosted famous acts like the Dixie Chicks, Garth Brooks, Trace Adkins and many more. The Crystal Palace has received various nightclub awards from both the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music. 2800 Buck Owens Blvd.; 328-7560;

Chalet Basque
The experienced staff and cozy atmosphere make Chalet Basque a great place to dine. Owner Lisa Liu is appreciative to Bakersfield and her local customers. Liu is from outside the United States and has found the people here to be loyal and supportive of Chalet Basque. Some of Chalet’s most notable dishes include: blackberry filet mignon with blackberry and brandy sauce, lamb shank with Basque tomato sauce and the 24-ounce T-bone steak. Chalet Basque hosts karaoke on Tuesday and Thursday nights and blues and jazz music on Saturday nights. Its newly remodeled banquet room is perfect for hosting various events, starting at $5 per person. 200 Oak St.; 327-2915

KC Steakhouse
It’s one of the few restaurants in town whose staff aims to create a “Cheers” type of atmosphere. KC Steakhouse prides itself in creating a restaurant, “Where everyone feels at home and where everybody knows your name,” said owner Charlotte Campbell. Open since 1939, the restaurant has carved a special place in Bakersfield’s heart, being a go-to space for business meetings, large family gatherings and several marriage proposals next to its romantic fireplace booth. Specializing in both surf and turf, it’s no wonder the steak and rock lobster tail remains a favorite among regulars. This winter, stop by KC’s santa’s workshop with thousands of enchanted decorations and waitresses dressed in elf uniforms. 2515 F St.; 322-9910;

Catering Affairs
Catering Affairs is Bakersfield’s premier catering service. From two people to 5,000, no event is too big or too small. Catering Affairs is perfect for a corporate lunch or wedding dinner. The food is customized, using top-quality products. Catering Affairs works around budgets so that quality is not sacrificed. Owner Brenda Wright ensures customers only get the best from Catering Affairs, since employees attend week-long training classes from Cater Source — the largest catering association — to learn new trends and modify them for the residents of Bakersfield. 916 18th St.; 326-4800;

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