by James Garcia Jr.
There is a great new attraction in Kingsburg, and if you are anything like me and have heard something about this already, you might have come away with the wrong impression. I know that I did. You may have seen a post on Facebook; or heard some talk about a new bar, loud live music or a “hotspot” being on the river at a place called “Bullfrogs”. If so, allow me to tell you that it is those things, but only if you want it to be.
Bullfrogs Bar & Grill is a brand new restaurant located in the Riverland Resort along the banks of the Kings River, resurrecting the old Riverland Restaurant building. It opened in early 2011.
“My family owns the RV Park”, said owner David Rosenbaum. “We bought Riverland about five years ago with the idea of eventually reopening the restaurant, but we just took our time, primarily because we were trying to find the right person to run and operate it.” Angel Gonzalez is the restaurant’s General Manager. “It was then a matter of formulating a strategy, in terms of what it should be and what the community needed and wanted. It wasn’t a question of whether or not we were going to reopen the place, it was really only a matter of when. ”
The building will appear familiar from the outside to those who remember what it used to be; however, the inside, other than the spectacular views, will not. “We spent almost a year and a half doing a total renovation of everything within these walls,” said Rosenbaum. “We renovated the kitchen, the dining area and the bar area. We’ve got a private room for banquets and groups. It’s all new. There’s no resemblance. What is the same, and what makes it special, is the location on the river. I don’t think there is anything like this anywhere near here.”
“It’s beautiful compared to what it was when you last saw it,” said Kimberly Faucett who is the Community Liaison for the Restaurant. “The view itself is gorgeous.”
The large patio outside is extremely popular, sitting right beside the river, offering wonderful views. It is apparently the most popular area of the restaurant in any season. They have umbrellas to shield guests from the hot summer sun and fire pits to warm them during the cold winter. Yet, the Dining Room itself feels as if one is right there. “Even inside, you’re on the river,” added Assistant General Manager, Jason Peacock.
If one was to endeavor to start a restaurant, which many consider a risky proposition at best, these tough economic times were probably not the best environment to be launching one, but Rosenbaum didn’t let that stop him. “I think it’s a tough time for everybody, whether somebody is a business owner or just for the individual in the community,” said Rosenbaum. “We try to take that into account as we price our menu (and book) our entertainment. We tried to be very good quality from the standpoint of food and also the entertainment that we provide in the evenings. We tried to make everything as affordable as possible for our customers, while keeping quality to the highest standards. We’ve gotten a good reaction from people, not just in the immediate area, but from all of the surrounding communities.
“While it is a tough time, I think we are generally fairly priced in everything that we do here. I couldn’t tell you that (business) is everything that we hoped for, but in light of the times we are in, I think we’re probably doing well.”
Not only was this an interesting year for business, it might have been more fearful for a business that sits directly upon a river. “We were very lucky,” continued Rosenbaum. “There are several parks and facilities (along the river) and most had significant flooding problems. It came close, but we really didn’t have any problems. It would have affected the park anyway, but (Riverland Resort has) full-time employees here, so we’re pretty prepared for stuff like that. We were sand-bagging on a frequent basis to be sure that we didn’t have a problem.”
According to Rosenbaum, in spite of what one may have heard about Bullfrogs Bar & Grill, it caters to the entire family and every member of the community. “In a way, they are almost separate. There’s a restaurant for people to enjoy good food at a fair price, but there’s also evening entertainment activities that happen after that. If someone wants to stay and do both, they can. Somebody can come here as a couple or with their family and have dinner, and never really know what’s going on in the later evening.”
The menu is another thing that will surprise guests. It features everything one might expect, such as sandwiches and burgers, but also offers steaks, pasta, and seafood. There is a 12 oz. Ribeye, Bacon Wrapped Medallions, Chicken Cordon Bleu, Shrimp Scampi, Fish & Chips, Bullfrogs Cheese Steak, Linguisa Sandwich, Linguini, Chicken Alfredo and Chicken Parmesan just to name a few. The appetizer menu has Mozzarella Sticks, Fried Calamari, Jalapeño Poppers and even includes Frog Legs. There is a Tadpole Menu for the kids with many kid-friendly choices.
Meeting the needs of the entire community seems to be a key concern for the restaurant. “Absolutely,” said Rosenbaum. “We are trying to add things that do appeal to different groups in the area, but then have those nights be regular. We try to be consistent that way, with activities that appeal to the whole community.”
If the nightlife does happen to be what you are interested in, then this is definitely your destination. Bullfrogs Bar & Grill is open Tuesday through Sunday for lunch and dinner, and sports the longest Happy Hour in the Valley from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. On Sunday, Happy Hour is all day long. Tuesday night at 8 p.m. is Mystery Night (to be announced), but all this month it has become Comedy Night, featuring a line-up of great comedians. Wednesday night at 8:30 p.m. is Karaoke Night. Thursday is Country Night with country music, dancing and frequent visits by DJ’s from Country Music Radio Station KJUG at 8 p.m. Friday is music and dancing with DJ Sal from 10:00 p.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday has live bands and dancing from 8:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. And this month features: Mr. Rude. There are drink specials, dancing, patio and VIP seating.
“Karaoke really has the best energy of any of the nights,” said Peacock. “Everyone is having fun and laughing. It’s a really nice environment.”
“We have entertainment for almost every interest,” added Rosenbaum. “It’s a top-notch restaurant for lunch and dinner, six days a week. We’re very proud of what we have done here, we’re very proud of the place, and we would really love for people to come and check us out. If they do, they will see how we’re different.
They will see that we are a really good restaurant in a nice, but casual, environment in a very special setting. If they try out our evening activities, they will say that it is a very fun place to come, and they will make it a place that they come to regularly.”
Bullfrogs Bar & Grill has banquet facilities and is available for graduation parties, wedding receptions, birthday parties and other special events. It is located on the Kings River at 38743 Hwy 99, Kingsburg, California, 93631. The phone number is (559) 897-5100. They can be found on Facebook where you’ll find information on upcoming events and exclusive offers.
To learn more about Bullfrogs and keep up with their events check out their website.
Check out KRL’s article on Julian Aguilar, a local comic who will be performing at Bullfrogs on August 16.