by Terrance Mc Arthur
You know how it is in the restaurant business—things change. One restaurant closes, and another opens in the same place. Somebody takes over a place, and it changes. The Great Food Search visited a couple of places that once were, and are now different.Old Town Café (361 Pollasky Ave., Clovis) The northeast corner of 4th and Pollasky in Clovis used to be home to the Corner Café. I’d see it there when I shopped at the Clovis Farmer’s Market on summery Friday evenings. It is gone, and in its place is the Old Town Café serving breakfasts and lunches.
The high ceilings, light colors, quirky scrolls with clever sayings, and the rooster statue wearing cowboy boots lend an elegant, airy quirkiness to the room. In my memories, the Corner Café was darker and the seating more crowded.We mixed the breakfast and lunch menus on our visit. The Chile Verde Omelet featured juicy, flavorful meat in a green tomatillo sauce, courtesy of Salsa’s, another restaurant owned by the Mendoza family who runs the Old Town Café. The eggs, massively fluffy and adorned with Swiss cheese, came with a choice of hash browns or country potatoes and a choice of breads (The biscuit came with a super-thick gravy!). The Garlic Aioli Chicken Sandwich filled its French roll with a layer of aioli, grilled chicken, Swiss cheese (melted gently), bacon, lettuce, onion, and tomato. Throw on a Clam Chowder topped with bacon and paprika, and you have a meal to warm your heart and your tummy. The Sticky Icky Barbeque Co. Featuring Uncle George Kebab (628 O St., Sanger) For years, I’ve been talking about Sanger’s touch of Mediterranean food, Uncle George Kebab. Uncle George has retired, and The Sticky Icky Barbeque Co. has moved into the space … BUT … they were able to get the use of some of George’s recipes, so it is known as The Sticky Icky Barbeque Co. Featuring Uncle George Kebab. The wood-style flooring is a change from the old tile, but what about the food? I wanted to see if they really featured Uncle George’s recipes, so we ordered the Chicken Kebab. Huge chunks of marinated chicken on a bed of rice pilaf — I couldn’t find a knife, but it was tender to the bite. A nice salad, pita bread, and a helping of a light sauce rounded it out. On to the Sticky Icky BBQ part of the menu! The Pulled Pork Plate shredded nicely, and the Tri-Tip came in slabs that had a strong taste. The Sticky Icky BBQ sauce is sticky, but it’s better than icky. It’s in my top tier of sauces! The sandwiches are impressive. The Tri-Tip Sandwich mixes slices of smoky tri-tip with sautéed bell peppers and onions, plus a layer of cheese, all crammed into an eight-inch soft roll with a lubrication of that Sticky Icky sauce. Chicken thigh meat, peppers, onions, and that memorable sauce fill the roll for the Smoked Chicken Sandwich. These sandwiches can easily divide to make two meals, but you won’t want to stop at half.
I haven’t even gotten to the sides! The tender Sweet Potato Fries are great for dipping or as-is munching, and leftovers perk up after fifteen seconds in the microwave. The Deep Fried Green Beans coated in corn meal batter cry out “Dip Me!” in bbq Ranch. Glazed with balsamic vinegar and honey, the Roasted Glazed Brussels Sprouts fight back with a slap; they may look weird, but they are delicious! We didn’t get to the Bacon Mac & Cheese, Potato Salad, Chili Beans, or Tater Tots, maybe next visit … and there will be a next visit.
On the Starters list is one item that I have to try—Meat Candy, cubes of smoked pork belly with a honey/brown sugar glaze and that unbelievable BBQ sauce. Don’t you want to try it just to be able to say you have?
The Verdict — I’m surprised, but the nod for the month goes to The Sticky Icky Barbeque Co. Featuring Uncle George Kebab. Surprise after surprise came out of that kitchen, and I’ve only tried 18% of the menu!
Check out more food articles and more of Terrance’s Great Food Search column in our Food Fun section. And check out a KRL staff profile this week on Terrance!