New restaurant brings unique food options to Valley

FRESNO, Calif.

Organic Fresno and Market is located in West Central Fresno on Parkway Drive right off Highway 99. The owners say they picked a prime location off the highway to attract tourists from the Bay Area and Los Angeles but the area is also known for its illegal activity.

Fresno's newest restaurant is cooking up a plant-based diet for organic food consumers. "You'll notice from our dishes, this is laden with cilantro and arugula and tomatoes and capers. All plant-based. There's nothing in here that's not plant-based," said Taraw Hamilton, owner of Organic Fresno Eatery and Market.

Hamilton said she hopes her eatery attracts a specific clientele known as "drive-thru" tourists. "Our goal is to try to pull those people off HWY 99 so that they can come in here and have a rural experience without having to drive 7 and a half miles to our farm," said Hamilton.

The eatery offers a variety of gluten-free breakfast and lunch dishes geared to those with a healthy sweet-tooth. "This morning I had the waffle and the pancake. The waffle was very good, the pancake was amazing," said Brian Carnes of Fresno.

The signature dish is the pasta puttanesca - Italian for "in the style of prostitutes" - which honors the activity that goes on outside the restaurant's walls. "We understand that this area is renowned for being active in that area because we have motels around us, so we thought why not educate people about prostitution in other countries and their connection to food," said Hamilton. "Prostitutes were civil servants in Italy and they would whip themselves up this signature dish because they were only allowed to go shopping once a week and so they always had wild capers and olives and canned tomatoes at home," explained Hamilton.

Even though the restaurant opened Monday, it will soon sell locally-grown organic produce inside its market. "Organic raisins, organic almonds, pistachios, all those kinds of things that are found right here. So when people come to Fresno, they walk away with a concept, 'wow, we didn't know all this stuff was grown here,'" said Hamilton.

The farm market will open in three weeks but the restaurant is open daily for breakfast and lunch from 7 AM to 3 PM. Dishes cost between $7 to $10.

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