Baseball season a home run for businesses in Downtown Fresno

FRESNO, Calif.

Many are getting creative when it comes to their game day specials and other incentives to attract customers to their storefronts. Bars and restaurants like Club Brazil are hoping baseball season will brew up new business in Downtown Fresno.

"It's our busiest time of the year and our favorite time of year as well," said bartender Ashlyn Fonville.

Many are offering up game day specials like $3 drafts to entice customers to spend time and money.

"Beer, beer. Cheapest prices. Cheaper than the stadium," added Fonville.

While others like Joe's Steakhouse and Grill are extending their happy hour and increasing their menu to include not only steaks, but bar food like salmon sliders and barbeque beef.

"I would say our happy hour is our biggest hit; we feature all of our local breweries and wineries on our happy hour so it's kind of like come down, support our local baseball team, support our local business and eat and drink local food," said manager Jackie Anaya.

For the first time this year, the Grizzlies are rounding out their options in the Cru Club with something called Farm Fresh dinners, a new promotion on Friday nights, featuring food from local eateries like Peeve's Public House at the Fulton Mall.

"We have all 11 Friday home games so we'll be here for all of them," said executive chef Sean Dunn. "Tonight we have a little bit of Caribbean theme going on, so we have a little bit of a callaloo slaw, we have some Caribbean beans, and we also have a Cuban braised pork."

Owner Craig Scharton said it's a great way to increase exposure to both his business and the local farms who grow his ingredients, as well as drive new foot traffic to his restaurant just blocks from the stadium.

"I'm hopeful we'll get a nice 10-percent bump or so on game nights; I think that would be thrilling for us and not that hard to achieve, and just in the next week or so we'll have outdoor seating before and after games," said Scharton.

Scharton, who also serves as interim CEO of the Downtown Fresno Partnership, said baseball fans don't only go to the game, they go for the experience.

One of the promotions he's offering fans this season is a $5 discount on food and drinks if they park in the garage at Van Ness and Merced, as well as another incentive to the Grizzlies players to get them to stay downtown and mix and mingle with the crowd. He said he'll notify fans by Facebook and Twitter to let them know when the players are at the restaurant.

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