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Eat, drink, read
With all the turmoil in the newspaper biz these days, it's nice to meet a guy like Vik Sapatjian — someone who cares about the written word and the printed page.
It's pretty much the theme of Fresno's Newsroom Cafe, the cafe/eatery/readery (we're assuming he made that word up) on Kern Street, downtown. The café will have a soft opening on Monday.
The Newsroom is small, in a cozy sort of way, with 10 or so tables along the front and side windows, and walls decorated with old Pop Laval pictures, each picked for its newspaper theme.
There's one of a paper boy, his bike loaded down with the morning edition.Another shows a newsstand at the Santa Fe Depot.
If that doesn't work for you, there's free Wi-Fi if you must.
“I've go to keep with the technology of the times,” Sapatjian says.
But his base customers are the downtown crew, those doing the nine-to-five, and looking for a comfortable place where they can grab a quick something before work, or at lunch. This is someplace you can hang out, and (and this is the important part) “actually grab a newspaper,” he says, “something tangible," instead of being holed up in a cubicle, reading their news on-line. Not that anyone we know does that, right?
Sapatjian frequented similar places when he lived in Los Feliz. But the idea for his version of the café came from visiting his wife downtown — she does court filings and processing.
He kept meeting people who were looking for that good ole-fashioned burger joint. So, the cafe is in a niche of sorts — with its classic American fare of hotdogs (all beef) and hamburgers, and breakfast of eggs and toast and country potatoes.
For all you looking for a favorite breakfast spot, this could be it. The café won't be open on weekends just yet, though Sapatjian plans to extend the hours if warranted.
It IS still a cafe, so there will be espresso and cappuccino, a latte if you'd like, but its not trying to compete with other businesses in the area, Sapatjian says. He IS trying to create one of those Third Spaces the creatives are always talking about, where the customers are regulars, everyone is on a first-name basis and the spot is yours, as much as his.
“That's your seat. Your name is on it,” Sapatjian says.
Other new businesses in the area: The fast (but not fast food) Kebab Express opened in the Historic Hotel Viginia Building in March. See the restaurant and full menu at www.kebabxpress.com. Teazer World Tea Market, a Tower District fave, opened its downtown location last week in The Galleria. Word is the tea shop will open early, and stay open late. It is hosting a grand-opening celebration, 7 p.m., March, 21.
Fresno's Newsroom Café
901 L Street at Kern Street
6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday to Friday