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Fresno’s family-owned pizza parlor and institution has reopened for business in its new location at 7835 N. Palm, Suite 106, just a few doors down from GB3 on Palm and Nees. (Coincidence? I think not. Burn off some calories, eat some pizza, lather, rinse, repeat!) Judging by the excitement over the reopening seen both on our social media outlets when I last wrote about Popolo’s moving to a new location (click the link to read the original article and more of the back story about the move), and the number of excited comments on Popolo’s own Facebook page, I thought I’d be remiss if I failed to go check out the new place upon opening, so that I could report on the new digs. So, I sucked it up and make the great sacrifice of enjoying all I could eat salad and a gigantic slice of pizza on my lunch break with the kiddo and husband. I know, I know – what a martyr, right? But, alas, someone had to do it, for the sake of journalism!
All joking aside, I like many Fresnans have been frequently checking (err… stalking) the Popolo’s Facebook page to find out when the new location would open its doors, and when I saw that it was happening, I knew I wanted to be among the first to go. As I mentioned, our family when for lunch, and it happened to be only their fourth day open in the new restaurant, so we kept our expectations low, knowing they would undoubtedly be training new staff and still working out a few kinks. However, there is a lot of positive to report and share, and I’m sure you’re dying to know what to expect, so without further adieu – here’s a breakdown, from my own perspective:
What you can look forward to:
- The restaurant itself is spacious, comfortable, can seat a lot of people and despite it being in Capo’s former location, which was known for being dimly lit, Popolo’s is well-lit and has an open floor plan
- Friendly servers abound, drinks continue to be served in giant cups, there’s still table service and lots of t.v. screens showing anything you’d want to be able to watch.
- There is still a banquet room area for large parties (though, it was closed off while we were there, so it may not be open just yet, or you know, it may have just been a Monday lunch hour)
- The prices are very affordable, as they’ve always been, and the helpings are huge – no one will leave hungry!
- Lunch specials are available for well under $10. I enjoyed unlimited salad and a “fat slice” with two toppings for $7.95. If you don’t care for salad, you can enjoy a Fat Slice a la cart for just $3.95, and one Fat Slice is easily two large slices of pizza elsewhere in size.
The covered patio is spacious and can be set up to be open air or enclosed, and there are ceiling fans installed to keep the air moving.For the kids, there’s an arcade room in the back to enjoy – most games are 50 cents and there is a change machine available, too.
All in all, there is a lot to look forward to at Popolo’s, and I’m really pleased to see the restaurant managed to preserve it’s friendly, unpretentious vibe even in it’s new, upscale location. I’m certain the crowds will be rolling in not just in the next few weeks, but for years and years to come. If you go in the next few days, I’d recommend ensuring you’ve got enough time to be a little patient, as there are a lot of new people training. Our hostess did mention she was brand new, and apologized for being a bit behind – so, if you’re planning to head over on a timed lunch break, I would suggest just waiting a few weeks so everyone can get the hang of things and the pace will be at full tilt. The only other challenge I noted was the salad bar is at a bit of a tricky angle. You have to bend down in kind of a strange position to get items from the back row of containers, and there is just one side to walk along as you fill your salad plate. Seeing as Popolo’s is known for it’s tasty, fresh all-you-can-eat salad bar, I can imagine the line getting a bit long on busy nights. Perhaps there will be ways to tweak the setup soon though to improve that. It certainly was worth bending a bit for me to enjoy all of my favorite salad toppings in the exact way I used to pile them on a plate as a kid at the old Popolo’s on Shaw and Marks each Saturday with my grandparents.
I’m so happy to see Popolo’s back in action and making their wonderful, thick crust pizzas and delighting with super chilled, fresh salad bar ingredients again. I look forward to many weekend nights there with my own son as time goes on, and hope you’ll stop in to enjoy some pizza, breadsticks or a calzone soon too! I’m sure you’ll be glad you did.