We're often talking about hidden gems in the county, restaurants and food businesses that are out of the way unless you live in the area.
Sometimes, though, these cool spots are hiding in plain sight. As downtown Bakersfield grows with new eateries and developments, Reset has been operating out of Bitwise Bakersfield since October.
Don't sleep on this spot, though, since it's offering a strong coffee and cafe program with a focus on local purveyors and produce.
Bitwise Industries, based in Fresno, is built on offering software and entrepreneurship training and supporting technology-related business startups with a focus on disadvantaged communities. Its Bakersfield location also offers coworking spaces and offices for local businesses.
Understanding caffeine (and nourishment) can fuel creativity and industry, Reset offers a resource not only for Bitwise staff and building tenants but also the public at large.
Jennifer Sanderson, Bitwise's director of food and beverage amenities, said the cafe provides an opportunity for community building.
"It's a way to welcome people into the building, to create a gathering place. It's another avenue for innovation."
That's a companywide mission evident at Bitwise's State Center Warehouse in Fresno, which has a food court, open to the public, already home to Mosaic Cafe and the soon-to-open Railway, which will serve pizza and cocktails.
Reset's cafe is fully operational, with its bar, featuring a downstairs arcade and 1980s-themed bar area, set to open in the coming months with themed cocktails and an expanded menu.
Menu items at the cafe have continued to evolve and grow since the soft opening last fall.
Kevin Arambula, food and beverage site lead for Bitwise Bakersfield, has overseen the cafe team, including barista Demi Perez and cook Keith Arambula (who is also Kevin's twin brother).
A popular item is the Yoshi matcha waffle ($8), named for the dinosaur who has appeared in "Super Mario" video games. Like the bar, some menu item names are a nod to ’80s gaming.
"It's been a hit ever since we came out with it," Kevin Arambula said of the matcha green waffle with a "shell" of whipped cream served on top.
Arambula said they hope to add other waffles, including a savory version to the menu. Other breakfast options include the breakfast flatbread ($8), which can also be made as a bowl and can be prepared vegan as well.
The fresh pressed juices are also popular, with green juice lovers like Arambula opting for Piranha Power, a blend of celery, cucumber, green apple, ginger, lime and spinach, and King Koopa, made with orange, mango, carrot, ginger and lemon, for those who want something sweeter.
A lunch item that diners should not sleep on is the poke bowl ($7.50), with sushi rice, mango, shredded carrots and deliciously marinated cucumbers. For $2 more, you can add either Atlantic salmon and ahi tuna or crispy tofu, which is double smoked with wood oak. The bowl is served with soy sauce or a vegan version made with coconut amino acids.
Asian influences are evident in the menu with its wasabi fries ($4.25), which taps the pungent flavor with wasabi salt, and the K Street tacos ($7.50 for three), with a choice of that double-smoked crispy tofu or chuck steak that's been marinated in chili paste, orange and lime juices, fresh ginger, and garlic. The tacos are topped with a house-made citrus coleslaw with red cabbage, cilantro and pickled onions.
Along with an assortment of classic tea, coffee and espresso offerings, the cafe serves pour-overs currently featuring Imperial Gold Coffee, co-founded by Bitwise employee Ellis Gibson. Arambula said sourcing coffee, like much of what is used in the menu, is focused on local options.
That includes Prodonuts in the pastry case. Aubrey Felkins, who makes the gluten-free protein doughnuts, rents office space in the building.
And local honey is a highlight of the KC latte ($5.50), an espresso drink featuring house-made orange simple syrup, orange zest and oatmilk. It is served in a snifter glass with nugget ice, which reminded me of how sodas are served at fellow downtown spot Mexicali.
Speaking of local, the cafe features specially designed mugs made by local ceramicist and educator Yvonne Cavanagh.
Enjoy the churro cappuccino ($4) in one of the mugs with its blend of espresso, house-made vanilla and caramel syrup and cinnamon-infused milk.
The cafe's third specialty coffee, almond matcha latte ($5.50), pays tribute to one of Kern's top crops with house-made almond simple syrup, almond milk and organic matcha.
Currently the cafe is open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday with plans to eventually stay open for dinner (when the bar opens) as well as weekend hours. Seating is spread out in the lobby area and more will be added outside in the future.
Reset is located inside Bitwise, 1723 18th St. Follow @reset.bits.bytes.brews on Instagram for the latest information.