Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, restaurants emerge in the place of old ones in Bakersfield.
We recently learned that a third Bakersfield location for In-N-Out will go in the space where Coco's Bakery Restaurant last stood. But not every change requires a demolition; some eateries renovate existing spaces with the hope they'll fare better than their predecessor.
Here are a couple of new restaurants in northeast Bakersfield aiming to make names for themselves.
JoJo's Restaurant opened recently on Auburn Street in place of the former Peking Palace, which held that spot for years through changing owners and closures.
The new eatery serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, currently serving from a small menu as business grows. According to JoJo's Facebook page, the menu will eventually triple in size with desserts and designated offerings for children and seniors.
Chicken-fried steak, a Bakersfield diner staple, is among the breakfast offerings along with biscuits and gravy, skillets with country potatoes, French toast, pancakes and omelets. Lunch includes salads with fried chicken, steak and other protein as well as cold and hot sandwiches and hamburgers. Along with steaks, dinner options include a fried feast: fried shrimp, chicken-fried chicken, chicken-fried steak, fried catfish and fish and chips.
Another new restaurant, Mariscos The Fresh Medallion, popped up in northeast Bakersfield in a spot off Mount Vernon Avenue that was briefly a Burgerim. That burger chain has not had much luck in town — even pre-COVID-19 — from locations closing and reopening to prolonged opening delays elsewhere. Its former restaurant on Gosford Road is now home to Angry Chickz, part of a SoCal chain, proving that hot chicken is a local draw no matter where you set up. Now that this northeast spot is a Mexican seafood restaurant the only remaining Burgerim is in the Frugatti's Plaza at 600 Coffee Road, Suite U.
Mariscos The Fresh Medallion popped on our radar through social media, specifically through the Bakersfield Local Restaurant Group, which did a good job during the shutdown of helping keep residents informed about restaurant deals, takeout, curbside pickup and reopenings. As local businesses continue to navigate these current guidelines while also keeping their doors open, it's nice to see that the community is keeping the conversation and support going online.
Happy hour should live up to its name with offerings including tuna crudo ($10) with chives, avocado and serrano peppers; Peruvian scallops ($10); crispy oysters ($10); and crispy fries ($7) with remoulade sauce and Old Bay seasoning.
Along with beers, micheladas and flavored margaritas, cocktails include a paloma ($6) with grapefruit soda and Mazatlan mule ($8) with cucumber-infused El Guitarron agave wine, ginger beer and lime juice.
On the main menu, seafood is also the star, with entrees including whole fish a la plancha ($29), seared salmon ($21) in a caper wine sauce and a seafood combo ($31) of shrimp, scallops and lobster in a "holy trinity" seafood stock.
Crudos and ceviches are well represented with an aguachile platter ($15) and bowl ($17), yellowtail hamachi ($17) and chef campechana ($18) with shrimp, oysters, scallops and fish.
For those who prefer land-dweller options, the menu includes burgers — kids ($10) and messy ($16) — and a fried chicken sando ($15) with honey aioli.
The restaurant is at 2658 Mount Vernon Ave. Suite B.