CArthop Fulfills Cravings on Fulton Street
Downtowners know- there isn’t a shortage of food options along Fulton Street.
Along the 2 mile stretch, there are dozens of eateries for visitors to consider. Los Panchos is one of the longest-running restaurants on the block and will soon have an outdoor patio. People can sink their teeth into some of the juiciest burgers at Take 3 Burgers, and can pick up some tasty fried chicken from The Chicken Shack. And as more eateries open, including Toshiko Japanese Cuisine, there will be a bigger variety to choose from. It’s a great problem to have 🙂
Once a week, the Downtown lunchtime crowd – including some of us at the TW Patterson Building– is treated to even more on Thursdays, thanks to CArthop. This event, organized by the Downtown Fresno Partnership, got its start about 8 years ago as a way to showcase the diverse foods being prepared in Fresno, while bringing more people Downtown and creating a boost to the local economy.
“What I love most about CArthop is that I see people getting out of their offices, walking through Downtown and just spending time outside,” says Tatevik Hovhannisyan, Events Coordinator for the Downtown Fresno Partnership. “More people are hanging out outside, enjoying the scenery and art, filling out the public spaces and just enjoying everything Downtown has to offer.”
The construction project to bring traffic back to Fulton led to CArthop being moved from its former location at Fulton & Merced to its new home at Mariposa Plaza.. But this ended up being a blessing in disguise: relocating meant having more space for food trucks (and their hungry customers!). At Mariposa Plaza, up to 8 different food trucks can park for the duration of the event, providing a bigger variety of food. Another change included rotating the trucks being featured at the event, each month.
“I think it’s great for Fresno to have CArthop, especially the Downtown area, even with a
lot of newer eateries popping up,” says Tony Mullings, Manager of TakoBBQ.
“We love being there on Thursdays—we’ve been doing it for about 5 years. Each
week, we look forward to greeting our customers and giving them the same good
cuisine they want and they’re used to.”
However, the successes these food trucks are seeing may have had the opposite effect
on the permanent fixtures on Fulton Street. While some restaurant owners say having
more people at CArthop is driving more people to visit them, some other restaurant
owners say they’ve noticed business for them is slightly lower on Thursdays because people are getting their meals from the food trucks instead.
“We are major supporters of CArthop and believe it’s amazing for Downtown, especially
Fulton Street, even if it leads to slower business on Thursdays,’ says Ana Lilia Patino
Mojica, owner of Los Panchos restaurant. “In fact, we are looking for ways to use this
as an opportunity to launch a rewards program: offering a deal to CArthop customers
who come to our restaurant.”
CArthop organizers are now looking for solutions to resolve this issue. “The purpose of
the event is to bring vibrancy to Downtown Fresno,” according to Hovhannisyan.
“Hearing that it wasn’t serving its purpose for merchants and property owners was a
great indicator changes were needed for the event.” The Downtown Fresno Partnership
is listening to businesses, merchants and customers and are considering different
options which would benefit all parties. For now, the organization isn’t revealing much
about those options, but they promise whatever happens, they will continue to stick to
their mission to serve the Downtown Fresno and Fulton Street community, including those who work in the area.
CArthop runs every Thursday, rain or shine, at Mariposa Plaza from 11 am to 2 pm. It’s open to the public (dogs too!) and features free live entertainment from local DJs and musicians. The featured food trucks change each month, and the schedule is always posted on CArthop’s facebook page.