Yoshino Japanese Restaurant is yet another River Park business to bug out of the north Fresno mega shopping center. This one hurts. Yoshino was one of the original classy, home grown eateries to anchor the new shopping center back in the day. Super delicious and not incredibly pricey, Yoshino was a great place to eat and a credit to local culinary excellence. While it’s unclear as to the specifics, what we know is Yoshino did not renew their lease, which expired in May.
I know businesses come and go and this is especially true for restaurants. That’s just the ebb and flow of the market. I always thought they could do a better job of marketing themselves. They were in a prime spot with plenty of drive by and foot traffic so location wasn’t the problem. The last time I ate there I remember thinking to myself, “Man, there is no signage and all the windows are tinted black. If you didn’t frequent the shopping center you might not even notice it or know it was a restaurant from just passing by.” Maybe they already knew they weren’t going to renew the lease and were just trying to run out the clock.
When River Park first opened, and many were saying that such a mega shopping was a big city thing and wouldn’t work in Fresno, the little strip that led up to Edwards Stadium 21 theatre, was really all there was in terms of food. Those first twin towers of local eats were Yoshino and Dai Bai Dang (a local Asian fusion spot). When I was doing sponsor development for Reel Pride in graduate school we used to take clients and potential higher end donors there dinner and drinks. With Yoshino gone now it really feels like the end of the era.