By Jessica Peres
KETTLEMAN CITY, Calif. — After years of planning, this $3 million Bravo Farms shop and restaurant is finally open in Kettleman City — giving travelers a new but familiar place for them to stop.
Traveling along Highway 41 to get to the coast can sometimes wear down a car full of kids, but Luisa Johnson was excited to see the “Bravo Farms” name on their usual stop in Kettleman City, when traveling between Clovis and the Central Coast.
“I love the play area for the kids because anyone who’s driving through usually is a family with kids, and so if you have a chance to rest and have something to stretch out their legs and not complain for the entire 3-hour drive, it’s a good thing,” said Johnson.
After success in Traver, Tulare and Visalia, Bravo Farms has opened up a large, eye-catching stop for people in Kettleman City. Owner Jonathan Van Rys says the old Western-feel place has something for everyone — a play area for kids, old-fashioned ice cream shop, plenty of gifts, and an antique shop.
“Upstairs is kind of for events. We just had a wedding here for 250 people. It was pretty packed; it was out here in this play area,” he said.
Van Rys also hopes the new location will host conferences for businesses who want a meeting place for their customers in Los Angeles and San Francisco. The grass will stay green year-round because it’s synthetic.
“Water is very pricey out here in Kettleman. We wanted to make sure we’re not using a lot of water because of the price but also we’re in the drought,” said Van Rys.
Though some people might come for the traditional, tasty Bravo Farms food, others say the spot adds a new highlight as travelers get to their destinations.
“It’s really nice. They got dining areas upstairs and a bunch of antiques, and the wine tasting, cheese tasting. It’s really nice, like a little oasis in the middle of nowhere,” said Dean Lara of Bakersfield.
The landowner and Bravo Farms’ partner in this project is also hoping to expand on their plans — adding a hotel and another restaurant just south of the property.
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