Bravo Farms readies to dish up Visalia

(Rigo Moran)

Restaurant’s new location looks to bring a unique touch to Visalia’s downtown dining scene, aims to open up in March

VISALIA – Bravo Farms Owner Johnathan Van Ryn was not looking to expand his restaurant chain, but when an opportunity came available in downtown Visalia, he couldn’t pass it up.

“I wasn’t really looking for another project, but, why not?” Van Ryn said. “It’s a good spot. We like it because (the location) isn’t right in the middle of Main Street. Parking is a little easier.”

The location is just a 15-minute drive from the highly successful Tulare location that just recently expanded in 2023. Van Ryn said one of the drivers to open up another location in Visalia is due to the number of Visalians who make the trip to Tulare to dine at the restaurant. He hopes to have the newest Bravo Farms location open by the end of March.

“It’s always a little nerve-wracking that you are going to be stealing some of your business,” Van Ryn said. “Tulare is busy, I’d say a little pressure off of (that location) might do it well and give it some room to grow.”

The Visalia location offers Van Ryn an opportunity to try out some new ideas. The building – a former office complex near Wells Fargo – offers an upstairs area that will eventually seat 75 people and will include a horseshoe-shaped bar along with a special menu unique to Visalia. The restaurant features 26-foot ceilings throughout that add a dramatic effect to the build and something unique to the downtown dining scene.

bravo-farms-coming-soon-sign-10-24-rm
(Rigo Moran)

The Visalia location offers Van Ryn an opportunity to try out some new ideas. The building – a former office complex near Wells Fargo – offers an upstairs area that will eventually seat 75 people and will include a horseshoe-shaped bar along with a special menu unique to Visalia. The restaurant features 26-foot ceilings throughout that add a dramatic effect to the build and something unique to the downtown dining scene.

“We are going to do some higher-end stuff with steaks and barbecue,” Van Ryn said.

The downstairs part of the restaurant will feature a similar menu to the Tulare location with a focus on customizable salads, soups, and sandwiches in a rustic-themed space. The menu is something that offers variety on Main Street while also being approachable to the casual diner.

The cost of adding dining to the second story has been a unique challenge due to the need to add an elevator and emergency exits, a costly endeavor that Van Ryn said has been worth it. Initially, Van Ryn said there was a debate as to whether it was worth it to build out the space, but the unique opportunity to provide upstairs dining and a unique Visalia-centric menu made the decision worth exploring.

“Everyone we bring up there has said, ‘I’ll be back,’” Van Ryn said. “It has been well received. There is a lot to construction nowadays. It just gets a little trickier, but we are getting through it. Everybody in the city has been great, but there is red tape. It’s manageable, but just a lot of communication.”

Bravo Farms brings a lot of name recognition to the Visalia region. The Kettleman City location – which is significantly different from the Tulare or Traver restaurants – is a well-known stopping point for Bay Area travelers on their way to the Central Coast. Van Ryn hopes that a location in Visalia will draw road-weary travelers off of local highways, which are just minutes from the location.

Van Ryn said that he has had lots of interest from Bakersfieldians hoping to see a location there. Options in Fresno were also available, but Van Ryn said he wasn’t as willing to travel the distance to get a restaurant off the ground and sustainable given that he has a young family and lives in Tulare. Visalia offers him a short drive and the possibility to offer a vibrant region something unique and new.

Van Ryn is doing a lot of the build-out himself and anticipates the Visalia location to be ready to open around the end of next month if current plans pan out. He is working with his long-time friend Derrick Brinkman of DLB Design, who has done interior and graphic design for every Bravo Farms build, to complete the project.

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