THE DISH: New Noreiga’s aims to feed traditions | Meals

You will find a classic recipe that goes into building an fantastic restaurant.  You start with terrific food stuff, throw in atmosphere, sprinkle in great support and a sprint of passion. When the Noreiga Resort, the James Beard Award-successful cafe that set the bar for Kern’s tradition of Basque eating, […]

You will find a classic recipe that goes into building an fantastic restaurant.  You start with terrific food stuff, throw in atmosphere, sprinkle in great support and a sprint of passion.

When the Noreiga Resort, the James Beard Award-successful cafe that set the bar for Kern’s tradition of Basque eating, shut final year, several diners were despondent. Shedding a piece of culinary heritage will do that to folks. 

Out of the wrestle of a pandemic year, a new hope emerged. Restaurateurs Monthly bill and Koie Osathanukhro, who also own Glitz Cafe, Content Wings and KK’s Cafe, purchased the Noriega Resort name and liquor license, together with the tables, chairs, plates and much of the memorabilia, to have on the tradition, albeit in a various site, that began in 1893.

Now open at 4809 Stockdale Freeway (in the previous property of Cafe Med), Noriega’s is chaotic serving a few foods a day 6 days a 7 days with all the Basque favorites that diners had occur to really like, courtesy of chef Gilbert, who came from the first cafe (and, like other celebrities, prefers to only go by his very first name).

“I want individuals to knowledge Noriega’s,” Koie Osathanukhro said. “I do not want people today to test to look at but to have entertaining and encounter it.”

There is a definite familiarity, beginning with the eating room with the prolonged tables set up for family-type eating.

Robert Wallace, a longtime purchaser of the Previous Town Kern establishment, was fired up by what he noticed coming in for breakfast on Tuesday. A retired carpenter who now drives a bus for the Bakersfield City University District, Wallace was continuing a tradition of his have. Just as his manager had introduced him to Noreiga Lodge for lunch starting up in the 1970s, he brought his BCSD coworker and close friend Brian Machuca to the new restaurant to delight in a Basque-type meal.

“I introduced him listed here to encounter this, knowledge the food stuff,” Wallace explained. 

“I have no notion what to hope,” Machuca reported. “He just brought me here.”

The good news is for Machuca, the food followed the conventional breakfast lineup of Basque sausage, home-treated bacon, Pyrenees Bakery bread, apricot jam, salsa, slices of Jack cheese and wine on the table. (The duo opted for tall eyeglasses of iced tea.) The meal also included a pork chop, a person of the lunch specials that day, and a selection of fried eggs or an omelet.

“Did you get an omelet?” Wallace questioned his close friend, who ordered immediately after him. “That is a great option.”

The gregarious retiree loved joking with server Jillian Ashbaugh, who assisted demonstrate the set up to Machuca.

(Individuals questioning about lunch and supper entrees need to be assured that favorites like garlic fried chicken, oxtail stew, leg of lamb and primary rib are on the menu along with occasional specials together with lamb shank, chile verde and paella, which was served on Father’s Working day.)

Wallace explained the Basque eating working experience relies on the foods and the workers.

“The workforce there produced the ambiance a great deal far more than a restaurant,” he claimed of the unique cafe.

The workforce guiding the new Noreiga’s aims to make visitors truly feel welcome. Osathanukhro reported spouse and children-type eating is an crucial custom to proceed.

“You really don’t know each individual other but get to sit jointly and discuss,” she stated recalling a special birthday evening meal at the Noriega Lodge. She said when they went to pay out, they realized their tablemates, who they had just fulfilled, experienced paid out for their food.

Open less than a month, the restaurant has currently experienced a great deal of pay back-it-ahead diners who have protected meals and drinks, Osathanukhro explained. That generosity and human link is something the restaurateur is content to foster.

“And after COVID, never we all need that?” mentioned common manager Krystal Allison.

Many of individuals with fond reminiscences of the Noreiga Lodge have occur in and shared stories and expressed their exhilaration in the new endeavor, Osathanukhro said, noting one shopper pointed out her great-grandmother in an old photo on display. 

The cafe is loaded with memorabilia from the unique place. The hard cash sign up, alongside with cards and poker chips, an original menu and liquor bottles are on screen around the entrance. Reprints of aged photos of the Noreiga Lodge, including when it was the Iberia Hotel, are framed all over the making as nicely as a worn leather-based apron, framed along with a photograph of where by it after hung upcoming to a sink. (The first bar and neon sign are on screen at the Kern County Museum.)

Allison said work continues on creating the proper atmosphere.

“I do not know that Koie will at any time be done,” she joked. “Very last weekend was put in refinishing the fountain out entrance.”

In the quieter early hrs, Allison explained she has a makeshift workplace in the bar space, which she enjoys becoming out on the floor.

Coming from 1933, she explained she was enthusiastic to help establish on an present brand name.

“I was definitely fascinated in the challenge. It truly is honoring the outdated heritage although supporting the new owners grow into their possess.”

If Wallace and Machuca, who left happy soon after a large breakfast, are any sign, Bakersfield will welcome this new Basque variation.

“I hope they are thriving,” Wallace reported. “It would not have the constructing, but it can be in an space with much easier accessibility.”

Shoppers who keep in mind the location’s days as Cafe Med and are delighted to have a thriving community spot again, and other folks are fired up that Noreiga’s life on, Allison explained.

“When they arrive in, they are thrilled that the food items preferences just as they try to remember. They are offering us a good shot. Alter is challenging … but we can really feel the relationship between Noriega’s and the customer.”

Noriega’s is open Tuesday through Sunday, serving breakfast from 7 to 10 a.m. and lunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Evening meal seatings are at 6 and 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 6 p.m. only the rest of the week.

Evening meal reservations are strongly encouraged contact 885-8515 to reserve. For extra data, visit its Facebook webpage (

Stefani Dias can be arrived at at 661-395-7488. Follow her on Twitter at @realstefanidias.

Traci J. Lewis

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