Friday, November 28, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Blue Frog to become Fuddruckers

By
From page B6 | May 07, 2013 |

FAIRFIELD — Blue Frog Grog and Grill is leaving and Fuddruckers is coming.

Dennis Landis announced Monday that he is selling the restaurant at 1750 Travis Blvd. that he has operated since 1999. The restaurant’s name was inspired by the song “I’m In Love With a Big Blue Frog” sung by the folk group Peter, Paul and Mary.

The Blue Frog will close its doors for good after Mother’s Day on Sunday.

Landis’ history at the Travis Boulevard site goes beyond the Blue Frog. He previously opened a now-gone Marie Callender’s restaurant there.

“We’ve been at it for 25 years,” Landis said. “We started in 1987. My wife and I decided to retire . . . . It’s kind of bittersweet.”

They are happy to be moving on and doing something else, Landis said. But they’ve enjoyed what they’ve done for 25 years and worked with a wonderful staff, he said.

Landis opened the first restaurant in the city’s Gateway area with Marie Callender’s, Fairfield Senior Economic Development Division Project Manager Karl Dumas said.

“He set the tone out there,” Dumas said. “He was a pioneer. He took a chance before anybody else. He saw Fairfield had a good potential.”

Landis will take with him the 3-foot-tall, 300-pound bronze statue of Hops the Frog in the lobby. The restaurant website calls Hops the “host prince” of Blue Frog Grog and Grill.

But the Blue Frog will live on in a fashion. Landis said the new owner will continue making Blue Frog beer.

The new owner is George Almeida, who has been the region’s Fuddruckers franchise owner for about 25 years. George and his wife Becke own franchises in Concord, Walnut Creek, Emeryville and Union City.

Fuddruckers sells burgers with patties ranging from a third-of-a-pound to a pound. It has nearly 200 restaurants in North America.

The Fairfield Fuddruckers should open by late August or early September, Almeida said Monday.

“Fairfield has just always been a market we’ve wanted to be in,” he said. “We have lots of folks who come here to our Concord store and Walnut Creek store from that area.”

Dumas recalled that 10 to 12 years ago, the possibility arose that Fuddruckers might go where Mimi’s Cafe is now located. Almeida also recalled trying to come to Fairfield years ago and talking to city economic development officials at the time.

Almeida confirmed that he will continue to operate the Blue Frog brewery, and with the same brewmaster.

Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or beberling@dailyrepublic.net. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.

Barry Eberling

Barry Eberling

Barry Eberling has been a reporter with the Daily Republic since 1987. He covers Solano County government, transportation, growth and the environment. He received his bachelors of art degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara and his masters degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley.
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Discussion | 42 comments

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  • Rick WoodMay 07, 2013 - 7:02 am

    Happy retirement, Dennis. I hope you are staying in the community, but if not, best wishes wherever you go.

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  • CD BrooksMay 07, 2013 - 7:11 am

    Fuddruckers is ok but do we really need another burger joint? Personally, I'd prefer Marie coming back!

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  • S KMay 07, 2013 - 7:35 am

    Man CD do I agree with you on that one. Another good unique restaurant bites the dust. My Son and one of his childhood friends loved it, one coming down from Sacto the other from Hayward, just to go THERE, finally getting us to go. Fairfield really does not need another burger joint. The new owners may get a bounce at the beginning, but won't last long at all, probably being stolen by Vacaville, where most of our really good restaurants end up going. I'm surprised that Fairfield can hold onto ANY restaurants. Must be the fast food capital of the nation.

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  • Paul OlsonMay 07, 2013 - 1:33 pm

    Not sure if Almeida did his basic market research: 1) Monsoon Burger (the best IMO) 2) Dave's Burger 3) Nations 4) Red Robin 5) Five Guys Did Dennis even try to sell the Blue Frog as a turn key restaurant? The tell tale signs were there when they started messing with the menu I suppose. We lost Pietros of Fairfield, Vintage Caffe, and now the Blue Frog.... Is there anything left to lose in Fairfield?

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  • CD BrooksMay 07, 2013 - 1:37 pm

    Wow Paul, "Is there anything left to lose in Fairfield?" That is a loaded quetion! I suppose we could start with the Planners and then the Mayor/Council???

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  • Paul OlsonMay 07, 2013 - 2:38 pm

    Excellent point!

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  • JamesMay 07, 2013 - 7:49 pm

    Not looking to lose any more great resturants but to enjoy. Have you tried the Benicia Grill on North Texas St next to carls jr. The menue is like Cheescake Factory it's very nice inside and the food is great that is almost a hidden gem ...

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  • Paul OlsonMay 08, 2013 - 3:08 pm

    The Benicia Grill II has promise but is not close to gem status yet. Nice job on the interior. The current owner seems genuinely interested in making it work. The restaurant needs to develop a personality. Food is OK, but nothing particularly special. The prior owner's red and black interior was...interesting. Currently the Main St Grill in Suisun is the high water mark IMO.

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  • JazzAzzMay 07, 2013 - 7:45 am

    Really another burger place???? Please Fairfield, why do you keep attracting mainly fast food restaurants. Don't wish you bad luck, Fuddruckers, but IMO another one, is Not welcome. For the rare occasions we want one of your burgers, we can slum over to Concord :-). We want our Blue Frog, or BRING Marie's back.

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  • LMDMay 07, 2013 - 8:32 am

    I think this is a great idea. A Fuddruckers in Fairfield is long overdue. I would have liked to see it near the old Howard Johnson's location up on the end of N. Texas St., but this will due. Keeping the Blue Frog beer is a great idea. Marie Callendar's was average, the best thing going for them was their Mother's Day buffet.

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  • Dexter FowlerMay 07, 2013 - 9:55 am

    Yet again Fairfield is earning its title of the capital of mediocrity.Fuddruckers is ok Blue Frog was great. I can see why businesses want to leave Fairfield. Taxes go up the people in power don't support local businesses. Whoever is in charge of the planning and oversight of Fairfield really is doing a poor job. Vacaville is so superior to Fairfield and its really not that different as far as size etc.Everything good is in Vacaville. The people who are running Fairfield should go learn something from Vacaville. They have a better sense of community as well.I really cant blame any business for leaving for Fairfield or not even wanting to come here in the first place. There is no loyalty or support of small local businesses. Sad and pathetic.

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  • Rick WoodMay 07, 2013 - 10:34 am

    Interesting outpouring, and not unjustified. The question is, what are we doing about it? Fairfield has some significant assets, but lots of interesting, quality restaurants is not one of them. If Fairfield and Suisun City ever merged, Fairfield would double its better restaurant list. I’ve heard it said that Fairfield is an enlisted person’s town, while Vacaville is where the officers go and live. That may be an overstatement, but there’s some truth to it and it shows the situation goes way back (I won’t call it a “problem,” because what’s wrong with being an enlisted person?). Yet Fairfield can claim Suisun Valley, Jelly Belly, the regional mall, Travis AFB, and a good mix of housing. It has a first rate water supply, treatment, and delivery system (if it can keep it; see comments on rate increase) and also a first rate wastewater system. It can claim to be one of the gateways to the Bay Area (while Vacaville can claim to be a gateway to the Central Valley, not bad either). I think Fairfield’s fate was sealed with the feud between Robert Waterman and Josiah Wing. Isn’t it time we put that behind us and talked about merging the two cities? Neither can reach its full potential alone.

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  • S KMay 07, 2013 - 12:12 pm

    H_LL NO, I wouldn't want to merge Suisun with Fairfield EVER!!!!! Fairfield can keeps its' higher crime rate, yes I understand a much higher population and gang members/perps. But they can also keep bragging about their WEST side, with a great view of Interstate 80>>LOL, while we have out very nice waterfront, more diligent law enforcement along with its' lower crime rate. If it were up to me, all our activities on the waterfront would be a good revenue source, free to residents, showing some sort of ID, but a very low nominal fee of just $1 to anyone else.

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  • S KMay 07, 2013 - 12:14 pm

    TYPO ALERT>>>Meant OUR very nice waterfront. I can spell, I just can't type>>LOL

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  • dexter FowlerMay 07, 2013 - 1:05 pm

    Why would Suisun want to merge with Fairfield? Suisun is SO much nicer than Fairfield. They have a nice downtown area ours is ok but looks dumpy compared to Suisun and Vacaville. Susuin wouldn't want our higher tax rate. The city managers & planners of Fairfield have failed BIG time.We do have some decent events like the Farmers market & the tomato festival but they are few and far between. Vacaville trumps us in events too. They have a home & garden show Fiesta days a really nice tree lighting ceremony we fail compared to them.Our local Govt & politicians do not support local businesses so why should we?

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  • Rick WoodMay 07, 2013 - 1:27 pm

    Suisun would want to merge with Fairfield to take advantage of growth opportunities and the larger tax base. If the cites were merged, the Wal-Mart on Highway 12 wouldn't have happened. It's only there because SC had no other choices. SC could also stay out of Suisun Marsh and other sensitive areas. Road maintenance is a ticking time bomb in SC, less so in FF. Then we have the problem of sea level rise, which, though somewhat speculative, will possibly result in SC having to relocate! No one likes to think about that, but the possibility can’t be denied.

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  • Rick WoodMay 07, 2013 - 1:28 pm

    Come to think of it, why would FF want to merge with SC?

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  • CD BrooksMay 07, 2013 - 1:54 pm

    When I first heard the suggestion for merging many years ago, I thought it was a good idea. I still do. I am not a resident of Suisun, but I really like S K's idea for free entry to events with ID! But maybe a fiver for out-of-towners? :)

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  • Mr. PracticalMay 07, 2013 - 7:47 pm

    It was proposed years ago and Alan Witt shot the idea down. The larger tax base won't be as much of an issue once the housing market comes back and retail sales tax is improved. I'm assuming it would have to go to the ballot and would never fly.

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  • Rick WoodMay 07, 2013 - 11:40 pm

    There will always be somebody to shoot it down, or try to. That's clear. Captains Waterman and Wing would be happy about their immortal division. SC would actually be a tax liability because of the lack of sales tax, lower standards for infrastructure and exposure to sea level rise. But I sill maintain neither city can meet its full potential without a merger. The merged city would instantly be the largest in Solano County without adding one new person.

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  • Celeste DMay 07, 2013 - 12:31 pm

    I wish Elephant Bar would come to Fairfield because it would be a great change from burgers and steaks. They could take over the Fresh Choice spot. I don't know what's wrong with FF but when it comes to recreation & dining, it can't compete with VV.

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  • dexter FowlerMay 07, 2013 - 1:10 pm

    Elephant Bar would be great! I doubt we would get one though. Is anything ever going to go into the old Hungry Hunter building? That place has been vacant for YEARS.

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  • CD BrooksMay 07, 2013 - 1:34 pm

    The Fresh choice building is way too small and the parking in the area sucks. The Hungry Hunter building is in a very bad spot, too difficult getting in and out and probably not a big enough footprint for an Elephant Bar. Love to see an Elephant Bar come to town though, maybe where they’re leveling the hill at North Texas/I80? I'd also like to see a Cheesecake Factory come to town. Thought I heard somewhere that was a possibility?

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  • SteveMay 07, 2013 - 1:36 pm

    Interesting conversation. Why won't better restaurants come here? Simple demographics. For example, Elephant Bar looks at the demographics of zip code 94533 and determines if it fits their business model. Believe me it doesn't. Add in zip code 94534 and things improve, but not enough.

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  • Christine in FFMay 07, 2013 - 5:16 pm

    I think the Hungry Hunter location would be a great spot for a nice restaurant. Isn't there much more high end housing back there off Hillborn since HH closed? I remember going to that site over 30 years ago, many times, with my grandmother for dinner. Can anyone refresh my memory on the name of the restaurant back then? Anyway, there used to only be The Point Apartments over there way back then.

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  • CD BrooksMay 08, 2013 - 8:24 am

    Christine, the Hungry Hunter was okay but the location is a killer. Local residents don't necessarily translate to a high customer base. I was involved in marketing strategy during my early years and believe me, being on one side of a main thoroughfare as opposed to the other has ruined major grocery stores. People don't want to drive through a "maze" to get to their destination especially restaurants, they want easy access.

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  • Christine in FFMay 08, 2013 - 8:48 am

    My husband reminded me of what it was many, many years ago~ Fairfield Landing.

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  • CD BrooksMay 08, 2013 - 2:06 pm

    AH yes, thank you Christine for the reminder!

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  • Mr PracticalMay 08, 2013 - 2:14 pm

    But what was it before it was Fairfield Landing?

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  • Rick WoodMay 08, 2013 - 2:41 pm

    Sherwood Forest, or something like that. It had a Robin Hood theme.

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  • Mr. PracticalMay 09, 2013 - 5:55 am

    It was Sherwood Forest. Rick is correct and wins the beautiful washer-dryer combination. We went there for a drink when it first opened and our waitresses name, and I am not kidding, was Bambi!

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  • Jones EffectMay 07, 2013 - 5:53 pm

    Fuddruckers is great. I & my kids favorite. We like Dave's (who doesn't), Monsoon & Five guys but you can't beat Fuddruckers and those buns. Always been a buns guy...

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  • LilMay 07, 2013 - 6:06 pm

    Not a fan of Fuddruckers. Stopped going to the one in Concord because the place was usually dirty (sticky floors, sticky tables, food all over the place). Yuck. We need something besides burger places. We are overwhelmed with burger places.

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  • Love FuddruckersMay 07, 2013 - 7:21 pm

    At last a $5.00 discount (no bridge to cross) yes sorry to see Blue Frog go but since I use to live in Concord and moved to Suisun in 2001 I missed great resturants like Fuddruckers, Claim Jumpers, PF Changs, California Pizza kitchen, Cheesecake Factory, my wife, son and I have made that bridge crossing drive so many times we spent his college fund... LOL I welcome Fuddruckers closest thing we had to them is monsoon burger ... I hope the other resturants I mentioned can find the way to Vacaville & Fairfield before I'm so old I can only eat pudding....

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  • FredMay 07, 2013 - 8:17 pm

    I too will not miss the drive & bridge toll to visit my favorite Hamburger Joint. Let’s not forget they have great grilled chicken sandwiches & salads as well. I won't even mind paying the extra 1% sales tax. And the shakes are too die from...

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  • Getting Resturants HereMay 07, 2013 - 7:37 pm

    You want a resturant to come to town get all your friends to goto that resturants website and use their locator search for the location closest to you. most sites record the zipcode information it shows where their customers are comming from and can help them gauge if an area is worth their investment into a future location,. So you want elephant barm, goto their web site everyone NOW !!!!!

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  • Jones EffectMay 07, 2013 - 8:23 pm

    Other Fairfield losses...I miss the Olive Garden & what about Sizzler, loved that joint & it was always busy. A Claim Jumpers would rock...

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  • Ambrose BierceMay 10, 2013 - 11:12 pm

    So goes the last place in Fairfield where one could sit out in a semi-enclosed patio. Enjoy a meal, a fireplace, a glass of wine AND a cigarette. As civilized people are meant to do from time to time. Nothing decent ever lasts here. Fairfield is cursed by the revenge of Chief Solano.

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  • SokieJuly 22, 2013 - 9:52 pm

    Happy Retirement guys!!! Welcome, Fuddruckers!! I will miss Blue Frog. Staff was always nice and the food was delicious! I used to live in Fremont so the nearest Fuddruckers was in Union city. I loved that place! If you haven't had a burger from there, then you've been missing out. Condiment bar is awesome!! Hek, you can even get an ostrich burger from there! Can't wait to take my fiancé there!

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