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Brothers restaurant in Ripon aims to be new family dining option

RIPON, Calif. — It isn’t always the easiest thing to take your child out to a restaurant, but a new Ripon eatery is aiming to be a new mainstay for family dining in the area.

“We wanted to create a place where an entire family, kids and everything, could come [and] where the parents can enjoy themselves and the kids can enjoy themselves in a laid back environment and not have to feel rushed or not have to feel pressured to get out,” said Chris McConnell, co-owner of Brothers restaurant.

McConnell and his lifelong friend Chad Nokleholm got their start in the restaurant industry as teenagers and share more than 40 years of experience in the restaurant business. They worked their way up the ladder from busboys to first-time owners of their new restaurant. 

Despite their career paths, the idea to open up Brothers restaurant in Ripon wasn’t originally part of the plan. Another Ripon restaurant, Frank’s Place, closed and, when the building went up for sale, it was a can’t miss opportunity for the duo.

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“It sort of popped up,” McConnell explained. “We thought it would be stupid not to take advantage of it, so we kind of just said ‘forget everything else’ and we just jumped in with both feet.”

A critical part of that jump was into social media. Nokleholm’s wife dropped an informal poll into a Facebook group, and, by the end, the community told them exactly what they wanted to see in town. 

“The need that just kept coming up was just to enjoy a meal while having your kid be entertained and allowing the parent to relax,” Nokleholm said.

Nokleholm has four kids and McConnell has one. They say can be a challenge to find a place where both kids and parents feel welcome.

“We kind of feel like its missing everywhere,” McConnell said. “You hear about parents saying ‘I can’t go out to eat with my kid’ … we’re trying to revolutionize the idea of a full family place.”

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For Nokleholm, he hopes the place can be the next Pizza Plus in town. The pizzeria on Main Street has been a longtime staple of the community and a go-to for family dining.

“We just want to be that other option,” Nokleholm said. “You have Mexican food, you have Chinese food, and you have Pizza Plus and, if you want a burger or you want a salad or a sandwich, other than fast food you really don’t have that option.”

To that end, they’re serving a range of pallet-pleasers for both kids and adults. It has adult items like sous-vide steak sandwich, topped with chimichurri sauce, and items for kids, or kids at heart, like a grilled cheese bar. 

The bar is one of the ways they’re catering to families. You can keep the sandwich simple, but you can also add any items on the menu to it.

“It’s obviously [about] making a place where people can come… and feel comfortable and us knowing their names, their kids names, and what they want to eat,” Nokleholm said.

Brothers restaurant’s opening date is still to be determined.


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