In a nearly-100-year-old brick school house tucked away in the countryside of Sanger sits School House Restaurant & Tavern. The charming restaurant serves seasonal ingredient-focused New American cuisine with a modern twist. Its fitting location along the Fresno County Blossom Trail and Fruit Trail allows for the perfect dining destination to soak in Fresno County’s majestic scenery.
Inside the kitchen is schooled Executive Chef & Partner Ryan Jackson. A graduate of California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, Jackson has extensive experience working at esteemed restaurants in Napa. He is a master of food and wine pairings and selecting gourmet foods and spirits.
Chef Jackson is well-known for his exceptional menu creations. His expertise paired with local ingredients grown in Fresno County—the number one agricultural producing county in the nation—makes for aw-mmm-mmm-azing meals.
The chef grew-up in Reedley with parents as fruit farmers. He learned the basics of cooking by watching his mother and grandmothers prepare meals. Just like the produce grown and prepared by his family, the valley’s local ingredients continue to inspire his remarkable dishes today.
Here are FresNotes from Chef Ryan Jackson:
What are your favorite ingredients to work with and why? I am always inspired to craft dishes using locally sourced and seasonally fresh ingredients because we are in the "Fruit Basket of the World".
Why is School House Restaurant & Tavern a special place to dine?
1. We occupy a historical country school house built in 1921 that has been remodeled to a rustic, country, elegant feel with touches of vintage school decor.
2. We are locally-owned and-operated.
3. I bring my classically trained experience from the ultra-refined fine dining establishments I worked at in Napa Valley to this valley. Every menu item showcases culinary techniques. Every ingredient has a purpose.
4. We feature local ingredients from around the valley.
Where do you like to go out to eat on your night off? We don't dine out too often. But, when we do, we like to support other locally owned and operated restaurants. There are so many outstanding restaurants to choose from.
What is your favorite Fresno County attraction? Grant Grove (in Kings Canyon National Park). This is usually one of the first attractions I recommend to people visiting the area for the first time. It is home to the Nation’s Christmas Tree. Kings Canyon National Park is just so beautiful.
Where/How do you seek inspiration? Local farmers and roadside farm stands.
What is your favorite thing about Fresno County? There are three national parks within two hours of each other. That’s hard to beat!
School House Restaurant & Tavern is currently open for outdoor dining on its spacious patio offering compelling views of the surrounding countryside. Make a reservation here: https://schoolhousesanger.com/