Two Bay Area Legends Come Together: Fentons Creamery Opens at Nut Tree in Vacaville

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For the first time in its history, Fentons Creamery is expanding and opening a showcase restaurant at the Nut Tree in Vacaville. Fentons is a 113 year institution in Oakland and the Nut Tree was started 86 years ago as a simple roadside stand. Come take a first-hand look at the process of handcrafting ice cream and sauces. Fentons Creamery's soft opening takes place on Thursday, May 10th, with a grand opening set for May 24th.

In a world full of constant change, there is great consolation to be found in the things that do not. That's why people find such joy in the #1 comfort food -- a bowl of ice cream -- or the first slurp of a root bear float, or at the bottom of an ice cream sundae. Grandparent's treats, first dates and rewards for a job well done -- everyone has a fond memory when it comes to ice cream.

For the past 113 years, a visit to Fentons Creamery has been the must-do event for many who live in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. Fentons creamery and restaurant has been serving up memories for over five generations.

Now, for the first time in its history, Fentons will expand from its location of over a hundred years and open a showcase restaurant at the Nut Tree in Vacaville. The Nut Tree, itself a historic family destination for millions of I-80 travelers, has also served up memories for many generations.

According to Scott Whidden, Fentons Creamery Master Blender, "As a native Californian, I traveled many family trips along I-80 with my grandparents and parents. We always stopped at the Nut Tree. Like so many legions of travelers, I have fond memories of a place that always seemed larger than life."

"By bringing Fentons to the Nut Tree we plan to continue the memories and fun that both Fentons Creamery and the Nut Tree represent in the hearts and minds of so many. We considered as many as 60 other locations for our expansion," Whidden said. "But the Nut Tree's Market Pavilion -- with its collection of historical California food-related businesses and brand new Family Park -- was deemed to be the perfect fit. It offers the right combination of unique fun and food for the traveling public."

The Fentons story goes back to 1894, when Elbridge Fenton began delivering milk by a horse-drawn wagon. In 1922, he opened a soda fountain and ice cream parlor at 41st and Howe streets, in Oakland. The parlor remained at that corner for 60 more years, until it was relocated in 1961 to its current location at 4226 Piedmont Avenue.

About the only thing that has changed over these many years was that one move. The Fentons menu, the retro soda fountain's old-world charm and the creamery's legendarily huge helpings has not. In addition to being well known for their handcrafted ice creams and sauces -- made on-site every day -- the creamery also has a loyal following for such signature dishes as its crab salad sandwich and Black and Tan sundaes.

The new Fentons Creamery is hosting a grand opening on May 24th. Patrons visiting the Nut Tree location will be treated to the "whole experience," according to Whidden. The restaurant is patterned after an historical 1940s ice cream parlor and features marble-topped counters and tables, retro-booths, mahogany wainscoting and Art Deco lighting. No matter where a patron may sit -- at an outdoor table under a shady trellis, at the counter or in a comfy booth -- the restaurant's wide-open layout allows diners to witness the traditional sight of soda jerks creating made-to-order sundaes, or expert chefs whipping up sandwiches, salads and burgers in the open grill.

Visitors strolling past the frozen confection gallery can watch Fentons ice cream chefs preparing sauces by hand, flash-freezing batch after batch of freshly made ice cream or baking pies and muffins. One unique design feature is the Fentons Park View Room that overlooks the new Nut Tree Family Park. With a view of the historical Nut Tree Railroad, and a push of a button, customers can alert the train conductor to "Toot for Ice Cream" via an electronic sign on the outside of the building. Children of all ages are sure to squeal as they watch the train blow its whistle and circle around the bend.

Fentons Creamery prides itself on the quality and integrity of the products it produces as well as the overall experience at the Creamery. From the ingredients used in all menu items to the staff education, the Fentons mission is to tell patrons about the "Cow to the Cone" process and the relevance of the historic Creamery. To accomplish this, Fentons offer tours of the ice cream production facility and classes in ice cream making that stress the importance of using the best ingredients in recipes and making sweet frozen confections by hand in small batches with lots of love and pride.

Fentons Creamery is part of the Nut Tree Market Pavilion experience, the center of the Nut Tree, an open marketplace reminiscent of the San Francisco Ferry Building, including flagship stores for Jelly Belly, Marianis, Capay Valley Growers and other unique California Centric food and merchandise providers.

Fentons Creamery is located at 1669 E. Monte Vista Avenue, Vacaville, CA. For more information and hours of operation, call (707) 469-7200 or check

The Nut Tree Family Park
The Nut Tree Family Park is the centerpiece of the new 80-acre Nut Tree project, offering families a place to relax and spend time together. Returning to the Nut Tree are the restored Nut Tree Railroad Engine #5 and the memorable red, yellow and blue hobby horses. Among the collection of family-oriented rides and attractions are the Harvest Express Roller Coaster and the I-80 Traffic Jammer Bumper Cars. The Nut Tree Gallery provides a stylized venue for an assortment of festive occasions, ranging from kids' birthday parties to professional gatherings and weddings. The park contains a sensory garden, butterfly garden and olive grove, where visitors can take a break from their busy lives. Sprinkled throughout the Family Park are such simple pleasures as an old-fashioned boat pond, bocce courts and a koi-feeding pond.

For information on the Nut Tree Family Park, please contact Cookie Callahan, Director of Marketing and Sales, at 707-448-6411, ext. 310.

The New Nut Tree
The new Nut Tree is an 80-acre mixed-use project that includes eight acres of parks, retail stores and restaurants, a residential community, hotel and conference center and an office park. The centerpiece of this master-planned project is the Nut Tree Family Park, the Bocce Grove and the Nut Tree Village, which combine to create a unique and relaxing oasis for Northern Californians and visiting travelers.

Phase I of the project includes the Nut Tree Family Park, Nut Tree Village shopping center, Bocce Park and a two-acre vineyard. Phase II is scheduled to commence in 2007 and will include a 200-room hotel and 20,000 square foot conference center, an additional 100,000 square feet of shopping, 160 for-sale town homes and more than 200,000 square feet of office space.

The Development Team
The Nut Tree is a master-planned project by Rockwood Capital and Snell&Co. Nut Tree Village retail and office complex is a joint venture between Westrust, Rockwood Capital and Snell&Co.    For more information on the Nut Tree development, call Lori Coleman of Snell&Co at 415-464-9330. For information on the Nut Tree Village, please contact Rick Capretta of Westrust at 415-489-1702.

Press Contacts:
Nancy Hopkins            
Nut Tree Publicist            
hopkinsnancy @ sbcglobal

Nini Curry
Fentons Creamery
nini @

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