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Big living in a small town

The City of Hughson is just 1.91 square miles long and home to a little over 7,500 residents. Nevertheless, there is lots going on throughout the small stretch of land.

Downtown Hughson is home to over a dozen small businesses, the majority of which are restaurants, each offering unique flavors.

One of the biggest staples in the community is the barbecue of Adam and Kevin Bradley, brothers and owners of Slick Fork, located at Santa Fe Ave. right when entering the downtown area. Since its opening in 2018, Slick Fork became so popular, that the duo opened a second restaurant, Ranch Hand, serving similar meaty meals. Ranch Hand is more than a place to dine-in, as their back patio has become a weekend destination showcasing live music from local talent.

The fellas at Slick Fork obviously had to be successful enough to open a second location, but you can also ask former UFC light-heavyweight and heavyweight champion, Daniel Cormier, who visited small town Hughson in early 2020 to try the food himself.

Another food staple in the community is Hamilton’s Café, located at the end of Hughson Ave. and right next to the Hughson High football and baseball fields. For decades, the classic diner has served regulars from across Hughson and the surrounding area. It isn’t the only café in town, though, as Bob’s Café, opened five years ago, has found a home in the heart of Hughson Avenue.

For those looking for some international flavors, Latin and Asian food is also plentiful. La Perla Tapatia, Agave Azul Kitchen & Tequila Bar, Mariscos Taqueria La Palmita and Coco’s Taqueria help satisfy any Mexican cravings. Meanwhile, Golden Bowl and Hughson Asian Kitchen have you covered for any sushi, rice or noodle bowls. Main Street Deli & Bakery and the Pizza Factory located down the block are more popular options.

Agave Azul’s menu is full of family recipes and some new creations. Some guest favorites are Agave Enchiladas, Tacos Caseros, Pollo Con Crema y Rajas, Molcajete, or the very popular chorizo. 

“It’s my grandma’s recipe,” said co-owner Sandra Lujan. “Only my sisters and I know it, so no one else makes it.”

Hopefully, the meals can help you charge your batteries, as there is plenty of shopping to be done in downtown Hughson at stores like Love + Style Boutique, Josephine’s Specialties and Jeweler’s Valadez. You can also treat yourself to some grooming at places like Fifth & Blonde Salon, Finn’s Barbershop and Simply Hair.

Love + Style carries a wide selection of clothing in sizes than run from extra small to 3X, with most falling in the small to large range. The boutique also has an array of accessories like purses, hats, scarves, jewelry, as well as shoes and some unique home décor items. 

“I like the items that are a little bit edgy and different,” said owner Jackie Gomez. “Here, it’s not about matching every piece or following some fashion rules, it’s about wearing what makes you look and feel good.”

The streets of downtown Hughson are especially full in the spring and winter times when major events like the Hughson Fruit and Nut Festival and Christmas parade are held. Each event draws thousands every year. The Fruit and Nut Festival is a two-day event that takes place each spring along Hughson Avenue. It is aimed at offering free family fun for residents of Hughson and visitors from far and wide. The festivities typically include live music, a car show, kid tractor pulls, a petting zoo, bounce houses, food trucks, a beer garden and more.

“There is something here for everybody, whether it’s the balloons or the face painting for the kids or the drinks for the adults and the food,” said Melissa Worley, assistant office manager at the Hughson Chamber of Commerce. “My family and I have been coming to this for years and it’s a real fun event for my kids and just for the whole community.”

With there being growth in business and development, there is also growth city’s online presence. According to the Hughson Chamber of Commerce, their website,, is in the process of being updated to make it a one-stop location for all fun Hughson happenings.