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Fresno Hounds Please Help Me Relive My Youth

Grew up in Fresno in the 1960's. Returning in a few days for a brief visit. I'd like to return home with an ice chest filled with some of the things I loved as a kid. Is it still possible to buy Beerocks? If so, where? Is the Chicken Pie Shop still open on Olive in the Tower District? I would love some stuffed grape leaves and other Armenian favorites to bring back, where should I go?? Going to the Limelight for dinner one night, what would you suggest for another night? Chinese or Italian would be great.
Thank you so much for yor help!

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  1. How great are beerocks??
    The Beerock Shop
    (559) 439-0402 Tel
    2016 W Bullard Avenue
    Fresno, CA 93711

    I believe the Chicken Pot Pie shop is still open. The other place that is still open is Central Fish. We used to go every week and my mom would buy us rice candy, which is actually totally gross. Sadly, much of the hot spots in Fresno are now large chains such as Cheesecake Factory, Claim Jumpers.

    I can recommend a family favorite restaurant. Parma.
    7089 N Marks Ave Ste 101
    Fresno, CA 93711
    (559) 432-3389

    Enjoy the visit.

    1 Reply
    1. re: scjones123

      OK, inquiring minds want to know. What the heck is a Beerock?? I have never heard the term, although I assume from the next poster its some kind of something with a filling. Maybe like a pastie???

    2. Agree with scjones123 about The Beerock Shop, I prefer the shredded beef but you can get ground instead, believe they've added a couple of new fillings, but haven't bothered to try them. TBS also makes our favorite chicken pot pies, no need to go all the way to the Tower District. We order a dozen pre-baked and stash in the freezer for quick 5 min micro'd dinners (same for the beerocks that are even quicker). Best fresh however with the side of gravy. TBS also turns out a decent cheese burger.

      Parma is the best Italian place in town, IMO.

      scjones is correct in that the "hot spots" tend to be the latest chains to hit the area, however, there are so many great independent places to choose from. I think these chains do true hounds a favor and keep the local gems from being over booked and hard to get into.

      Great dim sum cart service on weekends, and regular menu dining anytime for Chinese, try Imperial Garden on Blackstone just south of Herndon. Another we like is the fairly new Joy Luck at B'stone and Nees.

      For Armenian you might try the Mediterranean Grill (M-F only) on Tulare just south of Divisadero (cross from where the old Farmers Market complex was, now a big box office supply). There's a couple of delis (blanking on the names) SW corner of Fresno & Gettysburg and SW Shields & West.

      Have a great visit, and let us know how it goes.

      1. Oh yes. Joy Luck on Nees is fantastic. My brother's in-laws are Chinese and it's their favorite place. Fantastic.

        Does anyone go to the Basque Hotel anymore? I believe my mom went recently.

        1 Reply
        1. re: scjones123

          The OBH is still my fave for Basque food. You can still pig out on the early courses and take your entree home for another meal (doesn't seem to happen much with my crowd). Also last visit, ordered the most expensive wine they had, a Nonini Barbera???, for $9 (that's the bottle folks, not BTG) that while not a great one, was still pleasant with the meal, and served in the old style.... chilled, in little jelly jar glasses. We always order the chicken, chop, or steak with the roasted garlic, gawd, I need to get back there!

        2. Thank You SCJones123 and Polar Bear for some great suggestions. We are either going to have to eat six meals a day or stay a few days longer, to try all the fabulous places you mentioned. Polar Bear, as a kid, the old Farmer's Market center was my ABSOLUTE favorite place to go......so many great choices. Fresno was a terrific place to grow up. Thank you!!

          1 Reply
          1. re: mary c

            Yeah, have to agree whole-heartedly, the best calzones in the world from Rossi's for $0.75 (guess I'm dating myself here) and the BBQ place that faced them, fantastic. Do you remember Angelo and his wife Clara that worked at Rossi's (blanking on their last name) that opened Calzone's prior to the demise of the Farmer's Market? It was across from Frontier Chevrolet just after southbound Abby becomes Stanislaus, calzones went up in price but they also had the best pizza with grilled peppers, sad day when they closed up shop.

          2. An alternative to Beerock Shop is Lauck's Bakery down in the Tower District (east of the Chicken Pie Shop). IIRC, Lauck's is a little more easier on the price than BRS, and they have an interesting assortment. There's also an Armenian Deli at NW corner of Shaw & West where you should be able to find the grape leaves.

            For dinner I also recommend Parma. Other locally owned I like are, La Paella (Perrin & Champlain), and, though others mentioned Basque Hotel, I believe Shepherd's Inn (the old Santa Fe Hotel), is also pretty good.

            Since you grew up in Fresno during the 60's (as did I), I'm sure you remember Angelo's down by Roeding Park. They're still there, as is Mike's Pizzaria at Shields & West. Now, for extra credit...remember Star's Ice Cream?

            1. Ah the old Fresno. Lesterburger was scattered around town, Farrell's Ice Cream, Pinedale was the country, White Front was on Blackstone, Shaw and Fresno was the Starlite Drive-in Theater not Macys. Coney Island Hot Dogs downtown.

              What was on a Lesterburger anyway. All I remember is Al Radka doing the ads.

              By the way a resurrected Mars Drive-In opened on Shaw Avenue. The original was on Belmont.

              DiCicco's Italian is still scattered all around town. Of course many of the local Italian restaurants are also owned by members of the family.

              2 Replies
              1. re: FresnoFacts

                I used to live in Fresno and I haven't been back there in like 10 years...and boy lately I would kill for a Beerock...as for breakfast there used to be a little hole in the wall called Guadalajaras over around Clinton and Weber...for a little money you could get a great Mexican breakfast with eggs, potatoes, meat...it was really good....sometimes I really miss Fresno...I moved there in 1979 and left in like 1990 and there are some restaurants that you just can't find the same home made quality in L. A.

                1. re: cakittynmom

                  The Beerock Shoppe is still going, relocated to Bullard and West (NW). Guadalajara still serves up great huevos rancheros and other fare across from the railroad yard on Weber just north of Shields. They also run a second smaller venue out of a mini mart on the SE corner of Bullard and Figarden Loop.

              2. Thanks everyone for the trip down memory lane........it has been fun!! I still haven't found a calzone as good as Rossi's.....loved that place!! Where was Star's Ice Cream? Pre-Farrells, we splurged at Carnation on Olive. Lauck's Bakery was "THE" place for everything yummy. I fondly remember the huge sugar cookies they'd give all the little kids. Now that I know they have Beerocks, I'll try some of theirs too. Hey Fresno Facts, were Lesterburgers the first to have "secret sauce?" DiCicco's was our favorite for Italian. Does anyone remember a place on the S.E. corner of Blackstone and Shields called The Oak & Hickory Pit?
                Does anyone have a special(non-chain) place for breakfast? Thanks again!

                1. Wow, sounds like Fresno had some cool places back then. Since I wasn't around in the 60s, I have a very different memory of Fresno growing up. It was fun reading your posts.

                  I agree with everyone else regarding Parma, it is the standout place for Italian.

                  As an aside, I don't know if you have any fond memories of the Fresno Fair but it is currently in full swing and has its share of food memories, both good and bad!

                  As for a special place for breakfast, hubby and I really like the Patio Cafe in Fig Garden Village for a nice breakfast. They do standard breakfasts like eggs with bacon and toast, but also have Mexican inspired dishes as well as creative twists on French toast using seasonal produce. They have an extensive menu which includes many local products and they brew more than one type of coffee, i.e a lighter coffee or a bolder coffee so you can decide what you would like. Right now is a great time to sit outside with a steaming cup of coffee and linger over the paper and a well prepared breakfast.

                  We also like Le Parisien Cafe for awesome crepes that are thin and light and stuffed with delicious fillings, both sweet and savory. Le Parisien does not have the same ambiance as Patio Cafe, I mean its nice, but not really as homey as the Patio Cafe. Le Parisien also makes a mean chocolate croissant. Here is a link to my report on Le Parisien: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

                  Otherwise, hubby and I tend to frequent Mexican places for breakfast, being partial to huevos ranchero and chiliquiles. All of current favorites are "special" to us, but not really heavy on the ambiance. I can post these if you like, but thought by your question you were looking for ambiance and good food.

                  Have fun in Fresno!

                  Patio Cafe
                  5138 N Palm Ave
                  Fresno, CA 93704
                  (559) 243-1074

                  Le Parisien Cafe
                  1085 E Herndon
                  Fresno, CA
                  CLOSED MONDAYS
                  Tuesday-Saturday 7:00 am-6:00pm
                  Sunday 7:00am-3pm

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: glazebrookgirl

                    Hey, gbg, by all means post about your chilaquiles favorites. I hadn't heard about or tried them till recently and that turned out to be while traveling.

                    1. re: PolarBear

                      PB, a post regarding Mexican breakfasts is in the works. Hubby and I have a couple more places to visit before posting.

                      Since I don't eat a lot of meat, chilaquiles is a great option for me when I eat Mexican breakfasts. I love the combo of egg, cheese and crunchy tortilla.

                    2. re: glazebrookgirl

                      Glazebrookgirl.....Thank you for all the great info. We LOVE Mexican food, but have it so often that we won't be having it in Fresno this trip. The Patio Cafe and Le Parisian have both been added to my list and sound great. When I was a kid there were far fewer choices in Fresno for Mexican food. My family used to go to Casa Canales (sp) on Olive or Estradas Spanish Kitchen. I wonder if any of the older Chowhounds remember Estradas. I'm positive there is MUCH better Mexican food to be found now in Fresno. The Fresno Fair, for me, was the Gold standard of County Fairs; I'm sure it is huge now. Thank you for all your tips.

                      1. re: mary c

                        Thanks for the memories. I went to Roosevelt and we went to the Farmers Market for lunch all the time; the calzones were my favorite. My parents picked up Estrada's every Friday night and I still remember my dad's order. We also went to DiCicco's for Italian and was I excited to discover 2 of them in the bay area when I moved here over 20 years ago. I'm glad that the Chicken Pie Shop is still there. I may have to make a trip to Fresno and hit that and the Meat Market for Tri Tips soon. The fair was the best and we walked to it from Roosevelt after school when it was in town. Thanks again for sharing.

                    3. Mary C, I grew up in Fresno in the 50s and 60s, left in 72. Just a question: did you learn to like bierocks from elementary school lunches? I went to Norseman where they were served. My fave elementary school dish.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                        Sam.......Sad to say, never had beerocks at Bullard Elementary. My mom bought them at a couple of places, mainly Karshes(sp)Bakery, I think on Olive (gosh, it seems like every place I remember was on Olive, can that be?) and then Karshes opened a branch at the Manchester Mall. I wonder if they are still in business. My memory is fuzzy on this, but there might have been a beerock place at the old Farmer's Market. I was too busy eating those HUGE Calzones at Rossi's to pay attention.

                        1. re: mary c

                          My first wife and I lived on Echo Street past the Tower District when we went to FSU (we biked to U), so knew Olive pretty well. Can't remember there being bierocks. Later my cousin opend Dai Ichi in the Farmers' Market--again can't remember bierocks there. Had some in a strip mall shop near Bullard High on one of my last visits back to the US a few years ago. Not quite as good as elementary school. I make them at home: pretty good, but again, not quite as good as...

                      2. If you are in town today, the Holy Trinity Armenian church is holding its annual food bazaar today at 2226 Ventura. You can get lunches or packages of yalanchi, frozen kufta, and other items to go. 559-281-8471

                        1. What IS a beerock? Thanks. Sounds like a hand held meat pie of some sort????

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: glbtrtr

                            A simple hand-held ground meat and chopped cabbage or ground meat and sauerkraut pie (with some salt and black pepper) in the form of a smooth, softly rounded rectangle.