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Feb 27, 2009 05:11 PM

Who do you want to survive? [Fresno]

"If all economists were laid end to end, they would not reach a conclusion." George Bernard Shaw

That quote has been running through my brain lately, had to google to find the author. What kindled the whole thing was realizing, given the accuracy (or rather lack of) demonstrated recently by all of our so called fiscal wizards on affairs to date as they attempt to predict what business models are going to survive, and comments from people I trust (i.e. the dedicated hounds on these boards), is it at all possible to make predictions and/or form an effective plan of action?

Distilling it down, I seem to hear a consensus that:

1. Most chains will survive due to having a solid capital base.

2. High end independants will fail more due to high operating costs and a reduced customer base.

3. Low end (read mostly ethnic) will do better or at least survive as more cash strapped customers are driven to their establishments.

The above are by no means supported by any studies (at least to my knowledge), but if there is any basis for them I'd like to put together my own personal rotation list of places I don't want to disappear. I was thinking of maybe a Top 10 list, for example:

1. Zamora's at 950 N. Fresno, for well.... about everything

2. Jim's Chinese, First St. just north of Sam's Deli - Chinese Chicken Salad (and much more)

3. Smokey's - Tulare & D St. - BBQ ribs, collard greens, Basa fish sand/dinner, & much more

4. Cafe Leon - Ashlan & Blackstone, - huevos rancheros, and much more

5. Julia's - Divisadero & H - huevose rancheros, and much more

There are other obvious ones, Don Pepe's, El Toro Cafe, Hunan, Imperial Garden, Sam's Deli, and on the higher end Parma and Trelio in Clovis, but at least for the time being, it seems their loyal customer base is keeping them out of danger.

I'd love to add La Cabana in North Fork and Don Fernando's up in the foothills, but I couldn't realistically have them on any sort of regular rotation.

So, the challenge to the local hounds, who do you want to see the rest of us support on a regular basis to get through this economic clusterf*ck (all credits to Jon Stewart)?

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  1. Dang, PB, I wish i could be there to personally try to help support your choices!!! I've been hit hard, but would love to come back to Fresno and eat at every place on your list. And at some other places. And at some of your places more than once.

    1. Hiya PB-

      It would be a crime if a 'Q joint in the California heartland, recommended by a 'houndly denizen of same heartland ,were to go by the wayside. So just in case the Mrs. and I get back to your neighborhood sometime, tell me more about Smokey's and their ribs.

      1 Reply
      1. re: ChinoWayne

        Greg used to own some restos up in WA state, and decided to return home not too long ago. Here's a previous thread:

      2. PB I have to add Bedrosian's Armenian Deli to that list. Johnnie Bedrosian (owner) Is a wonderful old sole (85yrs) I stopped in tonight for a jar of his Torish. My gramma had an Armenian friend who taught her a recipe that was very similiar to Johnnie's. I just recently discovered this place and am hooked. Don't expect speedy service as it's just Johnnie and his cook Alla. (Torish is pickled calliflower,cabbage,carrots, celery in a ouart jar to die for) He even gave me a starter recipe so I can make my own. We'll see!

        2 Replies
        1. re: Jeff Avis

          Well Jeff, you've hit another one I like, and you're right his Torish is pretty dam good. I have to say though, my Tabbouleh is better. I hand pick the leave so no large stems get in. :)

          1. re: Jeff Avis

            Damn, I just picked up a jar in the market to try making a faux muffaletta olive salad. Thanks for the tip on Bedrosian's.

          2. 6. Sweet Ginger (Thai, Shaw & Marks NW)

            7. Thai Royal Orchid (Herndon & First SW)

            8. Mediterranean Grill & Cafe - shish kebab salad, gyros, falafel (Tulare & U)

            9. Triangle Drive In - all about the cheeseburger (Belmont & Hwy 99)

            10. Topicale Ambiente / Puerto Marquez - pupusas (Fresno & McKenzie NW)

            1. PB, hubby has a friend who lives near Marshall Station. She says that Don Fernando is no longer associated with that restaurant. She met the lady who is the new owner. Sure would like to know if he is still in the restaurant business.

              11. Gem of Thailand (Blackstone/Herndon)
              12. Ripe Tomato (Fig Garden Village)
              13. Toledo's (Blackstone) for Margaritas and mariachis on Sunday. Food, passable.

              Why isn't Giulia's as good as it used to be? Maybe because Tony isn't there any more.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Gail

                Thanks for the update on Sr. Madrigal, Gail. If any hounds are up in North Fork and are inclined to stop in at La Cabana, his brother might know if he plans to stay in the business.

                We dropped Giulia's years ago, too pricey and we make most of what they have better at home.

                1. re: PolarBear

                  Same here, we haven't been in a few years. The last time, Tony was gone and the food was bad. Giulia is still there the last I heard. We loved their mussels and veal chops. Pricey, yes, but the quality was there...and I don't do either mussels or veal chops at home. :-)