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Lunch in Fresno

  • c

Will be travelling from Los Angeles to Yosemite and need to stop for lunch in Fresno. Any suggestions for a place not far off the freeway (140 I think)?

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  1. Since you're just passing through, and just want to stop for lunch, I presume you don't want to get too far away from 41. If you don't mind chains, wait till you get to the north end (Herndon or Friant), and you can check out any number of restaurants in the River Park Shopping Center, or across the street at Universal Park, shopping center. River Park has World Sports Cafe, Fuzio's (pasta), Dai Bai Deng, and a smaller place called The Broilers (Gyro, Schwarma, etc). Bigger chains at that location are Elephant Bar, California Pizza, Hooters (never been there, I swear it), and a something Road House (can't remember the name), which I hear is pretty good. Hope this helps.

    9 Replies
    1. re: C. Bayer

      I don't recall the address but I had a great lunch at Max's Bistro. They also have a bakery counter at the entrance with some of the best bread I've ever had in the States.

      1. re: Diane

        It's Max's Bistro and Bakery on 1784 W. Bullard. Polar Bear is a fan of this place. They just sent me a $15 off dinner coupon for my birthday. ***kim***

        1. re: Diane

          Max's is very good, 2 miles west of Blackstone at the NE Corner of Bullard and West Aves. Use the same exit that I listed for Mama Mia and Bella Pasta.

          1. re: PolarBear

            Polar Bear, I had to laugh at the Mama Mia rec. That was our lunch hang out when I was in junior high. I'm sure it's been through some changes since then, but man that pizza was out of this world!!! ***kim***

            1. re: kim c

              Lucky you! Though I'm sure you're right, probably a number of ownership changes. I didn't "discover" it until we moved to the NW part of town about 9 years ago, fell in love with the Hot Mama pizza, then tried their calzone and have been hooked ever since. It's the closest I've been able to find to the one they used to serve in Rossi's at the long gone Farmer's Market (my old HS hangout) plaza on Tulare (where the big Office Depot or Max is now, across from Med. Grill and Cafe). The calzones were 75 cents. Some years later Clara left Rossi's and opened a place called Calzones with her husband Angelo (can't recall their last name at the moment) across from the Chevy dealership on Stanislaus. They also had a pizza with grilled peppers that was to die for, sure miss their cooking, MM's is all I've been able to find that comes close.

              1. re: PolarBear

                We also really like Vitucci's in Clovis for Italian. They have really good chicken parmagania there and their pasta is cooked correctly.

                We couldn't get into Vitucci's one night and tried Luna's in downtown Clovis. OMG! It was horrible, huge portions of tasteless muck. Have you been to Vitucci's lately? I also had a really nice calamari there but when I ordered it the second time, no such luck.

                I sent it back to the kitchen and the second time around wasn't all that great, also. I think the cook was new or something. Looking forward to trying Max's maybe tomorrow night and will report on that if we do! ***kim*** :)

                1. re: kim c

                  We went to Vitucci's sometime last spring IIRC, and had a decent meal. Having married into an Italian family years ago I've been spoiled over the decades with the "real thing", gravy (sauce) that simmers down on the stovetop or in the oven for 8-10 hours, it's almost impossible to find anything in a restaurant that measures up. Even this old "okie" boy (to the local Italians, if you're not a paisano you're an okie, regardless of your background) makes a mean putanesca and eggplant parmagiano. So on the rare occasions we go out for Italian it's for something other than the traditional, hence our affinity for Bella Pasta, Campagnia, Parma, etc. Mama Mia's sauce is OK (better than most local offerings) but then it's just more of a condiment to go with the calzone or Ital. sausage sand. BTW, did I mention, they do a pretty good cheeseburger?

                  Sorry to hear Luna's has gone downhill, back in the college days that was the go to place for an Italian Sausage sand, soft roll with a crispy outside, grilled peppers and lots of melted cheese coming hot out of the salamander. RIP

                  Tried Miss Ashley's downtown today for lunch, sadly they're not ready for prime time. The fried chicken was very tasty as was the fried okra, but they have service and timing issues to work out. Don't want to be negative but would recommend giving them a month or so to get things together. Sure hope they can pull it off, they've got some good ideas to work from.

                  Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on Max's.

            2. re: PolarBear

              Polar Bear, I had to laugh at the Mama Mia rec. That was our lunch hang out when I was in junior high. I'm sure it's been through some changes since then, but man that pizza was out of this world!!! ***kim***

          2. re: C. Bayer

            I don't recall the address but I had a great lunch at Max's Bistro. They also have a bakery counter at the entrance with some of the best bread I've ever had in the States.

          3. Since you're just passing through, and just want to stop for lunch, I presume you don't want to get too far away from 41. If you don't mind chains, wait till you get to the north end (Herndon or Friant), and you can check out any number of restaurants in the River Park Shopping Center, or across the street at Universal Park, shopping center. River Park has World Sports Cafe, Fuzio's (pasta), Dai Bai Deng, and a smaller place called The Broilers (Gyro, Schwarma, etc). Bigger chains at that location are Elephant Bar, California Pizza, Hooters (never been there, I swear it), and a something Road House (can't remember the name), which I hear is pretty good. Hope this helps.

            1. Since you didn't mention any particular type of food here's a sampling of non-chain type places.

              From south to north after exiting north from Hwy 99 onto Hwy 41.

              Mediterranean Grill and Café
              1025 U Street 559.441.7050
              Great chicken salads (get side of their special sauce), gyros, shish kebab.

              exit Tulare St./Divisadero, left (west) around curve, second light across from big office supply

              1.5 mi north

              Vietnamese Pho and Bahn Mi
              NE corner McKinley and First

              exit McKinley St., left (east) 1/2 block, left on First, shopping center on right

              another 2 mi. north

              Shanghai Chinese Cuisine
              4011 N. Blackstone Ave
              (559) 221-0227

              Good chinese chicken salad, fish in black bean sauce, daily specials

              exit Ashlan Ave, left (west) to Blackstone (1/2 block), left (south) to first light (Griffith) in back of shopping center next to Gold's Gym.

              another 1 mi. north

              Silver Dollar Saloon
              Shaw Ave. and Hwy 41

              Hand carved beef, pork, pastrami, reubens, sides and salads.

              exit Shaw Ave. right (east) then immediate right into parking lot

              another 1 mi. north

              MAMA MIA PIZZERIA
              734 W BULLARD AVE
              559-439-5303

              Best calzone in town (state?), excellent pizza, Italian sausage sands, great burger, daily pasta specials. Limited seating.

              exit Bullard Ave, left (west) 1 mi. past Blackstone at NE corner of Bullard and Palm.

              Bella Pasta
              5793 North Palm Ave
              559.438.4452

              Creative pasta dishes, great specials, decent wine selection.

              exit Bullard, same as above except SW corner at Palm.

              another 1 mi. north

              GEORGE'S BAR & GRILL
              6680 N BLACKSTONE AVE
              559-436-1654

              One of best shish kebabs in town.

              exit Herndon Ave. left (west), left on Blackstone, first left turn, on corner in CA Plaza shopping center on your right

              IMPERIAL GARDEN RESTAURANT
              6640 N BLACKSTONE AVE
              559-435-4406

              Best dim sum, cart service from 11:00 AM Sat-Sun, some items available daily from menu. Excellent food.

              same directions as above, across parking lot from George's

              SAL'S MEXICAN RESTAURANT
              7476 N FRESNO ST
              559-438-3030

              A local favorite, specialties are the short ribs and either the Fancy or Karl's burrito, both come basted with con carne sauce and will easily feed two people unless you have a very large appetite

              exit Herndon Ave., right (east), left at first signal (Fresno St.) 1/2 mi. north at NE corner of Fresno and Alluvial. Easy return to Hwy 41 by continuing north on Fresno St. 1/2 mile or so til it ends and turn left to return northbound.

              Helen's Gourmet Chinese
              7444 N Fresno St
              559-432-4241

              Another good chinese chicken salad, daily specials.

              directions as above, same center as Sal's

              directly across Fresno St. on the west side is the new upscale place, Slates. Not sure if they're open for lunch so best to call.

              7455 N. Fresno St.
              559.256.4141

              If you opt for the megaplex (River Park) it is on the other side (west) of Hwy 41 between Alluvial and Shepard Ave.

              Hope this is helpful, please report back on your experience.

              Cheers,

              Dave in Fresno

              1 Reply
              1. re: PolarBear

                I should have included:

                Kim's Vietnamese Restaurant
                4965 N. Fresno Street
                559-225-0406

                Upscale, possibily best Vietnamese in town, very popular. Had lunch there today, the shrimp in lemon grass curry (8.95) was very good, fellow diners mostly had the special lunches (@ 6.75) that included Pork wonton soup, chicken salad, entree (chicken, pork, pork kebab, satay chicken, chicken w/bamboo shoots & mushrooms in clay pot) and soft drink or hot/iced tea.

                exit Shaw Ave. right (east), right again into shopping center just past Silver Dollar Hofbrau (or at the light at Fresno St. and an immediate right again.

              2. Our favorite Japanese restaurant is Miyuko's, at Nees and Blackstone. We have been going there at least once a week for over 20 years. The steamed goyza is really good.

                The suggestions for the places at RiverPark are nice, you will have quite a variety there. There's also a California Pizza Kitchen and an In N' Out in the area.

                For a REALLy nice lunch, it will be worth it to go to Campagnia on 1185 E. Champlain Ave. 559.433.3066 for a taste of Fresno's best in a very nice setting. There is also La Paella there if you like Spanish food.

                I avoid going into the heart of Fresno at all costs, it' just not a real pleasant place, IMO. I hope you get to try Campagnia, we're going there for lunch this week.

                There's also the Copper River Ranch Country Club that we really like, just down Friant Road. It's a gorgeous setting with really good food. I like their grilled chicken and foccacia there. On Sunday they have an amazing brunch buffet, complete with jazz music.

                Also, if you can wait about an hour, there's Ducey's on the Lake, in Bass Lake. They have a Bar & Grill there that serves really good hamburgers and sandwiches with views of beautiful Bass Lake. www.basslake.com

                Was there any specific cuisine that you like? Also on the way is Chuchanski Resort that has seven different restaurants there. Everything from a 50's diner to the Vintage Steakhouse. Bon appetit! ***kim***

                3 Replies
                1. re: kim c

                  Those are some nice additions Kim. Will have to give Miyuko's a try.

                  Should probably mention that Campagnia is @ 2.5 miles off of 41, Copper River a little further (4-5?), and Ducey's at Bass Lake 5-6 miles, but well worth it for the view.

                  RE your comment about avoiding places in the heart of the city, I would agree about certain areas after dark, but for lunch most are fine, e.g. I wouldn't suggest the place at McKinley and First for other than lunch and the Med. Grill and Cafe is only opened for lunch M-F, even though it's in a little nicer area than the former. I hate to think of all the great ethnic food I'd miss If I was limited to north Fresno, downtown has a number of decent places. Just read a write up on Miss Ashley's that moved from the old Greenhouse Rest. on Maroa (or was it Nicola's?) to 915 Van Ness just off the corner of Kern, southern cooking, breakfast and lunch Tu-Fri 8am-3pm and Sunday brunch noon-4pm, can't wait to give it a try, I hadn't heard anything about them. When you say "heart" of Fresno are you referring to isolated pockets or a general geographic area?

                  1. re: kim c

                    La Paella, been there once, is overpriced for paella. Our dinner party ordered almost all the different paellas they offered on the menu and the general feeling was that it was okay. I don't think any of us will be heading there any time soon.

                    1. re: foodie_girl

                      Try their Zarzuela and the flaming shrimp appetizer, sorry can't recall the name at the moment.

                  2. Those are all wonderful places to eat, but for an unique place to eat, try:

                    Bedrosian's Armenian Deli
                    (559) 222-1626
                    3051 E Ashlan Ave
                    Fresno, CA

                    They are family-owned, small, and great food for a good price. If you are going on 41 N, exit Ashlan and they will be on your driver's side. If you get to Fresno Street, you went too far.

                    I have tried most of the things on the menu and I have enjoyed them all.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: foodie_girl

                      Welcome foodiegirl. I'm afraid something is amiss in your directions. If the address is correct, that would place Bedrosian's close to First St., a half mile east of Fresno St.

                      1. re: PolarBear

                        PolarBear, you are right. If one is coming 41, it is after Fresno Street and before First Street. I usually come west on Ashlan from the other freeway...ops :)

                        1. re: foodie_girl

                          Appreciate you mentioning the place, fg. I'll have to check it out, usually end up going to the Fresno Deli at Fresno and Gettysburg, so it's only about a mile away from there.

                          1. re: PolarBear

                            Wow! Reading this "ancient" thread is a kick. In response to your 8-26-2004 comment, Caolzone's was owned by Angelo and Clara Marrone.

                            1. re: FAT Traveler

                              Thanks for reviving my foggy memory, FT. Recall Clara as a lovely lady, and Angelo as a grumpy, but lovable coot once you got to know him. Sure miss their cooking, don't really have a go to place for calzones anymore.

                            2. re: PolarBear

                              I posted my experience at Bedrosian's in the thread at http://www.chowhound.com/topics/83704 - I haven't got much Armenian cuisine experience to judge authenticity, but I liked what I got!