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Sep 30, 2012 03:50 PM

Armenian, Mediterranean, Moroccan in Fresno?

Going to Fresno for high school reunion, haven't been back in 20 years. Would really like some cuisines I can't get in Orange County. What is the best? I will be doing lunches, I think. Thanks in advance! Any Eastern European?

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  1. Since you went to HS here you must remember the Basque offerings in Fresno - try a search here to see some of the repeated recommendations. Woolgrowers comes in often as a top choice which may well have been the top pick 20 years ago too. For those of us on the outside of this scene, Basque is something different, where it is best to go very hungry, volume over refinement, but really a lot of good energy and fun with the family style and hearty servings.

    There is also a regional American place getting very nice reviews in Clovis - Trelio.

    8 Replies
    1. re: glbtrtr

      George's downtown for Armenian

      Occasion Bakery (next to Fresno deli) for birek and other baked goodies - SW corner of Gettysburg and Fresno St

      Fresno deli - to stock up on any mediterranean ingredient you might need

      Bread Basket - lamajoon (armenian pizza)

      The Meditteranean -best chicken fatoosh salad - only open for lunch - at R and Tulare st downtown

      And finally although not Moroccan - there is an Ethipoian restaurant - Lucy's Lair - in NE Fresno at Maple and Behymer - but may only be open for dinner

      1. re: glbtrtr

        The only two Woolgrowers Restaurants I know of are in Bakersfield, which is almost two hours south of Fresno (and thus could be done on the way to or from Orange County, although I've never thought Basque food was the ideal meal as a pit stop because of the heaviness and length of the meal), and Los Banos, which is an hour and fifteen minutes NW of Fresno. Edited to add: if there is actually a Basque restaurant in or any closer to Fresno, I am not aware of it.

        1. re: susancinsf

          found a post from a few years ago which mentions two Basque places in downtown Fresno, and a lot of other lunch options as well. perhaps some other hounds can chime in on updated thoughts on these spots.

          1. re: susancinsf

            About 6 years ago went to a Basque place near the Fresno train station (have blocked its name from my memory -- yes, it was that bad!).

            Mentioned it to Polar Bear at the time & he mentioned that it had slipped his mind to warn me off. Maybe he recalls the place or has more up to date information.

            1. re: Stephanie Wong

              The one by the Amtrak station was the old Santa Fe Basque, excellent back in the day. They moved to a new spot on N. Maroa on the east side north of the RR tracks and south of Shields Ave. We've had a staff luncheons there a couple of times in the past few years, it's decent but nothing line they're old glory days

              IIRC we only ate one time at the Shepherd's Inn that toook over the Amtrak location.

              For a glimpse of the old Basque dinner days go to the Old Basque Hotel on E Street a block off Fresno St. behind the firehouse. You can request your entree (fried chicken, pork chop, steak) coated with roasted garlic if you so choose. Belly up to the bar and try a Picon Punch.

          2. re: susancinsf

            Thank you for the correction -- I am betraying my Coastal California ignorance about our Valley towns Fresno and Bakersfield. Retraction of my prior Fresno Basque restaurant comments please -- I will have to be the first to take our new bullet train between these two cities and get them sorted out. (As my screen name suggests I can tell you where to dine from Borneo to Brunei to Burma, but I don't even know my own backyard. Road trip!

            1. re: glbtrtr

              that's ok, I often have to explain to friends that my (now) hometown of Merced 'is halfway between Modesto and Fresno' and I still get blank looks!:-)

              1. re: susancinsf

                There is Basque in Fresno. There is the Landmark in the Tower District (on Olive) which does the merchant's lunch. There is also the Shepherder's Inn ~ right next to the Amtrack station. I am almost sure it is still open. And then there is the Basque Hotel which is just south of Fresno Street near G (it is the block behind The Cosmopolitan). All serve merchant lunches. Shepherder's used to do dinners as well. Not sure if Basque Hotel does or not.

                ETA: The place PB was referring to would have been The Shepherder's (or Shepherd, not positive on the spelling)

        2. Update on my trip to Fresno: stopped in Bakersfield on the way up for lunch and went to Woolgrowers for Basque. Didn't need dinner after that! Lunch next day intended to go to the Mediterranean, but not open on Saturday, so went to Izi's Sandwich Shop and Deli on Butler and Chestnut across from Fresno Pacific College. Had an awesome plate of chicken kabob, taboulleh, hummus, pita bread and stuffed grape leaves. Everything homemade, fresh, so many choices, wish I could try everything! Owner was baking Armenian cookies and brought one out to me. Wonderful, friendly people. Ended my trip by buying beerocks at the Berrock Shop at Bullard and West, my breakfast for the next day. Thanks for all the wonderful suggestions!

          1 Reply
          1. re: mothrpoet

            Thanks for the reminder about Izi's, gets overlooked often it seems.

            The Berrock Shop (aka bierock, beerock) also puts out some very tasty chicken pot pies and a decent cheeseburger. Very good rice pudding as well.

            Thanks for reporting back.