by Terrance Mc Arthur
Our roving food critic Terrance Mc Arthur continues his search for great food in Sanger and the surrounding communities. Check out more Great Food Search here!
The basement of a hospital, Kingsburg, Sanger, Fresno, Reedley, Hanford. In 2018, The Great Food Search proved it will go anywhere to find great eats in the Valley. Here’s a roundup of the best munchies and crunchies.Fugazzi’s Kingsburg: 1335 Draper St, Kingsburg—Upscale and delicious, just off the freeway and right in the heart of Kingsburg, there’s nothing Swedish about Fugazzi’s. Generous servings, artfully presented, It’s mainly Italian cuisine, but it’s far beyond “fair.” Sanger’s Shawarma Express: 628 O Street, Sanger—Extra! Extra! Breaking News! Sanger’s Shawarma Express is becoming…Uncle George Kebabs! When George and Stella bought the business several years ago, they didn’t change the name, and people keep asking, “What’s Shawarma?” (It’s a Middle Eastern street food, like a Gyro sandwich.) Now, George is proudly proclaiming his Armenian-ness with new signs and menus. I go there for amazing steaks and salmon, and the fact that George makes sure that “Jeopardy” is on the TV at 7 p.m. Valentino’s Italian Restaurant: 1043 G Street, Reedley—After 55 years, the Valentino tradition shows no sign of ending in Reedley. It’s where the specials are really special. I’ve found Gorgonzola Cheese in the ravioli sauce, and the pesto sauce helped me overcome my fear of tortellini. Maybe they can get me to like gnocchi? I think gnot. St. Agnes Hospital’s One Main Café & Grill: 1303 Herndon Avenue, Fresno—You don’t think of a hospital basement as a great place to eat, but St. Agnes Hospital is now a destination eatery for people working in the Herndon Corridor. Each week’s menu changes, so the fare varies, everything from free-form pizza slices to hearty breakfasts cooked while you wait. There are a few pre-made dishes, so there’s bound to be something to take the edge off sitting in a waiting room.
The Milkshakes: I went crazy and did two articles on why I gained weight this summer—milkshakes.
Baskin-Robbins, 5150 E. Kings Canyon Rd. (at Peach), Fresno—31 flavors…PLUS chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry! Even when it’s crowded, the service is prompt.
Big Mama’s Burgers & Shakes, 2407 Jensen Ave., Sanger—Close to my home, and close to my heart, the Boston Shakes are tasty and impressive. Pineapple and Banana are the surprise flavors.
Carl’s Jr., 5625 E. Kings Canyon Rd., Fresno—I do like see-through shake cups, and the whipped cream that twisted up over the plastic dome like the Matterhorn at Disneyland.
Fosters Freeze, 1460 11th St., Reedley—Good-old basics, a chain I have loved since childhood. I’m partial to the butterscotch.
The Habit Burger Grill, 1195 Herndon Ave., Clovis—Only four flavors, but my chocolate came equipped with a massive straw, which was definitely needed to vacuum up the super-thick shake.
Rally’s, 4818 E. Kings Canyon Rd., Fresno—I can’t believe how much whipped cream they crammed into the plastic dome topping the shake cup! No inside dining, so drive off or huddle under an umbrella in the summer.
Sonic Drive-In, 827 Academy Ave., Sanger—Cute little squirts of whipped cream topped the shakes, and there was a good variety.
Steak ‘n Shake, 5085 E. Kings Canyon Rd., Fresno—Sadly, Steak ‘n Shake has left the building. I enjoyed the wide variety of shakes and the variety of burgers. Was it the location by a Wal-Mart, or the long wait before they opened? Anyway, R.I.P.
Superior Dairy Product Company, 325 N. Douty St, Hanford—The name says it all: Superior. The best excuse for dressing up like a Renaissance noble is to go to Hanford’s Renaissance of Kings RenFair, just so you can dash across the street to pig out at Superior Dairy. Queen Elizabeth I would say, “This is more royal than I am!”
P.S. I was going to do a third set of milkshake reviews, but they never saw light of internet. The best chilled treat in that group was Ampersand Ice Cream (1940 N. Echo, Fresno). There must be something about making ice cream on-site that ups the quality and the enjoyment.
The Bottom Line: Superior Dairy still reigns in my heart as the king of ice cream shakes, although Ampersand is frightfully good. On the restaurant front, Fugazzi’s Kingsburg is fine and fancy, but George and Stella are my go-to restaurateurs any time. I’ll be going to Uncle George, as soon as they put up the new signs.
Whatever you do, folks, keep eating…in moderation. That’s what doggie bags are for!