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! Due to some computer issues, this column is a week later, but hey better late than never.
It’s baseball season (For Dodger fans like me, my brain is already telling me, “Give them time. It will all fall apart.”) What do you eat during baseball season? Hot Dogs!
Am I going to go to a ballpark to eat hot dogs? No. I’m cheap/Scottish, and I don’t need another sunburn. Still, I wanted hot dogs, so the Great Food Search went out in search of SUPERDOGS! I think I found a few.Express Grill Burger:1663 11th St., Reedley
Formerly the Quickfire Grill, the Express Grill Burger is just off the heart of Reedley, near 11th & G Streets. This was a colorful Polish Dog, with assertive squiggles of ketchup, mustard, and mayo, served with a pile of fries. I managed to get a special of dog, fries, and soda for $5 (Your prices may vary), which was a pretty good bargain. The Polish sausage was pretty decent, and it made a nice lunch. Richie’s Pizza & Hot Dogs: 844 E. Olive Ave., Fresno
NY Dog, Chicago Dog, Euro Dog, Richie Dog, Fresno Dog, Build It Dog, and…the Pizza Dog! The Pizza Dog throws a spicy Italian sausage into a bun that gives it peek-out room at both ends, anoints it with a homemade pizza sauce, blankets it with mozzarella cheese, and tops it with a row of near-salami-size pepperoni slices. It looks delectable, and looks are not deceiving. It’s juicy, it’s pretty fast, and the $8 tag won’t scar you for life. Of course, if you’re looking for a New York-style slice of pizza, this is a good place to stop, too. It’s right along the east rim of the Tower District, across from the Chicken Pie Shop. Don’t expect to eat inside, because there isn’t much room. There are usually a few tables on the Olive Ave. sidewalk, and it’s a great place to traffic/people-watch and talk with friends. The place caters to the District denizens, with Friday-Saturday hours that stay open realllllllly late (3 a.m.!), for some food between leaving-the-bar time and trying-to-drive-home time.
Chuck Wagon: 1203 Academy Ave., Sanger
I’ve lived in the Sanger area for 35 years, and Chuck Wagon was here first. The sign over the building proclaims it “Home of the Chili Dog.” It used to be the home of Sanger High students with off-campus lunch privileges until the campus moved across town. Chuck Wagon sits at a little twist in Academy Avenue, a hub on the way to other places.
It’s all about the chili fries for some people, but, for me it’s all about the chili cheese dogs. These are foot-long franks slipping around in some of the greasiest, gooiest, cheesiest chili you are likely to encounter this side of a cardiovascular clinic.
YummyYummyYummy! The family recipe is beanless and beefy, a filling treat for the tummy. Onions and mustard are expected, and you really should have them the fries, with or without chili, are fluffy, puffy creatures that cry out for ketchup. There is outdoor seating (picnic-table style), and the sidewalk really should have markings for ordering and waiting areas, because there is a near-constant chorus of people walking up and asking, “Have you ordered?” One thing you need to know: the Chuck Wagon is closed on Wednesday, as are several other businesses in Sanger. I don’t know what attraction Sanger has for Wednesday, but you can’t get your Chuck Wagon chili fix then.
I have to admit that I’m prejudiced, but there is something about a foot-long, sloppy chili cheese dog from Sanger. Chuck Wagon is my favorite. Of course, if it was after midnight, and I was wandering the Tower District, I’d probably head for Richie’s. However, if this was October and I was at the Big Fresno Fair, all bets would be off until I found the Corn Dog Wagon shaped like a corn dog. Fair food: that’s another story!
Check out more food articles and more of Terrance’s Great Food Search column in our Food Fun section.