by Terrance Mc Arthur
In April, the Great Food Search took a look at restaurants in Fresno’s Tower District while I rehearsed for a production of I Remember Mama at the Good Company Players’ 2nd Space Theatre. The run of the play has ended, but those weeks of performances gave me time to continue my quest of eating my way through the Tower District.
Follow me on the second part of my journey.Deli Delicious—920 E. Olive Avenue, Fresno Next door to the theatre, Deli Delicious is an easy spot to get to for a basic submarine sandwich. I had a Tuna, Avocado, and Sprouts, with Cream Cheese (but they were out of sprouts that day). The wheat bread was loaded with tuna, oozing out of the bread. Tomato, wax peppers, mayo, mustard, red onion, black pepper, oil, vinegar (I nixed the lettuce), and a lovely layer of avocado completed the sub. The eatery makes up part of the space that used to be the Fulton’s Folly antique mall, but there’s nothing old-fashioned about the place. The food is good, and there are many options to tempt your tastebuds. Panaderia Natalie—935 E. Olive Avenue, Fresno It’s been a bakery for a long time (For years, it was Lauck’s). Now the place is loaded with pastries, pan dulce, and…Bierocks? Beerocks? Yes! There’s your basic bierock, a jalapeno bierock, and a carne asada variety. Carne asada bierocks? You bet! Squishy-good dough wrapped around a mix of cabbage and succulent meat, soft and hot (the nice lady warmed it up for me) if you have a working nose, the place will take your breath away! The Peach Pit—555 E. Olive Avenue, Fresno, this isn’t in Beverly Hills 90210. It’s on the west end of the Tower District: an unassuming burger joint, with a wall-spanning menu that includes a teriyaki section that looks enticing. I was in the mood for a Pastrami Sandwich with a side order of Fried Zucchini. The long roll supported a load of hearty pastrami. The breaded spears of zucchini had that mix of crunchy outside and melt-in-your-mouth core that makes you want to come back for more. T.O.A. (Taste of Aleppo)—Sometimes on the northwest corner of E. Olive Avenue and N. Van Ness Avenue, Fresno It’s a food truck. It’s a Mediterranean restaurant. It’s good! The Combo Specialty Plate featured formerly-skewered chunks of chicken, beef, and lamb, spiced and barbecued. Throw in pilaf salad and dipping sauce, and you walk away with a meal fit for royalty. And I had leftovers to share when I reached home.This food truck is the mobile branch of T.O.A. Mediterranean, a restaurant at 8961 N Cedar Ave Ste 103, Fresno (where you could see belly dancing for your dining pleasure.)
The Verdict—Good food is had by all, but T.O.A was something truly special. Happy EatingURGENT NEWS—Back in August of 2021, the winner of the month’s Great Food Search was Brown Bear’s Hot Dogs at 7040 N Fresno St. in Fresno, a tiny establishment in the parking lot behind the Chili’s on the northeast corner of Herndon Ave. and Fresno St. The designer franks ranged from BBQ to Korean, and all delightful! This year, Benjamin and Jennifer Chu-Raya were surprised to find their landlord was ousting them for a better offer. They have to vacate by the end of July. What could they do? Go back to their original mobile model and purchase a food truck! The Chu-Rayas have a GoFundMe page to raise money to get them back on the streets. If you have ever tried their amazing dogs, I encourage you to help them keep rolling. If you haven’t given them a try, you don’t know what you’re missing!