Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

What Fresno food spots are worthy of ‘Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives?’


In my Friday column in The Bee, I write about how Fresno is long overdue for some love from the Food Network’s hole-in-the-wall celebrator “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.”

We’ve never had a local restaurant featured — in fact, the closest (according to Triple D map site Flavortown USA) is in San Jose. San Jose?!? C’mon now. We’ve got some great local treasures that are worthy of Guy Fieri and his silly haircut.

Among the places I’d recommend:

But I know there are others worth a sniff from “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” so let’s hear what they are and why. Once we get a good list going, I’ll send it to the show and hopefully we can get one our local treasures some national love.

Responses to "What Fresno food spots are worthy of ‘Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives?’"

Fher1286 says:

P.F. Changs, BJ’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, Ruth’s Chris, Dai Bai Dang, Applebees, etc…

Sharon Karp says:

FAT JACKS…… a must, best burgers in around….with their onion rings….awesome….

James says:

Al’s Cafe on 99 and Olive. Amazing.

Pattie says:

Popolo’s with their lasanga and cheesy garlic bread. Or QN4U with the “Hot Sandy” sandwich.

Tracy says:

Jus’ Jos on Willow and Shaw…damn good food, great prices, wonderful people….haven’t been able to find anything close to it since I moved up to Washington.

bradley says:

I’d toss out any of the burger joints. been hammered to death on that show already.

elegante and guadalajara are good choices as they are very Valley. Rudy Jr.’s is a treasure that could make it work — the people that own and work there are characters and that makes good tv.

another suggestion would be one of the pho places. I’d go for Pho Galaxy. With its kitchy 60′s exterior and rope light crazed interior, it would be a winner.

Dana says:

Not all need to be small. If you watch TripleD some of them are larger restaurants, but they are all local. Here are my suggestions:

Sals (Fancy Burrito FTW)
The Beerrock Shop (cheapest and best homecooked meals in town)
Fat Jacks
Cuca’s (don’t know if the downtown one is still around but it was great)

Dana says:

Oh I forgot.

BJ’s Kountry Kitchen

jasonmillar says:


Juju says:

How about some deli love? I would say Sam’s of course and Tsing Tao in Clovis.

Tari says:

I agree – Burger joints have been overdone.

I’d go with Al’s Cafe, Guadalajara, or Rudy Jr’s.

erica says:

Tsing Tao is pretty awesome. I would also go with Chuck Wagon. If the idea is just local but not necessarily a dive I would also say Sal’s cannot be overlooked (the original in Sanger). I also couldn’t live without the tacos at Country Fare- I beyond love their taco shells.

Mike says:

This is a little out of Fresno but Martha’s in Orosi has some of the best mexican in the valley. Gotta try her chile relleno

In Fresno I would recommend QN4U…Have you tried that deep fried cheese stuffed bacon wrapped hotdog? AMZAING!

Jeff Avis says:

Jus’ Jo’s for breakfast, Rudy Jr.’s Chicken Man, El Toro, Geno’s sandwich shop,Chicken Pie shop.

sue says:

Full-O-Bull in clovis…truely a landmark that has been in the same location for over 30 years…The sandwiches are to die for!!

Jason Cooksey says:

Casa Quintero, Fresno & Ashlan. Great Mexican food and friendly service. I’m there every other week.

rick says:

Diner: Chicken Pie Shop
Drive-in: Fat Jacks
Dive: the pink place on Belmont that sells Tacos, Burgers, Chinese food and Donuts

Melissa says:

Castillo’s…. downtown on Ventura Ave and 7th St.
It serves the best of EVERYTHING Mexican food! The people lined up out the door are your first clue that you are in for something really good when you arrive at this restaurant. But with the fast, friendly and efficient staff, you never have to wait long to get seated and served. Mmmmm…….I’m drooling just thinking about it!

Eli says:

1. Beerrock Shop
2. Full O Bull
3. Geno’s

Tina says:

In the spirit of Chicken Man, La Elegante and Chuck Wagon (which are all GREAT!)I think you’ve got to include Tony’s Pizzaria on Shields and Fruit. Totally authentic, homemade and just the best pizza and calzones in town! Josephine has been doing it that way for over 40 years. Come on FRESNO! Let’s get DDD here!

Donald Munro says:

In honor of your comment, I ate at Castillo’s today for lunch. Yum.

RL says:

Luna’s in downtown Clovis is an institution. Ditto on the Jus’ Joes recommendation. Amazed Irene’s hasn’t popped up yet. Fresno Bagel Co also comes to mind about tiny dives that serve some really good food. Le’ Parisian Cafe has wonderful crepes.

P_Mam says:

1. The Latin Kitchen (another shout out to Sanger) authentic regional Mexican cuisine
2. Piemonte’s – feels like you stepped back in time to an old-fashioned Italian deli, the service is great.
3. Chicken Man – nobody does fried chicken like Rudy Jr.

dominic says:

Geno’s love fo sho

Dominic says:

Breakfast: BJ’s Kountry Kitchen

Lunch/Sandwich Shop: Geno’s

Dinner/Burgers: Wilkin’s Drive In in Selma, CA

ScienceMann says:

Breakfast:The Dam Diner in Friant
Sushi: Sushi Day
Lunch: The Ballpark Cafe

Richard says:

If you haven’t had gourmet Mexican food at Don Fernando’s on Copper Ave. almost to Prather, you have missed out on some great food. Caution, they are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Jankynola says:

Batter Up!!!!

Wienzer says:

I don’t often lol, but you got me

Chloe says:

Chuck Wagon, Sals, and Tsing Tao!

Tina says:

Sam’s Italian Deli for sure. Haute Dave’s looks like it’s going to be a major Triple D contender though I haven’t gotten over to try them yet. And Dusty Buns bistro bus.

shelby macnab says:

sal’s mexican resturant in selma and irenes in Tower

Tyler says:

#1 Has GOT to be Al’s Cafe! Olive and 99. The best in Fresno. Also, Full O’ Bull in Clovis and Chicken Pie Shop.

Raffi says:

Chicken Pie Shop!

Michael says:

Charlotte’s Bakery, The Cosmopolitan, and The Mediterranean Grill. Suprised no one has mentioned these three great restaurants.

mark hammons says:

Blossom Trail Cafe for dinner & BJ’s for breakfast.

Nancy says:

Triangle Drive In
The Waffle Shop
Las Cazuelas Restaurant (Blackstone & Princeton)

E.Rose says:

Rudy Jr’s Chicken Man in (05)93705. Hughes and Weber is the Clear Winner for this, Chicken Man has been a Neighborhood staple for decades and is the ONLY Place in Fresno you can get REAL Fried chicken..and it’s Amazing! The Garlic bread is no slacker either.
I Love the fact that they still use old style GLASS Pitchers for their beer which happens to be ridiculously ICEY COLD.
As a foodie and a cook, I take this stuff very seriously, and in all honesty as an avid Triple D fan and follower Rudy jr’s Chicken Man is the best fit to represent Fresno for Diners, Drive in’s and Dives.

Jessica says:

I can’t believe no one’s mention Don Pepe’s. The seafood alone is worth the dive journey! The DDD list is
Don Pepe’s -shrimp cocktail & botana cannot be topped)
Chuck Wagon- very Central Cal
Rudy Jr’s – primo dive

Tanisha W says:


Mindy says:

Definitely Fat Jacks and Chuck Wagon!

Suzanne McKelvie says:

Mak’s Landing is Fresno’s best kept secret.
Enjoy fabulous food and a nostalgic atmosphere. You can watch the planes take off and land. The restaurant is located inside the terminal at The Chandler Airport. It is so amazing. Food 10+
This is just the type of place Guy would go nuts to see. A real gem of a place. So unique !!!!

Anne says:

I can’t believe anybody mentioned any chain restaurants for Triple D. Triple D goes for local places. I don’t eat at chain restaurants, because I support local businesses. We have lots of them in the Fresno area.

Having said that, I’ll mention that the most addictive dish I’ve ever eaten is the Hunan chicken at the Hunan Restaurant (Cedar and Herndon). We have been eating there since the early 1980s, and we’ve brought dozens of friends there, all of whom became addicts as well. The place changed hands, but the recipe has survived. They have two menus. Ask to see both of them.

Dave says:


Derek says:

Also agree on Chicken Pie Shop. I have emailed Triple D in the past as have some others I know.

Marisa says:

Triangle!! I just ate there Friday :)
Also, Chuck Wagon is a good one too!

Peggy Reed says:

A must is Don Fernandos at Marshall Station. only 15 miles from Riverpark area and to die for fruit salsa served alongside their homemade specialties!

Bizkit says:

If a DD or D is suggested, it should be a place that everyone whom visits has a great eating experience. I just don’t see that with Rudy Jr’s Chicken Man. Is the fried chicken good? Yes. Best meal ? No. Other dishes just don’t move me. Same for Chuck Wagon. I grew up eating there and loved it. Just not the same. These places need a wow factor to their food.

My recommendations: El Elegante for sure. Don Pepe’s possibly. Cosmopolitan. Batter Up isn’t really a dive, but has good food. QN4U ‘s Tommy Dog is awesome, but it has been done before. Definitely not DDDs, but should be visited at least once: Trelio, Cracked Pepper and Limon. A Pho restaurant would be nice, but they don’t really separate themselves from one another.

Stevie says:

Are you kidding me? Pf Chang’s? Ruth’s Chris? Maybe some people here have never seen DDD. Having said that, it’s tough to pick one from Fresno. The Beerock shop at West and Bullard has great cheeseburgers, and the beerocks are unique, and it’s kind of a dive, but I agree with others the burger thing has been overdone on DDD. Again, not a diner or drive-in, but could be called a dive because of the location is Hunan on Cedar and Herndon. What other town even remotely like Fresno can boast a Bocuse D’ Or gold medal winner and fabulously authentic chinese food? Rudy Jr’s (suggested above) sounds good – never heard of it, but I’ll be trying!

Jessica says:

I forgot the piece de reisistance at Don Pepe’s—the shrimp topped beers!

Chuck Wagon. ‘Nuff said.

Leslie says:

I absolutely love California Wok on Shaw.Nest food and people in the world……

The Dam Diner says:

Hi Science Man,

My name is Melissa, I’m one of the owners of the DAM DINER. I’m glad to here you like our Dam Diner. I’d like to comp You and a friend to a free breakfast. Please, just Let your server know Melissa sent you…;)

Thanks Again.
Melissa Garza Blasingame

Melissa says:

The Dam Diner… Yum Yum!

Lauren says:


Diana P says:

I agree, The Dam Diner in Friant. That should be on the show.
Bobby Salazars, only the one near Shields and Blackstone is worth going to. Also love Famous Daves BBQ out in Riverpark.

Felix R. says:

Rudy Jrs is the only answer for this. They have the best fried chicken ever. I always hear how great Roscoes down in L.A. is. Rudy blows them away. Nobody comes close to doing fried chicken as good as Rudy.

pinky says:

La elegantae best Mexican tacos
best on the west!!!!!come an get’em Guy LOL…

pinky says:

Ummmm I have to go there!!!!”””

jeni says:

House of Kebab, it is the best Mediterranean food ever, also Luna’s in Clovis.

Patti Potter says:

Lett’y on the SW corner of Chestnut and Clinton has good mexican food. Also try Main Street Cafe in Reedley. It is a nice drive for a little outing. MEZE House on Olive in Tower is great for Mediternian food.

Lisa Chocoholic says:

Instead of discussing it for a year, what if people just wrote to the show individually and recommended one or two places?

Just write to them. Tell them what a shame it is they’ve apparently listened to decades-old rumors that Fresno sucks, and write about YOUR favorite eatery. It’s not like we need a majority vote just to write to DD&D and recommend only one spot. Write to them, and get your friends to write, and get your friends’ friends to write.

Maybe if Food Network gets enough messages from Fresnans, it’ll finally dawn on the producers that they’ve overlooked Fresno and they will just pick a spot themselves, based on the hundreds of recommendations from Fresnans.

(BTW, please don’t recommend QN4U; it closed last week.)

From their website:

Do you have a favorite diner, drive-in or dive that Guy should visit? Send your suggestion now to: Don’t forget to include your contact information!

Terry Mumby says:

I think if Rodeo Coffee shop in Clovis added a little “wow” factor, they would definitely make the show. Almost clicked away when I saw PF Changs and other chain restaurants. I’d like to see the Chicken Man just to see what’s going on in the kitchen. The best chicken I’ve ever eaten.