Skip to main content

Central California Life Magazine

Quick and Cheap Eats in Central California

Feb 06, 2016 04:38PM ● By Kevin

There’s a lot to be said for quick and cheap eats. As we approach the holidays, as we prepare to sit down for holiday dinners, inevitably as preparation reaches a feverish pitch, there will be days where quick dinners are a must.

Maybe it’s lunch before the night of a holiday party or a quick bite before a long Christmas shopping trip, whether it’s off the beaten path or right on it, sometimes the best of what Fresno has to offer isn’t overly refined—it’s authentic and laid back like Fresnoans.

With that in mind, Central California Life magazine introduces our new regular Savor feature, Cheap Eats.

Fancy Burger

Sitting in the drive-thru, I see the young man who was stationed at the window hand to the car in front of me two white bags, and they remind me of a drive-in my parents used to take me as a child.

The neat folds around the top couldn’t disguise its contents, because after only a few minutes, the bags would be marked with the tell-tale translucent spots that easily identified nearly every American kids’ favorite meal: cheeseburger and fries.

I’m in the drive-thru of Fancy Burger, an independently owned fast food joint, waiting for the delicious, real, fresh burgers and perfectly salted fries I’ve already enjoyed one time prior. This time, I notice the advertisement for a Coke Float on the drive-thru window and my mind wanders to the simple, five-flavor milkshake menu: Chocolate, vanilla, pineapple, banana and strawberry.

I resisted the temptation then, but just a day later, went back and ordered three: Banana, pineapple and strawberry. Like all good drive-ins, the milkshakes are sweet, creamy and delicious, (and appropriately equipped with an extra-wide straw for all the fruit) the perfect complement to a menu that plays host to traditional fast food fare: hot dogs, burgers, etc.

Fancy Burger is located at the southwest corner of Herndon and West. For more information and coupons, visit

Pho 90

There’s only one thing someone in my family wants when their sick. Chicken Pho from Pho 90. There’s comfort in the laborious Vietnamese soup, paired with chicken and rice noodles and served with limes, freshly cut jalapenos and bean sprouts.

Located on Clinton and Fresno, Pho 90 is a substantial, but worthwhile trek from my house. Today, and most days, I will make a to-go order and cart it back to my house to dole out. An extra-large soup easily serves two or three, and at $7.95 per bowl, the only thing that exceeds its value, is its taste.

I already know what I want, but while I wait the few minutes it takes to put the soup in containers, I look at the updated menu and notice the nearly infinite options for smoothies: Avocado, soursop and tamarind, as well as traditional options like strawberry, peach and nearly every other fruit I can think of.

When my rather large soup order is complete, someone from the restaurant helps me carry it to my car in a box — gently guiding me to place it in my trunk where it is less likely to spill. She thanks me politely, and I thank her, certain that in this exchange between us, I am as similarly grateful for this soup as she is for the patronage.

Pho 90 is located at 2256 North Fresno Street. For more information, call (559) 248-9090. 

Story and photos by Amy Guerra, a criminal defense attorney practicing in Fresno. She has written for several publications throughout California and enjoys writing about the law, food, travel and all things Fresno.

Upcoming Events Near You

It is the mission of Cen Cali Life Magazine to spotlight what makes our Central Valley a unique and integral part of the Golden State. To learn more about us and our mission, click on the "About Us + Advertising Link" at the top of this page.

Happy Reading,

Karen Maroot