Fresno/Bako 99 Road Trip Stops/Recs

I’ve found myself driving up through the central valley on the 99 a lot lately, and I always end up frantically Yelping for burritos, which has led me to some pretty lackluster taquerias in sketchy parts of Fresno, Bakersfield, and their weird suburbs and in-between towns.

Does anyone have any recs or favorite stops on the 99? Yes there’s always In n Out or Panda or whatever, but would love some local/interesting and quick favorites for a short road-trip stop, Mexican or otherwise.

For my part I can contribute to this effort on one front: beer (not ideal for a road trip, I realize, but only one person actually has to drive and growlers are beautiful…)

Lengthwise has 3 or so locations in Bakersfield, and I’ve stopped off at the pub near CSUB a few times now. Beer is pretty good, environment is basic but totally decent, and food is completely fine. It’s a fun stop, and a good place to get a growler fill.

Tioga-Sequoia in Fresno is a great brewery, much better than it has to be for the area. It’s a fun stop and a great growler fill, especially if they have one of their coffee beers on tap.

House of Pendragon in Fresno also makes pretty good beer, with more of a focus on hoppy stuff. Also fun, especially if you’re into IPAs, but I generally prefer T-S.

¡Thxxx in advance!

TLDR: where to stop on the 99? I have found decent beer but not decent food in Fresno & Bakersfield.

Is the Wool Growers in Bakersfield similar to the one in Los Banos? We ate there the other day. Bread, butter, soup, beans, green salad, chicken with rice, three lamb chops, & wine, $18 tax included. Everything was quite good in a very old-school way. Took one of the three chops for later.

I’m not certain that this post belongs on this Board. Might be better served on the California board. Fresno and Bakersfield is quite a stretch from LA.

I put it here because I was thinking specifically of quick stops for driving in between LA and points North, and because this board is where I spend most of my time, but if mods want to move or if I should relocate it myself, that makes sense and is totally cool with me.

Basque restaurants are the special feature around Bakersfield I think. Wool Growers (mentioned above) gets good reviews and so does Benji"s ( There’s also Chalet Basque, ( I haven’t been to either but the Basque food experiences I’ve had elsewhere have been quite good.

Farther North I’ve seen good reviews for Lela’s, Taco’s Tijuana y Mariscos, Meze House - all in Fresno; and Hunan in Clovis (a bit off the 99 though).

Thanks for the recs. Made the drive up and back last weekend:

Stopped at House of Pendragon in Fresno on the way up for beer (was underwhelmed, found stuff to be fine but not any better than that) and ate at the destination.

Stopped on the way back at Loncheria Otro Rollo for Jalisco-style tortas ahogadas and lonches. Not quick and not ideal for eating in the car, but it was a really enjoyable stop; pork was juicy and great, salsas were spicy and flavorful. Highly recommended, though it’s worth noting that it’s a truck, so there is no indoors and no bathroom. Plenty of gas stations and such nearby, but you will probably be eating spicy, saucy sandwiches in 100+ degree heat. Still worth it.

Found Ofelias Cocina on Yelp. The sign said birria (weekends only) but Ofelia said it was actually barbacoa and that it was the same thing, which it might be in her home town. Regardless, this barbacoa de res was one of the best braised beef dishes I’ve ever had. Deep, complex flavor, assertively spicy. Excellent house-made corn tortillas (flour are bought). My companion had a burrito, excellent chile verde and very tasty beans. Worth the detour from the freeway.

1 Like

Don’t know which Basque place to go to in Bakersfield

Be aware of seating times at some of the Basque places.

For example, they may only offer one family-style lunch that starts at noon.
If you are not there at noon, you may not be able to be seated.

So Noriega’s?

I haven’t been to any of them yet, but based on Jonathan Gold’s affection for the Noriega I’d go there if I could be sure to be there at noon or 7:00 pm.

Ill be the test case about entering it at 3 and ordering… not leaving sequoia at 9 am

Well fam you will be the test case for waiting until 7 to eat. Breakfast is the only meal you can order from the menu. Otherwise there’s a noon seating and a 7 seating and that’s it. You need a res for both of those and be sure to park your car where you can see it because Noriega’s is in a shite neighborhood.

1 Like

Ok so I guess we have to go to another restaurant. Trying to remember which one we have been to.

Also it’s not like this in actual Basque

I think Chalet is where we’ve been

I’ve done exactly this–even the Sequoia part. Don’t do this.
We were turned away. I think we ate In ‘n’ Out.

Chalet will take us any time I think. Don’t even care if we are turned away. Have a gift card for In n Out

If I can make a call to a place to reserve for noon which should I call?

Come to Northern Nevada if you want “actual” Basque.

So which Basque place is best in Reno? And what makes it better than Bakersfield Basque? Just asking.