Cravings will satisfy what you hunger for — especially if it’s a sausage sandwich.
“Our sausages are really our specialty,” said co-owner Grant Mohler. “Not too many places around town offer sausages and hot dogs grilled over almond wood. We partner with Fresno State on many of our sausages.”
The university’s Meat Lab produces several of the sausage lines that Cravings buys at Fresno State’s Gibson Farm Market.
Burger offerings at Cravings are plenty interesting, too, and they get the almond wood treatment, as well.
“I would describe our concept as sausage and burgers meet Subway,” Mohler said.
The Subway reference is to Cravings’ three-step process that allows guests to customize their sausages, burgers and hot dogs with a variety of condiments.
Located on the southeast corner of Herndon and Armstrong avenues, Cravings opened in November 2011. Scott Hinman, the other co-owner, came up with the restaurant’s name while reading a book called “Soul Cravings” by Erwin McManus, a pastor and filmmaker.
Cravings’ Killer Kielbasa sausage is the most popular. It’s a pork sausage with a hint of garlic that originally came from Poland.
Six other sausages are on the menu:
▪ Ragin Cajun, a Louisiana hot link.
▪ Pepper Jack, beef and pork sausage infused with jack cheese and jalapeño.
▪ Pop’s Spicy Italian, pork sausage with a blend of Italian spices.
▪ Linguica, pork sausage infused with red wine.
▪ Bratwurst, pork sausage infused with Guinness, an Irish dry stout.
▪ Jalapeño Chicken, chicken sausage infused with jalapeño.
All the sausage selections are priced at $5.99.
Mohler said tri-tip is another one of Cravings’ specialties: “It’s shredded so you can put it on anything — fries, burgers, dogs, salad. The sky is the limit. The cooking process is unmatched.”
Mohler trims off most of the tri-tip’s fat, dry rub marinates it for four days, pan sears it and then puts the meat in a slow cooker for eight hours.
Mohler and Hinman are each partial to a different burger on their menu.
“I would have to say the ‘G Money’ is my favorite,” Mohler said. “It’s actually named after me. It’s one of my nicknames. It’s two quarter-pound patties with a slice of Swiss cheese and a pile of tri-tip on top.”
Hinman’s favorite is the Breakfast Burger — a quarter-pound, all-beef patty, thick bacon, a fried egg and cheddar cheese.
Some of the other burgers include the:
▪ Bacon Burger, Pastrami Burger, Chili Burger and Guacamole Burger — all of them that come as advertised.
▪ Carnivore Burger, which is made with beef, chicken, turkey, bacon, pastrami and four cheeses.
▪ Hawaiian Burger, a patty topped with Swiss cheese, teriyaki and grilled pineapple.
Cravings’ burgers are priced from $3.25 to $12.99 (for the Carnivore Burger). A Jr. Burger also is available for $1.99.
In Step 1 of the customizing process, guests choose from ketchup, mustard and an assortment of other items that includes three Cravings’ creations: chipotle mayonnaise, Tapatio teriyaki and barbecue sauces (smoky hickory, raspberry chipotle or ghost pepper).
Step 2 includes picking from the usual suspects (lettuce, tomato, etc.) plus a spicy trio: banana pepper, jalapeño and sport pepper. The sport pepper is the spiciest.
Step 3 finishes up with salt and pepper variations, bacon bits and four dressing choices.
The options allow for almost unlimited variety. “The reality is you could have a different burger or dog every time, if you wanted,” Mohler said. “However, many of our customers find the combination they like and stick with it. Our homemade barbecue sauces are some of the most popular items we have.”
Cravings also offers a kids menu, plus a variety of sandwiches (pastrami, Reuben, grilled chicken and grilled cheese) plus several non-meat offerings (veggie dog and burger plus a turkey burger).
To top it off, the restaurant offers ice cream milkshakes ($3.45) and malts ($3.80). They come in five flavors — time-tested classics vanilla, chocolate and strawberry, plus popular newcomers coffee and mocha.
“Our milkshakes all start off with hand-scooped Thrifty’s vanilla ice cream, and we can add the different flavors along with malt or whipped cream,” Mohler said. His favorite is a chocolate shake.
Logan Greenberg of Clovis has been a regular since Cravings opened. His favorite burger is the Big Brother because it’s the size of a heavy-hitter from a fast food restaurant but costs about half the price. Greenberg said he likes the Ragin Cajun sausage because it’s got “a little kick. I like spicy so it’s right up my alley.”
A chocolate shake is another of his favorites. “Phenomenal,” Greenberg said, adding that the staff at Cravings will add extra syrup to the shakes upon request.
Cravings is at 2220 Herndon Ave., No. 102. Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Saturday. The restaurant is closed on Sunday. The telephone number is (559) 299-7669. Cravings is on Facebook.