Downtown Fresno’s newest restaurant is Mediterranean place Gus Kabob.
He’s the owner, Gustavo Pineda.
He chose the name for the restaurant he opened with his brother because he’s always dreamed of having his name on his own restaurant.
Pineda is not Mediterranean – he’s Mexican – but he’s been cooking Mediterranean food for almost 20 years.
The food is mostly Mediterranean, with some breakfast burritos and pancakes and the occasional nopales (a type of cactus) with eggs served as a special. There are also burgers, including the “Gus burger,” which is smothered in sautéed onions, bell peppers, mushrooms and cheese and served on grilled sourdough.
“We sell a lot of burgers,” Pineda says, especially the lamb burger made from ground beef, lamb and Mediterranean spices.
But most of the menu is Mediterranean food. Pineda worked for years at Mediterranean Grill & Cafe on U Street in downtown Fresno until recently.
He brings familiar Mediterranean favorites to his new restaurant, including the popular chicken and rice pilaf with a fattoush salad (a Greek salad with fried pocket bread). The menu also has falafel, stuffed grape leaves, vegetarian plate, baklava and kebabs made from lamb, beef and chicken.
Gus Kabob is open for breakfast and lunch from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
After that, Pineda heads to Phoenician Garden on Herndon Avenue and First Street to work the dinner shift there.
Why does he work so many hours? For his 14-year-old son, named Gustavo Angel, he says. His son’s mother died two years ago.
Pineda said he works to provide for his son, first buying a house, then to afford all the extra expenses that come with having a high school student.