Bethany Clough

These Fresno-area restaurants won Best of the Valley awards. Is your favorite among them?

You could call it the Academy Awards of the Fresno restaurant scene.

OK, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but Fresno-area restaurateurs got dressed up for the 28th annual Best of the Valley awards ceremony Monday. Hosted by the California Restaurant Association’s Fresno chapter, places to eat and other food companies were honored in more than 30 categories.

There was even a lifetime achievement award.

Peter DiNuzzo of Mike’s Pizzeria Lounge at West and Shields avenues was honored for being a part of his family’s business for 57 years. His parents started the restaurant after coming to Fresno from Italy. The business has grown and changed over the years and will soon unveil a food truck.

As for the other categories, nominees are chosen by professionals in the restaurant industry in Fresno, Madera and Tulare counties. CRA members and nominees who don’t have to be CRA members vote for the winners.

New categories for 2018 include best new food truck and best coffee.


Best breakfast: Red Apple Café.

Best fast food/drive-thru: In-N-Out Burger.

Best fast casual restaurant: Butterfish.

Best Asian restaurant: Wassabi.

Best Mexican restaurant: Papi’s Mex Grill.

Best family dining: Westwoods BBQ & Spice Co.

Best fine dining: Cracked Pepper Bistro.

Best pizza: Me-n-Ed’s Pizzeria.

Best seafood/sushi: Pismo’s Coastal Grill.

Best winery: Engelmann Cellars.

Best sports bar: Dog House Grill.

Best hotel/casino dining: Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino.

Best Italian restaurant: The Annex Kitchen.

Best newcomer: 13 Prime Steak.

Best kept secret: School House Restaurant & Tavern.

Friendliest service: Sam’s Italian Deli & Market.

Best watering hole: The Mad Duck Neighborhood Grill & Taphouse.

Most romantic restaurant: Cracked Pepper Bistro.

Best steak: Ruth’s Chris Steak House.

Best banquet: Wedgewood Weddings Fresno.

Best catering: Pardini’s Catering & Banquets.

Best hamburger: House of JuJu.

Best sandwich: Sam’s Italian Deli & Market.

Best craft brewery: Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Co.

Best country club dining: Copper River Country Club.

Best Indian restaurant: Tandoori Night.

Best sweet treat: Ampersand Ice Cream.

Best Mediterranean restaurant: Mediterranean Grill & Café.

Best barbecue restaurant: Dog House Grill.

Best food truck: The Gastro Grill.

Best coffee: Kuppa Joy Coffee House

Beverage purveyor/supplier of the year: The Coca-Cola Company.

Purveyor/supplier of the year: JD Foods.

Restaurateur of the year: Pat LaRocca of Five.

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Bethany Clough covers restaurants and retail for The Fresno Bee. A reporter for 20 years, she now works to answer readers’ questions about business openings, closings and other business news. She has a degree in journalism from Syracuse University and her last name is pronounced Cluff.