Sometimes, you just want a go-to breakfast spot. Someplace a little more upscale than say, Denny’s, but not too fancy-schmancy, mimosas with everything, that kind of deal. (Not that I have anything against a good mimosa. But you know what I mean.)
I ran across just such a place by accident last weekend. Occasionally, amazing things can happen just when you Google “Fresno gluten-free donuts.”
How Food Allergies & Great Word-of-Mouth Turned a Business Around
Located in north Fresno, Manna Café is a little off the beaten track, which is probably why they struggled at first.
I spoke at length with our server Chez about what turned things around for this family-owned local business.
According to Chez, a lot of their initial traffic had to do with the same reason my family was there: food allergies. His mom Catherine, who does the cooking at Manna, was diagnosed with celiac disease when the restaurant was just starting out. Thanks to her, pretty much all the food in the restaurant can be modified to be gluten-free.
Eventually, word-of-mouth drove their business, along with glowing reviews on Yelp and Trip Advisor. Gluten-free or not, the place has a great family vibe, which is why it has so many returning customers.
What to Order at Manna Café
The restaurant serves breakfast all day, both in house and take-out. Chez commented that they have lots of regulars, and they’ve become like family. Manna Café is actually so busy, they’re opening a second location at 6095 N. Figarden Dr. (where the old Starbucks used to be on the Bullard loop) this spring.
“Okay, great,” I hear you saying. “But is the food legit?”
For that, I need a YES, preferably in big red letters.
As I mentioned, Manna Café serves breakfast all day. The extensive menu includes staples such as bacon and eggs, and numerous types of omelets, as well as a breakfast burrito, breakfast sandwich, breakfast burger, and griddle favorites such as waffles, pancakes, and a Texas bread French toast — again, most of it gluten-free, if preferred.
If you’re looking for lunch, there are numerous burgers, sandwiches, and salads to choose from, as well as specialties like fish and chips, tacos, and hot dogs. Dessert in the form of ice cream, shakes, and pie rounds off your meal. (Check out the full menu here.)
And about that food: It’s the best breakfast I’ve had in awhile, which is saying something. I love me a good breakfast, and being able to order stuff many people wouldn’t think twice about was a huge bonus!
My husband decided whatever he was getting needed to involve pancakes, so he chose the “444 Breakfast,” which includes four eggs, four gluten-free (if you choose) pancakes, and four pieces of bacon. Depending on who you are, this either sounds ridiculous or amazing (if it sounds ridiculous, you can order the “222 Breakfast” — same thing, only half the portion.)
I decided to mix things up a little and went with the Huevos Rancheros, which is also available in a gluten-free option. It was wonderful. I took a photo just for this article, but seeing it again is making me consider getting it framed.
We both loved our meals. The portions were huge and there was no way I could finish mine. I needed a box because, let’s face it, the whole reason we were there was to check out the baked goods.
Cobbler, pie, cake, coffee cake, cheesecake, muffin, brownie, and biscuits are all available — and all gluten-free. One blueberry muffin and a slice of cinnamon pecan coffee cake later, and we were officially sold. We are definitely looking forward to our next breakfast at Manna Café!
Manna Café is located at 10063 N. Maple Ave. in Fresno (cross streets: Maple/Behymer). They’re open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., 7 days a week. If you’re pressed for time, call ahead; they offer a 20-minute lunch option.
Head on by, grab a burger or breakfast, and tell them FresYes sent you!