Irene’s satisfies appetite and budget


Owned and run by Fresno native Irene Saul, Irene’s Cafe has been a local staple for 22 years to get a bite to eat while hanging out with friends in the Tower District of Fresno, Calif.

Story By: Lauren Baker, Artistic Director

If you’re looking for a good eat that’s equally as satisfying economically, Irene’s Cafe is for you. It is located in the heart of the Tower District, and is a quaint local diner that offers an array of delicious food at a reasonable price.

For less than $10, one can get a full plate of food and still have enough money for a generous serving of Irene’s hand-made ice cream, which goes without saying is money well spent. It’s open daily from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The wait time is pretty minimal between ordering and receiving the food, and the service is excellent.

They feature a patio with efficient shading, and the customer is given the option for self-seating upon entering the establishment, which is tropical themed as evidenced by the mural of toucans and lush plants on the side of the building. From there, you’ll have a menu full of dining options that span the globe.

The breakfast menu is available Monday through Friday until 11 a.m. and until 3 p.m. during the weekend.

Breakfast options include the classic french toast combination, as well as omelettes and chorizo.

The chorizo burrito is an exceptional item in that it’s prepared on a larger scale and made with potatoes, red peppers, cheese and, of course, chorizo. This comes with a side of Irene’s picante salsa and a dollop of sour cream.

Since it’s made so large, it’ll keep you full for quite a while. The fact it doesn’t cost more than $8 doesn’t hurt either.

Lunchtime usually has a featured item or special combo at a great price. They also feature an “express menu” where you can call in ahead of time and order from their selection of sandwiches and soup and salad combinations.

They feature a great list of sides to choose from as well, including their homemade macaroni, potato, and pasta salads.

Sandwich options range from your classic tuna sandwich to their “Monaco,” which is hot pastrami and pepperoni with melted cheese on a basque roll, according to their menu. The dinner menu is available from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. when the restaurant closes, and the menu in its entirety is available on their website.

If you try anything at Irene’s Cafe, let it be the ice cream. It’s handcrafted in the diner and they have an assortment of flavors, ranging from the classic chocolate, strawberry and vanilla to mint-chocolate chip and black cherry. For $3, you can get two large scoops of any flavor. Even the two dollar single scoop is pretty big, and a side of their amazing french fries alongside it is a pretty choice combination.