Ronnie's Midway Market - Home of the Giant Sandwich
The deli style sandwich discussion in Fresno can get heated. You got your Sam’s fans and then you got your Gino’s loyalists. The Sunnyside Deli fanatics are oil and vinegar wrestling with the Piedmonte hipsters. Then you have the Packing Shed suits that really screw everything up. Well, in the midst of this I heard from an East Coast transplant that “Ronnie’s Midway Market” on Blackstone just North of Herndon was Fresno’s best sandwich.
Seriously, someone told me that. Someone told me that the place I figured to be a carniceria/liquor store across the street from where the Drive-In theater used to be had the best sandwich in town. I took that as a challenge, grabbed my trusty accomplice Bo and I headed over to the North Side.
The place is unassuming and old; a relic as far as North Fresno is concerned. This place seems to be the last man standing after the likes of Texas Burgers, Malibu Grand Pre, and the memory laden Drive-In theatre slowly went the way of the trilobite. It proudly states “since 1952” above their door.
We walked in and were greeted by a friendly man-cashier and we quickly realized this place was in fact “a market.” There were groceries, lots of groceries and people were in fact shopping. In the back there was a small butcher with fresh Harris Ranch beef along with lots of chicken, ribs, and even house made chorizo and beef jerky. There were quite a few customers and many knew the butchers by name. It was quaint.
We came because we heard this place had the best pastrami sandwich in town but unfortunately we still can’t make a decision on that because they were out. No fear, roast beef and tri tip were quick to come to the rescue. In fact, the only sandwiches I believe the offer were pastrami, tri-tip, roast beef, and hot link. We got a 10in roast beef with everything including pepper-jack cheese and a 6in tri-tip. They made them and handed them to us in a bag and it felt like a barbell. When we went to the front to pay we asked the guy to weigh them. The roast beef was two whole pounds and the tri-tip was 1.12lbs. These things were monsters.
The sandwiches cost $8.99 for the ten inch and $5.99 for the 6 inch tri-tip. This doesn’t sound too cheap compared to say Subway and the five dollar foot-long. So for research purposes we later got a Subway foot long roast beef and it weighed roughly eleven ounces. The internet says they use 5 ounces of meat and 1 ounce of cheese. The point of the story is; weigh wise you would need to buy $15 worth of subway to equal the weight Ronnie’s 10 inch and even then the quality of this midway monster was unparalleled by the subway corporation.
We unwrapped these meat packed marvels and were impressed with the taste of the meats and the thick hand-cut cheese. The roast beef was flavorful with a pink center which was piled slices high around an inch thick. It was delicious. The vegetables were extremely standard, shredded iceberg, jar jalapeños, red onion, peppers, etc. The bread was fresh and delicious but again, nothing out of the ordinary. The tri-tip was warm, carved, and juicy with good flavor. It was better than many other tri-tips I have had in deli-style sandwiches but wasn’t in the Mikes/Dog House/Boxcar discussion. These sandwiches were amazing as far as deli-style subs are concerned. It was the biggest sandwich meant for one person I have ever seen in Fresno which says a lot. This also was not the best sandwich in town mostly because it lacked any exciting veggies but it may be the best sandwich in its class.
This place was a gem and a fifties flashback in a neighborhood where old businesses are few and far between. The sandwiches are huge and really delicious and the business is family owned. Go here, it’s great, DEAD IN 60 APPROVED !!!