Several months’ back my brother “Clovis Bites” clued me in on Cravings Wood Grilled Burgers and Dogs in Clovis. After eating there he couldn’t quite give it a thumbs up or down so I decided to give them a few weeks to work out the kinks and then pay them a visit. I should have given them a few months.
To sum up my experience in one word I would say: disastrous. Despite making their own patties and grilling burgers and dogs over almond wood (with gas assist), the service was horribly slow, the hot dog undercooked, the burger burnt to a crisp (the cook kept smashing on it with the spatula like a rookie), the bun flimsy and the heat-lamped fries weren’t great. Not only that, somehow they managed to serve two raw turkey burgers in a row to the lady next to us. Disastrous.
To add to the frustrations, the ordering process is confusing and awkward. Basically you walk up to the counter, place your order and then sit down. So far so good. Then when your burger is done they call you up to the sneeze window, ala Subway, so you can stare at the three separate menu boards loaded with toppings. I asked the owner what his inspiration was for the process and was told he borrowed ideas from different restaurants and merged them together. I could tell. Just let me pick my toppings in advance (that’s what the initial order is for right?) and bring me the burger when it’s done. Simple enough. They would do themselves and their customers a huge favor just by changing this one thing.
Fast-forward six months.
After several friends kept going back with positive reports (@chadlonetree and @6nak6) I finally caved and returned. I ordered the double bacon burger with pepper jack cheese. Aside from not changing the lame ordering process, Cravings should be commended for making some good adjustments.
Gone is the heat lamp they were using for the fries and rings. The fries were cooked nicely and served piping hot, along with the onion rings. The bun eventually succumbed to the thousand island and BBQ sauce but the quality was much improved. The bacon was crisp, cooked right over the almond wood fire. The biggest downside and perhaps most important though was the patty was tough. The beef had good flavor but I think the local meat market they selected to shape the patties is overworking them. At least they’re fresh.
While the ordering process hasn’t changed, they are going in the right direction and making adjustments. I noticed that they’ve also brought in local sausages from Fresno State. I didn’t eat one but it’s great that they’re supporting the community and buying local.