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Meat, please, and lots of it.
Nestled on a busy corner across the street from a porno shop and a few blocks east of Highway 99, the Cosmopolitan Deli-Grill has been the downtown crowd's favorite lunch spot for decades.
Cosmo's was originally a two-story hotel located in what was then Fresno's Little Italy. The Lanfranco family has been running the joint since 1933. The last hotel guests moved out in 1971 when the second story of the building was razed, and it looks as though the décor hasn't had an update since. A dark wooden escape from the light of day, Cosmo's serves up hefty portions of all things meat.
Enter the restaurant through the bar or the deli. The bar area is classic frozen-in-time Fresno with dark wood paneling, burgundy vinyl booths, and dark wooden chairs and tables. Cosmo's stocks a full bar, which is usually packed at lunchtime. The bar was handcrafted eons ago by a Swiss Italian artisan in downtown Fresno. It's long, curvy, and gorgeous. Six television screens let you watch your car in the parking lot, ESPN, and California Lotto.
As noontime looms, the older regulars fill up the seats at the bar, while police officers and construction workers crowd around tables near the deli. Place your order at the deli counter, in the brighter room. A professional deli person will take your order, call you honey, and call out your name when it's ready. This incognito lunch haven serves up a variety of made to order sandwiches and burgers, from salami to tuna to tri-tip. Sandwiches are served on Basque seeded French rolls or wheat bread.
Cosmo's is not a place for vegetarians or the health-conscious (although they do have a four cheese sandwich and a new "low carb" menu). The Cosmo Salad, a bargain at $4.50, features ham, turkey, salami, pepperoni, sliced egg, and cheese. Or try the Bronx Bomber with ham, barbeque tri-tip, and turkey for $4.65. Mmm.
The place gets packed everyday for lunch, so call ahead before 11am or be prepared to wait a bit. The bar is open Monday through Saturday until 9pm.
The Cosmopolitan Deli Grill is located at 1546 Fresno Street, at G Street. Open Monday through Friday for lunch from 10:30am to 4pm. Phone: 266-8662