By Dave Fountinelle | firstname.lastname@example.org
Award-winning Vineyard Chef, Ian Cookson, opened Libelula in March 2019. In the three years since, his passion project has become one of the hidden gems of the Downtown Fresno culinary landscape. His creative, localized takes on popular American cuisine have earned him accolades and a growing following of loyal patrons. All despite Libelula’s unassuming, easy-to-miss location next to the historic Crest Theater and an absence of marketing fanfare. Chef Cookson has let his food do the talking instead. As a result, offerings such as the “big ass cinnamon roll,” curried fried chicken tacos, and sriracha maple chicken sandwich have become famous among Fresno foodies.
Libelula also features a rotating menu of weekly specials, with selections as diverse as they are delicious. For example, last week’s menu included vegan wings tossed in a choice of three sauces, bone marrow stroganoff served over house-made pappardelle pasta, and the aptly-named “The Burger” – a massive, choice beef patty dressed with ever-changing toppings, served with a side of crunchy tots.
With so many different choices, which include vegetarian and vegan options and a delectable pastry and dessert menu, the only downside for diners has been that Libelula doesn’t stay open for dinner. Libelula’s downtown location closes at 3 pm. But that changed in January when Libelula opened a second, dinner-only location at Strummer’s in the Tower District. Chef Cookson opens this Libelula at 6 pm and closes at 11 pm. Libelula at Strummer’s features many of their popular lunch items like curried chicken tacos, “The Burger,” and of course the “big ass cinnamon roll,” as well as some new dinner menu creations and their own set of rotating weekly specials.
Strummer’s kitchen has seen several different chefs and restaurants over the years. Still, Libelula’s bold, eclectic menu seems particularly well-suited for the task. Along with the high-energy entertainment provided by some of the best local and touring musical acts rocking the Strummer’s stage. News of Libelula coming to Strummer’s spread quickly, and social media is already abuzz with rave reviews for the new location.
There are still more exciting developments yet to come for Libelula. Chef Cookson’s daughter Ivy, Libelula’s pastry chef responsible for all of the decadent dessert items on their menu, is opening a bakery next door to the downtown location. Fans of Libelula’s unconventional sweet treats can expect to find all of their popular items, from chocolate braids with sea salt to chocolate miso cookies. And, of course, the “big ass cinnamon roll.” In addition to pastries, cookies, and cupcakes, Ivy also plans to offer fresh-made sourdough, jalapeno cheddar scones, and a host of other savory baked goods. Ivy’s bakery is expected to open in March, just in time to celebrate Libelula’s third anniversary.
Libelula at the Crest is open for brunch and lunch, 9 am to 3 pm. Libelula at Strummer’s is open for dinner, 6 pm to 11 pm. Both locations offer dine-in or take-out service. To stay up to date with Libelula’s rotating weekly specials and other announcements, follow them on Facebook and Instagram.
1154 Broadway Plaza, Fresno
833 E Fern Ave, Fresno