I can see that all prior Merced threads flamed out. Or rather, never started. Either there is no good food in or near Merced, or it's the lack of question marks in the topic headers. I'm going to guess it's the latter and make one more try.
Any suggestions on cheap places to eat in or near Merced? I saw a suggestion for Basque/Armenian in the Central Valley. Does this apply to Merced? At the very least, where is good Mexican food to be found?