Herding to the Cattle Call: Harris Ranch Restaurant

I was on a mission. I needed to get from Orange County to San Francisco for the, spoiler, World Champion San Francisco Giants sweep of the Detroit Tigers. I also had to pick up my family cat from a friend who had been looking after her while we moved. With a broom in the back seat I closed in on  my goal. It looked like I would be rolling in right about game time and my friend would be waiting at one of our old haunts to watch it with me.

It had been a while since I'd made the I-5 run from OC to SF, but not so long that I'd forgotten the meat oasis that was waiting along the route. Though hunger pangs were moving in on the void left by my breakfast, when I saw the first billboard the thought of settling for Jack-in-the-Crack or any other farce food ran screaming from my mind. How many miles to Coalinga? Am I there yet?

Nothing says "welcome" like a pointy chair covered in skin. 
Harris Ranch Restaurant sits proudly along the I-5 next to the place where folks roll up the windows and put the air system in their car on recycle for a few miles until the stench of cattle manure is far behind. Having built a successful brand for their beef by selling it to In-N-Out Burger the Harris family built a showcase for it in the Harris Ranch Restaurant. A luxury hotel was added in 1987.

I have eaten at Harris Ranch, or as my In-N-Out fanboy side likes to call it, "The Source", many times and am still working my way through the extensive and beef-heavy menu. For the frail and weak of heart there are plenty of non-beef items available including fish and pasta dishes.

This trip I chose the Grilled Bistro Filet with Green Chile Mack and Cheese and an Anchor Steam. Served with button mushrooms, green beans and sweet peppers the filet was mighty fine, hit the spot and had me back on the road feeling satisfied.

Pro Tip: Sit on the hallway/bar side on hot days because near the outside doors all that you can smell is cattle dung and the flies are thick. Yes, the same flies that have been sitting on the dung.

That said, I successfully made it to my SF watering hole to watch the Giants sweep the Tigers. As exciting as the 2012 World Series finish was, I can promise you that I did not burn anything, blow anything up or jump up and down on any MUNI busses that night.

And, I got my cat.

The next day, my mission in The Mission accomplished, I was back on the road for my new home with my fuzzy feline passenger. As the miles passed behind me I found myself wondering what time Harris Ranch Restaurant opened.

On the road again.
Harris Ranch Inn & Restaurant
24505 West Dorris Avenue
Coalinga, CA. 93210



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