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“Small Staff Does Good Job With Excellent Food”

The Jack Ranch Cafe
Ranked #1 of 1 Restaurants in Shandon
Restaurant details
Reviewed May 13, 2012

Wanted to share Mother's Day with my daughter (student at Cal Poly), so we met halfway between Fresno and San Luis O. Excellent food, although staff gets a bit overwhelmed when things get busy. Warning: lunch menu is not honored until 11 am, and they stick by that rule. There is a little delay as the cooks make the switch, and service suffers in the meantime, but that is something you have to expect from a non-chain, small cafe with limited seating. We got the only empty table when we arrived at 10:15 and the place stayed full until we left at 12. The kids wanted the lunch menu, so they watched me eat a great omelette and they ate a very good lunch. Very quaint, good atmosphere, with a buckboard wagon inside and James Dean photos on the walls. With the closure of Mike's Roadhouse Cafe in Kettleman City, this is the best non-fast-food eatery between Lemoore and Paso Robles on the Hwy 41/46 drive.

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3  Thank Bill V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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46 - 50 of 52 reviews

Reviewed January 28, 2012

The food is fresh homemade on site, and the beef is from local Hearst Ranch, so it's fresh and good. The prices are reasonable, and the service is friendly and prompt. It's rustic and no frills, but you'll leave full and happy.

2  Thank 4tomorrow
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 22, 2011

The drive from LA to Monterey (via the 5 to the 46 to the 101 to the 68) is the absolute fastest way to go. But it has also got to be one of the more tedious drives one can take in California. So I tend to break it up with lunch at the Jack Ranch Cafe, which has very decent lunch fare and as a bonus serves as a memorial to James Dean, who died at the age of 24 at the nearby intersection of the 46 and the 41. The Cafe is full of James Dean posters and clippings, has friendly waitresses, and is great for people watching (a mix of tourists passing by and locals.) I usually have the burgers or the lunch special (most recently the tri tip special) but the Mexican fare is decent too. For $1.00 extra, you can now order grass-fed beef from the Hearst Ranch. Pies also are a speciality, along with milk shakes. True Americana fare.

For those heading west toward the 101 N, I recommend taking the scenic detour along Estrella Road, just past the small town of Shandon. It winds around through scenic pastures with oaks and past many of the new vineyards in the area, ending up in San Miguel right near the mission.

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1  Thank Hlwdgrl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 1, 2011

Being a James Dean fan (and this being very close to the location where he died), I wanted to stop here for lunch while we were in the area.

When we arrived there were only a few other customers, most of whom seemed to be locals. Because of the location of the Jack Ranch Cafe, I assumed there would be James Dean memorabilia, maybe a plaque or a mention on their menus. With the exception of a few photos of Dean hanging on the walls, I saw no other mention of him.

With regard to the food, this is basically your average side of the road diner. The food was not bad and was reasonably priced, the service was average verging on good, but there was nothing particularly extraordinary about either.

While I may stop here again if I am ever passing by, I would not go out of my way to specifically eat here.

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Thank Jwanderer57
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 23, 2017 via mobile
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Thank Stefano B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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