Merced’s Branding Iron Steakhouse instead of Harris Ranch?

If you make it to Merced (the “gateway” to Yosemite) while traveling down Hwy. 99, check out the Branding Iron Steakhouse on 16th St.

Think of it as a rival to the Harris Ranch, the landmark steakhouse where travelers stop on I-5 going south to L.A.

Known as the “B.I.” to insiders, it’s a classic ’50-style steakhouse: An upscale version of the Willo, here in Nevada City. The menu is here. I sat in the lounge and watched the Giants-Phillies game.

I visited with some locals while I was in town: They reminded me it’s only about a two hour drive to Santa Cruz, as well as an easy road trip into the Sierra — an “outdoorsmen’s” paradise.

One sad sign: The foreclosure rates and people losing their homes in the Central Valley, stretching from Stockton to Merced, is a disaster. Some motel-like units have sprung up by the freeway, advertising weekly rates for occupants.

Lots of campaign signs along the way, and incumbents are getting upset. Details are here.

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for 12 years, and he was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News for eight years, among other positions. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing, swimming, and trout fishing in the Sierra.

2 thoughts on “Merced’s Branding Iron Steakhouse instead of Harris Ranch?”

  1. Sad about the foreclosures. I listen to radio in the morning via a Chicago station on the internet and I heard that the Cook County Sheriff is now requiring proof of the foreclosure being proper. Notice has been sent to all the big banks in the area to get their acts together. We all lose when a house is foreclosed upon. In all but a few cases, it is much better for the bank and for the neighborhood to have someone living in the home, no less for the family that lives there.

    Thanks for the good word on the Branding Iron. Sounds interesting. Won’t have time on this trip south, but maybe next time.

  2. Jeff,

    Next time I’m going through Merced I’ll try the Branding Iron for sure. Yesterday, while driving north on the 99 from L.A., we stopped here instead:

    Actually, we ate in the bistro alongside the restaurant, which had almost the same dishes at just a little over half the price. Plus, a big screen with lots of happy folks watching the Giants sew up the Indians for the sweep.

    More and more I’m abandoning I-5 in favor of the 99. All those lane improvements over the years are really starting to pay off, and the communities along the way can sure use our business.

    I’m sorry, but I-5 was at capacity when the various sections opened during the 60s and 70s. The 2-lane section between Tracy and Grapevine is an obsolete, unsafe nightmare-ribbon of mind-numbing asphalt, an embarrassment to the US transportation system. Bullet train, please!

    Michael A.

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