One of California’s original farm-to-fork restaurants and its owner are about to be lauded for a lifetime of success. Harris Ranch Inn and Restaurant has been welcoming hungry travelers, notable dignitaries, and customers in search of California’s freshest cuisine since 1977. Owner John Harris, who not only oversees the Harris Ranch Inn and Restaurant, but also several thousand acres of fruits and vegetables, and one of the largest beef production facilities in the West. On March 7, The Central California Restaurant Association will honor John and Carole Harris and their Harris Ranch Restaurant with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
“We are proud to be part of the food business as restaurateurs, producers of beef, and growers of fruits and vegetables in the fertile San Joaquin Valley," John Harris says. "We have been in a number of types of business over the years, but running a restaurant has to be the most challenging. It takes a lot of things going right and not much going wrong to make it. We are successful because of our customers, our employees, our suppliers, and our community.”
Harris will receive the award at the Best of the Valley Restaurant Awards ceremony and dinner, considered to be the Oscars for the Central Valley restaurant industry. Harris Ranch Restaurant will also serve its signature prime rib to the 650 or so attendees. A local board of 20 representatives from the restaurant and foodservice industries selected Harris as this year’s recipient of the prestigious award.
“We feel this award is well-deserved,” says Gary Honeycutt, owner of BJ’s Kountry Kitchen, and board member for the Fresno chapter of the California Restaurant Association. “For so many years John Harris has run a successful restaurant, hotel, beef company and farming business. He does so much good for the industry, and he also does a lot of good in the local community.”
The Harris Ranch Inn & Restaurant is located midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco and features multiple restaurant venues, a full bar, and Country Store. For generations, guests have made Harris Ranch a culinary destination, whether they drive or even fly, using the restaurant's private landing strip. The reward is some of the most tender, juicy cuts of beef produced by Harris Ranch, just a few miles away. Menus also feature produce grown on neighboring acres, including almonds, pistachios, oranges, grapes, tomatoes, winter vegetables, and more. The Harris Ranch Restaurant serves an average of 1,500 entrées per day, making it one of California's highest volume, independently owned restaurants.