Since 1977, The Fruit Yard has been the go-to place for weary travelers from all around the Central Valley. Owned and operated by the Traina family, this once well-known burger stand has turned into one of the major hubs for Californians traveling in and around the 209.
Entering the restaurant, the rich wood paneling coupled with lots of natural lighting and a large area rug bearing The Fruit Yard name invite visitors to take a seat and relax.
Comfortable earth toned leather booths, hunting trophies that line the walls and a cobblestone fireplace hearth complete the rustic cabin features of The Fruit Yard.
Nearly four decades ago, the Traina family purchased a popular burger stand that once stood where The Fruit Yard does today named Old Foamy. Famous for their four by four burgers and great foamy root beer floats, Old Foamy became run down and was forced to close up shop, until the Trainas showed up that is.
After purchasing the property, Old Foamy’s was brought back to life and continued to keep the suds flowing for the next year. After closing their doors for good, construction of what is now The Fruit Yard began, first with the restaurant which could seat about 55 people.
Many of those visiting The Fruit Yard arrive as they are often traveling outside of the valley. The Fruit Yard is situated along Highway 132, a main artery connecting Modesto and several other cities to Yosemite Valley. This major highway also passes by Lake McClure, Don Pedro and Turlock, three very popular locations for fishing and recreation during the hot summer months.
For many Central Valley residents, coming to The Fruit Yard has been a part of their daily routine since its earliest days. Patrons of the restaurant have been returning to The Fruit Yard for at least the past 20 years. Some regulars have seen it turn from Old Foamy’s into the popular pit stop it has become today.
“My bread and butter are the regulars here, “said Joe Traina, Fruit Yard’s owner."I have a great clientele here at The Fruit Yard, but my regulars make up about 80 percent of my daily business.”
Since opening its doors back in 1977, several additions have been included to The Fruit Yard property.
“When the restaurant first started it used to be a much more casual scene that served mainly breakfast and lunch with some dinner items,” said Teresa Brasil, general manager. “Now we have a much larger restaurant with two banquet halls for special events, lakeside areas for corporate parties, you name it.”
The Fruit Yard features a fairly extensive menu with an array of specialty sandwiches, appetizers and their featured menu item — aged Midwestern prime rib. Some of their special offers include a Tuesday night dinner buffet featuring Dungeness crab and their famous prime rib, a seafood extravaganza on the first Friday of every month and a Sunday brunch buffet.
The bar features a small selection of draft beers to go along with a variety of different spirits. The Fruit Yard recently introduced their own line of naturally flavored vodkas. With flavors like sun-dried strawberries or figs, Fruit Yard’s Porch Light brand of vodka is sure to add a dash of delicious flavor into any mixed drink.
Even with a seemingly endless amount of venues to choose from, Traina says he has every intention of continuing expansion of this rural gem. Without giving too much detail, Traina went on to say that whatever new additions may end up coming to The Fruit Yard will just have to remain a surprise.