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The Vineyard Restaurant Newsletter

May 2009

What’s New at the Vineyard

by Chris Mariscotti

Mother's Day

MOTHER’S DAYVineyard Restaurant Gift Card

Bring your Mother to The Vineyard Restaurant to celebrate her special day with the family. We will be open for dinner from 2 until 7. The menu, available at, features your favorites as well as a couple of new creations by Chef Hector. Bring the whole family; we will be serving the children’s menu as well. I suggest making reservations by calling us at 559-674-0923, or online at


The next best thing to bringing Mom here for Mother’s Day is to give her a Gift Certificate or Gift Card to The Vineyard. We issue them for any amount. If you are not in Madera, call us and we will mail one to Mom.


Westbrook Wine Farm On Thursday May 21st we will have Ray Krause of Westbrook Wine Farm here. Ray is one of the most articulate, witty and opinionated wine makers there are. I promise you will learn something about wine and life from listening to him. You will also be impressed with his wines. His wines are deep, full of fruit and lively. Westbrook Wine Farm His bone-dry Uber Rhenish 2007 Dry Riesling Kenwara Vineyard is outstanding. He makes this great white wine with grapes from the valley floor of Madera County. That is no small feat; there are knowledgeable people that will tell you it can’t be done.

Discover the menu at Dinner with the wines and taxes is $60 a person. Please call to reserve your spot.


It isn’t the return of the Warbirds, but it promises to be just as exciting. Check out the airshow here on Memorial Day weekend May 29-31, 2009.


Last week I received an e-mail from a woman that wanted to know about the Berenda Ranch Restaurant. You may know that my parents and grandparents owned and operated the Berenda Ranch Restaurant from the early ‘60s until 1972. Berenda was a town 7 miles north of Madera, and in its heyday, 1880-1920, was a thriving community. It was a community center for the wheat and dairy farmers in the area. Berenda was also a railroad town. Visitors to Yosemite would take the main line Southern Pacific Railroad to Berenda, where they would connect to a rail line that took them to Raymond. From Raymond they would finish the trip to Yosemite by stagecoach. The turntable of the railroad, the trestle over Berenda Creek and, in some areas, the railroad grade are still visible, though time has destroyed most of them. Berenda General Store

My grandparents Rasmeo and Pearl both immigrated to America as teenagers. The met and married in Madera in 1917. Soon after that, they moved to Berenda to operate a general store. They opened a beer garden, and then began serving food. That evolved into the Berenda Ranch Restaurant, a 24 hour coffee shop, bar, gift shop and gas station. Here is a picture of the general store with Pearl, Ras and my father, Bob, in 1927 or 28. The cash register and the slot machine pictured are still with us. We have them on display in the bar at The Vineyard along with the safe from the old business.

The Berenda Ranch Restaurant was torn down in 1975 to widen the highway and build the overpass. Today the only sign of Berenda is the old 2 room school house. The original Berenda School is still standing to the west of the highway. In front of the school is a monument put up by the local Clamper chapter commemorating the town of Berenda. Next time you are visiting Mariposa Wine Company, drive by the school house and see the monument.


We will be closed on Memorial Day. Our normal business hours are from 11:30a.m. to 10p.m. Monday thru Friday. On Saturday we open at 5p.m. and close at 10p.m. We are normally closed on Sundays, but we are open for Mother’s Day from 2 to 7. We do private parties on Saturdays and Sundays. We have hosted showers, weddings, family reunions, funeral receptions; you name it. Call Michele, 559-674-0923 for more information on private parties.

Thank you for your business and support

Chris Mariscotti


The Vineyard Restaurant is located on the northwest corner of Highway 99 and Highway 145 on the south end of Madera. Our address is 605 South I St. Madera, CA 93637 - Tel: 559-674-0923 (google earth: Lat: 36°57'14.57"N & Lon: 120° 3'28.48"W).

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