By Monica Cane
Way back when in the wild, wild west, bartenders would serve mugs of beer at room temperature or shots of whiskey and other strong drinks to cowboys, miners, trappers, lumberjacks and businessmen who made moseyed into their saloons. A good ole western saloon was the place where locals along with strangers just passing through town took a load off, had a drink and shared stories of adventure.
The first saloon was established in Wyoming in 1822 and was quite popular for some time, but now 194 years later, traditional western saloons are somewhat a thing of the past, that is except for the Olde Towne Saloon and Steakhouse located in Ripon which has an atmosphere that manages to keep a bit of the Old West memory alive.
The long-time western-style pub opened its doors along East Highway 120 in 1981. In 2001 things fell into place for local resident Jason Hern to take over as the new owner and since then Hern has been maintaining an environment where people on a budget can unwind comfortably, have a beverage and a bite to eat and share stories with others just like in the western days. Thanks to evolving technology however, Olde Towne customers can enjoy an ice cold pitcher of brew instead of room temperature as well as the option to sip on glass of fine wine or a non-alcoholic drink while watching football on the TV, listening to live music and entertainment, singing along karaoke style and even being their own master barbequing chef.
Every Wednesday night between 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., hungry customers can order a thick, New York steak and have it sliced and served raw in order to take it outside and barbeque it to perfection themselves on the large trailer grill located in the front of the saloon.
Hanging around the grill on steak night brings old and new friends together and is what makes Olds Towne Saloon and Steakhouse so exceptionally unique.
“Cook it yourself steak night is what makes us stand out from other bars” admits Hern. “That, and the fact that we’ve been around so long. Most bars change hands and change names all the time but we’ve been Olde Towne since the early 80s.”
Appetizers and light pub food such as corn dogs and French fries are served on most days but Wednesday’s are saved for steak nights, Tuesday’s customers feast on taco’s for $1.00 and on Thursdays, it’s all about .50-cent chicken wings.
As for how the food tastes, one online reviewer says it best, “The food is to die for and the barbecue just makes you want to stay."
Good food at reasonable prices, plenty of parking, a casual dress code in an old western style establishment makes this modern day saloon/steak house worth moseying on into.
Olde Towne Saloon and Steakhouse is located at 15040 E State Highway 120, Ripon, (209) 599-9730. Hours are Tuesday through Sunday from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. They are closed Mondays.
From Highway 99, take the East Highway 120 (Yosemite Avenue) exit in Manteca. Head east a mile past the Jack Tone Road traffic signals and Olde Towne is on the right at North Ripon Road.