By December 3, 2011 0 Comments Read More →

Chef View: The Fruit Yard

Chef View

By Dana Johnson

Fruit Yard


In Modesto’s Backyard you will find The Fruit Yard!


Built on the historic landmark location of the Old Foamy Drive-In (1959 – 1976), The Fruit Yard opened in May of 1977. Owned by brothers Joe and Willy Traina of Traina Foods (,) The Fruit Yard serves breakfast, lunch, dinner, but that’s just the beginning. They also boast a full bar, salad bar and bakery, as well as a market stocked with their famous dried fruits, nuts, gift baskets, and general grocery items.


The Fruit Yard’s banquet facilities, completewith a beautifully manicured garden and duck pond are host to frequent weddings, corporate parties, car shows, concerts, and special events. TheirSunday Brunch is a grand tradition and the Seafood Buffet, held on the firstFriday each month is quite a hit.

I was fortunate enough to sit down with Joe Traina to discuss The Fruit Yard’s tasty treats (keep an eye out for their new all-natural toaster tart) and dedicated staff. Teresa Brasil has been at The Fruit Yard for more than twenty years. She is currently the general manager and works 5-6 days a week, running at full speed. According to Teresa, the bestpart of her job is the customers. “So many regulars … that’s why I’m here.” She also recommended the smile. Her favorite menu selection is the Chicken Jerusalem, a boneless breast of chicken, sautéed in butter and wine with garlic, mushrooms, lemon and artichoke hearts.


Executive Chef Gil Flores is 33 years old, born in Michoacan, Mexico and came to the USA when he was 18 years old. He attended culinary school in LA and became a chef in the Bay Area before coming to The Fruit Yard, six years ago. He has two children, a son who is 14 and a daughter, age six. As a full-time chef, his time with family is scarce, so he makes the most of it, hanging out with his family at Modesto A’s games, catching movies when he can at Brenden Theater and relaxing at McHenry Bowl. Besides cooking, Chef Gil is passionate about pop music and salsa.


Chef Gil spoiled me with many tantalizing culinary dishes. From a taste of The Fruit Yard’s signature Lobster and Prime Rib dinner to their delicious peppercorn NY steak and a dazzling deep friedpork chop with a dried cherry glaze. Everything was off the hook! I also sampled their NY steak with fig sauce, and wow! Chef Gil’s advice to customers is “Just because it’s not on the menu; don’t be afraid to ask for it. When I’m cooking for customers it’s like I’m cooking for my kids. It’s from the heart.”


Look for me, Chef Dana, working alongside Chef Gil at The Fruit Yard’s decadent dinner on January 20, 2011 hosted by Kendall-Jackson Winery. You can purchase tickets for this event by stopping in at The Fruit Yard or calling (209) 527-0225. Space is limited and tickets are 1st come 1st serve, so don’t wait!


Beatles or Stones: For Joe Traina it’s no contest. The Rolling Stones through and through. Chef Gil also prefers The Stones but Theresa chose The Beatles. Still, I’m thinking that a Rolling Stones concert at the Fruit Yard is in order!


7948 Yosemite Boulevard, Modesto, CA 95357-1852 (209) 527-0225

Open 7 days a week 6am to 10pm

Sunday Brunch 9am to 2pm

Seafood Buffet every 1s Fri. of the month 5pm to 9pm



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