Food View – Meet Me at the Moon

By Abigail Power

If it’s time for brunch, we can tell you exactly where you’ll find the View Crew. Harvest Moon at 10:00 AM sharp Saturday morning after the Modesto Certified Farmer’s Market for some of the best food in town. Harvest Moon is a downtown staple that has been “tossing your salad” since 1997 with classics like the Neil’s Toss and Dinah Burger and changed hands in 2020 when businesswoman Jessie Wiggins took the reins of the legendary spot. If you want good food, like really really incredible food, “the Moon” must be on the top of your to-go list.

Jessie Wiggins was born in Savannah, Georgia and moved around the country as a child of the military. Her first restaurant gig was at 15 years-old at the Steam Plant in Belvidere, Illinois, but her heart always brought her back to Savannah. Jessie is now raising her daughter here in Modesto and has a successful real estate business, but she decided to live out her dreams by owning her own restaurant to give love back to the community. It’s something she has always known she wanted to do with recipes passed down for generations in her back pocket. An institution like Harvest Moon was the perfect fit. While the pandemic was an interesting time to take on a dine-in restaurant, they used this time to perfect the menu, staffing, and feel in the restaurant. Jessie did not come into owning Harvest Moon with the intent to re-invent the wheel. She was a huge fan of Harvest Moon before and wanted to keep it true to the solid foundation that Mark Smallwood fostered and focused on building a new fresh look by adding her taste and touches. While she has updated the interior artwork to represent her love of Savannah and done some recent repairs after a fire started in the back of house, Harvest Moon still has the reliable, consistent, and warm environment that we all know and love.

Jessie says that the heart of the restaurant is her team of amazing people. The staff is made up of a group of family and friends that know and respect each other with some employees that have worked at the Moon for over 10 years. From Autumn Warthan working the front of house and managing the team to Justin Marshall and Jordan Root in the kitchen running the menu, Jessie says the key to the restaurant’s success “is all about the people”. There are nieces and sisters and daughters and friends working there to make sure everyone feels at home and has an authentic, delicious meal filled with the flavors of classic Harvest Moon recipes to new Savannah staples. If you couldn’t tell, this is a female-owned and operated business that has the community at the core of its values and as we all know, strong women support strong women! Jessie has really focused her attention to community involvement and how she can spread love within and from Harvest Moon. Jessie partners with Harvest Community to collect food donations at the door, offers VA discounts on Veteran’s Day at the restaurant, is hosting a car show May 6th, and is brainstorming a “Harvest Market” that would support local vendors and bring people downtown to enjoy the beautiful experiences Modesto has to offer.

Last, but certainly not least, we have to talk about the food. Everyone has their “go-to” meal at the Moon, but trust us, everything is delicious. The Neil’s Toss is one of the most popular dishes with creamy lime dressing, poached chicken, bacon, avocado, and lots of cheese. This salad is not for the faint of heart, so you can always order a half to save room for the best sweet potato fries in town! Looking to “split and marry”? Harvest Moon does a great combo where you can get a split meal and have it plated for two. For example, you can get the gooey delicious Gorilla Grilled Cheese (with brie, bacon, ham, and apricot jam) split with a Crab Toss to get the best of both worlds with your lunch date. The Bread Pudding French toast is a recipe passed down from her grandmother and is over 100 years old. Plus, as a Georgia native, Jessie says you can’t get enough pecans. (Pee-Can or Pee-Kahn depending on where you’re from) Recipes for the Spinach Salad and the Bread Pudding both boast delicious pecan toppings. From the Fish N Chips to the Dinah Burger to the Crab Sandwich and everything in between, you can’t go wrong here at Harvest Moon. Plus, they have carafes of Mimosas, Bloody Mary’s, beer/wine, and full bar to enjoy with your lunch on the patio. What more could you want? Harvest Moon is open every day from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM and is open for brunch on this Mother’s Day, Sunday May 14th! Modesto, “Meet Me At The Moon!”
Harvest Moon
1213 I Street
Modesto, CA 95354
Available for Dine-In, Take Out, and Private Parties

About the Author: