FoodView – Ralston’s Goat is Back

By Chris Murphy
The Goat is Back

There are places in town that have become an institution. One of my favorite places in Modesto is the intersection of 10th and J Street. To me, that is the epicenter of downtown. The people, the place, the plaza, the food, the drink and most of all, the music. Music? Yes, music and great food go hand and hand. When you can combine all of these things, it is really special, and Ralston’s Goat is Modesto’s “Rock n Roll Restaurant”. Let’s learn more.

The pandemic was hard on our local businesses and it hammered the restaurant and music community. Owner Mike Shelton is no stranger to working hard to run a business, as he was a successful bar owner in San Francisco and then opened Ralston’s Goat in 2015. Soon after opening, the bar scene there attracted Modesto’s musicians and the Goat became an active supporter of music, sponsoring bands on their amazing patio, inside the bar and in the main restaurant alongside their food and drink. Ralston’s Goat has won the Modesto Area Music Award for supporting live music 4 times.

Fast-forward into COVID, Ralston’s was the first place to welcome live music back, utilizing the outside space for safe distancing. They hosted fundraisers, VMI Showcases, Sunday brunches and more. My band Third Party have played this patio and bar many times. This place gave local music a home, supported by their bar and food sales. There is much gratitude from our local music community.

Today, Mike Shelton is focused on taking The Goat to the next level. Long time chef Sam Scroggins has become his secret weapon, honing her full range cooking skills through the pandemic and now, there is a tasty, organized and focused menu of breakfast, lunch and dinner item that will appeal to any taste. The results are flat out delicious. The kitchen is rounded out by Jacob Brunlow to make things go smooth.

Sam was trained at culinary school by local chef Hank Olsen and she also trained alongside Ashley Olsen, who also shared her love of baking. Modesto is so lucky to have so much great culinary talent. Sam also loves to make wedding cakes and the classic bakery items. You will notice that the food, great plating, super fresh ingredients, excellent size portions, and a new focus on great service is a great combo. Mike and Sam are not only committed to great food and amazing drinks, but also a great and friendly experience at The Goat. True to our Modesto culture, Sam is also a classic car fan and her dream car is a 69 Chevelle SS black with green stripes. Gotta love that.

Breakfast / Brunch at the Goat has always been a favorite of mine, sitting on the patio, people watching, enjoying Irish Coffee with a great egg scramble and hashbrowns. Sam has really knocked breakfast out of the park with one of the best Breakfast Burritos and the hall-of-fame Ranchero Bowl, featuring a chili over a bed of black beans, egg, tortillas and more. The avocado toast featured a large piece of artisan bread, double bacon and egg and avocado. Of course you can get eggs your way. Breakfast starts at 10 am Wed – Sun.

Lunch is the biggest change. Mike has a new lunch menu that is designed to fill you up and get you back to work in time, if you choose to do that. We enjoyed a Buffalo Crispy Chicken sandwich and fries and a wonderful Buffalo Crispy Chicken Salad. You can also get the Ralston’s Cheeseburger and a side of fries or salad. Perfect for a lunch work break, but however, the bar is always tempting, so a late lunch may be in order.

Lunch transitions to dinner with new pan baked pizzas and tasty chicken strips. Wow these are good. The pepperoni is a solid go to and the bbq chicken is delicious in both large and small sizes. Nosh on these for happy hour and take the rest home for morning pizza!

Take notice of the pasta dishes. Mike’s mom is the inspiration for the sauces and Sam’s technique delivers a soft but firm pasta with amazing flavor. I asked Sam what her favorite go-to pasta was and she said, Shrimp Scampi. This makes sense as her favorite trilogy is salt, pepper and garlic. I can’t wait to try that. There are nightly pasta specials and you can also enjoy some tasty almond salmon, gourmet burgers, and so much more. Sam’s goal is consistency, “I want people to know they can count on the Goat to deliver a great meal” she explains.

Now let’s talk desert. Let’s talk about cheesecake. Sam is an amazing baker and her go-to treat is to make an amazing cheesecake. Each night, there will be special cheesecake that will be a “must add” to your meal. It is hard enough to pass on desert, but with a special treat like this, it will be impossible so save room. Today she made a special pecan pie cheesecake. To die for. Can’t wait to try another.

Spring is here and look for the Goat patio to be filled with music on a regular basis. Open mic with Ray Ray on Wed, Jazz Jam on Thursdays with David Dow, Live music Fri and Sat nights and Sunday brunch music. You will find something you love to eat and you will find a new band as well and meet some new friends. I hope to see you there.

Ralston’s Goat
1001 10th Street

Posted in: news

About the Author:

Chris Murphy is the President and CEO of Sierra Pacific Warehouse Group and Publisher and Founder of ModestoView Inc. Chris worked globally in the cycling industry returning to Modesto in 1996. He is also the founder of the Modesto Historic Graffiti Cruise Route, Legends of the Cruise Walk of Fame, Modesto Rockin’ Holiday, the Modesto Music History Organization and co-founder of the Modesto Area Music Association. Chris is married to his artist wife Rebecca since 1985 and has two daughters Madison and Abigail, both graduating from Modesto High and UC Berkeley. He is lead singer and guitarist for his band, Third Party that donates their performances to non-profits.