Hayward Ranch

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Living in the cosmopolitan Bay Area, sometimes it's difficult to remember that once upon a time, much of this land belonged to los ranchos grandes (great ranches) and that we are, indeed, in what once was the "old west". The Hayward Ranch does its best to remind you of thatfact. Decorated with western antiques of all kinds (we were sitting next to a display of different types of barbed wire), the Hayward Ranch doesn't quite make you feel like you are in an old-time saloon, but it does evoke thoughts of your favorite western (Big Valley, in my case).

We visited the restaurant on a Friday night in August, 2000. We hadn't made reservations and were fortunate to get there early enough (around 7 PM) that we didn't need them. But the place was packed, and people who came after us had to wait at the bar for quite some time.

Hayward Ranch's clientele seemed pretty homogenous, most patrons seemed to be white senior citizens, though there were some families with children and people from other ethnicity . It seems to be the type of place that has a regular clientele.

Service was so-so, the place was very busy and our waitress didn't seem to be running from one place to the other. That meant that water glasses weren't frequently refilled and that we had to wait for the bill and other things. However, when she was with us, the waitress was friendly.

The menu was simple enough and, as expected, heavy on meat and fish dishes. Most were reasonably priced on the teens, and dinner entries come with a choice of soup or salad. We had clam chowder and it was OK, though it would not win any clam chowder contests. Mike had the prime rib, and this left much to be desired. It pretty much tasted like the prime-rib you get at buffets, though it was not priced accordingly. I was in a mood for ribs, but according to the menu, they only came in a ribs-and-prawns combination. I don't like prawns, and don't like ordering food I won't eat, but Mike happily volunteered to eat them for me. As it happened, I shouldn't have worried, the dish came with a total of two, not-very-large prawns. The ribs portion, however, was large enough to fill me. The ribs were pretty good, and I would order them again.

We decided to skip dessert, as nothing looked too appetizing (they have cheesecake, cobbler and ice cream) and there were so many people waiting for our table.

All in all we had a pleasant dining experience.

Hayward Ranch
22877 Mission Blvd.