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Sep 20, 2009 08:00 PM

Need lunch option en route to Mariposa Grove from Monterey

Will be driving from Monterey to Mariposa Grove in Yosemite and am looking for a good lunch recommendation en route. Plan is to leave Monterey around 11:30am and get some distance on the road first before stopping for a late lunch around 1-2pm. I think this puts me somewhere btw Merced and Madera. Any suggestions? I saw previous recommendations for Jantz Cafe but I think this takes me too far north. I want to enter Yosemite from the south entrance so I can hike Mariposa Grove before heading to Yosemite Village. Thanks!

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  1. The south entrance will bring you through Fresno, unless you plan on cutting across through Madera to Hwy 41, and given your departure time would put you here around 2pm. What day of the week will you be traveling and what type of food would you like? Los Banos would be your other chance, do a search of this board but don't believe there have been any recent updates. After LB there's nothing until Madera and by then you're only 15 min. from Fresno.

    3 Replies
    1. re: PolarBear

      Actually, Fresno proper would be a fair amount out of the way, quickest route is definitely to cut across through Madera to Highway 41; are there Madera options you can recommend? (I've been looking for a few good places to eat in Madera myself, so would love to hear your ideas :-))

      However, it may be that since OP mentions Merced that he or she was planning to cut over to 140 and then 49 to 41 via Merced and the town of Mariposa? That would take at least 40 minutes longer than the Madera route, so makes less sense, (unless Madera has lots of traffic, which Merced won't!), but if that is what OP wants to do then what I would do is, after passing the San Luis resevoir on 152, would be to cut over to 33N and pick up 140 E in Gustine, AFTER a stop at Wolfsen's meats in Gustine for a great lunch of a tri-tip or sausage sandwich with the fixings. They have some nice sides and soups, an outdoor patio area, one or two inside tables, and would be a great pit stop about an hour and a half to two hours after leaving Monterey.

      One could even detour up to Gustine, and then head back towards Los Banos to pick up 152 east to Madera....

      but, I think the bigger problem is that either way, one is hitting the Mariposa Grove fairly late (ie somewhere around four or five if one has a real lunch) for a walk of any length: it is a nice time for a visit since the grove will be less crowded, but not if one wants more than a quick stretch of one's legs (and then of course it is another hour or so from Mariposa Grove to Yosemite Village, and OP will definitely want to do that before sunset to take in the views....). I'd do the Grove on the morning of my return trip unless OP isn't heading back to Monterey, or consider the Merced or Tuolumne Groves instead....

      As for Los Banos, I have been remiss in not checking it out for some updates. However, my son ate recently at Woolgrowers and told me he thought I would like it, FWIW. They do serve lunch, so it is an option.That said, I am not sure I'd be up for a hike after a huge basque meal. (and it probably would take a while, cutting into daylight hours for hiking).

      Wolfsen's Meat & Sausage
      358 South Ave, Gustine, CA 95322

      1. re: PolarBear

        I'll be in Yosemite for the next four days but mostly up in the high country so coming up from the south entrance is my only chance to hit Mariposa Grove as my trip then continues north.

        What is the quickest way to get to the Mariposa Grove from Monterey? I thought it was via Merced but this is my first time driving through this region so have no clue.

        Not looking for anything fancy for lunch and sit down is not essential - a good sandwich shop that does takeaway is fine Just want the food to be good. If there really isn't much en route, I'd rather get picnic supplies in Monterey before I head out.

        1. re: SeoulQueen

          all of the mapsites, google, mapquest, etc., can give you estimated times for your trip, you should try them, and they all say that the fastest would be the Madera/41 route. I am sure there are options in Madera, have you tried a search for IT?

          But if you are going North after and will be in the high country before that, you definitely want to be sure to hit the Glacier Pt area before dark: much more of a must see than Mariposa Grove. (so, only count on an hour in the grove, if that ,to be sure you have time). (Or you could drive up to Glacier Pt from the Village the next am if you have time and that is where you are staying: it is a long trek back to Glacier Pt from the high country).

          Be sure your mapprogram is pointing you to the Mariposa Grove NOT the town of Mariposa: going through Merced *is* the fastest way to get to the town and that might be what is causing your confusion.

          Wolfsens will do takeout (and is a great option if you skip the Mariposa Grove, since if you do, through Gustine and Merced via 140 is the quickest route to Yosemite Valley) but there are good takeout options in Monterey; a quick search of picnic and Monterey will give you several suggestions. One I like is Casa Bodega near the Coast Guard Station; and others have recommended Capagno's:

          Speaking of picnics, hope to see a lot of hounds at the best picnic of them all: