food and wineIssue 21

Nobody’s Got Modesto’s Goat


By Jacqui D. Sinarle

There’s more than one interesting story behind the new Modesto eatery Ralston’s Goat.

With a unique name, hometown owners, and a different take on traditional dishes, the restaurant is a refreshing change for area  foodies’ palates.

“The name Ralston’s Goat is a nod to local history,” explained co-owner Chelsea Bavaro.

The story goes that a gentleman named William Ralston was supposed to have the city named after him but he was too modest, so it was named Modesto instead.

“Years later there was a vote to decide what would go on the welcome arch,” Bavaro continued. “Although the slogan that won the most votes was ‘Nobody’s got Modesto’s goat,’ the judges decided the runner-up was a better choice and selected ‘Water Wealth Contentment Health.’ However, if history had gone differently and the city had been named after Ralston, then the welcome arch would have read ‘Nobody’s got Ralston’s Goat.’ ”

goat_editRalston’s Goat might also have more roots in Modesto than most local restaurants.

The business is owned by Paul and Chelsea Bavaro, Mike and Carly Shelton, and Randy and Lisa Martin.

“Paul, Mike and Randy are all Modesto born and raised, and they’ve been buddies since childhood,” Chelsea Bavaro said. “Our chef is a close friend who has helped us develop a menu and train kitchen staff. We all see our futures in Modesto and we want to be part of building up the downtown area.”

Unusual name and homegrown ownership aside, the most unique thing about the establishment is the food. Ralston’s Goat provides choices for omnivores and vegetarians alike, a full bar and a full coffee bar, room to accommodate large parties, and take-out options.

“We offer food and atmosphere that’s our own unique vision,” Bavaro said. “We have a vegan noodle-free lasagna that uses layered roots and veggies to create texture and flavor, and we also serve a fried chicken that’s slow roasted and then buttermilk battered and fried.”

Other customer favorites include the crab cakes and the fettuccine, and the full bar features wine and 12 beers on tap.

Ralston’s Goat is open on weekdays at 8 a.m. for coffee and pastries. The kitchen is open Monday through Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Thursday and Friday until 10 p.m., and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. The kitchen is also open for brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

“In the future we’d like to have an outdoor patio,” Bavaro added. “We believe in the community of Modesto and want to contribute to the vibrancy of downtown. Everyone is welcome here!”


For more information, call 209-549-9413 or visit 1001 10th & J Street

Follow Ralston’s Goat on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram @RalstonsGoat.

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