History of the Julian Cafe
The original facility built on this site was erected in 1872, and housed a general store owned and operated by Julian merchant Mrs. Milne. On February 26th, 1873 at about 9 o'clock in the evening, Mrs. Milne was on a return trip to Julian when her stagecoach broke down in heavy rains, just north of Coleman Creek in Wynola. The creek waters were running at flood level – 4 to 5 feet deep! After pitching the coach’s horses, the owner and operator of the Tweed Stage warned Mrs. Milne and her traveling companion Mrs. Ward of San Diego, to stay put and await his return. He then proceeded to cross the river on horseback with his third fragile passenger, a young invalid boy named Crowell. He managed to get across, bringing the boy to safety at Gilson's Hotel on the other side of the river. Mr. Tweed was returning with Mr. Gilson to bring the women across, when the two men heard screams coming from the river. The ladies had attempted to cross the floodwaters alone! The men searched fruitlessly that night, and tragically, the ladies bodies were found washed downstream the next day. Mrs. Milne was buried in the old Julian Cemetery. Mrs. Ward, 63, authoress and milliner, was buried in San Diego.
The building remained a general store for over 50 years following the death of Mrs. Milne, until Mr. Arthur Blanc bought the property and converted it into a pool hall and bathhouse. Mr. Blanc was warned repeatedly by the authorities to cease allowing minors to patronize the establishment, but since the young boys made of a large portion of his business, he refused to comply. Eventually however, the pressure from the towns people and the sheriff forced Mr. Blanc to sell.
The old building’s next life was that of a photography studio owned by a Mr. Pat Kirkpatrick, an ex-Mustang pilot in the Army Air Corp. Commissioned as the San Diego Zoo’s photographer, his work was quite popular. One night in 1957, a fire broke out next door at the Maverick Cafe, a popular Julian restaurant, known for the silver dollars embedded in its floors. The fire spread and ravaged half of Kirkpatrick’s studio, destroying all of his files and equipment. Devastated by the loss, the photographer packed up and headed down the hill to relocate in Poway.
In 1958, Joe and Emma Edwards, residents of Julian, purchased and cleared the land site, erecting the current building – an exact replica of the original, with front steps added on. They opened a restaurant called "The Ranchero” which was furnished with booths and a sit-down counter. Later on, the Tellam family, best known in Julian for their thriving cattle business, purchased and continued operating The Ranchero for a time.
A new season of life began in the 70s when Mr. Ron Stock purchased the building and property, renaming it "His Boarding House.” He completely remodeled the interior into a gourmet steakhouse. Long-time resident, Mr. Louis Juch, provided the historical photographs that are part of our decor, and no expense was spared to accomplish the atmosphere Mr. Stock desired. He commissioned local California architect Mr. Dick Zerbe to engineer the remodeling, using his expertise to re-create the turn-of-the-century atmosphere you can enjoy today. They had the lovely wainscoting installed and period lighting, as well as the cast iron stove and pull chain toilets. The beautiful stained glass window above our front entry, and the hand carved "His" doors leading to our kitchen, reflect Mr. Stocks deep love and commitment to the God he served. At his grand opening, Mr. Stock offered any meal on his gourmet menu at no charge, to anyone who cared to join him in the celebration! Although a grand time was had by all that night, unfortunately, the little town of Julian was neither ready nor able to support a restaurant of this caliber. Mr. stock closed his doors and moved to Hamilton, Montana, leaving the building empty for some time.
It was at the same time in 1972, That Mr. and Mrs. Kjell Kristiansen, with years of restaurant and baking experience behind them, moved up to the mountain and gave birth to the original "Julian Cafe.” It's early years began in the leased building across the street, which as of late houses a pie shop.
The Julian Cafe quickly became known as the "Home of the Famous Julian Apple Pie," as well as a very successful full-service restaurant. Ten years later, “Kris” purchased our current building and moved the Julian Café into its present location, where he received an award from the San Diego Union Tribune for the best tasting apple pie in San Diego County!
Early in 1989 Michael and Cheryl Ciuffreda made an offer to the Kristiansens to purchase the Julian Café and real estate. After 18 years, Kris was ready to retire and enjoy life with his wife and partner. With help from above, Michael and Cheryl enjoyed breathing some new life into the tired old building. 11 years later, with no more daughters or son-in-laws working here, and almost 4 grandchildren later, They were blessed to help make it possible for their two longest, most devoted and hard-working employees and dear friends (or rather “adopted daughters”) Christy Connell and Cara Teter to become the well deserved new owners of the famous old Julian Cafe and bakery!
We hope that you sense God's presence here, as we did from the start. We pray that he continues to send us good people to work with and kind guests like yourselves, to grace our tables, so that we may enjoy adding another chapter onto the many lives of the old Julian Cafe and bakery. Perhaps then, the story will continue on with their children!