Skip to main content

Our Journey

In 1873, Southern Pacific Railroad extended its line to Tres Pinos, running two passengers and two freight trains per day. This created a shipping center, drawing hay brokers, stock-men, grain dealers and cattle buyers. On any given business day, the small town of 600 people swell to a population of 2000. The railroad build a hotel and restaurant, and soon there were six saloons. There were mercantile stores, an ice cream parlor, a butcher’s shop, barbers, blacksmiths, a town doctor, and even a weekly newspaper, The Tres Pinos Tribune.

Built in 1880, The Inn was at one time a brothel, until it was raided by federal officers. The Inn was a favorite site of cowboys and teamsters, who appreciated the fine foods and jovial atmosphere. Many successful cattle deals were made over a few drinks at the bar.

Over 100 years later, the Inn at Tres Pinos is now a San Benito County Historical Landmark, carefully restored by owner, Mike Howard. The ambiance is intimate, rustic, and elegant. It’s country with a touch of class, and decorated in a style that is a reflection of Mike’s personal interest. As a young boy, Mike’s grandfather taught him the art of fly fishing, and every year the family still fishes together at the Big Wood River in Sun Valley, Idaho. The fly fishing rods you see hanging in the main dining room belonged to Mike’s grandfather. Mike married Mary along the Big Wood River in 2010, and the Inn has become a true family affair.

Mike earned his degree at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, majoring in Hotel & Restaurant Administration, and studied in Switzerland at the Ecole Hotelier. Recruited by the Hyatt Regency Maui, he assisted in the opening of several Pacific Rim Hotels, including the Hyatt Regency Waikaloa. Mike returned to the mainland to work for the Pebble Beach Company. This point in Mike’s career was like a dream come true: he was Banquet Manager at the Lodge, and had access to playing one of the finest golf courses in the world.

The dream of opening a restaurant has become a reality. Mike’s philosophy is “Keep it fresh and keep it simple.” His staff is personally hand picked and will make every effort to meet your expectations. The Inn at Tres Pinos is the only four-star restaurant in San Benito Country. We hope your time with us is a memorable experience that you will repeat again and again.