Monday, September 8, 2014

A Celebration for Rudy

Today we held a surprise retirement party for long-time Madonna Inn employee, Rudy Raidl. Rudy began working at the Inn in 31 years ago and has been a dedicated and talented Copper Cafe cook ever since.


When he's not whipping up a delicious dish, Rudy enjoys his other passion - art. Rudy's artwork ranges from realistic life-sized murals, to impressionistic pieces, to cartoon sketches of his fellow employees, and even touch ups on our iconic entrance sign.


Not only was this day special because it was Rudy's last day, but also because it happens to be Rudy's 66th birthday! We chose a Beatles theme for this party since Rudy is a huge fan, complete with a Beatles-themed card and ambient Beatles music playing in the background. Emily Ibarra, our Guest Services Supervisor and also a terrific artist, designed and created Rudy's beautiful card for all the employees to sign. The inscription reads, "We will be a lonely hearts club without you, Rudy. Thank you for all the great years," and the front is a drawing of the famous John, Ringo, Paul, and George. Apart from the card, we all signed Rudy's cook's jacket with sharpies. So fun!


We also presented Rudy with a poster of various cartoons he had drawn and given out to his co-workers over the years. He had no idea that anyone had kept them, so this also made for a fun surprise.


Although we can hardly "Imagine" the Madonna Inn kitchen without Rudy's warm smile, we will always cherish the memories we made with him. We are excited for him to enjoy this next chapter of his life, and we know we will still see him when he stops by for a bite to eat, or to touch up one of his many Madonna Inn murals.


Cheers and congratulations to you, Rudy! Your Madonna Inn family will miss you!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

A Tribute to "Mr. Chips"

If you've ever spent a few minutes in the Silver Bar Cocktail Lounge, you may have noticed something peculiar. While most of the wood carvings around the Inn are impeccable, a stretch of wooden beams and cornices near the bar remain unfinished - bearing only the black marker outlines of what would have one day been carvings.
The late Alexander Zeller, a renowned Bavarian woodworker from Munich, Germany, was the artist responsible for the intricate wooden carvings throughout the Inn. Nicknamed "Mr. Chips," he had been commissioned by churches, public buildings, commercial businesses, and numerous individuals to create beautiful, one-of-a-kind works of art. In the early sixties, he was hired by Mr. and Mrs. Madonna to sculpt an array of wooden masterpieces for the newly-constructed Inn.
Unfortunately, Mr. Zeller fell ill shortly after the Inn's grand opening in 1961 and passed away before he was able to finish all his projects. Although this meant that the woodwork near the Silver Bar wouldn't be completed, Mr. and Mrs. Madonna felt that leaving the work unfinished was the proper tribute to "Mr. Chips."

Friday, August 8, 2014

Cherubs, Cakes, and Dinosaurs?


Madonna Inn is synonymous with many things. "Pink," "cherubs," "waterfall bathroom," and "cake" come to mind pretty instantaneously, but many are not so quick to associate MI with dinosaur fossils... until now, that is!

Outrageous as it may sound, Madonna Inn is currently home to two fossils which are nestled inside boulders used in some of the rock work between the Steak House and the Silver Bar. Legend holds that there were once three fossils until one extraordinary specimen was removed and given to a museum! Next time you're in for dinner or a drink make sure to check out this little piece of history.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

What's for Breakfast?

What's the secret to a great day? A great breakfast of course! And whether your a.m. cravings call for a classic American breakfast like Eggs Benedict or Corned Beef Hash (we make our hash from scratch and it is PHENOMENAL); something sweet and decadent like our crisp, fluffy Strawberry Waffle with real whipped cream; or a lighter option like our Breakfast Sundae with fresh fruit, vanilla yogurt, and a sprinkle of granola; there's surely something on our menu to suit your fancy.
Mr. Madonna, himself, loved a good hearty breakfast and actually came up with his own personal twist the most important meal of the day. He would start with a cup of hot tea, making sure to crush the sachet before putting it in the water to get a slightly stronger flavor. After his tea, he would take a cup of black coffee. When he was finished with his first cup of coffee, then he was ready for food. He would request the end slice of the apple strudel - heated with butter until piping hot and bubbly, accompanied by two strips of thick-cut bacon on the side. While this breakfast was never officially on the menu, the marriage of sweet and salty was Mr. Madonna's mainstay for years. So if you just can't decide what to order next time you're in the Cafe, give Mr. Madonna's old favorite a try!

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Forgotten Guestroom

Madonna Inn has become quite famous for its 109 individually themed guest rooms, but many are unaware that there is actually a 110th room. The curious room, literally titled "No Name," sits adjacent to What's Left, room 158. No Name was built but never quite finished and today it mainly just serves as a storage room. But who knows what the future holds -- perhaps one day room 110 will be finished out and given a "real" name! What theme would you choose for this room?

Monday, July 7, 2014

Through a Different Lens

I often get asked what it's been like growing up around the Madonna Inn. Besides serving as my second home, I like to describe it as something of a Disneyland meets Willy Wonka fantasy world. And although I know most of the Inn like the back of my hand, I am continually amazed at how I can still find little details I've never noticed before. Lately, I've been combing through the internet looking for photos to add to Madonna Inn's Pinterest account (http://www.pinterest.com/madonnainn/) My favorite board thus far has to be "Photo Shoots at Madonna Inn," because I just love seeing the countless different ways people re-interpret the Inn's whimsy and decor. To know that others love, enjoy and appreciate MI as much as I do - as well as getting to see my "home" through another's lens - is such a gift! Here are just a few of the shots I'm loving right now -- Enjoy!
PC: Jonathan Grassi, Laura Austin, Jason Lee Parry, Jordan Fraker, Jeffrey Porona Boyces/Stacey Ann, Raquel Leal, and James Elliot Bailey. Check out our Pinterest account for more! :)

Friday, June 27, 2014

Summer Time, Circus Time!

You know that summer has officially arrived when Circus Vargas rolls into town and sets up on the Madonna Meadows. I'm continually amazed at how quickly the big top takes shape (typically in a matter of mere hours!) Jon Weiss, ringmaster extraordinaire, along with the entire Circus Vargas family, has developed quite a wonderful and friendly relationship with the Madonna family over the last four years of coming to San Luis Obispo. Today, he made a surprise visit to the Inn and had some fun clowning around with a few MI staff members.
I can NOT wait to see this year's performance of Magikaria on Sunday. I'm not sure how they do it, but each year the program gets even better and more exhilarating than the last - and I expect this year will be no exception! Don't miss the opportunity to experience a world-class performance, featuring master illusionist Patrick Marinelli (who recently appeared on the hit show America's Got Talent) and many other incredible performers. Get your tickets before they sell out at https://www.facebook.com/CircusVargas/app_115388171892641!