Now You Can Own the Ranch Where the Ever-Popular Egg McMuffin Was Invented

Now You Can Own the Ranch Where the Ever-Popular Egg McMuffin Was Invented

By Kathryn M.
The California ranch formerly owned by McDonald’s CEO Ray Kroc hits the market at the supersize price of $29M.

If you’re one of the millions of people who can instantly spot the Golden Arches of McDonald’s, you have Ray Kroc to thank. A former milkshake mixer salesman, Kroc joined forces with the founding McDonald brothers, Richard and Maurice, in the 1950s and quickly led the fast-food company to national—and later, global—expansion. 

When the restaurant chain went public a few years later, Kroc became an overnight millionaire—and he and his then-wife, Jane, purchased a 554-acre ranch in the Santa Ynez Valley near Santa Barbara to serve as a personal retreat and think tank.

In the hills of Santa Ynez near Santa Barbara lies the 554-acre ranch previously owned by Ray Kroc and his then-wife Jane. The couple originally named the property J & R Double Arch Ranch when they bought it in 1965. Over the years Kroc held a number of meetings at the property in which several of McDonald’s menu items were conceived, including the Egg McMuffin.

After Kroc’s death in 1984, Gerald Kessler of Nature’s Plus Vitamins purchased the estate in 1990 and changed the name to the Circle K Ranch. Now, for the first time in nearly three decades, the property is seeking a new buyer for $29,000,000. In total, the compound includes five single-family homes, with the main residence spanning 17,000 square feet. 

The couple owned the sprawling estate—which they named the J & R Double Arch Ranch, in reference to the McDonald’s arches—until Ray's death in 1984. Shortly thereafter in 1990, Gerald Kessler of NaturesPlus Vitamins bought the property and renamed it the Circle K Ranch.

One of the homes features a large, circular living room that frames 360-degree views of the surrounding Santa Ynez valley. Vaulted ceilings enhance the grand sense of scale.

Steps away from the fireplace is a hand-carved wooden bar, which offers direct access to the home’s commercial-style kitchen.

Today, the estate still has a number of the original structures, including four single-family residences, two bunkhouses, recreational amenities, barns, paddocks, and a versatile conference hall to host large-scale events. The main dwelling on the compound is a free-flowing lodge that spans more than 17,000 square feet. In addition to its 20 bedrooms and commercial kitchen, the home also features a 3,000-square-foot living room with hand-carved woodwork and an open mezzanine.

A closer look at the kitchen, which can easily cater to large-scale entertaining. 

Expansive windows wrap around the open dining area, also located on the home’s main level.

Another structure on the estate, known as the Founder’s Building, offers a spacious library and gymnasium, as well as two bedroom suites. A theater and auditorium are also located within the 5,200-square-foot conference hall, which can easily accommodate over 60 people.  

The fireplace stretches toward the geometric roof opening, where an abundance of natural light seeps in. An open mezzanine overlooking the living room curves around the second level.

Custom built-ins provide plentiful space to display books and memorabilia. 

In total, the ranch—which, according to the listing, dates back to the 1860s—includes 52 bedrooms and 58 baths, and it’s equipped with its own water supply via two lakes, five wells, and three cisterns which store 90,000 galloons of water. Keep scrolling to see more of the ranch, currently listed for $29,000,000.

Upstairs, a wood-clad reading room offers a quiet corner for solitude. 

Here is a look at one of the 20 bedroom suites located in the main residence.

Beamed ceilings continue into the main bath, which features an oversized marble tub.

A winding driveway leads to another one of the multiple dwellings included on the ranch.

Floor-to-ceiling windows flank both sides of the main entrance, while a soaring stone wall serves as a partition from the primary living space right around the corner.

In the living room, an elongated sofa spans the length of the stone fireplace, and additional seating is sprinkled throughout the open layout.

In total, the compound offers 52 bedrooms spread over multiple residences.

An aerial view of the estate, which features tree-lined driveways leading up to the homes.

7355 Happy Canyon Road Road in Santa Ynez, CA, is currently listed for $29,000,000 by Maurie McGuire of Coldwell Banker Realty. (Listing courtesy of Top10RealEstateDeals.)

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