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1970s Ray's Murrieta Cafe.jpg

Welcome to the Murrieta Valley Historical Society's

History Marker Project

Ray's Cafe


Lakeman’s Ice Cream Parlor
Earnest Lakeman purchased this property in October 1903. He planted a small orchard of pears, apples, figs, nectarines, and cherries on his property. He then opened a small fruit stand and began selling his homegrown products. In 1909, he expanded his business and built an ice cream parlor and confectionary
store. “Mr. Lakeman’s store is on the automobile road from Los Angeles to San Diego, where the weary traveler can refresh himself with ice cream, cold drinks, and a good smoke.” (August 15, 1911, Riverside Independent Enterprise) Earnest Lakeman operated his store for about seven years. He then expanded his
business and renamed it, the Lakeman Lunch Room.

Lakeman’s Lunch Room
Earnest Lakeman operated the Lakeman Lunch Room from 1916 to 1924.

He then sold the business to Henry Eiler.


Henry’s Place 

In December 1924, Earnest Lakeman sold his business and residence to the Eilers. The business was renamed Henry’s Place and opened in January 1925. The menu was described as German-American cuisine.
Henry’s Place was a restaurant owned and operated by Henry and Alwine Eilers. The Eilers operated their restaurant for twenty-five years. Their restaurant was open seven days a week without missing a day.
Henry died in 1945, and Alwine continued to run the restaurant. In 1950, Alwine leased the restaurant to Ray Bezanson. Ray renamed the restaurant, the Murrieta Café. Three years later, Ray bought the restaurant and renamed it, Ray’s Murrieta Café.

Ray’s Murrieta Café
Raymond George Bezanson was born September 3, 1896 in Missoula, Montana. He was a musician, a songwriter and a composer. In the 1930s, he formed a band called Bezanson’s Melody Phiends. His band played for over nine years at the Guenther’s Murrieta Hot Springs Resort. During his lunch breaks he would flip over the daily menu sheet and jot down notes for songs, or write music. On December 14, 1940 he married Joanne Elizabeth Waddell in Yuma, Arizona. They had two children, Gilbert “Skip” (1941) and Muriel (1945). In 1946, Raymond built a home for his family at 24570 Adams Avenue. Raymond leased the Murrieta Café from Mrs. Alwine Eilers in 1950 and renamed it Ray’s Murrieta Café. Three years later, he bought the business. Ray operated the café for twenty-three years. During his spare time, he would write songs and compose music. He even recorded a few of his pieces. Raymond Bezanson died on January 8, 1973 in San Diego, California. He was laid to rest in the Elsinore Valley Cemetery. Joanne and her son, Skip, continued running Ray’s Café. Joanne died on December 22, 1982 and was laid to rest beside her husband. Skip Bezanson continued running the café until it closed in 2006.

The Future
In 2017, the former café was sold to a group of investors. No restoration work could begin on the café until the fate of the Lakeman House was decided. On July 26, 2022, the Lakeman House was demolished. With the house removed, the investors now look to the café in hopes of restoring it. There are many suggestions for a future occupant of the cafe building. Some suggestions have been a coffee shop, an antique shop, and a small community theater. What will be the next chapter in the café’shistory?

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