There’s a green construction fence around the Sizzler restaurant at Fourth and Vineyard in Ontario, a fact that prompts a wistful sigh on my part.
Not that I’m a Sizzler fan. Even though the restaurant was two blocks from the Daily Bulletin, I ate there only once in my 10 years here.
(I ate at Sizzlers growing up in Illinois. The Malibu chicken, which was breaded chicken with a thin slice of ham and swiss cheese melted on top, seemed like the height of sophistication when I was a boy. That’s what everyone eats in Malibu, right?)
It was my sole previous visit to the Ontario Sizzler that brings back memories.
In March 1994, I accepted a job at the Victor Valley Daily Press in Victorville and prepared to move there from Petaluma, up in the Bay Area. This was the job that brought me to Southern California.
My friend and colleague Scott Manchester from the Petaluma Argus-Courier helped me load up a rental truck and drive to Victorville. We unloaded my worldly belongings at my new Victorville apartment and I drove him to Ontario to catch a plane home. My intention was to buy him a good dinner but time was running short before his flight, so we went to Sizzler. It was near the airport, which was accessed then from Vineyard.
So, that’s why the closing was cause for a sigh. The Ontario Sizzler was the site of my first dinner as a Southern Californian. Not an auspicious beginning, but we all have to start somewhere.