Restaurant of the Week: The Tenderloin


The Tenderloin, 2080 Foothill Blvd. (at B), La Verne

In an L-shaped shopping center, the Tenderloin, at the northern end, is easily visible to motorists on Foothill. I’ve seen it for years and wondered if it was a bar, a restaurant or what. The unfortunate connotation with San Francisco’s seedy Tenderloin District made me wonder about the place.

As it happens, it’s a steakhouse. I dropped in for lunch Saturday.

The interior is decorated in Old West style, with several large paintings of Western scenes, and Tiffany-style light fixtures. The lighting is on the dim side. The menu prices are on the moderate side.

I had a steak sandwich with fries ($10.79) plus a side salad. The sandwich came with grilled onions, lettuce and tomatoes, on sourdough bread. It was messy but pretty good. The fries and salad were OK.

Service was indifferent. My waitress wore a quilted winter coat over her uniform. Management ought to turn up the thermostat. She also left me without utensils or napkins, which I had to fetch from another table.

The Tenderloin attracts an older crowd. A father had three young boys at the booth next to mine, but everyone else was in their 50s or older. On the other side of me, a couple in their 70s may have run out of things to say to each other. They read paperbacks silently during their lunch.

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  • Eric

    The Tenderloin was originally a Steer N’ Stein which opened in 1977 with the construction of the center. The restaurant changed in 1996 to The Tenderloin, although I do not believe the interior has ever been updated.

    [Thanks for the info, Eric. — DA]

  • Robert Karatsu

    Reading and eating at the same time? My wife and I do it all the time. It’s called multi-tasking… :]

    [Maybe you and your wife should double-date with that couple. All four of you, around a booth, reading books… DA]

  • Shawna

    You are so funny.

  • Kristin McConnell

    We’ve eaten there many, many times. There seems to be a mystery regarding at least two other very, very similar restaurants: Hungry Bear in Fullerton, and (get this) Tony’s Spunky Steer in Chino. Each have similar decorations, practically identical menus, until Tenderloin redesigned theirs. No one is actually sure if any of these were ever related, but their similarities are eerie. But, we really like the restaurant, even though your observations are very accurate. 🙂

    [Maybe they are all former Steer N’ Steins? See previous comment from Eric. — DA]

  • http://na Local La Verne girl.

    I have lived in La Verne my entire life. I started eating at this restaurant before I had teeth. The staff has changed drastically throughout the years. The food has been able to remain quite good. It used to be a part of a chain which were called Steer N’ Stein (I called it Frankenstein till I was six). The original owner of the restaurant died in a plain crash over 10 years ago. His sister took over this particular site. She was the one who dressed it up with the fancy paint and decorations; the larger paintings are original to the place. I don’t know if the sister still owns it, but when she did own it the service was far better than it is now.

    [I appreciate your perspective. Oh, and the “Frankenstein” bit too. — DA]

  • Another Local Girl

    I grew up going to this place, as well as the other 2 local locations that were also Steer N Steins (Central Ave. in Chino and Archibald Ave. in Rancho or Ontario?).

    I remember the day we went to go have dinner at the Chino location and it was closed. There was a note on the door saying it was closed “Due to death in the family.” I never knew it was the owner who had died.

    I agree the service has somewhat gone downhill, but I still enjoy going to the Tenderloin. The Pepper Steak is my favorite item on the menu and I order it all the time.

    There is also a location in Pasadena called Steer N Ale, but I’m not sure if it is still there.