Not fooling anybody

Ever seen a dentist’s office that looks a lot like a Taco Bell? Well, perhaps not, but new uses for dead chain restaurants do happen, and you won’t be surprised to know there’s a website devoted to the phenomenon:

Among the more imaginative conversions pictured on the site:

* A Pizza Hut in Canada that became a funeral home. (It’s enough to make pizza lovers re-evaluate their diets.)

* A KFC in Oklahoma that became a chiropractor — but kept the bucket.

* A Waffle House in George that became a piano store with great freeway access.

What I’m wondering is if any ex-chain restaurants in the Inland Valley have been turned into something else?

Non-restaurant uses, as in the examples above, are preferred, but I’ll leave it open. As long as the building is at least slightly recognizable as something else, it’s fair game. Readers? The KFC bucket is in your court.

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  • John Clifford

    One of my favorites, though not in the IE, is the old Copper Penny restaurant on Wilshire which is now a city councilman’s district office.

  • Eric

    The Music Annex building (on Third Street, across from the Police/ Fire Station in Old Town La Verne) at the University of La Verne was once a Tastee Freeze. The famous A-Frame design still remains.

    Adjacent was once an Alpha Beta supermarket, now occupied by a parking lot and the ULV Library (no architectural resemblance). Previous to that was a City park and previous to that was the Lordsburg Hotel.

    [Thanks, Eric. — DA]

    • RadioGuyChris

      I remember that Tastee Freez well, because my grandparents Woody and Agnes Davis owned that franchise. Next door was an Alpha Beta and a TG&Y.

  • Cynthia

    Off Haven and Arrow(?) in the old Kmart shopping center there was a restaurant called the Ponderosa Bar & Grill that’s now Ponderosa Dentistry. I guess they didn’t have a more creative name picked out.

    And who can forget the former KFC off Haven/Baseline thats now a Starbucks…that was kinda creepy.

    Last but not least there’s the 7-11 that became a copy shop…I didn’t realize the 7-11 was gone till one day I wanted some nachos and a hot dog and pulled up see a bunch of copy machines…it was a sad day indeed.

    [Excellent contributions, Cynthia. Love the Ponderosa. I believe there’s a KFC-turned-Starbucks on Foothill just east of Archibald as well. — DA]

  • Charles Bentley


    A very interesting study. Here are a few examples I can think of that have not yet been discussed:

    Winchell’s Donuts on Foothill Blvd. in Upland (north side of the street, west of San Antonio) that is now, I believe, either a dentist or doctor’s office.

    Betsy Ross Ice Cream/Coffee Shop at 695 W. Foothill Blvd. in Claremont that is now Century 21 Prestige Properties.

    The A&W Drive-In at 1267 W. Holt Blvd. in Ontario that is now a used car dealership.

    If you want to talk about some identifiable chain locations that have changed names but remain eating establishments, try these:

    The Wendy’s at 1105 Mountain Ave. in Ontario that is now the Super Bowl Thai Cafe.

    The Jack-in-the-Box on Towne Ave. in Pomona that is now a burger/chicken/donut place that I recall David has mentioned in his print column.

    Minnie Pearl’s Fried Chicken at 746 N. Mountain Ave. in Ontario. Now a Mexican food establishment (it was part of the Zendejas group for a while, now it’s Los Plebes), the sign out front used to feature a large image of Minnie Pearl. When it first opened back in the 1960s, it drew great interest locally because Minnie seemed to be peering down on the graves in Bellevue Cemetery!

    [Thanks, Charles. There’s also a former Betsy Ross on East Holt in Pomona that is either a carpet store or a church. A former Wendy’s on Foothill in Upland is now Jim’s Burgers. I don’t think the Winchell’s ever reopened as anything, although it was slated to be an optometrist’s office. An original Denny’s on East Holt at Indian Hill is now Chalios Birerria. And how could we forget the most obvious: The world’s seventh McDonald’s, on East Mission in Pomona, is now AMA Donuts! — DA]

  • Steve Lustro

    The Fiesta Mexicana banquet hall on Holt Boulevard west of Benson Avenue in Montclair was originally Kinney Shoes. The building is less recognizable since the banquet hall owner renovated the exterior a few years ago, but the signature gable roof (inverted at the front), especially as viewed from the sides, is a dead giveaway.

    [Nice to hear from Montclair’s new community development director! — DA]

  • ray escoto

    Montclair memory: Wasn’t ROBERT HALL’S DEPT STORE on Holt west of Benson ?? (south side of Holt) Speaking of KFC…. in La Verne… Bonita Ave west of Damien Ave (next to Mrs. Nelson’s bookstore) I will have to drive by and see what occupies this bldg. Maybe a Hair Salon ??

  • Jeff Hodge

    On the corner of Palomares and Holt in Pomona, the old Mel’s was a smoke shop for a while. It looks like it is being remodeled for new tenants.

  • Eric

    @Ray Escoto: You are right about the KFC in La Verne, and that it did become a hair salon after KFC departed. However about 5 years ago the property sold and the building was completely remodeled, interior and exterior, and now houses an accounting firm. There were mentions of Wendy’s in a post above. The Wendy’s at Garey and Foothill in Pomona was once a Yoshinoya Beef Bowl.

    [At one point seemingly every strip mall in SoCal had a Yoshinoya, didn’t it? — DA]

  • ray escoto

    Lord Charley’s is now a Flooring Outlet Store

  • tkranawetter

    Mr. Taco in Chino just north of the old Winchells on the corner of Riverside dr. and Central. almost forgot Ossie”s Oasis just east on Riverside dr.

  • April Patterson

    This isn’t a former restaurant but a former funeral home on Towne and Holt turned into a church. Not sure if that is what it is now as I live in AZ now.

  • ray escoto

    Could that have been Polluck’s Mortuary ? north of Holt, west side of Towne Ave

  • Nancy

    The old Mi Taco is now Connal’s.

    7th and Mountain will never be the same!

    Los Plebes was also a gold shop at one time. Went by there today….they might be closed for good.

    The Winchell’s on Foothill and San Antonio is now a yogurt shop. Good choice of flavors.

    [About time that Winchell’s became something else. — DA]

  • moe

    Hmm, I don’t know what it is now but on Holt just west of East End a food joint called the Covered wagon?? Its been many different mexican food joints in the past 15 yrs. Also, it is gone now but for the longest time an old Vandy Kams (however its spelled) was a tacos mexico. Down the street in Indian Hill is an Old Mac Donalds that was sued so they sold it to Gus Burger. Oh and lets not forget the super market “the Giant” in the corner of Holt and East End. Its now a School and still attached to the Swap Meet ?!?!

    [The “covered wagon,” now King’s Teriyaki, was originally an Arby’s! — DA]