Restaurant of the Week: Connal’s

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This week’s restaurant: Connal’s, 1226 W. 7th St. (at Mountain), Upland.

Connal’s, which opened Dec. 11, took over the building that housed Mi Taco, a beloved Mexican drive-thru, from 1966 until early 2007. Readers reacted with shock and horror when I broke the news of its passing. I had no idea. When a reader passed along the recipe for the signature dish, the Matador Salad, clipped and saved from an old Daily Report food page, nearly 200 people wrote me requesting a copy.

Connal’s is an interesting story itself, which I will share in Sunday’s column. In brief, it was founded in 1958 in Pasadena and the Upland location is the first expansion in its 50-year existence.

The menu is enormous for a drive-thru burger joint, highlighted by burgers, grinders (or subs, if you prefer), salads, Mexican dishes, hot sandwiches, dinner plates, hot dogs and ice cream. They have flavored sodas, floats, freezes and shakes, including specialty flavors such as pineapple-banana and chocolate-peanut butter. I count 204 items in all.

I went in for lunch during Monday’s downpour. The counterwoman was exceptionally polite; this wasn’t the robotic service one tends to get. I had a tuna melt ($4.39), onion rings ($2.99) and small drink ($1.29).

It was a decent tuna melt, wrapped in paper and cut in half. The onion rings came on a plate, piled high. I ate probably a dozen, which to me is more than enough onion rings for any normal person, and then counted how many I was throwing out: 14.

Last year, I tried the Connal’s in Pasadena and had a burger and fries. The serving of fries was similarly generous, and again, at least half went in the trash. Tip: One serving of fries or onion rings would serve two people, or even three or four.

The Upland interior is white tile, with red accents; it’s vaguely In-N-Outish, except the twin archways separating the counter from the small seating area — six booths, five tables — remain, charmingly, from the Mi Taco days. There’s some nostalgia kitsch on the walls. The exterior is now painted white, and cleaned up, but Connal’s still looks a lot like Mi Taco. Which itself looked like a Taco Bell, even though it wasn’t.

Nice to have a bit of Pasadena out in Upland.

You can view the menu on the Connal’s website.

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  • Josephine Sharp

    Could you please share with me the recipe for the Matador Salad?

    Thank you.

    [With Connal's request for the recipe, make that 192 requests. -- DA]

  • Bob Terry

    Thank you David for solving my personal mystery. While at San Biagio’s recently, I saw the new sign up at the old Mi Taco building but for the life of me I couldn’t READ it, the script being “greek” to me….bad joke. So I’ll be sure to give it a try the next time I’m in South Upland.

  • Linda

    I bet there are a lot of us who would like the recipe for the Matador Salad. My daughters grew up loving Mi Taco. Thanks for the info on Connal’s, we are going to check it out!!

  • DAve

    Whenever I go someplace that serves roast beef sandwiches I order that, because in my experience as goes the roast beef so goes the rest of the menu.

    It was not my favorite flavoring but it was very high quality and my daughter had the pancakes and bacon which were quite delish so there you are — I’ll go there again (today?) and hope it has many years of success as that town and that part of that town are not known for really good eatin’.

    [Thanks for weighing in. -- DA]

  • Ron Prado

    Thanks Dave I saw that sign the other day and could not figure out what it said. Even though I really miss Mi Taco I’ll give this place a try. Where on earth can I find another place that tops their tacos with an olive? By the way, can I get that Matador salad recipe too? Thanks.

    [At Los Monitos, enchiladas are topped with a pickle. Is that good enough? -- DA]

  • Tony Hermosillo

    Could you please share with me the recipe for the Matador Salad?

    Thank you.

  • Cathy

    Can you please send me the Matador Salad recipe?

    [Yes. -- DA]