Remembering Valenti’s and O’Reilly’s

Chaffey High alumnus Dave Linck reminded me of a couple of oldtime Ontario restaurants: one that may be the original Inland Valley pizza parlor, or darn close to it, and a beloved burger emporium with a buffet line of condiments.

Take it away, Mr. Linck:

“Here are a couple old Ontario places to jog the bloggers:

“Valenti’s Fine Foods on South Euclid: One of the few places in the early ’60s to serve pizza. I had my very first pie there, served by owner Phil Valenti, whose brother, Frank, ran the Texaco station on Holt near Vine. Both places are long gone. The pizza was amazing, with so much mozzerella (and fresh oregano) it ruined me for all others to come.

“Another long-gone fave was O’Reilly’s Buffet Burger on Holt near Mountain, which is now housing The Paint Bucket. O’Reilly’s was beloved among we kids because they sent you a coupon for a free ‘Buffet Burger’ on your birthday. O’Reilly’s served burgers, broasted chicken and dip sandwiches.

“There was a ‘buffet bar’ where you could dress your burger as you liked, as well as a twin ‘sundae bar’ where you could do so with ice cream sundaes. It was always crowded and I am sure lots of people will respond with their own memories of this long-gone icon of burger cool.”

I’m sure they will too. Readers?

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  • Uplander

    As a kid, O’Reilly’s was one of my favorite places to go for dinner. The condiment buffet was fun, you got to pick what you put on your burger. The sundae station was the best part. What kid wouldn’t want to build their own sundae.

  • Ms. Lois

    I loved O’Reilly’s! We would go there as a family and then when my friends and I got our driver’s license we would go on our own. For some reason I remember that they had GREAT coleslaw. The owner was very friendly and always remembered us.

    I really hate that Paint Bucket. 🙂

  • Tad Decker

    Hey, Ms. Lois, don’t blame us for O’Reilly’s demise…it was long gone before we moved here in 1978 🙂

    Faithfully yours since 1948,
    Paint Bucket, Inc.

    [Nice to know the Paint Bucket isn’t seeing red over this. — DA]

  • raylene sausedo

    Valenti’s Fine Foods was owned by my godparents, Uncle Phil & Aunt Ethel.

    When I was in high school it was my first job. I worked in the kitchen doing whatever was needed during their two weeknight specials. On Mondays it was ‘all you could eat spaghetti’ and Wednesday it was ‘all you could eat’ of their great tasting ‘enchiladas, rice & beans’ plate.

    They had great food and longtime customers who enjoyed a good meal at a reasonable price. Uncle Phil always had a ready smile and took the time to stop and chat with his customers. He was a wonderful boss and their restaurant was a great way for me to be introduced to the working world!

    [Spaghetti, pizza … and enchiladas? Now there’s a restaurant that’s not afraid to diversify. Seriously, thanks for the note, Raylene. — DA]

  • Gene Harvey

    Like others, I remember with fondness O’Reilly’s and their really special burgers and sundaes. I have patronized The Paint Bucket many times (hi, Tad) but have never gone in the building without remembering my many visits there to EAT.

    The owner/manager was very friendly, but businesslike all the way, and loved to work the front of the line, taking orders and being jovial. The place was quite unique and is greatly missed, even after all these years.

  • Ms. Lois


    Of course you are right. It’s hard to see a place go that you loved so much. Btw, I have bought paint at your store. 😉

    ps Hi David. 🙂

    [Hi Ms. Lois. — DA]

  • Charles Bentley


    I know I mentioned O’Reilly’s in one of your earlier blog posts, but I feel the need to add mine to the list of fond memories of that favorite local establishment. I echo the previous responses that spoke of the burger condiment buffet; it was special because, as a kid, you could decide what you wanted rather than have an adult tell you what you could have on your burger. I also recall a friend who would sneak over to the sundae station and add some of those topping to his burger!

    My parents reminded me that O’Reilly’s offered more than burgers and ice cream. They remember wonderful pies and other main dishes. But we, as kids, focused on the important things.

    I’m not familiar with Valenti’s. It very well may have been one of the area’s few pizza places at that time. I will ask your readers, David, if any recall The Capri, a pizza restaurant (with an attached lounge) that was located on the east side of the shopping complex on the NE corner of Fourth and Grove in Ontario.

    Other shops in the center included an Alpha Beta Market, Rasco’s, Finley’s Rexall Drugs and the Village Donut Shop (which later became the first home of Zeke’s Restaurant). The Capri was where our family got its pizza fix until Straw Hat Pizza and Pizza Hut came into the area.

    Does anyone else remember The Capri?

  • Roger Riccardi

    Valenti’s Fine Food was the best, plus it was free I thought. My best friend Rick Valenti’s parents owned the restaurant. In the old days, I called them Mr. & Mrs. Valenti, boy those days are gone. They always had a little work for both Rick and I to do around the place, such as picking up trash, pulling weeds and basic cleanup around the restaurant, so I guess what I thought was free. They were actually teaching us the value of hard work. WOW — you don’t see that nowadays, what a concept.

    The whole family pitched in to make ends meet. The Valenti family were very hard working people and a very good family to be around.

    I remember the Capri Italian restaurant but it was nothing compared to Valenti Pizza and all the other great food items they served.

    Boy it was nice to be able to have a great meal at a local restaurant and not a chain.

    [Roger, thanks for the comment. — DA]

  • Jeff Maurer

    Bringing this one back from the dead. My parents took me and my sister to O’Reilly’s just about whenever we went out to eat. Get your tray, order at the first stop and by the time you got to the end to pay your food was usually ready. As a kid being able to decide what I wanted on my burger was a freedom unknown before this. Rarely did we get to have sundaes, however. When I think of places I loved to eat this is on the list (along with Taco Lita and Northwoods Inn).

  • Michael Lessing

    Yes, the wife/mother would custom made your salad for you and they had the best blue cheese dressing. Used to get the hamburger steak and my fixing bar was every other one I put something on I think I have more condiments than meat