2nd on Second Street, 171 W. Second St. (at Thomas), Pomona
Opened in 2004 as the very good Second Street Bistro, serving French and Italian food, this location changed hands three or four times before becoming 2nd on Second Street earlier in 2011. If you think that’s a strangely redundant name, join the club.
It may have the most pleasant ambience of any place in downtown Pomona, rivaled only by Sakura Ichi. Housed inside an 1891 storefront, there’s exposed brick and a pressed tin ceiling, two slow ceiling fans, natural light and strings of carnival lights. The lights are new, as are a couple of flat-screen TVs that play silently, at least during lunch. Otherwise, the place looks as nice as ever. There’s also a sidewalk patio and a shaded patio in back.
The food, though, leaves a little to be desired. (See the menu here.) My first visit, I had a pulled pork sandwich ($8.50) with cole slaw; nothing wrong with it, but nothing exceptional either.
The other day I returned with a friend. We each had the black and bleu burger ($8.50), a burger with bleu cheese crumbles, fries on the side. I asked for mine medium rare, my friend asked for hers medium, and both of us got burgers that were overcooked. That aside, the burger was okay, a half pound of angus, but a little dry, and I’ve had better for the same price.
Service was friendly but unskilled. The server kept trying to take the jacket with the check despite our having settled back for a long chat and the jacket having been untouched. After two attempts, I half-jokingly placed a saucer atop the jacket. Next visit, she tried to take both.
A friend says he likes the dinners, especially the soups, and the musician on Saturday nights. The fact that the restaurant is keeping regular hours again, and is open until 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, is good news. I may even go back. But warily, and wondering if this version of the restaurant will last longer than the last few.