Remembering St. Charles Grill


In its day, the St. Charles Grill was one of the finest restaurants in Pomona. Located at 158 W. Holt Ave., a half-block west of Garey Avenue, the restaurant served steaks, chops, lobster and other delicacies, waited on celebrities passing through town (as they did in the pre-freeway era) and hosted service clubs and wedding receptions in its banquet room. There were even some apartments rented out up above.

St. Charles Grill opened in 1930 and faded out in the late 1960s or early 1970s. The space reopened as Alpine Haus (!) in 1973 and as Lucier’s in 1979. (Thanks to the Pomona Public Library for the names and dates.) The building has been vacant for many years and is currently for lease sale.

I’ll be writing a column about the place in the near future. You’re encouraged to comment here with any memories of the St. Charles — the food, decor, atmosphere, staff or whatever else you’d care to share.

Photo courtesy Growing Up in Pomona Facebook page

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Linkedin Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

His victory was eminently logical

A Harvey Mudd College senior, Palmer Mebane, has won the 2011 World Puzzle Championship in Hungary, which the school says makes him the first American winner in 12 years. He beat a seven-time champ from Germany. Mudd’s writeup is here.

Mebane doesn’t do crosswords but rather logic puzzles. You can find a bunch on his blog. I took a look at a couple and my brain almost exploded. Thankfully I averted my eyes in time.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Linkedin Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Let’s Roll: Arrowhead Lanes, San Bernardino

56848-arrowheadlanes 003.jpg

Headed to San Bernardino’s National Orange Show recently, I was delighted to pass by a bowling alley. I made a stop on my way back.

And speaking of way back, Arrowhead Lanes is a pleasant throwback. The scoring machine looks like something from the bridge of the Starship Enterprise, and it must baffle newcomers, because the woman at the counter routinely asks if bowlers would like her to enter their names for them. Meanwhile, the ball return sends balls into a teardrop-shaped bin where they swirl around like thoughts in Herman Cain’s head.

The monitors above the lanes give you your score and nothing else — no fancy graphics, no ads. Helpfully, if you bowl multiple games, it shows you the same frame from each game, so you can instantly compare, say, your fourth frame from this game to your previous two.

The lanes are in good condition and the balls are neatly organized, with all the balls of the same weight grouped together, all the same color. I really liked my experience there. I don’t know how often I’ll drive to San Bernardino to bowl (perhaps never again), but this place makes it tempting. A few particulars:

Address: 299 W. Orange Show Road

Number of lanes: 32

Owner: AMF

Year opened: 1959

Architect: Paul R. Williams

Neighbors: Maytag Superstore, Turner’s Outdoorsman

Games: Billiards, video

Bar: Yes (with vintage “Cocktails” sign)

Ambience: Scarcely updated 1960s equipment and furniture; serious bowlers; working class vibe

Deal: $10 an hour beats $3.95 per game


56849-arrowheadlanes 002.jpg
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Linkedin Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Column: In ‘Innocents,’ Twain was a wiseguy abroad

Sunday’s column (read it here) is one of my occasional books-oriented columns, in this case about my recent reading of Mark Twain’s “The Innocents Abroad.” (The Wikipedia entry on the book is here.)

I’m a little sheepish about these (perhaps rightfully so?) and slipped this one into print on a holiday weekend when news is scarce and many readers are probably otherwise occupied. I figure most of you dedicated enough to read my blog will think it’s perfectly fine that I throw away a column now and then on a personal interest, but feel free to condemn me or buck me up.

I’ve written two or three Twain-related columns before (after “Roughing It” and “Connecticut Yankee”) and will likely produce a handful more in the next few years, assuming I keep reading him as I intend to. Sheepish or not, in retrospect I wish I’d written one after reading “Life on the Mississippi,” which may be my favorite so far.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Linkedin Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Column: And the world will be as one — in La Verne

56815-yoko 001.jpg

Wednesday’s column (read it here) concerns an art exhibit in La Verne, of all places, devoted to John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s peace activism, of all things. “Imagine Peace” is at the Harris Art Gallery. Hours and such are here.

I arranged to visit Monday, and I’m awfully glad I did. Of course the price is right (admission is free) but it’s also a neat exhibit for John and Yoko fans. I’m enough of a fan that in reading the exhibit booklet it jumped out at me that (on p. 32) Yoko’s daughter Kyoko is referred to as Kyoto. Please. We all know the name of Yoko’s daughter by her first husband, right?

Ahem. Anyway…

Oh, here’s a line considered for the column but wisely dropped:

The city has no obvious connection to the Beatles, although it’s a little-known fact that “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” was originally to be titled “Ob-La Verne-Di, Ob-La Verne-Da.” Just kidding.

56816-yoko 004.jpg
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Linkedin Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email