Remembering the San Gorgonio Inn

Reader Michelle Young emailed a question recently about a restaurant a little east of us, but one some of you may remember. Take it away, Michelle:

“Watching my local news here in Chicago this morning I heard about San Bernardino’s financial problems and it made me think about a restaurant I believe to be called The San Bernardino Inn. [*She really means the San Gorgonio Inn. — DA] It was just off the 10. The last time I remember eating there was 1986, my senior year of high school before I moved away. It was a favorite of my parents in the ’70s and ’80s and we always stopped in when we drove between our home in Carlsbad on the way to Big Bear or Palm Springs.

“Today I came across your Eateries Past category and thought you might know something about it. What I remember most vividly about the restaurant was the tattered newspaper-like menus and dinners that started with your choice of various items including Tomato Juice (I never chose this; wouldn’t taste good with my Shirley Temple), Chilled carrot and celery sticks with radishes, and Chicken livers.

“I Googled everything I could think of/remember about the place to with no luck and the San Bernardino Historical Society doesn’t seem to have any information on their website. And ideas?”

She probably came to the right place. We’ll see, anyway.

* Update: Michelle has agreed via email that based on the first reader comment, she’s wrong and the place was the San Gorgonio Inn, not the San Bernardino Inn. I’ve changed the headline to match.

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  • Charles Bentley

    Wondering if the reader is thinking of the San Gorgonio Inn? It was located in Banning just off the I-10 (albeit a distance from San Bernardino) and was a landmark dining spot for many years. As I recall, the building was demolished in April 2011.

    [Maybe this blog post should be retitled “Remebering the San Gorgonio Inn” or “Remembering the San Bernardino (?) Inn.” I guess we’ll find out. — DA]

  • Bob House

    Good call Mr. Bentley! What other establishment, other than the longtime roadside landmark the SGI, would still have been serving an old school relish tray in the 80s? Nice but brief history of the Inn on Wikipedia.

    [ — DA]

  • Bob House

    Confirming Mr. Bentley’s astute supposition, SGI menu here shows tomato juice and chicken livers under “Appetizers.”

    [I’d label them “Unappetizers” myself. — DA]

  • Granny Andy (no relationship to Andy)

    I thought I remembered reading something about the Inn awhile ago. According to Wiki article “On April 18, 2011, the Inn was demolished, more than 100 years after it opened.”

  • shirley wofford

    It saddens me to learn that the San Gorgonio Inn is no longer in existence. My parents, who lived near Hemet, used to go there for every anniversary dinner. A dinner of filet mignon and champagne was quite cheap. I attended their final dinner with them in 1985, a month before my mother passed–their anniversary date was September 11.