Restaurant of the Week: Andy’s Burgers, Ontario

Andy’s Burgers, 310 E. Holt Blvd. (at Plum), Ontario; open daily 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.; also 4603 Riverside Drive, Chino

Andy’s has been in Ontario since 1969, founded by Andy Poulos, whose family still runs it today. A recent video in City Hall’s Made in Ontario series tells more.

The original location was a drive-in a couple of blocks east on Holt at Sultana that was displaced in 2004 for an apartment project. But the new Andy’s opened immediately in a brand-new building at Plum. City planners said at the time that they made Andy’s move the original grill, grease intact, to ensure the burgers tasted the same. I was never clear if they were kidding, but it was too good of a story to ruin if it wasn’t.

Anyway, I’ve been to the new Andy’s once or twice over the years. Recently I was downtown on an errand, had missed lunch and thought I might as well eat at Andy’s.

Andy’s is one of those burger places with a sprawling menu. The menu board is probably 15 feet long and you could spend much of your lunch break reading it and weighing your options. Of all the luck, nobody was ahead of me and the counterwoman immediately greeted me and asked if she could help me.

What the hell, I ordered a burger combo ($7.29): burger, fries, soda, as if I had to tell you.

It was a substantial sandwich, and even though the burger wasn’t hand-pattied, it had grill marks and was served on a seeded bun with a giant sheaf of iceberg lettuce, tomato slices and thousand island. The fries were hot and crisp. I didn’t leave hungry.

The menu has breakfasts, other hot sandwiches, Mexican food and more. A now-retired city planner used to rave about the hot chicken salad, which was pieces of steaming-hot grilled chicken atop a bed of iceberg lettuce. It was protein-heavy, let’s put it that way.

At lunch, I caught up on two or three issues of the Chino Champion that I’d brought. The restaurant was moderately busy even at 3 p.m. and was clean, if a bit characterless.

Even in the heart of downtown, two blocks from the epicenter of Holt and Euclid, it’s a slightly challenging location. Outside, a man asked for money for a $20 cab to take him to San Bernardino. I gave him a buck and resisted the urge to tell him to take a bus.

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Column: More TV magic in ’70s at RC winery

I return to the subject of the former Virginia Dare Winery’s role as a setting for various old TV episodes, in this case for “The Magician” with Bill Bixby. A reader met him. The winery also turned up in various L.A./SoCal architectural guidebooks during its period of abandonment. All that makes up Wednesday’s column.

In passing I mention having found two guidebooks Monday night while rearranging a bookcase. Funny how things work out. I’m midway through taking books off shelves, dusting the shelves, blowing dust off the tops of the books, culling a few books (not enough, but some) and neatening up the rest.

Monday night I was doing all this with a bookcase that has my L.A.-related books (plus travel, plus mysteries…that’s just how it’s worked out). I own two editions of “An Architectural Guidebook to Los Angeles” and, eyeing them before replacing them, wondered if I needed the oldest one, from 1977, which I’d picked up at the Last Bookstore a few years ago. It turns out it’s got several Inland Empire listings, including the winery. The subsequent edition eliminated the hinterlands to stick to L.A. County. OK, so I’ll keep it.

The next book was the similar “The City Observed: Los Angeles,” a guidebook that likewise has a bunch of Inland Empire listings. The winery is in that book too, with an almost literary description that I decided was worth quoting.

So I brought it into the office Tuesday morning and added the info to the column in progress. More proof, if any is needed, that assembling these columns has a fair amount of happenstance to it, not to mention luck.

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‘Nevertheless…they persisted’

This mural on the south side of University of La Verne’s Wilson Library caught my eye, and how could it not, on a recent stroll on campus. Titled “Nevertheless…they persisted,” by Kristy Sandoval, the mural contains photo reproductions of important women from ULV history. By the way, the windows up top? Those are painted on in trompe l’oeil style to look real.

Incidentally, the mural’s title is a play on the 2017 comment by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in his rebuke of Sen. Elizabeth Warren: “Senator Warren was giving a lengthy speech. She had appeared to violate the rule. She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.” It became a feminist rallying cry.

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Column: Movie theater plan in Pomona still popping, CEO says

You may recall the movie theater that wanted to build in downtown Pomona, announced in 2016, followed by a contract with the city in 2018. Nothing’s happened in the 17 months since, leading many to assume the proposal is dead. But it’s not. I provide an update and explain the delays in Sunday’s column. By the way, “popping” in the headline was meant as a subtle pun involving popcorn and theaters, but it’s probably so subtle as to be more puzzling than anything. Ehh, I tried.

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Restaurant of the Week: Clyde’s Hot Chicken

Clyde’s Hot Chicken, 8790 Central Ave. (at Richton), Montclair; open daily 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Clyde’s opened in a former Fatburger just above the Metrolink tracks in Montclair in October 2019 and almost immediately was doing more business in a day than Fatburger was likely to have done in a month. (I like Fatburger but it just has not been able to get its act together in the 909.) This is the second Clyde’s; the first is in Fullerton.

My first visit was at 3 p.m. on a Sunday, when there were a surprising number of customers for the middle of an afternoon. Several groups entered after me. Employees shouted “Welcome!” at each of us.

The menu has chicken sandwiches, fried or grilled, chicken strips and hot wings, all in the Nashville hot chicken style. Heat levels are Naked (no spice), Original (hot and sweet), Hot as Cluck (hot) and 1930 (ghost pepper and cayenne).

I got the Clyde’s Original combo ($9) with the Original heat level, which is very mildly spiced. The chicken comes on a brioche bun with slaw and pickles, just how I like it, and the combo has crinkle-cut fries, nice and crisp, and a soda. Darned good. There’s a cup of completely unnecessary sauce, although I do dip my fries in it.

On two subsequent visits, I got the Skinny Chick combo (same price), with the chicken grilled, not fried. Also tasty, and better for you, but without the satisfying crunch. I also tried the mac salad as my side once, and that was fine too. Other sides are waffles and slaw, and they make a breakfast sandwich, the Early Bird. I should try the Hot as Cluck spice level, just to try it, but I’m no spice fiend.

(Subsequent to writing this post, I ordered a Skinny Chick and asked for the Hot spice level, but that sandwich is only available as Naked or Original.)

Being on the border of Montclair and Upland, but definitely within Montclair, there’s decor for each city using historic photos. Montclair is, alas, relegated to the back, by the restrooms and kitchen entrance. Vintage photos include two drive-ins, the interior of Montclair Plaza and an ad urging then-Monte Vista residents to vote for the name change to Montclair. Spoiler alert: It did.

Upland images are in the dining room and include the depot, the trolley and the old Upland College. Clyde’s also has a patio and a drive-thru.

Clyde’s is a nice addition to Montclair and I’m pleased they were able to clean the stink of failure from that building. Maybe they had it ritually cleansed with sage. Or cayenne.

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Column: Reborn airport cafe now ramping up for liftoff

I wrote in 2018 about the twin losses at Maniac Mike’s Cafe in Upland: First co-owner Mike Stewart died, then the restaurant burned four days later and had to close indefinitely. It’s now back with Stewart’s wife and daughter in charge, many of the same employees and menu, in an updated space with a larger patio. That’s the subject of my Wednesday column.

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Column: Remembering when ‘Combat!’ came to Cucamonga

For years I’ve been meaning to write about the filming of an episode of “Combat!” in the 1960s at Cucamonga’s then-abandoned Virginia Dare Winery. A nod to “Combat!” in “Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood” provides an excuse. I write about the winery’s moments of TV glory — including “Rat Patrol” and “The Invaders” — in Friday’s column.

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