Column: Comic Mort Sahl made Claremont part of his routine

Mort Sahl, the comic who died Tuesday, was for a period a familiar sight in Claremont, where he spent two years lecturing at Claremont McKenna College. Also: writer Douglas Wolk will appear in Rancho Cucamonga next week to promote his book about Marvel Comics, and a founder of the folk group We Five, from Claremont, has died. Read all about it in my Friday column.

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Farewell, BC Cafe

BC Cafe in Claremont (701 S. Indian Hill Blvd.) closed earlier in 2021. The last Yelp review is from January; I only noticed recently while driving past and noticing how forlorn the property looked.

Kind of a shocker, since the breakfast and lunch diner used to be so popular that if you drove past on a weekend morning, you might see a dozen or two dozen people standing around outside, waiting for their name to be called. I blame not only COVID, but the presence of Norms on the other side of the 10.

I pulled over recently to take photos of the exterior, and to place my phone against a window for an interior view. A notice on the door said the business had been in Claremont for 30 years: “We all are heart-broken and deeply sadden(ed) by this.” The staff, it said, had been transferred to the remaining location in Rancho Cucamonga (10123 Foothill Blvd.), where it’s known as Kickback Jack’s.

Oldtimers will remember that the restaurant began in 1959 at 1280 Holt Ave. in Pomona, where it was called Breakfast at Carl’s. That’s where the acronym BC Cafe came from. That building still stands (see below) and in recent years has been a succession of Vietnamese restaurants. In the old days there was a Van de Kamp’s, an IHOP and a Denny’s all within a couple of blocks.

All is not lost for fans of locally owned breakfast spots: A banner has gone up outside BC Cafe saying that Sammy’s Cafe is coming soon. That would seem to be a new location for the Upland diner (131 W. Foothill Blvd.).

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