A former Tastee Freez at 9617 Central Ave. in Montclair that dates to 1961, and has had a series of taquerias and other businesses in recent years, will soon reopen as a new taco shop, Taco Man. They’re sharp enough to have produced a video. It’s cute.
Book Exchange in Montclair is closing Saturday after some 30 years in business. Friday’s column has that story, as well as a smattering of cultural and other items of note. Above, owner Luisa Conner is seen Thursday at her store.
Wednesday’s column begins with news that a favorite former hangout of mine, Borders in Montclair, is set to become a furniture store. (Yawn.) Also, readers school me about the old Convair (not Corvair) plant in Pomona, new Pomona council members are sworn in, and we learn about two new restaurants headed to Claremont.
The one in Montclair opened in 1979, but Southern California’s Don Jose Mexican Restaurant chain (its website is here) is marking its 40th anniversary, its Orange location having opened in 1972.
I’ve only eaten there once or twice, but I enjoyed the experience. It was the first time I ever ordered fajitas.
Montclair reader Anna Hernandez alerted me after the fact to the anniversary, which featured a one-day rollback in price one recent weekend.
“I enjoyed dinner for $2, plus margaritas! As did many, probably hundreds, more,” Hernandez, a regular, told me by email. She lauded the professional staff, tasty food, fun atmosphere and an operation that ran smoothly despite the crush of customers.
She said apologetically: “If you missed it, sorry I didn’t alert you sooner.”
That’s OK, Anna. I probably wouldn’t have wanted a delicious meal from a friendly staff for $2 anyway.
There’s a long wooden bench for customer seating at Toyotech, an auto repair business in Montclair. Where did it come from? From the old courthouse that used to stand at Sixth Street and Mountain Avenue in Ontario, now the site of a shopping center.
Toyotech owner Rick Kaplan used to be a deputy in the sheriff’s substation at the courthouse, which closed in the late 1980s. The hard wooden benches were used as seating in courtrooms. The bench, salvaged prior to its demolition, showed up at Toyotech before Kaplan bought the business in 2004, but he recognized it.
“Everyone thinks it’s a pew from a church,” Kaplan said with a chuckle. “That couldn’t be further from the truth!”
The full-length cushion is a recent addition, a gift from a customer — and much appreciated.
After a photo appeared with my column of the platter of fried worms I had in Mexico City…
…I took my car to my mechanic in Montclair for an oil change. He and his wife welcomed me back from Mexico with a surprise: a bowl of worms. Of the Gummi variety, on a bed of crushed Oreos. I have the weirdest — but nicest — readers.
At 7 p.m. Wednesday, heading south on Central Avenue and stopped at the light at Mission Boulevard, I was startled to see two cowpokes also waiting for the light to change. Once across the intersection, I pulled into the gas station and grabbed these two shots.
The pair kept going past a natural stop, Farmer Boys burgers, which even has a drive-thru. One horseman was on a cell phone. Does the no-phone-while-driving law apply if you’re on horseback?
Central Avenue above the 10 Freeway is now nice and smooth, as is Monte Vista Avenue, after recent repaving that narrowed lanes and choked traffic.
However, the lanes are not yet striped, only marked with those Post-It note-like temporary markers. Painting the lanes, whenever that occurs, could mean more inconvenience for motorists.
Thus, your cautious correspondent declines to lift his advisory to avoid Montclair. If you happen to live in Montclair, my advice is to stay below the 10. Repeat, stay below the 10. Thank you.
Passing by the former Tony Roma’s on Montclair’s Monte Vista Avenue, I noticed a banner up on the building promising a new restaurant named Rockin’ Baja. It gives a web address, www.rockinbaja.com. Another banner says “Now Hiring.”
According to its website, Rockin’ Baja Coastal Cantina specializes in buckets of shellfish, especially lobster tail, crab and shrimp, prepared “baja style.” (I hope this doesn’t mean there’s sand in it.) There are seven California locations: San Diego (2), Newport Beach pier, Oceanside, Burbank, La Quinta and San Jose.
Sounds more promising than Tony Roma’s, “a place for ribs” where I ate a total of one time.