Stinky’s, inside and out

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Stinky’s, a self-deprecatingly named burger stand in Upland popular from 1948 to 1968 (and sometimes spelled Stinkey’s), has been the subject of previous blog posts, which drew many comments here,¬†here and here. Visually, though, all I’d been able to find was an interior photo and a not particularly helpful aerial view.

But then I was invited to join the new-ish Facebook group Growing Up in the Inland Empire by administrator Joe Mannella, and back in April, two cool photos were posted, an interior and, at last, an exterior. Rather than add them to the long-ago posts, I’ve given them their due here. Dig the box fan. And the FB page has even identified the fellow in the back as George Kunde.

* Darin Kuna says the photos were originally on his Growing Up in Pomona FB page.

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Remembering Valenti’s

Valenti's Pizza Parlor 1960

Felix (Phil) Valenti founded two Italian restaurants in Ontario. First there was Valenti’s Pizza Parlor, 208 1/2 W. Holt Blvd., in 1960. Next came Valenti’s Fine Foods, 1754 S. Euclid Ave., in 1964, which had “pizza, spaghetti, ravioli, fried chicken.” His family said he started by offering pizza for a nickel a slice and that Valenti’s Fine Foods was famed for its 79-cent all you can eat dinners.

When he started, there weren’t many places to get pizza, which was still something of a novelty; in Ontario, competitors were Luigi’s Pizza House, Frankie’s and Capri Restaurant.

Valenti retired from the restaurant business in 1979, meaning he served Italian food in Ontario for three decades, and almost four if you include the extra eight years he spent catering before he retired for good in 1987. Valenti, 87, died June 11, 2013, according to his obituary.

Do you remember any of these restaurants? These yellow pages ads, from 1960 and 1964, may jog your memory and are courtesy of the Ontario Library’s Model Colony History Room.

Valenti's Fine Foods 1964

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Remembering Farrell’s in Montclair

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Farrell’s means a lot to many longtime Inland Valley residents who marked birthdays and other occasions at the Montclair Plaza ice cream parlor, which operated through the 1970s and into the mid-1980s before folding like other locations after a disastrous buyout. Now the chain is back, with SoCal restaurants in Rancho Cucamonga, Riverside (which opened Jan. 31), Brea, Mission Viejo and Santa Clarita. Here’s its website.

Montclair’s original Farrell’s was located at 4971 Moreno St. and opened in 1969. It was demolished in 1987.

The photo above was contributed by Glenn Blakeslee to the Growing Up in Montclair page on Facebook and taken from an Images of America history book. For the record, though, it’s evidently not of the Montclair Farrell’s. Steve Lustro, Montclair’s community development director, said the architectural plans on file with the city show a modern exterior rather than the typical “period” style depicted in the photo. The orientation to the street is different in the plans as well.

* Update: The bottom two photos, from Images of America’s Montclair history book, were forwarded by Andrea Phillips of City Hall.

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Adios, Los Monitos

The long-lived Los Monitos chain seems to be defunct, with all locations closed except the one in Upland, which has changed its name to Chuck’s Tacos. The one at 752 E. Holt Blvd. in Ontario, seen above, reportedly dates to circa 1947. The chain gives its founding as 1936 due to its pre-restaurant incarnation as a tortilla factory. At right is the owner’s message in the window. A Bulletin colleague hopes to write a story on the situation. Keep reading for my April 30, 2006 column on Los Monitos’ 70th anniversary. The beginning and end are somewhat ironic now, but they were true at the time.

Continue reading

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Remembering, or not, Inn-Side Family Pizza

Reader John Herring writes:
“I came across your blog while researching an old restaurant in Montclair by the name of Inn-Side Family Pizza. It was located at 10325 Mills Ave. My grandmother used to play the piano there, and it was there, while visiting my grandparents in 1977, that I heard that Elvis Presley had died. My grandmother passed away years ago, but I have always kept a sticker from the restaurant that I received as a souvenir while I was down there. I was cleaning out a storage unit today and I saw this sticker and thought I would research it.

Could you please ask your readers if any of them remember the Inn-Side? My grandmother’s name was Phyllis Jennings, and my grandfather’s name was Leroy Jennings. She would play the piano and he occasionally played a wash-tub bass while she played. ¬†They had moved to Phelan from Pomona, but they still drove to Montclair once a week so she could play the piano there. She also played the piano in a bar called the Thunderbird in Phelan.
I Googled the address, but it does not appear to be there anymore. My folks moved us to Northern California before I started kindergarten, and I have lived here ever since. I don’t really have many memories of my time in So-Cal, but I do remember the one time I was at this restaurant.”
I’d never heard of the Inn-Side, but surely someone has. If so, please leave a comment.
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Remembering Lucy and John’s

Lucy and John’s was a restaurant on Route 66 from 1941 to 1955 in what now is Rancho Cucamonga but then was the wilds between Cucamonga and Upland. The building was then transformed into the Magic Lamp, which is still there today. Since my mention of the restaurant in my column, the accompanying artifacts have come to my attention.

Jane Vath O’Connell contributed the photo and Chris Nichols the menu. Both are precious finds, and copious thanks are extended to both contributors. Nichols, responding to my description of Lucy and John’s as a spaghetti house, says: “Please let your readers know that Lucy and John’s offered much more than spaghetti — they also had ravioli.”

Yes, and check the side orders. Radishes and celery, 25 cents! Buttermilk, one slim dime! But feel free to splurge on a 35-cent order of ravioli if you’re feeling flush. Click on the images for a larger view.

I asked Anthony Vernola, whose family has had Magic Lamp since the early 1970s, about Lucy and John’s. He said the couple’s last name was Di Censo Nosenzo. “When John passed away, Lucy ran it and sold it to Mr. Clearman and Mr. Penn. I believe she moved down to the peninsula, to Newport Beach, until she passed on.” Some of the original restaurant remains under the shell of the Magic Lamp — such as the original flat roof, which is under the current peaked, tile roof (“It’s a rooftop on top of a rooftop,” Vernola says with a chuckle), and one visible artifact: the bar.

That means the bar is about 60 years old…or about the same vintage as a lot of the customers.

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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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It’s RIP for Arby’s in Pomona

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The Arby’s at 2250 N. Garey Ave. in Pomona, a location that dates to 1970 and was never updated, closed May 26. Sunday’s column begins with an item on the restaurant.

There were said to be under 10 locations in the United States that had retained the hat sign and the chuckwagon shape. I’m not a big fast food fan or Arby’s fan, but my friends and I loved the building, the sign and the patio. So let’s pay a visual tribute.

Above is the building in 2010. Below is the sign being (say it ain’t so!) dismantled and hauled away on Tuesday, shot by reader David Pinal.

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I stopped by on Thursday morning to confirm the location was closed for good rather than for remodeling. Signs in the windows direct patrons to Arby’s in Ontario, Chino Hills, Upland and Covina. The interior is cleaned out.

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There was still one shaded table and one waste receptacle (complete with “tray caddy”) left on the patio. Both look original. I’m assuming they’re gone by now. Click on the thumbnails for a larger view.

Without a neon sign in the shape of a ten-gallon hat, Garey Avenue is a little less interesting.

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Remembering The Railroader

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Reader Judy Gallegos writes with a question:

“Hey David — love your site! I grew up in Glendora in the 70s, and now live in the Midwest, so your site is a nice cure for homesickness.

“Wonder if you or your readers might remember the name of a train-themed restaurant in Claremont/Pomona in the 70s. I believe it eventually became a Victoria Station, but was called something else before that (not Carneys…).

“It was off the 10 Freeway and Indian Hill, I think, and consisted of a steam engine, a caboose, and a few cars. My sister and I have been trying to remember the name and we’re stumped.

“Thanks for your help and keep up the good work!!”

I’ve heard vague whispers about this restaurant, said to have been located at Indian Hill and San Jose, but didn’t have a name to attach. By coincidence, I was just accepted as a member of the Facebook page Growing Up in Montclair, Calif. (tingle!) (even though I didn’t grow up in Montclair) and Tim Corvin just posted a photo there of the Railroader, locating it on Indian Hill in Claremont.

Must be the same place. I borrowed the photo for this blog post.

But that’s all I know. Can anyone tell us more about The Railroader?

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So long, John Silver’s

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Mateys, the only Long John Silver’s Seafood Shoppe in the Inland Valley has pulled up the plank. Montclair’s location, 9379 Central Ave., closed Dec. 31.

“The property that includes the restaurant is currently in escrow,” reports Steve Lustro, Montclair’s community development director.

Arrrrrr.

The Montclair location opened in 1978, according to building records. I ate there once, maybe twice, but have been to other Long John Silver’s — named for the pirate in “Treasure Island” — in my time. Founded in Kentucky in 1969, they may have been more common in the Midwest, where I’m from, than out here.

According to Wikipedia: “Earlier restaurants were known for their Cape Cod-style buildings, blue roofs, small steeples, and nautically-themed decorations such as seats made to look like nautical flags. Most early restaurants also featured separate entrance and exit doors, a corridor-like waiting line area, food heaters that were transparent so customers could see the food waiting to be served, and a bell by the exit which customers could ‘ring if we did it well.’ Many of these buildings had dock-like walkways lined with pilings and thick ropes that wrapped around the building exterior.”

According to the chain’s store locator, the only remaining Silver’s in the Inland Empire are San Bernardino, Riverside, Redlands and Victorville. To the west, you’d have to drive to Norwalk.

The pirate craze seems to have passed the pirate eatery by. Someone at headquarters should walk the plank over this.

Anyone have any memories of this location, or others?

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