Roundup of recent (and not-so-recent) restaurant changes

Wow…it’s been a long while since we’ve updated everyone on restaurant changes here in the Inland Empire.

I’ve been getting bits and pieces from readers and friends and spotting a few things on my own.

Some new places I’ve already spotlighted, so go check ‘em out.

Here’s the bad news:

  • I had a report back in April that Fontana’s The Big Apple shut down around Easter time and never re-opened. It had been in business a very long time, first appearing on my radar when I started at The Sun back in 1991. I would drive past it daily on my way to the Fontana sheriff’s department to gather info for crime logs. Drove past it the other day and it looks like it’s been closed for years, and the sheriff’s department has duct-taped a weed/trash abatement notice to the front door. Sad. The Big Apple was at 18080 Arrow Blvd.
  • Recently, a reader told me that the Upland Argentinian restaurant, Tango Baires, had closed. Never made it over there, but I suggested the delicious Empanadas to Go, in Chino, might help satisfy those empanada or pizza cravings. Tango Baires was at 870 E. Foothill Blvd., Suite 2.
  • The same reader wrote me shortly afterward and let me know that the Cucamonga Brewing Co. (formerly known as Omaha Jack’s) was also closing. Stopped by the Masi Plaza last week to find it about three-quarters leased, with places along Foothill Boulevard doing a little better than the ones toward the back. Still plenty to choose from, food-wise, from Japanese (Wabi Sabi), Vietnamese (#1 Phở Noodle & Grill), Filipino (Manila Sunset) and Mexican (Taco Hut) to boba drinks (Bobalicious) to Denny’s and Popeye’s. The Cucamonga Brewing Co. was at 11837 Foothill Blvd.
  • Koyla Charcoal Grill Indian Cuisine has closed from its Ontario location (1845 E. Holt Blvd., Suite C). However, its original location in Rancho Cucamonga (8140 Haven Ave., Suite 101) remains open.
  • The Let’s Dine Out Show’s Allan Borgen is reporting that Mazz Bar and Grill in Riverside has closed and Stene’s Southern Kitchen in Rialto is closing. Mazz’s website confirms that its last day of operations was July 13. Mazz was at 3555 Riverside Plaza Drive, #100. Stene’s owner has posted on Facebook that the restaurant’s last day will be Friday (July 26). Stene’s is at 883 E. Foothill Blvd., Rialto.
  • Just found out Friday night that the Corona Mill Creek (not to be confused with the Mentone and Redlands Mill Creek Cattle Company locations, which are still going strong) has closed permanently, a victim of the 91 Freeway widening project. Lots of folks are reacting to the closure announcement on Facebook. For some reason, I still think of that location as being T.B. Scott’s Seafood Landing. T.B. Scott’s, er, Mill Creek was at 103 N. Lincoln Ave.
  • Thanks to reader JJ who commented below that O’s American Kitchen (formerly Pat & Oscar’s) in San Bernardino has closed. Folks on Yelp are reporting that the restaurant is blaming the ongoing SBX construction for the closure. It appears that the location, 690 E. Hospitality Lane, shut down in late May.
  • It appears that the Colton Food Connection has gone the way of its predecessor, Bob’s Big Boy. Drove by twice recently and found a huge ‘Closed’ sign on the front door and no signs of life (although the lights were still burning in the back of the restaurant). As far as we know, the original Grand Terrace and Riverside locations are still active. Food Connection was at 201 E. Valley Blvd.

Good and bad:

  • Downtown Redlands’ Stockyard Barbecue and Steaks had a fairly brief run. We went there just a couple of times on their special beer dinner nights. In its place is something completely different, an interesting place called Gul’s Fusion Restaurant. Not really fusion, but definitely an eclectic mix of flavors, from Middle Eastern to Indian to Chinese to fried chicken, fish and shrimp. The menu includes steak and beef ribs, plus chicken and beef shawarma, chicken, lamb and goat curry, but no pork, because it’s a halal restaurant. Gul’s is at 510 E. State St.
  • A different Mediterranean/Middle Eastern place has closed up in Redlands. Innabi Mediterranean Grill & New York Deli closed its doors a while back after opening a second location in Riverside, 16810 Van Buren Blvd., Suite 102, last year. Rialto’s El Kiosco Mexican Restaurant has opened El Kiosco Express in the space, 802 W. Colton Ave., Suite B. The new restaurant will host a grand opening August 8. Read more here.
  • The Rialto Wendy’s (180 E. Base Line) was converted earlier this year to a Tam’s Burgers.
  • The spot that used to be Rockin’ Baja Lobster Coastal Cantina (and was Tony Roma’s before that) has changed cuisines yet again. It’s now a Chinese restaurant, Dragon 99. Reviews on Yelp are very favorable, some making positive comparisons to Chinese restaurants in the San Gabriel Valley. Dragon 99 is at 9335 Monte Vista Ave., Montclair.

Movin’ and shakin’:

  • Yucaipa’s Las Fuentes Mexican Grill & Bar moved earlier this year from its set-back, strip mall location to right along the boulevard, near where the Chili’s was supposed to be. The times I’ve driven past, the parking lot was pretty full, so I’m thinking this was a good move for them. The new Las Fuentes is at 33946 Yucaipa Blvd.

New-ish:

  • Koyla’s owner has opened a new restaurant, Aroma Indian Grill & Banquet, at 965 W. Foothill Blvd., Upland. The new location has been open since late February.
  • The Iron Horse Cafe opened earlier this year in the San Bernardino Santa Fe Depot, 1170 W. Third St. Reportedly, the restaurant is run by former employees of Redlands’ Olive Avenue Market and is getting rave reviews on Yelp and from at least one Sanbag employee. It’s open for breakfast and lunch (5 a.m. to 4 p.m.) weekdays. It’s also open for lunch (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.) Saturdays, which, perhaps not coincidentally, are the exact hours when the San Bernardino Railroad and History Museum is open. The Daily Bulletin’s Elaine Lehman visited back in May. You can read her review here.
  • Apparently Osaka Sushi has been open since late last year, but it’s still advertising its grand opening. Osaka is at 1379 E. Highland Ave. in San Bernardino.
  • Open even longer (over a year!), but never mentioned here is the Moo & Brew Steakhouse and Sports Bar. It’s at 7955 Webster St. Suite 1-5, in Highland, in the spot that used to be the Rotten Oak.
  • Chapter Two California Kitchen has moved into the spot where Kool Kactus Cafe resided for decades before closing late last year. Chapter Two serves “California cuisine with a Thai twist,” according to its Facebook page. You can find Chapter Two at 24957 Redlands Blvd., Loma Linda.
  • Lemongrass Vietnamese Restaurant has opened in the spot long held by the China Palace Buffet, 2035 E. Highland Ave., San Bernardino. The three reviewers on Yelp were very pleased, all giving it five stars.
  • The owners of the Highland Dairy Queen (which relocated to a brand-new location early last year) have severed their ties with the company. The new California Grill and Chill had a soft opening last week. It’s at 26897 Base Line.
  • Speaking of the Yucaipa Chili’s that never materialized, the American Road Trip Bar and Grill is tentatively set to open in its stead on Thursday (August 1). American Road Trip Bar & Grill is at 33960 Yucaipa Blvd. For updates, follow ‘em on Twitter or “Like” ‘em on Facebook.

What restaurant changes have you seen in your neighborhood? Let us know in the comments below, and don’t forget to support your local restaurant favorites!

6 thoughts on “Roundup of recent (and not-so-recent) restaurant changes

  1. Sadly, O’s American Kitchen in San Bernardino has closed down. Kept calling to place my lunch order during work and was getting no answer. Finally drove by to see the place empty. I am looking forward to the new American Road Trip Bar & Grill opening in Yucaipa in the building where Chili’s was supposed be.

    • JJ:

      Thanks for both updates. I’ll update the post to include them both.

      People on Yelp are saying the O’s blamed the closure on the interminable SBX construction. Frankly, I’m amazed they stayed in business as long as they did.

      Looks like the American Road Trip Bar & Grill is set to open Thursday!

  2. If you haven’t tried it yet, go to Khunyai on Foothill in Fontana. Everything is good, especially the orange chicken.

  3. Why are so many Burger King near the 10 fwy closed? So far in my travels I have seen the ones on Indian Hill (Pomona), 4th St. (Ontario) and Cedar (Bloomington) all shut down. Not that I really miss them, but it’s kind of weird, like the Arby’s all shutting down.

    • Ross: I’ve gotten a lot of queries about the spate of recent Burger King closures. Did a little research and found out a franchisee that owns about 30 Inland Empire locations filed for bankruptcy in June.

      I’m guessing they’ve sold off some of the locations because some of the formerly-closed locations (Cedar and Foothill in Rialto, for one) have re-opened.

      We may see some of those locations reopen as Burger Kings, or perhaps as something else, like Tam’s or Alberto’s. We’ll just have to wait and see.

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