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.

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Qdoba Mexican Grill to close nearly 20 percent of company-operated locations

Jack in the Box-owned Qdoba Mexican Grill will close 67 of its 340 company-operated locations by the end of September, the company announced this week.

The closures don’t affect any of the company’s 307 franchise locations.

However, the company plans to offset the closures with 70 to 75 new locations, including about 40 which will be company-operated.

A list of locations has not been released.

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Mongolian Bar-B-Q in San Bernardino closed due to health violations

Update: The restaurant is back open already!

This is not an April Fool’s joke.

San Bernardino’s Mongolian Bar-B-Q, 1488 E. Highland Ave., has been shut down by the county health department due to a rodent infestation, according to a health department official.

During the restaurant’s recent inspection on February 19, the inspector noted:

“Observed mice droppings on top of canned foods. Ensure to continue the use of pest control. Ensure to seal holes in walls behind ice machine.”

The inspector also noted that the restaurant complied on the same day.
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Heading to LA/Ontario International Airport? You might want to pack a lunch

LA/Ontario International Airport has never been a culinary hotbed, but it just got a little bit worse.

The Applebee’s in Terminal 2 (AeroMexico, Alaska/Horizon, Continental, Delta, Great Lakes and United/United Express) has closed, “temporarily.”

That narrows your food choices in that terminal down to El Paseo Cafe & Bar, Schlotzsky’s Deli and The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.

Our suggestion: Leave early and stop at In-N-Out on the way to the airport.

Click here for the full story from Inland Valley Daily Bulletin reporter Liset Márquez.

Rancho Cucamonga Osuna’s closes, promises to resurface soon

Fans of Osuna’s Mexican Grill in Rancho Cucamonga take note: They have closed.

However, they promise to return soon to a new location, according to this Facebook post.

The former location at 12592 Foothill Blvd. Suite 100, may have closed, but the small chain is still taking catering orders at 909-803-2200.

Also, it appears to be business as usual at its Walnut and Glendora locations.

For updates, check Osuna’s Facebook page.

Roundup of restaurant changes

We’re overdue for a roundup of Inland Empire restaurant changes:

  • Red Buffalo, formerly at 2525 N. Del Rosa Ave., San Bernardino, has closed. The restaurant opened early in 2011 and was mostly known for its chicken wings and its bargain prices.
  • Rubio’s “retired” its Upland location at 140 S. Mountain Ave., Suite C, this summer. For those of you who were clamoring for a Panda Express to take its place, your wish has been granted. Thanks to reader Carl for the updates.
  • Jaws Fish, Shrimp and Chicken, was quickly replaced by Jennie’s Chinese Food, which itself is now closed. Perhaps 2388 Arden Ave., San Bernardino, is not such a great location for a restaurant.
  • This happened a while ago, but I don’t think we’ve mentioned it here. San Bernardino has one less Amapola Rico Taco. It’s a shame, since the location at 1060 Harriman Place was one of the two which hosted a delicious Sunday brunch.
  • The former Tasty Goody Chinese Fast Food at 601 E. Foothill Blvd., Rialto, is now Ajuberto’s Mexican Food.
  • A new Johnny Rockets has opened in the Inland Empire. The location at 71800 Highway 111, Suite A134, in Rancho Mirage is apparently also the second-largest in the U.S., bested only by the one at Knott’s Berry Farm.

Have you seen any new restaurants in your neighborhood? Of has the place down the street closed? Let us know by commenting below or contacting us on Twitter, Google+ or Facebook!

Kool Kactus Cafe closes, will serve one last lunch this Friday

Loma Linda’s Kool Kactus Cafe has served its penultimate lunch service.

The longtime Mexican food restaurant quietly closed about a week and a half ago.

Owner Carole Inman closed the restaurant in order to focus on her existing catering business, aptly named “Catering by Carole,” and a new sauce and seasoning business.

A visit to the old Kool Kactus website now leads to the catering business.

Fans of the cafe have one last chance, however, to get a fish taco, or perhaps a squash burrito or spinach mushroom enchiladas.

Kool Kactus will have its grand finale from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday (November 9), and will have its regular menu, including its usual Friday-only fish tacos.

Kool Kactus Cafe is at 24957 Redlands Blvd.

For more information, click here for the Facebook event page.

Hard times hit restaurants

As we’ve noted before, this economy has not been kind to restaurants.

Even chain fast-food restaurants have been affected, as seen by the closure of several Arby’s in the Pomona area and several Wienerschnitzel locations in the Fontana area.

Recently, two higher-profile restaurants appear to have closed as well.

Mardi Gras in downtown San Bernardino has apparently ceased operations. There was no activity at the Cajun and Creole restaurant during a couple of recent visits. The restaurant’s website, however, is still up and running.

The location, 201 N. E St., formerly housed Isabella’s Ristorante, which still operates locations in Redlands and Calimesa.

The other restaurant that appears to have closed, it pains us to report, is where we shook hands with Chef Gordon Ramsay. Charlie’s Italian Cafe in La Verne was the subject of “Kitchen Nightmares” television show filming in October of last year.

We were invited to the eatery’s grand reopening at the end of Ramsay’s rehab.

The dinner was very good and I enjoyed some of the best lasagna of my life.

It appears the reprieve did not last.

A recent visit turned up a darkened restaurant, empty refrigerated case and overturned chairs on the patio.

I’m hoping for better days for Charlie’s co-owner Tatiana Leyva.

Click here to watch Charlie’s “Kitchen Nightmares” episode.