You’ve Been Served!

Statistics indicate that most new restaurants fail within two years. While restaurants come and go, years back there were quite a few local eateries that seemed like they’d been here forever and would never go out of business. What do you remember about these former restaurants?

If you wanted barbecued chicken and ribs and great beans there was only one place in town to go. Do you remember Love’s restaurant? Love’s, with its trademark heart-shaped sign, was located on Foothill Boulevard in Tujunga, just between where Lucky’s and Lumber City used to be but now are Albertsons and the Do-It Center.

Chinese food was served up in a tiny shack of a building painted bright yellow and red. Do you remember the Hong Kong Café? Located on the south side of Foothill near Pennsylvania Avenue, the Hong Kong Café was most likely an old roadside diner from the 1930s.

Tocanita, Saramura, or Zama – staples of Romanian cuisine – could be found at a small restaurant at the west end of the Montrose Shopping Park. Do you remember Bucaresti? This little restaurant was located just to the west of the lot on Honolulu Avenue where the new Trader Joe’s will be built.

How about some Swedish meatballs or Swedish pancakes? Do you remember The Swedish Table? Located in the storefronts on Honolulu Avenue now occupied by Julian Michaels Salon and The Wine Cave, the Swedish Table was an all-you-can-eat Swedish Smorgasbord where a family could dine on the cheap. Do you remember the steamer drawer full of warm, soft bread?

For sandwiches, only one local shop would do. Do you remember Pickle Barrel? Located in Montrose where The Star Café now resides, Pickle Barrel had sandwiches named after TV and movie stars.

While the City Hall Café in Montrose is still around, other longstanding area coffee shops have met their demise over the years. Do you remember The Golden Pheasant Coffee Shop or Delrod’s Coffee Shop? Both were located on Foothill Boulevard west of Pennsylvania Avenue. The Crescenta Valley Veterinary Hospital now resides in the building at Foothill and Maryland that formerly housed Delrod’s.

One local coffee shop – part of nationwide chain that got its start in Glendale – was best known for its double-decker hamburgers. Do you remember Bob’s Big Boy? Bob’s had several locations in Glendale, with one just south of Montrose at the corner of La Crescenta and Downing avenues. The former restaurant, built in the “Googie” style of architecture, is now home to the Bright Start Child Development Center.

Another spot that served great burgers and more had a revolving “police light” on top of its sign. Do you remember Oodle’s Burgers? Oodles, originally located at the northwest corner of Verdugo Road and Broadway later took over an old laundromat one block to the west at the corner of Broadway and Market Street.

Rumor has it that actor Sam Elliot once tended bar at a former local restaurant. Do you remember Stoner’s Steaks? Stoner’s, a stereotypical, dimly-lit steakhouse, was located in half of the space where the recently expanded La Cabanita Mexican restaurant now resides.

For special occasions, a short drive south past Glendale College took you to the “fanciest” restaurant in town. Do you remember Pikes Verdugo Oaks? Pikes, which was located on the spot where Glendale Avenue and Verdugo Road split – now occupied by a shopping center – was quite large compared to most restaurants in the area, having several elegantly decorated banquet rooms including “The Versailles Room.”

Further south on Glendale Avenue was another one of the more pricey restaurants in the area. Do you remember Churchill’s restaurant? Churchill’s was located near the corner of Glendale and Wilson avenues in the Glendale Fashion Center. Churchill’s dark brick exterior and colored leaded glass windows always lent an air of exclusivity and mystery to the place.

Do you remember all the sights, sounds, smells and tastes that greeted you when visiting these former dining establishments?

Something to make the stomach grumble.