DOT COM DINING A Look At San
Gabriel Valley Restaurants by SanGabrielValleyMenus.com
Support Your Local Restaurants, While They’re Still Here
By Bill Coburn
One of the things
I’ve observed since I began doing the SanGabrielValleyMenus.com website, is that
when it comes time for annual renewal, I have a pretty good response. In fact,
most restaurants renew, unless they go out of business. And there are a lot of
restaurants that go out of business. And that’s the subject of this week’s
It seems like
lately, we’ve lost (or will soon lose) a lot of good, longtime restaurants. A
while back, El Encanto in Azusa closed. Peppertree Grill in Sierra Madre also
closed a few months back. I’ve just found out that Fuddrucker’s in Pasadena is
closed. In a week or two, Anthony’s Deli/Possemato’s Fine Gourmet/Posse’s
Sports Bar in Arcadia will be closing. Last Friday, I went to closing night at
Soda Jerks in Pasadena. The City of Arcadia has just approved plans for a
Walgreens that could lead to the closure of Shakey’s Pizza and Noda, on Foothill
Blvd. I’ve been told by the owner of a restaurant that’s been in Pasadena for
50+ years that he will probably be closing early next year.
didn’t all close for the same reason. Fuddrucker’s was, I’m sure, a corporate
decision. Anthony’s and Peppertree Grill sold to owners who had different
restaurants in mind, El Encanto just closed. But one thing is for sure, once
they are gone, they will just be a pleasant memory, that you’ll never be able to
re-live. Well, except for Soda Jerks, which closed due to partnership issues,
and plans to re-open again somewhere down the road (they’ve assured me they’ll
let me know when and where, and I’ll tell you when I know).
At the moment, I
work part time at Posse’s/Anthony’s Deli. Business has been down for the last
several months, and the owner decided to accept an offer from a buyer who will
be turning it into a Chinese restaurant called Arcadia Tasty Garden. Customers
have been unanimous in stating that they hate to see Anthony’s/Possemato’s go.
Many of them have expressed their surprise, because “this place is always so
busy…it’s been here for years…I always come here” etc. But in some cases these
same people who “always come here” didn’t know that the Federico’s Bakery part
of the restaurant has been gone for more than a year. I guess “always” is a
I believe that the
changing demographics in Arcadia, coupled with the decision some time back to
have Baldwin Ave. stores move their “fronts” to the parking lot behind them,
drastically reducing Baldwin Ave. foot traffic, have been major factors in the
changing business fortunes at Anthony’s. In the old days, as people left
Hinshaw’s, or JC Penneys, and went to their car on Baldwin Ave. they’d look
across the street and see the sign for Anthony’s and say, hey, let’s go get a
quick sandwich, or pizza. Now, as they leave Burlington Coat Factory, they go
straight to their car in the parking lot away from the street, and turn left on
Baldwin at Duarte and never even see Anthony’s. And that’s too bad, because
Anthony’s still has really good food, and Possemato’s still has really good
“gourmet” Italian food, and Posse’s has really good appetizers/burgers/dogs and
7 TVs on which to watch 7 NFL football games at the same time. But only for a
short time longer, you better get there quick if you want to enjoy it one last
The owner of the
restaurant in Pasadena that will be closing told me that he just isn’t in a
position to compete with the marketing budgets of the corporate restaurants,
such as Red Lobster, Olive Garden, etc. He likened it to the hardware business,
noting that the Mom and Pop, individually owned, hardware stores have pretty
much disappeared from the landscape, as Home Depot, OSH, and Lowe’s , with their
mass buying power and subsequent lower prices, coupled with large advertising
budgets, have pretty much taken over the industry. He is concerned that we will
see the same thing happening in the restaurant industry, with individually owned
restaurants like his being driven out of business by the larger chains.
While I happen to
believe that the restaurant industry will continue to have Mom and Pop stores
for years to come, and new restaurants will pop up wherever there’s a good
location, and a dreamer with some cooking skills, I do want to encourage all of
you to take a few moments to think about your favorite long time places to eat,
and to support them. Don’t take these longstanding restaurants for granted.
Just because it’s been there “forever” doesn’t mean it’s always going to be.
Especially if its customers get out of the habit of dining there. It’s you, the
diners, and your dollars, that keep the good restaurants open.
So this weekend as
you decide where to go for lunch or dinner, why not pick out an old favorite
that you haven’t been to in a while, and stop by to see how things are going.
You might help to keep it around a little longer. And even if you don’t, you’ll
have another, more recent, memory of a place you used to enjoy.
Bill Coburn is owner of SanGabrielValleyMenus.com, a restaurant website
featuring more than 150 restaurant menus, as well as downloadable coupons. He
has nearly 20 years experience in the restaurant business, and has been eating
for much longer than that.