Remains of L.A.

Traces of L.A.'s past can still be found, in the kitsch of '50s diners and the decayed glamour of '40s hotspots… and sometimes the food is good, and there are nice people.

(1967) Pinnacle Peak, San Dimas


this is a little misleading, as the cow was higher than the sign

the sign and the cow

I told David (my husband) that he could choose which restaurant we’d go to tonight, and after a great deal of deliberation he decided on Pinnacle Peak (a perfect choice to show that I really mean “in and around” L.A., and that 1967 is actually a long time ago now, even if you wish it wasn’t.). Their sign is a covered wagon, and there’s a cow on the roof. The cow isn’t really doing anything, and it isn’t lit up at night, like the sign is. It’s just a cow, standing there, on the roof.

-We had heard that they didn’t allow ties, that if you wore one they’d cut it off and hang it on the wall, so I helped David (my husband) choose a tie we didn’t particularly like. The waitress showed us to our table and took our order, then came back a while later ringing a cow bell, talking about how there was a city slicker in the place, and cut off David (my husband)’s tie with big scissors, and everyone cheered. It was fun. I think they give you the option of just removing your tie if you really like your tie.

-The wood-paneled walls were covered in ties, and also pictures of cowboys and horses and group shots that looked like they were taken on ranches long ago. I wished more of the pictures had captions. A lot of the pictures were of John Wayne. Those didn’t need captions. On the wall right next to our table, there was a framed piece of paper with interesting historical facts about: The Chisholm Trail, The James Gang, Annie Oakley, Ben Thompson, and Wyatt Earp. We thought this might be captions for nearby pictures, but no. All the tables had different interesting historical facts and I wanted to go around reading them (I like interesting historical facts) but it was a little too crowded for that. The tables were covered in plastic red-and-white tablecloths and the menus were printed on paper bags, and, walking to the bathroom, I saw in the kitchen where the big fire grill is. It was awesome: really big, with fire. The whole place was very cozy and nice. There were cartoon horses on the bathroom stall doors.

-I got the barbecued chicken and ribs combo (figuring I could take half of it home, and I did, but was a touch disconcerted to find that the take-home containers were plastic baggies that then went inside the paper bag menus. Down-homey, sure, but also messy. This isn’t so much a food blog, but I will say that the BBQ sauce was some of the best I’ve ever licked off my fingers. David (my husband) said “I like how you can tell that everything here is actually made here.”

-The guy at the table next to ours had a mustache I found very pleasing. It was big and white, and looked like a cross between Mark Twain’s mustache and the mustache on a painting of a cowboy my mom had hanging in the kitchen when I was a kid. This place would have really liked that painting.

-Every few minutes there would be a startlingly loud announcement over the scratchy loudspeaker; usually it was something like “Apache 14!” but once it was “Kid’s mac and cheese!”

-There was a sign that said, “A man is not born a cowboy, he becomes one.” Sure but a man is also not born a tailor or a librarian or a dermatologist.

Everyone was very friendly, even while cutting off ties, and even though it was big it seemed cozy, and it all smelled really good. Everyone eating there seemed super happy about it. Not just like they were enjoying their food, but happy to be there, together.

What I Ate: BBQ chicken, BBQ ribs, baked beans, sauteed mushrooms, good brown bread, a bite of David (my husband)’s perfect steak, a bite of David (my husband)’s insanely good apple cobbler.

Who I Ate With/Things We Talked About: David (my husband); C.C. Brown’s–the restaurant in Hollywood that invented hot fudge sundaes, people who don’t want to pay their library fines even though they admit the books were late, the Happy Birthday song’s copyright claims, Curious George books.

What Sort of Ghost I’d Expect to Find if I Believed in Ghosts Which I do Not: A guy who wanted to be a cowboy but his dad was wealthy and proper and wouldn’t let him sully their name. He hangs out at Pinnacle Peak because it makes him feel like a real cowboy.

269 W Foothill Blvd, San Dimas, CA 91773

5 thoughts on “(1967) Pinnacle Peak, San Dimas

  1. Hot fudge is SO much better than chocolate syrup. FACT. And now I know who to thank. Thank you, C.C. Brown’s.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Years later I took an art class at the Community College in Manassas, VA. The teacher was a dandy, and wore a cowboy hat. One of our class projects was to paint a picture of him, wearing his hat. And that’s when the penny dropped…that painting of a cowboy in the kitchen was actually of him! I’d bought it from your pediatrician who was selling his daughter’s paintings as she was trying to raise money to go to art school in Paris. I think she too must have taken that art class at the Community College in Manassas, and that cowboy in the kitchen had probably never been out west, much less rounded up doggies on the range. In fact the only range he’d probably ever been near was the one in our kitchen.
    – Your Mom

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: (1969) Eat at Joe’s, Redondo Beach | remains of L.A.

  4. I wonder if this place moved from Arizona, or if one was a branch off the other — I knew the tie thing sounded familiar:


  5. They were an expansion from Arizona and then some shutdown and others sold but allowed to use the name. Love the place in San Dimas, California and miss the one in Orange County, California.


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