Restaurants, Diners and Fast Food Joints: Food from the Past
One of my favorite things, growing up in the San Fernando Valley, was that Sunday morning breakfast with the family or that mid-week dinner at your favorite family restaurant. I think it was my dad’s favorite thing to do, as well. I guess the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree, which makes this such a great topic for the Valley Relics blog.
Family dinners, lunches and breakfast were always a highlight and I always looked forward to the new spot. There’s nothing like kicking the sawdust on the way in to Mike’s Pizza in Van Nuys and the anticipation of the hot rolls that were about to be served. As a treat, on the way home, on a hot summer evening, we would stop at our local Dairy Queen for a vanilla soft-serve ice cream cone, with plenty of napkins in hand. Sometimes it was a trip to Alphy’s off of Sepulveda and Nordhoff for two eggs over-easy, bacon and hash browns. I always loved to watch my dad in action. He loved food and he took it very seriously. Watching him put his name on the waiting list and making sure that no one got ahead of the family was a common sight.
Some of the family’s favorite places, outside of Mike’s Pizza and Alphy’s, were the Red Barn, the White Horse Inn, Chi Chi’s Pizza, La Fiesta, Sambo’s, Monty’s Steak House, and the Bear Pit, just to mention a few. The valley boasted a wealth of restaurants that catered to any palette, along with some of the kid’s favorites, from Pup n’ Taco, to Naugles and the old school Shakey’s pizza parlour.
Going out to eat with the family seemed to be a common pastime and not just within my own. There was a sense of safety and community, sitting at the table with the whole family, waiting for that coke that burns, getting full on rolls, before you even order your meal, hoping that you’ll be allowed to order dessert, and all the while, surrounded by other families, who are doing the same. I’d like to believe that I wasn’t the only one who thought that Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour was the highlight!
My quest to collect antiques, artifacts and relics from the San Fernando Valley is more than just an attempt to create a timeline, or document a rise and fall. This is a quest to immortalize some of the best days of my life. Holding these pieces of the past in my hands is a form of time travel, thrusting me back to my spot at the table, with the whole family in tow.
Some of these very relics are pictured below and are actual pieces of the Valley Relics collection. Join us on FaceBook and add in some of your favorite restaurants, diners, fast food joints and all the like to our timeline.
(click on the menus for a look inside, at some of those favorite dishes and desserts)