by Sheridan Lambrook
photography by Kim Toth
Route 66. Nat King Cole sang it fittingly well: “Take the highway that’s the best.” Yet, you may drive it every day and just call it Foothill Boulevard, at least in La Verne. But stop. Look at it again— this time like a tourist. It has a unique, renowned vintage timeline that makes it stand out as the years go by. Ask your grandparents about the famous “Route 66” TV show with the Corvette, and they will remember. When you want to be transported from your everyday 9-5, take a break for lunch, go west, and hit up the famous grub on Route 66.
Legends Classic Diner
Start with the “blast from the past” that is the Legends Classic Diner in, which is accurately said. The facade of the restaurant at Glendora at 1155 E Route 66 is designed to resemble your traditional diners from the ‘50s. It incorporates contemporary elements too. At the same time, the restaurant’s interior is adorned with artifacts from the rockin’ past. To groove out to some ‘60s music, there is a classic jukebox in the middle of the black and white checkered dance floor. An ice cream bar beckons to you—what more screams diner?
Once a month there are even car shows out front, a memory that one customer fondly recalls. “I remember taking my 1970 Classic Camaro out with the family one day, just planning on getting a milkshake and a burger. But when we drove up, there was a car show in the parking lot. I pulled up, and a crowd came around my car. It was so exciting to see how many people from the community were interested in it, and that I got to meet them. Afterwards, we went in, and I was able to enjoy a patty melt and continue those memories with my family,” says Craig Shultenburg from San Dimas.
What to order: What else? A famous Legends burger with a milkshake or the healthy salmon sandwich—both with a side order of fries, of course.
The Village Glendora
The Village Glendora is a Disneyesque Main Street USA. This charming foothill city’s old downtown starting at the intersection of Glendora Avenue and Route 66 holds art, dining (a local favorite, the Village Eatery), shopping, and always a street event—even holiday parades. You can spend your day or night here. There is The Ice Cream Shop, and the one-of-a-kind upscale Frisella’s Roastery, featuring incredibly great barbecue.
Since 2006, there has been a Hat on Route 66, just west of Grand Avenue. The fries are big enough to share and come in a big brown bag. The Hat is outlined in yellow, and all of the lettering is lit with neon, inviting you in for the famous pastrami sandwiches. The Hat is a locals’ favorite. This fast, to go food (no in-dining) is fun to take home and eat with your friends and family on the couch while watching TV. What to order: The Hat is known for its pastrami sandwich or pastrami dip. And if you are feeling up to it, the gravy fries and chili cheese fries await you.
Early in the morning or late at night—when are you not craving the sweet dough that is a donut? We have all heard the name—everyone knows it—Donut Man might just be the most popular location on Route 66. And when you taste the infamous in-season strawberry or peach donut you will know why.
University of La Verne student and local Kristen Schoenick says, “I have been going to Donut Man ever since I was a kid. I always have fond memories of the place, and whenever I take a bite of the donut, I correlate the memories with it.”
Open 24 hours a day, at 915 E Route 66, Donut Man, usually has a line as all ages adore these dessert halos.
What to order: The famed strawberry or peach donut while in season. Or try a tiger’s tail.
Flappy Jack’s Pancake House
On Saturday mornings, there is always a line out the door. Flappy Jack’s, 640 W Route 66, was established in 2002, with its first Southern California location being on the fabled Route 66 in Glendora.
Owner Theodoros Romios imported the idea from Chicago, Illinois. With his extensive experience and professional knowledge in the food industry, Romios developed recipes for pancake batter, waffles, crepes, and a variety of other breakfast and lunch dishes utilizing the best, most seasonal ingredients.
What to order: Pancakes topped with fresh fruit and syrup.
House of Tacos and Sandwiches
This hole in the wall restaurant at 1004 E Route 66 just might be the best spot for Mexican cuisine in Glendora. If you have passed by it before, do not make that mistake again. Try it for yourself. Their best deals are on taco Tuesday, where they sell $1 tacos, and discounted fish tacos on Friday. The staff is always friendly, making your experiences even more enjoyable. If you like authentic street tacos and burritos, you will love this place.
What to order: Their famous tortas and fish tacos.
Pinnacle Peak Steakhouse
In 1967, Pinnacle Peak Steakhouse restaurant opened on the site of an ancient Wells Fargo Stagecoach stop at 269 W Foothill Blvd, San Dimas. This is not your typical steakhouse—there is no dress code, and you enjoy your meal on an indoor picnic table. If you’re brave enough to wear a tie, just know that they will cut it off and hang your tie from the rafters.
What to order: An 8 oz filet Butterfly style with a side of a loaded baked potato, and enjoy it on your picnic table.