Owner Ernesto Madrigal founded his restaurant in downtown La Verne because, as he told the University of La Verne's Campus Times in 2010, "I just thought this was a nice little quiet place to start.” However, the vivid hues in the dining room create an atmosphere that's more festive than quiet, with bright orange walls accompanying the cacophonic sputtering of chicken and steak fajitas or diners doing Don Knotts impressions. The menu overflows with familiar Mexican staples from just south of the International Date Line, including carnitas burritos, chipotle-spiced empanadas, and chorizo with scrambled eggs.
Established in 1962, this quaint, '50's-style diner still doesn't take checks or credit cards, but a time-tested menu of buttermilk pancakes, gooey tuna melts, and piping-hot coffee draws a steady stream of devoted patrons. "It's very homey, very comfortable," says one regular. "It's like the Cheers of diners," says another. The long-lasting success story of Roberta's Village Inn—where chefs whip up from-scratch desserts daily—almost went unwritten. As Inland Valley Daily Bulletin writer David Allen notes, Roberta Virgin, the restaurant's namesake, was on the verge of throwing in the towel after her first day of waitressing in 1977. But her mother, a fellow waitress there, convinced her to stay, launching Roberta's 32-year career and ascension to the ranks of manager, owner, and finally Omelet Queen. Though Roberta transferred the reins to her longtime chef Francisco "Pancho" Ramirez, with whom she shares a "mother-son bond," her name remains on the forest-green awning. Francisco preserved the restaurant's moniker in tribute to his old boss, also leaving untouched the recipe for the famous pot roast she used to serve every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evening.
Judy and Jim Moore, owners of Cafe Cabo Mexican Restaurant, refer to their customers as "mijo" and "mija"—meaning son and daughter in Spanish. “Once you walk in, you are part of our family. We want you to feel at home,” Judy told Tennille Lindsey-Wright of La Verne Magazine. This family sentiment really shouldn't come as a surprise, considering Judy's main inspiration, and not to mention all of her recipes, come from years of watching her mother prepare decadent Mexican cuisine.
“Of my mother’s five kids, I was the one to maximize her recipes. My family would always call me, asking how to make certain dishes," Judy explained to Tennile. "With four children of my own, I found myself cooking a lot of [her] recipes." By opening Cafe Cabo in 2010, Judy’s dream of sharing her mother’s cuisine became a reality, as she, her husband, and her son today serve a menu of tacos, burritos, and enchiladas, all made to-order to accommodate meat lovers and vegetarians alike. Whether it's golden-fried fish tacos wrapped in a corn tortilla or chicken fajitas that sizzle all the way to the table, every feast at the cafe is enjoyed amid scenic coastal-view paintings and warm, rustic décor modeled after the Moore’s favorite vacation spot, Cabo.
Executive Chef David C. Teig, who has served as a task force executive chef for Starwood hotels, crafts seasonal, contemporary American fare with organic vegetables and herbs harvested from his restaurant’s onsite urban farm. The aromas of high-quality steaks and chops, Pacific seafood, and sauces infused with Mediterranean, French, and Asian flavors waft past the dining room’s golden-brown walls, escaping onto an expansive outdoor patio warmed by a contemporary brick fireplace. McKinley's skilled staff will also serve up their table-to-farm feasts during special events such as wine-pairings and international trowel conventions.
Juice It Up!'s fruit frappérs quench patrons' thirsts for fresh and healthy beverages with an assorted menu of blended-to-order concoctions. Amble up to the smoothie bar for a Strawberry Wave, a sippable medley of strawberry juice, nonfat yogurt, bananas, and strawberries more harmonious and refreshing than a barbershop quartet made up of fire hydrants. Patrons can enjoy other flavor mergers such as Passion Delight's sugar-free yogurt, passion juice, peaches, and strawberries, or the soy milk, strawberry juice, honey, banana, and strawberries that intertwine in the dairy-free Soy Sensation shake. Each 16-ounce drink can be fortified with one of seven boosts, including protein power's soy protein, which helps altruistic customers lift cars off slightly smaller cars. Juice It Up! supports local community events by fueling attendees and participants with its signature smoothies and juices.
Eddie's Pizzeria & Eatery answers an ancient culinary dilemma: do we go out for pizza or stay in for Mom's meatloaf? Serving New World fare, the restaurant satisfies cravings in a single sweep. Even its pizzas champion this culinary marriage—New York–style pies arrive speckled with traditional toppings as well as premium options, such as rosemary ham. Yet, despite such culinary fusion, the pies never lose sight of their roots. Margherita pizza recalls the dish’s Italian heritage, whereas a 10-inch gourmet Bada Bing represents pizza’s modern stomping grounds with sausage, gorgonzola, and a mini “I Heart NY” shirt.
The menu also explores a large landscape of pasta entrees, from four-cheese ravioli to penne sautéed with mushrooms in a tomato-cream sauce. Meatier plates continue to span continents, with chicken parmesan prepped near st. louis ribs and handcrafted Angus burgers. As patrons strip tangy wings bare, they can watch the venue's eight televisions, two of which boast 70-inch HD screens.
Oktoberfest at Fairplex celebrates Bavarian culture with authentic German food, music, and plenty of beer. Each night, oom-pah-pah music supplied by The Rheinlanders fills the airwaves as visitors enjoy various German beers from Warsteiner and Beck’s. Domestics such as Bud Light and AmberBock also tickle taste buds, as do Jägerbombs. As fall pairs with colorful leaves and pumpkins that fly south for the winter, so also beer pairs with German cuisine such as bratwursts, black forest cake, and apfelstrudel. King Taco also serves up Mexican cuisine as tribute bands such as Sounds of Santana and Queen Nation rock out on stage.