The Cuisine Scene


Mentone, CA
To someone who moved to Yucaipa from a small northern Minnesota town where it was twenty miles through chin-high snow to a restaurant, the local eateries are a food lover’s paradise. Since the neighborhood is a melding of several cultures, I have my choice of American restaurants offering fried chicken, ribs, and pork chops, as well as roast turkey dinners with all the trimmings, a double-decker cheeseburger with fries and even a burger made from prime buffalo. Delicious. There’s also Italian, Chinese, Japanese, and of course, the spicy, flavorful Mexican. Olé!

Since moving here I’ve enjoyed leisurely sit-down meals as well as something quick from one of the various fast-food places. The only dilemma I’ve encountered is choosing what to have.

Not only are there hamburgers and cheeseburgers with a standard bun, grilled sourdough or ciabatta bread, now I can have my burger made with a sirloin patty. If I’m not in the mood for a burger, I can have a hot dog, chili dog, corn dog, a fish or a chicken sandwich. And not to be forgotten are the sub sandwiches, cold or toasted, made with a variety of cheeses and vegetable toppings, all freshly assembled while I wait.

But occasionally, I want something different. Today I decided to try Arthur’s on Highway 38 in Mentone. While it was once open for dinner it now serves breakfast and lunch and closes at 2pm.

Oh, but what an experience the lunch was. As soon as my friend Kathryn and I walked in, I knew it was a fun place. Conversation and laughter filled the two seating rooms and on the walls old Coca-Cola advertisements hung next to antique pictures. On a cooler day we might choose the patio, where a Gone With the Wind movie poster hangs next to a Route 66 sign. Back inside, one small sign next to the bar told us that if we have a complaint we should push the button, but the button sits inside a mousetrap ready to snap.

But it isn't all gaiety. As an American and the proud mother of a son who spent six years in the US Navy, I couldn’t help but appreciate one wall of the restaurant, one I’d call the Wall of Honor. A photo grouping of young military men and women surrounds a photo of Old Glory with the words ‘United We Stand.' Staci, one of the servers, said the photos would stay on the wall until every man and woman returned home. She pointed to one photo, the daughter of one of their customers. The young woman had been killed at the Pentagon in 2001.

It was getting late so Kathryn and I decided to order lunch before they closed, although Debbie, the owner, promised she wouldn’t throw us out. One of the customers laughed and said he thought we must be either the health department or a food critic since she was being so nice. Laughing, Debbie told us about the food. They believe in ample portions, she said, and they’re known for their hearty breakfasts served any time. Prime rib and eggs are a favorite on weekends and their biscuits and gravy, made fresh each morning, are popular every day.

For breakfast, the menu offers eggs fried, scrambled, or whipped into four-egg omelets, all with a choice of meat, veggies or both. Prices range from $5.25 to $9.25 for two pork chops and eggs. All include a choice of potatoes and either toast or biscuits and gravy.

Specialty sandwiches are favorites for lunch, including a Manhattan Skyline with roast beef, onion, and cheese on a croissant for $7.50 or possibly a veggie sandwich with tomato, cheese, chili and avocado for $6.95. Another day I’ll sample one of their twelve different salads. I asked about the hot turkey sandwich and Debbie said their mashed potatoes are made from real potatoes with a touch of chicken broth and they roast an average of three turkeys per week. Their roast beef is fresh as well. Kathryn selected the NY steak salad for $9.25 and it arrived piled high on a platter large enough to hold a Thanksgiving turkey. She said the greens were crispy and mixed with tomatoes, cabbage, beets, carrots, cheese, sliced eggs and large strips of NY strip steak.

I couldn’t resist the comfort food so I selected the hot turkey sandwich with mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce and green beans. The potatoes and gravy tasted homemade and the turkey was thickly sliced and covered the open-faced bread, all for $7.95.

After that meal, I’ll visit more often because I want to try one of their entrees of beer-battered chicken strips made with fresh batter for $10.95, or their pork chops with applesauce and gravy for $9.95, or I might try their choice cut aged top sirloin for $10.95. All entrees include a choice of potato and either soup or salad and the vegetable of the day.

And this is just a sampling of their menu. They have appetizers, desserts, including homemade cream pies for $3.75, fruit pies and cheesecake. And never forget ice cream. They also have a menu for children and seniors.

Located at 1913 Mentone Blvd, they’re open from 6:00am to 2:00pm seven days a week. 909-794-4645