Some recent changes to the menu and service at Newcomb’s Ranch in the Angeles National Forest seem to be making negative waves throughout the motorcycle, bicycle, and driving enthusiast communities of Los Angeles. The longtime roadside stop along Angeles Crest Highway north of Pasadena has been a hit for many decades with riders and drivers needing some refreshment after climbing the grueling hills, but now ownership has pared down the weekend menu and begun tacking on charges that have left many frustrated.
The LA Times takes a look at the new business model put forth by owner Fred Rundall, who is also a partner in Downtown Japanese restaurant Shibumi. According to the paper, riders have noticed that on weekends the menu is now severely limited, providing the hundreds of daily customers with only a few options to choose from. Rundall says the reduced menu is offered during peak weekend hours as a way to streamline the ordering process, and keep folks from waiting upwards of one hour to receive their meals. Besides, he argues, those items left on the menu are far and away the most frequently ordered dishes anyway.
Others are grumbling at a recently-enacted water charge, wherein customers are expected to pony up $1 for a glass of the stuff. The 1930's era Newcomb’s Ranch currently draws its water from a well, which has associated costs Rundall notes, and really the $1 payment request is mostly meant for folks who show up and don’t order anything else.
Worst of all is a new 18% service charge
Worst of all is a recently instituted 18% service charge applied to all checks, which has come as a shock to many longtime patrons of the ranch. According to staff, the LA Times notes, that charge is only for Sundays. Otherwise, the restaurant is open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from morning through 4 p.m., with no apparent need for such a charge.
Still, those small sticking points are unlikely to turn away too many folks from Newcomb’s Ranch, as the hilltop destination is just about the only place for food within many miles in either direction. The stop off is also popular with campers and through-travelers, making it a weekend destination or hundreds of people at a time.