Summit Inn

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Summit Inn
Summit Inn Interior.jpg
A booth inside the Summit Inn
General information
Address 5970 Mariposa Road
Town or city Oak Hills, California
Country United States of America
Coordinates 34°21′33″N 117°26′07″W / 34.3591°N 117.4352°W / 34.3591; -117.4352
Elevation 4,260 feet (1,300 m)[1]
Opened 1952
Owner Katherine Juarez and Otto Recinos
Technical details
Floor count 1
Design and construction
Main contractor Burton and Dorothy Riley
Other information
Parking on-site
The "Answer Box," an antique coin-operated fortune-telling machine
Antique automotive service sign on the old Texaco garage

The Summit Inn was a historic U.S. Route 66 roadside diner built in 1952, located at the summit of Cajon Pass in San Bernardino County, California. The building was destroyed by the Blue Cut Fire on August 16, 2016.[2] The building's current owners plan to rebuild the restaurant, as it appeared before the fire.[3]


The original Summit Inn was in operation in 1928[4] and takes its name from its original location at the summit of the Cajon Pass between the westbound and eastbound lanes of US 66.

The present location in unincorporated Oak Hills, California, had been in operation since 1952 when 66 was rerouted along a somewhat lower elevation. 1953-era postcards depict a Horseless Carriage Rally at the Summit Inn which included vintage Ford Model T's.[5]

Cecil “C.A.” Stevens bought the station and restaurant from original builder Burt Riley in 1966; he'd wanted just the Texaco filling station on the site but agreed to buy both if Hilda Fish, a German woman who ran the restaurant, were willing to stay to run the place. Hilda Fish retired in 2002[6] and is now deceased.[7]

Route 66 in the area was obliterated by Interstate 15 in California by 1970.[8]

On March 27, 2014, an intoxicated driver, Jayson Ernest Johnson of Riverside, California, was arrested for crashing a stolen van into the restaurant, causing $200,000 in damage.[9] The driver pled guilty to a lesser charge and received a suspended sentence. The entire kitchen was rebuilt using an insurance payout and the restaurant re-opened at the end of July 2014.[10] The vintage building which once served as a Texaco station remained on the property, although gasoline was no longer sold there. The Summit Inn's small gift shop still sold Texaco-related memorabilia and a great many original metal oil company signs decorated the rest of the interior. Other signs included two circa 1939 Standard Oil signs featuring Mickey Mouse and a genuine reflectorized US 66 highway shield.

Notable clients included Elvis Presley (who kicked the jukebox as it had none of his records at the time – an oversight soon fixed[11] – and left without eating[12]), actor Pierce Brosnan, Pearl Bailey, Clint Eastwood and Danny Thomas.[6]

On July 1, 2016, the business was sold to Katherine Juarez and her brother, Otto Recinos, who moved to the area after selling family real estate holdings in Los Angeles.[3]

Business model[edit]

The menu at the Summit Inn was typical, inexpensive and satisfying roadside fare, but with a twist: Ostrich and buffalo products were also served, including an ostrich egg omelette and "buffalo burgers."[13]

During the restaurant's operating hours, the original red neon "SUMMIT INN" sign flashed on and off to beckon drivers on present-day Interstate 15. Antique cars could occasionally be spotted in the parking lot.[14]

2016 fire[edit]

On August 16, 2016, the diner was destroyed by the Blue Cut Fire.[15] The current owners of the business plan to rebuild, making it appear as identical to the old building as possible.[3]


  1. ^ Nick Freeth; Paul Taylor (2001-07-01). Traveling Route 66. p. Books.359. ISBN 9780806133263. Retrieved 2012-08-24. 
  2. ^ "Todd Mokhtari on Twitter". 
  3. ^ a b c Steinberg, Jim (17 August 2016). "Summit Inn destroyed by Blue Cut fire but new owners say they will rebuild". San Bernardino Sun. Retrieved 24 August 2016. 
  4. ^ Alice Eby Hall (2009-09-02). The Cajon Pass. p. 83. ISBN 9780738570754. Retrieved 2012-08-24. 
  5. ^ John Howard Weeks (2012-02-27). Mojave Desert. p. 24. ISBN 9780738588872. Retrieved 2012-08-24. 
  6. ^ a b Strickland, Sharon (2009-09-08). "Get your fill on Route 66". Hesperia Star. Retrieved 2012-08-24. 
  7. ^ Claudia Heller; Alan Heller (2012-05-22). Life on Route 66: Personal Accounts Along the Mother Road to California. p. 21. ISBN 9781609496227. Retrieved 2012-08-24. 
  8. ^ Russell A. Olsen (2011-11-15). Route 66 Lost & Found: Mother Road Ruins and Relics: The Ultimate Collection. p. 146. ISBN 9780760339985. Retrieved 2012-08-24. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ Johnson, Shea. "Iconic Summit Inn diner in Oak Hills reopens". 
  11. ^ Summit Inn Review | The Mojave Desert. Fodor's Restaurant Reviews. Retrieved 2012-08-24. 
  12. ^ Marian Clark; Michael Wallis (2003-03-01). The Route 66 Cookbook: Comfort Food from the Mother Road. p. 22. ISBN 9781571781284. Retrieved 2012-08-24. 
  13. ^ Sara Benson (2009-04-01). California. p. 677. ISBN 9781741047394. Retrieved 2012-08-24. 
  14. ^ Glen Duncan (2005-10-12). Route 66 in California. California Route 66 Preservation Foundation. p. 42. ISBN 9780738530376. Retrieved 2012-08-24. 
  15. ^ "Southern California wildfire destroys iconic inn". CNN. 20 August 2016. Retrieved 20 August 2016. 

External links[edit]