The Summit Inn restaurant, a historic landmark on Route 66 at the top of Cajon Pass in Southern California, reopened July 25 following a suspected drunken-driving crash that extensively damaged the building in March.
According to the Victorville Daily Press, the crash of a reportedly stolen minivan on March 27 by Jayson E. Johnson, 37, of Riverside, California, caused about $200,000 in damage and trashed the kitchen.
Last month, he pleaded no contest to possession of a controlled substance and reckless highway driving, and was sentenced to three years of supervised probation. Charges of DUI and receiving stolen property were dropped in a plea agreement.
Fortunately for restaurant owner C.A. Stevens, insurance covered the rebuild. But he worried customers would abandon him after the shutdown, as the reconstruction took far longer than the two weeks originally anticipated.
But three days after Johnson was sentenced, the Summit Inn reopened its twin doors, and a pair of regulars, Karl and Sue, brought a flower bouquet for the occasion.
“They’re the sweetest customers,” said server Tamara Shearer, 31.
In fact, they ate there for three consecutive days last weekend, she said.
Ranck immediately dialed the roughly 50 people who had called over the four-month down period to inquire about the restaurant’s status. […]
A little more than a week in, business has “been really good,” Shearer said, “almost better than before.”
On the Summit Inn’s Facebook page, it posted a photograph where Stevens and an employee posted a banner that read: “Summit Inn takes a beating but comes back swinging: Now reopened.”
The newspaper said the Summit Inn is hosting a car show Oct. 6 to celebrate the reopening. Its official address is 5970 Mariposa Road, Oak Hills, California.
The Summit Inn has operated at the site since 1952, although its roots at Cajon Pass date to the 1920s. Celebrities who’ve eaten there include Elvis Presley, Pierce Brosnan, Clint Eastwood and Danny Thomas.
(Image of the Summit Inn by danpadilla via Flickr)