The Summit Inn, situated off old Route 66 on the top of Cajon Pass in southern California, will change hands after almost 50 years under ownership by C.A. Stevens.
The Victorville Daily Press reports the Otto Recinos family of nearby Wrightwood, California, bought the Route 66 restaurant, motel, office and antique shop for about $1 million. Closing on the purchase is expected by Thursday.
And, if the interview with the newspaper proves correct, Recinos may make big improvements to the Summit Inn:
He told the Daily Press historical significance is what attracted his family to the diner that has been in business since 1952.
“We’re thinking of completely renovating it and taking it back to its original look,” Recinos said.
The motel, which has been closed for years, will be fully remodeled and reopened, according to Recinos, whose family purchased the Grand Pines Cabins in Wrightwood — a business that caters to Pacific Crest Trail hikers — in January.
“We plan to be open 24 hours a day, and have events on the weekends once a month,” Recinos said. “We’re going to have a big barbecue grill outside and have weekend rib and beer specials … We’re optimistic. It’s a great place. C.A. is ready to retire, and he’s made it this many years. I think it will be good to bring some new energy in.”
The current staff of waitresses and cooks — many having worked at the Summit Inn for decades — will remain intact once the sale is finalized, according to Stevens.
Stevens, 84, is getting rid of the restaurant a few months short of his 50th anniversary there. However, a 50th-anniversary celebration is scheduled for October.
The Summit Inn survived the ups and downs of highway changes in the area and a traffic accident in 2014 that severely damaged the building and closed it for weeks.
The newspaper published a sidebar of Stevens reminiscing about his nearly half-century on Route 66. He’s wistful, but he thinks it’s time to turn over the keys:
“I’ve enjoyed every minute of being up here,” he said. “From being scared of the place and not wanting it, now I hate to leave it. I’ve fallen in love with the place. How am I going to leave them? That’s really going to hurt me.”
All that being said, he’s not entirely reluctant.
“I’m through though,” he added with a laugh. “You know, 50 years is long enough. I think it’s time to move on … I’m going to go to Hawaii. Going to catch me a big old marlin.”
The Summit Inn has operated at its present site since 1952, although its roots in the Cajon Pass area date to the late 1920s. Celebrities who’ve eaten there include Elvis Presley, Pierce Brosnan, Clint Eastwood and Danny Thomas.
(Image of Summit Inn by danpadilla via Flickr)