A Purely Local Bummer



Today I learned that my favorite local diner, the Rocky Cola Cafe in Montrose, is closing down.

I've been taking the kids to Rocky Cola for spectacularly unhealthy and classically American weekend breakfasts for years. It's an agreeable arrangement: they greet us by name, the kids have their favorites, they bring me my drink without asking, and I cheerfully, massively overtip. This leads to a feedback loop where they bring the food even faster and I overtip more, towards the theoretical zero-point where they'd be shoving the Kitchen Sink Omelet into my face before I'm all the way out of my car and I just deed my house over to them.

I'm going to have to find somewhere else to pacify children with mountains of hash browns, and make new memories.

Last 5 posts by Ken White



  1. naught_for_naught  •  Dec 21, 2012 @12:00 pm

    Thankfully The Apple Pan is thriving. There would be little reason fight through traffic into the West Side without it.

  2. Adam Steinbaugh  •  Dec 21, 2012 @12:01 pm

    Probably a bit of a drive, but try the Rocky Cola in Whittier?

  3. Ken  •  Dec 21, 2012 @12:07 pm

    This Rocky Cola is 5 minutes from home; that one is 55 minutes. So no.

  4. Jag  •  Dec 21, 2012 @12:10 pm

    Always sad when you lose a place with great memories you can pass on.

    We moved last week and my 8 year tearfully said "I'm going to miss the memories from our old house" to which my 12 year old responded, "I am too, but let's look forward to making new memories in the new one."

  5. Dan  •  Dec 21, 2012 @12:27 pm

    Sorry to hear this. The firm I work at is a few blocks away and Rocky Cola is a lunch time favorite for me and my boss.

  6. Cathy  •  Dec 21, 2012 @12:57 pm

    Offer to be a reference for the displaced waitstaff?

  7. Doug  •  Dec 21, 2012 @1:31 pm

    I seem to remember reading about some incident involving toy ponies and your kids at a dinner on Saturday morning. Is this the place?

  8. Ken  •  Dec 21, 2012 @1:42 pm

    Doug: you mean, the post linked in this post? :)

  9. Doug  •  Dec 21, 2012 @1:44 pm

    They said they are closing because of a "challenging economy". But, if it was sold, you and your kids could have been claimed as assets, right?

  10. Doug  •  Dec 21, 2012 @1:45 pm

    Yes, Ken. That one.

  11. Laura K  •  Dec 21, 2012 @2:22 pm

    Sorry. Losing a local place like that is awful.

  12. Scott Jacobs  •  Dec 21, 2012 @2:25 pm

    Ken, it is clear what you must do…

    You must buy the place.

    Or start sedating your kids.

    Either option would work.

  13. Matt Cole  •  Dec 21, 2012 @3:44 pm

    Hey Ken, you've always wanted to own your own restaurant, right?

  14. Roscoe  •  Dec 21, 2012 @5:10 pm

    Never liked the place much, but then I am not a breakfast guy.

  15. Bobudo  •  Dec 21, 2012 @5:16 pm

    So that's what the Mayans meant. Tough break.

  16. Rowan  •  Dec 21, 2012 @7:06 pm

    Oh no! Say it isn't so!

    I have eaten there a number of times. I also like the Star Cafe and Black Cow just down the street.

    However, I really like the 50's diner atmosphere of Rocky Cola. It will be missed.

  17. RyanE  •  Dec 21, 2012 @9:55 pm

    While not familiar with your particular eating establishment, I can empathize, as my favorite lunch bakehouse cafe in Salt Lake City just shut down it's 3 locations, including the one 5 minutes from my work.

    Goodbye Hagermann's.


  18. Rich Rostrom  •  Dec 21, 2012 @11:05 pm

    spectacularly unhealthy and classically American weekend breakfasts

    Why are these breakfasts "spectacularly unhealthy"?

    Because of fat content? (Fried eggs, sausages, bacon, butter.)

    The dangers of dietary fat have been hysterically exaggerated. Much of the "science" used in this exaggeration was produced by the "Center for Science in the Public Interest", which is actually a front for militant vegetarians opposed to any consumption of meat or dairy products.

    The damage done by CSPI's propaganda war has been immense. Under its influence, nutritionists including the USDA discouraged meat consumption in favor of more carbohydrates Many scientists now think this was a major cause of increased obesity and diabetes in the U.S.

    The damage continues. Many people who have adopted a low-carb/high-protein-and-fat diet shed excess weight, greatly improved their cholesterol and blood sugar numbers, and saw pre-diabetic symptoms and intestinal problems go away. Yet many say their doctors still tell them the diet will kill them.

    Comments like that are uncritical repetition of a dangerous myth.

    Then again, maybe your kids gorged on pancakes and waffles with maple syrup, which is pretty much all carbs. If so I withdraw all of the above. Hash browns? Carbs, but greasy carbs, so in the middle.

  19. Ariel  •  Dec 21, 2012 @11:32 pm

    Sorry, but I don't care. Lost our local diner a year ago. Bummer, for you dude, but I lost some real good Ham & Eggs well before you.

  20. Deadly Laigrek  •  Dec 21, 2012 @11:52 pm

    Bummer, Ken. It's always lame when a place that you like shuts down. One of my favorite restaurants shut down when I was just a kid, and I still get bummed out when I think of it.

    RIP Bourbon Street. Your pizza and Wiki Sticks will always be remembered.

  21. Mercury  •  Dec 22, 2012 @7:04 am

    Gotta love a diner that serves beer. Maybe we shouldn't give up on California just yet.

  22. SassQueen  •  Dec 22, 2012 @7:26 am

    That sucks, dude.

    Overtipping can be kind of fun, though, no? I left a $20 at my local lunch place the other day for a waitress that has been killing it all year – knows our orders, has our drinks ready for us when we sit down, the usual.

  23. TheOtherMatt  •  Dec 22, 2012 @10:49 am

    Well at least they're closing it. They turned the place Dad used to take me to into a biker bar :)

  24. Doug  •  Dec 22, 2012 @1:39 pm

    just took my son to a local dinner for lunch today. We had a great time.

  25. Chris Berez  •  Dec 24, 2012 @1:14 pm

    I feel your pain. I've lost several of my favorite places over the past 1-2 years as well. This economy sucks :-(

  26. sunioc  •  Dec 25, 2012 @12:09 pm

    I lived in La Canada as a kid, and I was 5 when Rocky Cola opened. My family used to eat there all the time. Sad to hear that it's closing, it was on my list of places to go back to if I ever went back to socal.

  27. Kasey  •  Dec 27, 2012 @8:12 am

    "This leads to a feedback loop where they bring the food even faster and I overtip more, towards the theoretical zero-point where they'd be shoving the Kitchen Sink Omelet into my face before I'm all the way out of my car and I just deed my house over to them."

    That is probably the funniest thing I've read in like… a month. Thanks Ken.

  28. Michael  •  Dec 31, 2012 @1:50 pm

    Since we're making logistically impossible recommendations, I suggest the Beach Hut in Torrance!

  29. naught_for_naught  •  Jan 3, 2013 @1:58 pm

    We were in that area on New Years Day to hike the Switzer Truck Trail, and we stopped at the Hill Street Cafe on Foothill at the intersection for Hwy 2. We loved it. Good service, good food, large booths that fit 8 comfortably, and coloring menus and crayons for the kids to fuss with while waiting for meals. The Rose Bowl was on the tele in the corner, without sound so it doesn't disturb the natural ambiance — just happy people eating and enjoying one and others company.

    It's funny how a great eatery can be so important to our quality of life, but as I think back to the best times of my life, food was some-ways connected to most of them. The greatest places seem to understand that, and it's the one's without pretense that mean the most to me.

  30. Cephas Australoscepticus  •  Jan 23, 2013 @8:30 am

    I'm not into the Diner experience, Ken (the American styled diners over here are just awful), but that's a sensational photo you've taken! Dunno whether it's the lighting, or depth of field or what; but there's something about that image that just makes me want to step through the door and find out what the real thing is like.

    I can understand your sadness, though. My favourite confectioner closed down about 22 years ago, and I still miss their sourballs and fruit bonbons. As I tell everyone…