July is “Women’s Motorcycle Month,” which is not as surprising as it sounds. You’ll find lots of lady bikers on any of the zillion roads that are fun to drive and travel through scenery to towns and destinations that are so “not L.A.” And while fans (either gender) of motorcycle riding do sometimes use the 405, they much prefer the roads less traveled, which boast some wonderful places to fill the tank. Restaurants, that is. Here are a few suggestions.
Angeles Crest Highway to Newcomb’s Ranch Restaurant
Newcomb’s Ranch Restaurant & Bar
Angeles Crest Hwy 2
La Cañada Flintridge, CA 91011
The ride: I’m told the motorcycle aficionado magazines test bikes on this road, which begins at La Cañada Flintridge and travels through the Angeles National Forest. The road twists and turns and you’ll ride up and down hills, all while catching sweeping views of Los Angeles and even Catalina Island. Pick up Angeles Crest Highway off of the 210 in La Cañada Flintridge and take it East up the hill. You’ll pass a few turnoffs (Angeles Forest Highway, Mt. Wilson and Big Tujunga) on the roughly 27-mile ride to Newcomb’s Ranch!
The stop: Newcomb’s Ranch restaurant offers views of the San Gabriel Mountains and is popular with day trippers, hikers, motorcycle riders and more. The menu is casual and includes everything ranging from breakfasts and dinner entrees to burgers and beers. The restaurant has a full bar that includes a comprehensive wine list and locally-brewed beers. It’s open seven days a week; check the website for times.
Mulholland Highway to the Rock Store
The Rock Store
30354 Mulholland Highway (between Malibu Canyon/Las Virgenes Road and Kanan Road)
Cornell, California 91301
The ride: Mulholland Highway is one of those world-famous roads that has been featured in films and music for decades. It’s also a favorite among motorcyclists because of its sweeping views and curving roads. Take it from S. Kanan Dune Road and through Malibu Creek State Park.
The stop: This stone Mulholland Highway restaurant was once a stagecoach. It was turned into a town grocery store in 1961, and has evolved over the years to become a popular food spot for locals, celebrities and tourists alike. Enjoy its famous breakfasts, BBQ sandwiches and more while catching amazing views and getting a good look at the Los Angeles motorcycle culture. You also just might catch a glimpse of Jay Leno on one of his many motorcycles. Open Wed. – Sun. Times vary; check the website for details.
Pacific Coast Highway to Neptune’s Net
42505 Pacific Coast Highway
Malibu, CA 90265
The ride: Pacific Coast Highway offers runs up and down California from Orange County through San Francisco. In the L.A. area, starting in Santa Monica at the South, it offers amazing views of the ocean as you ride through Pacific Palisades and Malibu – where it’s the major thoroughfare. In addition to the ocean views, you’ll take in the “local village” that is Malibu, as well as the beachside mansions that will keep you guessing about their residents. This road makes up for its lack of curves with the sex appeal that is Malibu. Take it from Sunset Boulevard up to Point Mugu State Park, and make the stop at Neptune’s Nest.
The stop: This beachside seafood restaurant offers amazing views, good seafood and a homey atmosphere. The restaurant has two sides: the “restaurant side” and the “seafood side.” The restaurant side menu includes everything ranging from hearty grilled fare to fried seafood baskets, as well as the Neptune’s famous clam chowder. The “seafood side” is all seafood, including live and fresh seafood, as well as the clam chowder. This place has been popular with bikers and surfers since it opened in the 50s, and is now a Los Angeles institution. It’s open daily but times vary depending on the day and time of year.
Little Tujunga Road to Route 66 Bar & Grill
Route 66 Classic Grill
18730 Soledad Canyon Rd
Canyon Country, CA 91351
The ride: Little Tujunga Road: This 18-mile ride takes you through the Angeles National Forest and up into the San Gabriel Mountains. The turns are exciting and the views exhilarating. Start at Foothill Boulevard in Sylmar (off the 210) and take it North to Osborne St. Turn north onto Osborne street; it’s a residential street at this point but soon turns into the wonderful ride that is Little Tujunga Road.
The stop: Inspired by the diners found along the famous Route 66, this grill offers a complete menu including salads, sandwiches, burgers, pastas and more. The restaurant hosts bike nights on Wednesdays, with drink and dinner specials and live entertainment. Route 66 Classic Grill is in Canyon Country, off of Soledad Canyon road, just a quick ride off of Little Tujunga Road.
Malibu Highlands to the Rustic Canyon General Store & Grill
Rustic Canyon General Store & Grill
2598 Sierra Creek Rd
Agoura, CA 91301
The ride: This longer ride through the Malibu Highlands will provide no shortage of challenging roads, amazing scenery and rustic towns along the way. Starting off of PCH in Malibu, you leave the amazing ocean views behind and climb into the Santa Monica Mountains, welcomed by views of valleys, canyons and L.A. cities below. Take Latigo Canyon Road from PCH in Malibu into the mountains. Follow it to Kanan Dune Road, then on to Mulholland Highway. Take Mulholland to Old Topanga Road.
The stop: The Rustic Canyon General Store & Grill is an interesting stop. Many say they found it on their way to Sip – a wine tasting bar nearby. But bikers from all over know it as a great place to stop and relax along their rides. This general store offers convenience store items and tchotchkes. But it also offers casual food including burgers, salads, cold and hot sandwiches – the pulled pork sandwich is highly recommended. Cold beers and wines from Malibu wineries are also available. It’s open seven days a week, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Jennifer Vides writes at jennifervides.com.