AROUND LAKESIDE--Pinnacle Peaks restaurant adds new flavor to Lakeside Historical District
Steve Clapp likes to see things get done around Lakeside and he’s not afraid to roll up his sleeves and do the work himself. Nowadays he is in the middle of restoring a 1910 building on Maine Avenue. His brother, Dan Clapp, recently purchased the historic building and Steve Clapp is taking the helm as project manager, overseeing the demolition of the interior and then the restoration.
“I love these old buildings,” he said.
With the help of his friends, Chiles Developing, the interior has been completely gutted and the rustic redwood beams are exposed as well as the unique red brick walls. It is a whopping 1,775 square feet space that could become two separate businesses. Also there is a huge vacant lot that is now being used for parking for East Bound Restaurant.
Clapp says the vacant lot is being under-utilized and he can foresee another building going in there. He would also like to see a sidewalk along Vine Street for a more finished look.
Another project that Steve is involved in is the Pinnacle Peak Steak House that has just opened its doors at 9927 Maine Avenue. He owns the building but said the new owner of that business is Toni Petroro. He is very excited about what she has done with the decorating, which is a western theme that she did herself, making use of old wood pallets on the walls.
Petroro said that she had the soft opening last week for folks who had been anxiously waiting for the new steak house to open. She hopes to have the grand opening with the Chamber of Commerce’s ribbon cutting ceremony on Sept 23.
Petroro said she had to wait five months to get the liquor license and six months for the County to approve the wood burner stove hood, they were closed from June through August.
Three years ago the owner of Pinnacle Peaks in Santee said that he would put the business on the market, and if it did not sell then he would close the doors and sell the liquor license. Petroro couldn’t bear to think about the business going under or the 20 employees who would loose their jobs. Since she was the general manager, she decided to take over the business herself. She found the perfect place to move to—Maine Avenue in Lakeside’s Historic District. The building was built in the 1930s and was one of the first Safeway grocery stores in Southern California, the rustic look fitted in with her business plan.
Her goal is to have home cooked food, everything made fresh daily including sauces, dressings, crab cakes and corn bread, and other items on the menu include steak, corn on cob and beans. Cooking over the open fire with Mesquite logs is the secret to the taste of the steaks.
Another tradition that she thinks has kept Pinnacle Peak’s alive for the last 45 years is cutting off a customer’s necktie. Any customer who wears a tie into the non-fancy restaurant will have it cut off by the waitress welding the biggest pair of scissors you ever saw. Everyone gathers around with big smiles while the surprised children and new comers look on, a cow bell is rung and the owner of the tie must promise to never wear a tie into this establishment again, it’s a fun event to witness.
The first Pinnacle Peaks Restaurant was located in El Cajon, at the corner of Magnolia and Bradley. It moved to Mission Gorge Rd in Santee in 1984. When Petroro was moving the restaurant to Lakeside she found and old strongbox, the type that was used to carry gold on stagecoaches. Inside she found old neckties dating from 1970s that had been forgotten in the move from El Cajon to Santee. Her longest employed waitress, who goes by the stage name of Cimmaron painted a watercolor of the old Pinnacle Peak’s Restaurant, prints can be purchased at the new location. A lot of East County folks have fond memories of that place and new memories will be made at the new location.