About Mill Creek Cattle Company – Mentone
Mill Creek Cattle Company is as much a destination as it is a truly great dining value. Located in the heart of Mentone, on the South-East corner of Mentone Blvd. and Tourmaline Ave. it is well worth the short drive from just about anywhere in the Inland Empire.
Mill Creek Cattle Company serves up old style western atmosphere unlike just about any other restaurant in Southern California. Much more than just some old paint and rusting junk that so many think makes a Western Restaurant, Western. Mill Creek is the ol’ west come to life; it is like taking a few giant steps back in time to the actual ol’ west itself. This is the perfect restaurant for families with kids (of all ages).
As you enter Mill Creek you walk past the saddles, bridals, branding irons, etc. into the wild west of Cattle-Drives and days gone by… and you just know to expect a dining experience like nothing else. Real slow smoked BBQ Ribs, Meats and Steaks. You look around at all the artifacts, guns, photos and Ol’ West lifestyle literally nailed on the walls, the ceilings, etc… and you just know this restaurant is dedicated to serving up some serious ranch style grub.
IT ALL STARTS WITH OUR BBQ
Real Smokehouse Flavor starts with a real wood BBQ Smoker. At Mill Creek Cattle Company we Slow Smoke over local citrus wood, using our own signature dry rub seasonings. The flavors are simply amazing… if you don’t like BBQ, you have not tried our BBQ! We serve simply the best!
OUR BBQ SAUCE
Some say our Mill Creek Cattle Company Sauce isn’t needed, because our meats are so flavorful and tender it would be a crime to mask the flavor with BBQ Sauce! But others simply love our BBQ Sauce! Result: It’s your choice; BBQ Sauce or No BBQ Sauce!
Mill Creek’s BBQ Sauce is made daily starting with fresh, ripe bell peppers, onions, chili peppers, tomato sauces and our secret blend of seasonings… and slow simmers for hours. We describe it as being slightly sweet, slightly spicy with just the right amount of tomato taste. Once again, we think our signature sauce is also simply the best! You are going to love our sauce!
OUR SLOW SMOKED BBQ RIBS
This could make for some difficult thinking; Beef Ribs or Pork Ribs, Baby Backs or Saint Louis Style? Mill Creek Cattle Company prides itself on smoking up some of the best bones you have ever laid your lips on.
If you are from Texas, Mill Creek’s Beef Ribs may be all you want to order! BIG, TENDER, BEEF RIBS marinated with our special seasoning rub, and slow smoked. Did we say simply the best?
If your not from Texas the decision over “Baby Back” versus our Kansas City Style “Saint Louis” Cut Pork Ribs could be a hard one. If you are not familiar with pork ribs, our Saint Louis style ribs are the bigger, longer meatier of the two, with the Baby Backs being smaller but oh so tender!
OUR SLOW SMOKED BEEF BRISKET
Once again, if you are from Texas, this is the flavor you grew up on… heck, this is the flavor born of the Old West Cattle Drives. Moist, tender, hunger busting beef flavor.
OUR SLOW SMOKED BEEF TRI-TIP
Mill Creek’s Tri-Tip is slow smoked and big on flavor. Stacked high on one of our freshly baked buns and you have a BBQ Sandwich that needs nothing else than a slathering of sauce.
OUR PULLED PORK
This recipe is so secret we aren’t talking much about how we make it. You try it once, and you’ll understand the popularity. Fork tender, smoky, moist, and Absolutely Addictive! You have been warned.
WOW!! Tastes like chicken simply does not describe Mill Creek Cattle Company’s Chicken! We serve chicken Char-Broiled, Country Fried, and Deep-Fried in strips. But know this, even our chicken strips are made fresh daily, carefully seasoned and cooked to perfection.
MILL CREEK STEAKS
Our steaks are truly special! Hand-trimmed, juicy, seasoned and basted with garlic butter as they are flame grilled to your order. Choose your cut, and don’t forget to add our Marinated Mushrooms.
Mill Creek Cattle Company prides itself on serving up a pretty darn good selection of seafood. Fish served up both grilled and deep fried! Check out the various selections on the menu page, but don’t forget our homemade lemon caper sauce when ordering grilled cuts. We also make our own tartar sauce.
We also serve up “Surf & Turf” Style Combinations. Very Popular and amazing values! Just try to match our whole dinner prices with what it would cost you to serve the same thing at home. You may never want to cook at home again!
FISH & CHIPS
We start out with hand cut Halibut, dipped in our seasoned beer batter and deep fry to crispy perfection. Simply Outstanding!
MILL CREEK APPETIZERS
Our Appetizers are the perfect way to start out any dinner… they are perfect with a cold beer or glass of wine.
Please note that Mill Creek Cattle Company prides itself in making all of our appetizers hand-made, and to order. We don’t open the freezer and drop something frozen into a deep-fat fryer. Check out the menu selection and you may opt to order several dishes or simply choose our Combination Plate.
Mill Creek serves up Home-Made Tacos and/or Enchiladas for only $1.00 Each, until gone. We also serve up home-made Chile Rellenos with Rice & Beans for only $4.50! We are talking about the perfect Monday Night Menu Special when served with our Ice Cold Beer… it makes for a reason to look forward to Mondays!
Half-Off BBQ TUESDAY
The deal is really a simple one. 50% of on Mill Creeks award winning Burgers, Tri-Tip, Brisket or Pulled Pork on a Bun. Once again perfect with an Ice Cold Beer.
All You Can Eat Pasta with Meat Balls or Mill Creeks Meat Lasagna… only $6.95
ALL YOU CAN EAT RIBS THURSDAY
NOW HERE IS A DEAL YOU CAN REALLY SINK YOU TEETH INTO;
All you can eat Saint Louis Style Spare Ribs (The Big Meaty Ones)… for only $13.95 This special makes Mill Creek the place to be for dinner on Thursdays! You can also choose Corned Beef & Cabbage for $9.95
FISHY or MEATY FRIDAY
Fish & Chips made with hand-cut halibut for only $9.95 or Mill Creek’s Signature Prime Rib for only $17.95 or Bigger Diamond Jim Cut Prime Rib for $21.95… Thank God for Fridays, Prime Rib is possibly the best cut of beef available and Mill Creek cooks it up absolutely to perfection!
It Prime Rib Again… Because it is so good, Mill Creek’s Signature Prime Rib for only $17.95 or Bigger Diamond Jim Cut Prime Rib for $21.95… Thank God for Fridays, Prime Rib is possibly the best cut of beef available and Mill Creek cooks it up absolutely to perfection!
Mill Creek Cattle Co. is the perfect place for your next company party or family get together.
Mill Creek Cattle Co. Smokehouse & Saloon – Rich in Family History
Jim and Maribeth Lotito opened the Mill Creek Cattle Co. Smokehouse and Saloon in Mentone, California on Mother’s Day 2000. The western-style restaurant is located on the site of the old Wirth’s Mentone Inn built in 1927 located on Mentone Boulevard (Hwy-138) on the way up to the mountain communities of Big Bear Lake.
Maribeth’s parents owned the Wirth’s Mentone Inn, and changed the name to Mentone Inn in the 1960’s. Later the Mentone Beach Yacht Club was at the site, and when the property came up for sale, the Lotito’s jumped on the opportunity to continue their family’s heritage, and purchased it to build what is today’s iconic Old West smokehouse and saloon.
The Lotito’s have been in the restaurant and catering business in California for over 50 years. Jim opened his first restaurant, Jim’s Water Wheel Inn, in West Covina in 1960. The couple also owned Mill Creek Catering Company for 20 years, and was an ownership partner for Carlos O’Brien’s Restaurant in Riverside. Next they owned a popular eatery in Redlands, Brewsters Steakhouse. Later they ran the Creekside Kitchen in the apple orchards of Oak Glen just prior to opening Mill Creek Cattle Co. & Saloon.
From the moment you enter, it’s the aroma of barbecued ribs, chicken and steak and the feel of an old 1800s Western town that makes Mill Creek Cattle Co. & Saloon a rustic, country roadhouse dining experience. From spurs, harnesses, bull horns and vintage cowboy photos, to an authentic western saloon, the place exudes an aura of the Old West. The site has since expanded into nearly 13,000 square feet with indoor and outdoor dining and a large event hall. Lotito said his family built the restaurant with materials and artifacts collected from around the Inland region, from old chicken coops to bed posts to a former airplane hangar.
Not only is the current site of Mill Creek Cattle Co. & Saloon rich in history, but the town of Mentone, California does, too. Check out this article written by the local newspaper, The Redlands Daily Facts to learn more:
Mentone Has Roots as a Resort Colony
An Article by The Redlands Daily Facts
After completion of the California Southern and the Southern Pacific railroads in the 1880s, a rate war broke out between the competing companies, kicking off one of the great land booms in history.
Travelers could go from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean for as little as $5. At those prices, thousands of settlers flocked to the West Coast. And in San Bernardino County, opportunity-seeking land speculators found the perfect magnet for attracting frustrated Easterners fed up with the cold winters and humid summers back home.
They promoted the “land of sunshine, orange blossoms and healthful living.”
One opportunistic group was a corporation called the Mentone Co., formed in 1886 with W.H. Drew as president and N.K. Fairbanks as vice president. The company purchased 3,000 acres of land north of what was then known as Crafton and south of the Santa Ana River. By the following year, the town plat was surveyed and recorded under the supervision of W.P. McIntosh, one of the investors.
As the late Martha G. Stoebe and Barbara Bristow noted in their manuscript titled “Mentone, California: A History” (1996), the moniker “Mentone” was selected for the new town because of touted similarity to the resort of that name on the Italian-French frontier on the Mediterranean Sea. The climate and vegetation are about the same. But the similarity between the two “resorts” ends there. In order to lure naive Easterners, a bit of exaggeration was dished out.
Doctored postcards were printed and mailed, one showing the beautiful Santa Ana River with boats sailing on it. Another featured green hills with what appeared to be sheep grazing but was really rocks from what is today proudly known as Mentone Beach.
McIntosh was a real estate agent in Los Angeles and he bought much of the land himself. He planted the first orange grove in Mentone in 1888 on Mentone Boulevard. Keeping acreage for himself on the corner of Crafton and Mentone Boulevard, he sold the rest of his land to people who wanted to build a home and settle in Mentone.
The Los Angeles Times raved about how San Bernardino County was evolving into the largest and most famous fruit-growing county in California on
Sept. 5, 1891:
“At the extreme upper end of the San Bernardino valley is the foothill fruit colony of Mentone. It contains 2000 acres, which are practically above the frost and fog line. Over 200 acres were planted last spring, two-thirds of this acreage being oranges and one-third olives.”
The future of Mentone certainly looked promising. The Mentone Post Office opened on May 15, 1891, and one of the new town’s chief employers – The Mentone Sandstone Co. – was busy preparing stonework for the new San Bernardino County jail.
The Times reported on March 14, 1892, that a man named G.S. Gray was in the process of erecting a $4,000 residence, while 10 acres of olive groves were being planted by a Mr. Miller and a large number of lots were purchased by Lorin Hall, who recently arrived from Oil City, Pennsylvania.
Best of all, a beautiful tourist hotel was built in Mentone at a cost of $30,000. Three stories high, with a basement and spacious veranda, the Hotel Mentone had its grand opening on April 9, 1892. The hotel – located on Opal Avenue south of Mentone Boulevard – was luxuriously furnished and surrounded by beautiful landscaping, a tennis court and what was said to be the finest croquet court in Southern California.
Despite being widely advertised by McIntosh, the hotel never did prosper. Due to financial issues and the simple fact that not enough tourists were arriving in Mentone as was initially hoped, Hotel Mentone was soon converted into a sanitarium for tubercular and asthmatic patients.
The Los Angeles Times of Sept. 19, 1900, announced under the headlines “NEW HEALTH RESORT” and “Local and Other Physicians and Hotel Men to Build a Large Sanitarium Near Redlands”: “The Mentone Sanitarium Association has secured a large tract at Mentone about two miles from Redlands to be the most complete and up to date institution of this kind in this part of the country.”
Unfortunately, this new vision for Mentone turned out to be another financial bust. The sanitarium changed hands several times and the beautiful structure finally was torn down in 1917.
Mentone civic leaders made the most of a rather short-lived (1939-1943) newspaper – known as the Mentone News – published by Harold Y. Reynolds, to promote the attraction of their quaint community. The Mentone Chamber of Commerce boasted of Mentone being a mecca for “sunshine, health and opportunity” in the Mentone News on March 14, 1940: “The Mentone area is nationally recognized as a health center. One of the leading citrus sections of California, Mentone ships around one thousand cars of oranges annually. … One of the fastest growing communities in Southern California, new homes and population have increased during the past five years, at rates far above the average town.”
Today’s Mentone is a quaint unincorporated community of around 10,000 people. And despite never having become a big-time tourist destination, for many of its residents who value the peace and quiet that comes with a rural lifestyle, their little “resort” is just fine the way it is.