Verdugo Views: Pike’s Glen Oaks offered a steak in Glendale
On a recent visit to the “Vintage Glendale” site on Facebook, I saw an image of a long-gone Glendale restaurant and — through the miracle of social media — I contacted the person behind the post, Tom Scott.
Via email, Scott replied that the image was of Pike’s Steak House, at Brand and Glenoaks boulevards.
But, he added, when he was growing up, he only knew of it as Pike’s Glen Oaks, his father’s restaurant.
To find out more, I turned to Carroll Parcher’s 1957 Glendale History book, where I learned that Jack Pike and a friend, John S. Reddy, joined forces in 1947 to build a drive-in and lunchroom at the “important intersection” of Brand and Glenoaks.
Pike’s Steak House was immediately popular and, by 1951, they had added the Oak Room and had become known for their Pike’s Spencer Steak, served with baked potato.
In 1956, Pike announced plans for “Glendale’s largest and finest restaurant,” Pike’s Verdugo Oaks, on a triangle of land between Glendale Avenue and Verdugo. It opened in 1957.
Pike’s Steak House continued as a separate business, Parcher noted. After changing the name to Pike’s Glen Oaks, it was sold to Dean Scott.
Scott’s sister, Martha Scott Lamb, who joined the email conversation, noted, “We bought the restaurant in, I believe, 1961.”
The four oldest of the seven Scott children all worked at the restaurant during high school and college, both in the kitchen and as hostesses and waitresses.
The menu stayed much the same, according to Lamb. “The Spencer Steak sandwich was a huge seller, and we had it on the menu right up to closing. Our daily made-from-scratch soups were also very popular, especially the split pea,” she wrote.
Many customers came from miles away every Thursday for that soup.
Lamb said their loyal customers “were great people to know. I think most of the city government people were lunch customers along with the lawyers, doctors and dentists who were all ‘regulars.’”
One of her favorites was Casey Stengel. “He came in often after he retired. He was more subdued when he was with his wife, Edna, but was a real character when he came in alone. He would sit on the coffee shop side and tell stories to whoever would listen. I remember that he signed a baseball for me to give to ‘any future sons’ I might have.”
Scott was active in Kiwanis and in Boy Scouts. “He never held back offering his opinion to local elected officials, city, state and federal,” noted his son Tom.
Because he was so involved, many came to him for advice. “He would always have a great variety of people `meeting’ with him in the late afternoon,” Lamb recalled. “They would sit in the first booth in the closed Oak Room (so Dad could keep an eye on the front from his vantage point). Whenever there was something ‘big’ going on in town or some kind of government `scandal,’ Dad’s booth was the most popular place in town.”
Scott sold the steak house in 1977, according to Lamb. Nestlé now occupies the land where the popular restaurant once stood.
The April 21 column about the Glendale Historical Society’s 1986 Task Force recommending preservation of the Alex Theatre triggered questions about subsequent events. Here’s a very brief outline:
A 1988 Task Force, led by Sue Lazara, with Jeanne Graves, Connie Humberger, Dan and Barbara Leimeter and David Smith, concluded that the Alex could be successfully repurposed.
The next year, the Alex Theatre Revitalization Project, with members Andrea Humberger, Connie Humberger, Paul Shipton, David Smith and Ralph Ziegler was formed. They planned a 1990 two-night performance at the Alex, with Bob Hope as honorary chair, galvanizing community support and raising funds for further actions.
In 1991, the Glendale Redevelopment Agency appointed the Committee for Arts under the leadership of Larry Clarke. Andrea Humberger and David Smith represented the historical society.
In 1992, the Alex Regional Theatre Board was created to oversee the Alex Theatre project. Humberger, now president of the Glendale Historical Society, was on the board and continued her strong advocacy for a high-quality project, while the society provided historical materials.
All of the above information is from the January 1994 Glendale Historical Society newsletter.
More details about the 1990 event can be found online in the Aug. 9, 2003, Verdugo Views: Try all six of these key words: Alex Theatre, Bob Hope, Katherine Yamada or visit articles.glendalenewspress.com/keyword/bob-hope.
KATHERINE YAMADA can be reached at email@example.com. or by mail at Verdugo Views, c/o News-Press, 202 W. First St., Los Angeles, CA 90012. Please include your name, address and phone number.