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Stagecoach Inn

 

Last updated 4/5/2007 at Noon



Have you ever eaten in a restaurant with a rattlesnake skin hanging on the wall? Have you ever eaten in a restaurant that was made out of a railroad boxcar? If you haven’t then you’ve never eaten at the Stagecoach Inn in Aguanga! This rustic restaurant is just the place to get some simple – but good – food in a fun, unique atmosphere.

There is no stagecoach that will get you there anymore, but a car will work just fine as it’s about a ten-mile drive from Temecula. Right off of Highway 79, it makes a fun stop on an afternoon drive.

The landscape on Hwy. 79 out to the Inn is definitely desert-like but becomes more hospitable once you reach Aguanga. When you get to the signs that read “Gas” and “Food,” you’ll know you’ve come to the right place.

Darlene Brown, one of the establishment’s owners, said that the Butterfield Stage would stop at the site a hundred years ago on its run along the river from Julian to Temecula. Darlene opened the Stagecoach Inn on July 1, 1976, and the restaurant recently celebrated its 30 anniversary.

The food is good – beef and chili is their specialty, but their fries are first-rate too! One diner said that he had never tasted fries that were so good! I have to agree – the fries were terrific!

“Thin, crisp and delicious… you could make a meal on the fries alone,” said another patron.

“We serve what they call ‘comfort food,’ ” Darlene noted.

Breakfasts are offered with such hearty dishes as “Biscuits and Gravy” and a “Stagecoach Omelet” made with eggs, Ortega chilies, Swiss cheese and salsa.

A full sandwich menu is offered along with hot dogs and delicious hamburgers. The pattie melt is good and is served with a thick hamburger pattie topped with grilled onions on toasted rye bread with melted Swiss and American cheese. The portions are generous.

A sign read “Pies – $3.50 per slice – 50 cents more for a la mode.” It sounded good, but after the pattie melt and those wonderful fries there just wasn’t enough room!

Dinners are also served, and dishes such as Steak and Shrimp for $12.95 and Steak for $11.50 make you want to traverse the winding road in the evening as well.

There are many who make the Stagecoach Inn a stop along the way to the desert to enjoy a swig and a burger. Eric, the bartender, said he has been at the Inn over a year and enjoys visiting with the friendly regulars and visitors.

The Inn has three dining areas, the front area, the bar and the patio. The front dining area shares space with a few cases of cold drinks, snacks and snakes. I mean, snake skins. There is a framed rattlesnake skin hanging on the wall along with a deer head and a print of a stagecoach. The bar area is complete with a “pay to shoot” pool table. A hand-lettered sign on the door reads “No Gambling.”

Look up to the roof in the bar area and you can see the wooden slats of an old railroad boxcar. The original building is part of a forty-foot refrigerated boxcar that has been on the site since the late 1930s. Darlene explained that the Inn was originally opened by a woman who wanted to feed the workers at the CCC Camp along the river.

She gets calls from people who think that the Stagecoach Inn is a hotel. “People call us and ask us if we have vacancies, and I get calls like, ‘Can I speak to so-and-so in room 201?’ ”

Karaoke nights are popular at the Inn, and on Friday, April 6, B&H Karaoke will present karaoke from 7:30 to 11:30 p.m. So, drive on down to the Stagecoach Inn, eat a great burger, play pool and maybe sing a tune or two!

Stagecoach Inn

43851 Hwy. 79 South

Aguanga

(951) 767-9466

 

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