Claremont rests in the San Gabriel foothills, in Mount Baldy’s shadow, and is best known as a city of higher learning. The Claremont Colleges draw intellectuals and liberal arts students to the eastern edge of L.A. County. Craftsman bungalows line the streets of this charming town, and Claremont Village is home to most of the action, complete with restaurants, shops, live music venues and a movie theater. Claremont is also right on the path from L.A. proper to Palm Springs to Las Vegas. Here are 9 places you must eat or drink when visiting Claremont.
Numbered establishments on the map correspond to information below for easy reference. Establishments also appear in alphabetical order instead of in order of preference.
Lebanon native Abdallah Soueidan and his family built on the success of their Anaheim bakery by opening a spinoff in a freeway-friendly Claremont strip mall. Expect marble tables and decorative Lebanese wall hangings. The oven yields crisp, supple flatbreads coated with savory toppings, which could include heavily spiced soujouk, a bubbly proprietary cheese blend, or zaatar, a blend of dried thyme, sesame seeds, sumac and olive oil. Yes, Alamir, which means “prince” in Arabic, also provides more pedestrian toppings, but shredded chicken breast isn’t nearly so royal.
MUST ORDER: Lahm-Ba-Jeen, Zaatar & Cheese
John Solana opened The Back Abbey in 2008, taking over a one-time citrus packing house. The spare room features a rusted corrugated metal roof, drop down, caged light bulbs with exposed filaments and a slab walnut bar. Given the name, it should come as no surprise that The Back Abbey specializes in Belgian beers, which flow from 27 taps and even more bottles. Burgers are especially popular, crafted from dry-aged ribeye, chuck and sirloin. Options include a signature burger with aged Gouda, spicy mustard aioli, caramelized onions, Niman Ranch bacon and micro greens. Seasonal burgers are also available, as are soft pretzels, served with beer cheese sauce made with Paulaner lager and more of that powerful gouda.
MUST ORDER: Back Abbey Burger, Fries, Soft Pretzel
Sisters Marnie Clarke and Lydia Clarke debuted The Cheese Cave in Claremont Village in 2010. The charming space features a small wood counter facing the street, and silver cow in a top hat. Shelves of cheese tools and beer dominate, as do gourmet items like Scripps olive oil, SQIRL jam, and All Spice Cafe hot sauces. Their Snack Pack changes weekly and features three different cheeses for $10, which could be Gruyere 1655, Provolone piccante, or sharp, crumbly Flag Sheep, a sheep and cow’s milk cheddar cheese from Washington. A recent pack arrived on slate with dried black Mission figs, apricots and cherries, corn nuts and rosemary crackers. The Cheese Cave normally offers three different $6 sandwiches, possibly Fromager D’affinois with green pepper mustard and cornichons on baguette.
MUST ORDER: Snack Pack, Sandwiches