There was a time when Love’s Wood Pit Barbecue restaurants dotted the California landscape and seeped into other states, as well. Some folks believe it’s impossible to get decent barbecue in a chain. You need a small, one-of-a-kind restaurant in a building that used to be a welding shop and was converted by some guy who’s obsessive about good bbq and has been doing it all his life. I’ve been to some great places that fit that description and also some where the food was close to inedible.

Love’s fell somewhere in-between but they were always conveniently located and there are times you need to eat and you can’t find one of the “other” kind of bbq joint, or maybe you’re just not in the mood to gamble. Love’s had decent ribs, great chicken, terrific sandwiches and easily the best beans I’ve ever had in my life. I used to go to every Love’s I ventured near and for a time, I had a running correspondence with a gent who was either the president of the company or very close to that. Each time I ate at a new (to me) Love’s, I’d send him a critique. He’d write me back a nice letter and toss in coupons for free meals. A fine relationship.

But I liked Love’s for other reasons beyond the coupons. They were friendly and dependable and the food was pretty darned good. So you could often find me at the one on Pico Boulevard near Beverly or at the one on Hollywood Boulevard at Cherokee or at the one in Encino or the one in Pacific Palisades or any other one. I probably went to twenty different Love’s including the one Love’s Junior they operated (briefly) on Ventura Boulevard in Van Nuys. It was an attempt to repackage their cuisine into something that functioned like a fast food outlet. Had that experiment succeeded, I assume we’d have seen them in locations too small to handle a full-sized Love’s or in food courts.

Alas, over the years the chain just lost business and got smaller. The one on Pico, which had once been a kind of “flagship” Love’s and was used as a model and training facility for others, turned mysteriously one day into a place called Noonan’s. Noonan’s was the name of the company that supplied uncooked ribs to many L.A. restaurants and they went into business in some kind of partnership with Bob Morris, who had founded R.J.’s for Ribs, Gladstone’s and other popular Los Angeles restaurants. (Morris now operates the Paradise Cove Beach Cafe in Malibu, which is not covered on this site because it’s open and thriving.) Then it became Bob Morris’ Beverly Hills Cafe even though it wasn’t really in Beverly Hills…and it may have changed names one or two more times before closing down. The building is now the office of a limousine company. The Love’s on Hollywood Boulevard changed identities at least ten times and is now a restaurant called the Geisha House.

There were some changes of ownership and some lawsuits in the Love’s operation. A lot of them closed and the ones that didn’t changed names. The Love’s in Brea, for instance, changed its name to Riley’s and went on serving the exact same menu for years. The one in Chula Vista renamed itself The Great Rib Restaurant, which was a subtitle that Love’s sometimes used in its advertising and on its signs. Eventually, all such after-life Love’s closed. According to the company website, there’s still a Love’s in Jakarta, Indonesia but I’m skeptical that’s so. If it exists, it’s the only one.

Click above to enlarge

Folks who loved Love’s still love it…and miss it. If you do some Googling, you’ll find a number of different recipes that purport to be the secret to replicating Love’s Beans and others that teach you how to make the sauce. Since the recipes differ, some or all of these are obviously wrong. I haven’t tried making any of them but the recipes for beans (which is sometimes attributed to the L.A. Times) strike me as dead wrong. Some of the sauce recipes seem credible, especially this one…

2 cups cider vinegar
3 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons celery seed
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon paprika
2 tablespoons lard
1/4 cup pickling spices

Place lard (not shortening) in a pot. Add sugar and then other ingredients. Cook over a low flame stirring occasionally until sauce reaches the desired consistency.

As I said, I never made this but it sounds like it might be the secret. And the reason I’ve never made it is that every three or four years, I order another case of the genuine article from the Love’s website. I have no idea why they’re still bottling this stuff if there are no restaurants to sell it in. Maybe there is one in Jakarta and it’s thriving. Anyway, it’s been more than two years since I ordered any of it. I don’t guarantee that the site is still active but you can inquire there if you long to get some. As you might imagine from all that brown sugar, Love’s sauce was very sweet but it was awfully good.

308 Responses to Love’s

  • Kristen Langley says:

    The store in the first image is/was the one in the Mission Valley area of San Diego. Some poor schmoe of a real estate firm had the contract on the undevelopable hillside commercial property – and the ‘for sale’ sign was there for years.

    My (now) ex and I used to go there from time to time.

    Best story ever from a restaurant was when we were sitting at our table, and couldn’t help but overhear the conversation between the server and the two guys at the table. They’d basically wrapped-up their early evening dinner, and the server – of course – asked if they wanted any desert.

    One of the guys – and I can still recall his regional accent even after nearly 30 years – asked “No, thank you, ma’am… but I would like a little more of that hot lemon soup.”

    Now, neither of my spouse nor I are/were among the upper crust of society, but, we stared at each other across the table.

    We did our best not to blow chunks of our meal out through our noses. And, practically killed ourselves laughing on the way home, afterwards.

    Hot lemon soup.

    Translation: he had thought the finger bowl water was part of the meal.

  • Mark Torres says:

    My fondest memory of the amazing taste of Loves BB-Q would have to be the large cut French fries and BBQ beans along with a combo of Chicken & Ribs. Yum. I was 10 years old then and now Im 53 and the memory hasn’t faded. How I long for the taste of the good old days.

  • Chris says:

    From the late 1970’s until loves closed, Loves was my favorite restraint. I ate at a few different ones including Pomona, West Covina, San Bernardino, Rosemead, Oceancide, one on Beach boulevard near Knots, one on Harbor Blvd and one that was in Palmdale.

    My favorites where of coarse the Baked Beans (I have never liked any others) and the country style ribs.

    If they where still around i would be eating there.

  • Tonia says:

    Loves ruled in the 70s and 80s….when ever we’d pick up relatives from LAX we’d head over to loves…great food, great fun, great drinks….lol…..a bygone era….glad,I experienced it.

  • Vicor says:

    My Dad started as a bus boy at the Love’s on Hollywood Blvd in the late 60s and early 70s. He worked his way up to kitchen manager and was a eventually the trainer for cooks at all Love’s locations throughout SoCal. I remember as a kid driving with him from Hollywood to the Mexican border.

  • Robb Smith says:

    I was a bus boy at the Brentwood location in 1976. I remember when the pilot light went out and the cook blew up the kitchen. Everybody lost their hair!

  • Gilbert Romero says:

    My very first job was Loves in San Bernardino, CA. I was 13 years old my bosses name was Sandy and believe Teddy was the assistant manager. I have good memories of working there. There was a waitress by the name of Mellissa F. that worked there and I have always wondered how she has been. Beverly and Kim were the bartenders and they were awesome to work with. So many memories just came back to me after reading all the comments about the food. Well if anyone that may have worked at this location reads this please feel free and email me gilromero295@aol.c0m.

  • Joe DeMarco says:

    I worked at Love’s on Broadway and Swan in Tucson Arizona all through high school from 1979 – 1982 with all my highschool friends. Rick, Bruce, John, just to name a few. It was the best first job a guy could have, we all worked together like family. I started as a busboy and worked my way up to cook, I learned a lot of life lessons in those four years. Lesson #1. Make sure you let the fire department know you are burning off the pit on Friday night so they don’t show up. The building is long gone now, they knocked it down to build a Walgreens.

  • Mike Stout says:

    I started at Loves in Chula Vista in 1978 as a busboy and worked my way up to GM when I departed in 1990 due to lack of retirement plan, but the people I worked with were great. Spent 4 of those in El Cajon as Kitchen Manager… Would love to hear from any of those I worked with,[email protected]

  • Mark Casillas says:

    I miss Love’s dearly, when I first met my GF, we visited my Grandma in El Cajon, CA and we hit the Love’s there. Simply amazing and it always reminds me of our honeymoon phase. Since we live in LA, we frequented the one off the 10 Fwy in Rosemead, CA. We were so, so sad to see it go. Would love to see it come back! Their Bloody Mary in the morning was the Best! After 25 years with my GF, Love’s return would be spectacular. Love me some Love’s!!!!

  • Donn Roach says:

    Yes Mike it became a Tony Romas at 620 E. Sahara Ave now an adult bookstore

  • Walt says:

    Remember eating at the Garden Grove location in the late 70’s. My mother worked at the Tustin Ave location in the early 80’s. Used to hang out there and eat in the lounge and watch tv and eat while she was working. Fond memories of the food.

    For anyone reading who may have worked at the Tustin Ave, Orange, CA location or know someone who did: Unfortunately she and my Dad divorced and she chose a new life so I never saw her again or talked to her after 1983. Her name was Susan and she for a while lived in Anaheim Hills with Carol J. (surname held back) who played piano in the Love’s lounge. I also know she married a parts clerk who worked at the next door Toyota dealership till he died of a heart attack. Anyways, if this info means something to someone familiar with that location I’d like to hear from you. Email: r*e*t*l*a*w*1*4*[email protected] (note: you will have to remove the ‘*’s for the address to work—added those to defeat bots generating spam email). Thanks.

  • Kimchi says:

    Does anyone remember the Love’s across from the Lakewood Mall? I used to really love that place as a kid. They had this sampler plate that came in a wagon and it was so good, not to mention the beans! We didn’t have a lot of money so going to Love’s, Olive Garden, or Black Angus was a very special occasion and I really miss that place. I live in Texas now so I have BBQ on demand but the whole point of Love’s was that you got some really good BBQ in the heart of Southern California.

  • Bruce Honig says:

    Oh, what I would do to have Love’s again! As a child, who grew up in Encino, I eat the original Love’s many times a month (with my parents and without). And it was true for me: “When I was in Love’s the whole world is delicious.”

    I remember being greeted with an iced relish tray in the somewhat dark room with ruby red booths. I still remember the water glasses. And those ribs! It is my standard, and I can’t seem to find any that even come close. Not to mention the beans.

    It was a wonderful place that may have defined by whole culinary perspective. I would go anywhere in the world to experience it again!

  • Mike PeQueen says:

    Question for Donn Roach above. What was the address of the Love’s in Las Vegas? Was it on Sahara? I always thought it later became a Tony Roma’s but my friends don’t believe me. Am I right?

  • KENT CASE says:

    Worked at the Westchester/Ladera Heights Love’s from 1979-1982. That was still a popular concept in those days, with Friday and Saturday nights especially packed. And the beans were truly the best. Also featured great ribs and chicken, plus a fun bar to top it off. Worked with a lot of great people – Betty, Ruth, Danny, Dennis, Jenny, Becky, Angela, Gary, Lucy to name a few. A cousin (Anne H) worked as a waitress at the Lakewood location for a number of years. Would love to see some of the old gang (I know many have passed away now), and trade memories. Starting as a host, then a waiter and eventually Asst. Manager, it was a great beginning to a long restaurant career (among other pursuits), and a host of great memories from a long ago time.

  • Andy W. says:

    I worked as a busboy at the Love’s at Mission Valley in San Diego for about a year in 1979-1980. That’s the one pictured at the very top of the page, with the sloped driveway. I was only 17. I never ate the food there, I think I was kind of grossed out being exposed for the first time in my life to the behind-the-scenes goings-on of a restaurant. I do remember people would rave about the clam chowder, but we weren’t supposed to tell them it was from a can. They did add a bunch of extra butter to it, I think that’s why people liked it so much.

  • B. Stephen Bailey says:

    Now at an advanced state os equity (it means really old) Love’s Barbecue does so hold a dear and special place in the annals of my learning. Am i now infirm or did some Loves locations have little strings of BBQ meat in the beans ? Did some customers not try to order the “Candied Chicken” – the sweetest Poultry sauce ever ? Are not those of you too young or inexperienced to not know gastronomic pleasure truly jealous ? You should be for this restaurant franchise exist no longer. Pity. To all that understand Love’s was, out side of parts of LA the closest to real barbecue or (grill) you could experience. Shall we try to resurrect ? Just perhaps we shall try. Perhaps a new quest ?Respond here or to me, B. Stephen Bailey at:

  • Rick from Love's Brentwood says:

    Reply to Mike Harrington re Love’s BBQ sauce:

    Sorry to contradict you Mike, but the BBQ sauce at Love’s restaurant on San Vicente in Brentwood never came out of a can.

    At Love’s in Brentwood, the BBQ sauce, basting sauce and coleslaw dressing were made from high quality ingredients and were prepared on-site by my family.

    We did use #10 cans of tomato paste in the BBQ sauce recipe, and large quantities of commercial grade oil in the meat basting sauce (which is likely what you recall), but we never used canned BBQ sauce. We used the original Love’s recipes.

    Most of the other Love’s restaurants were forced by their franchise contracts to use the corporation’s canned BBQ sauce, but my family refused to use the canned sauce at Love’s Brentwood.

    There is a reason people fondly remember the food at Love’s Brentwood. We used the highest quality meats, chickens, hot dogs, buns and pink beans that were available at that time.

  • Pam Cameron says:

    It’s my 60-f’ing-3rd birthday today and all of a sudden was missing Love’s bbq beans. For some reason, sixty-three is weighing heavily on my heart.

    Reading everyone’s comments have made my day . . . I frequented the one on Stanton Blvd. across from Knott’s Berry Farm – I used to be a tour guide at the lovely replica of Independence Hall there.

    Be safe – take good care one and all.

  • Scott Hamilton says:

    I grew up on Lindley Ave in Reseda, CA Mr and Mrs Love lived across the street from us. Being a young boy in the late 50’s early 60’s I didn’t know them that well, however they were friendly neighbors and my family did have the opportunity to visit with them from time to time. I do remember that one of their son’s was an officer in the Navy. This might be where the Jakarta Indonesia connection, could have some truth to it. Like so many other comments, I remember those delicious beans and I always enjoyed the coleslaw as well as the BBQ. We ate at several locations, the last one I ate at as an adult was the one on Ventura Blvd in Woodland Hills next to the 101 freeway. Great memories of growing up in the San Fernando Valley.

  • Shaun says:

    Hello. Like a lot of you, I grew up on Love’s amazing food and was a huge fan of their beans. I’d often buy them by the quart from Riley’s Wood Pit in Brea, until they sadly closed down, so I consider myself quite familiar with the taste. A few years back I went to a restaurant called Wood Ranch in Arcadia. They have quite a few location in SoCal, I’m sure there’s one near you. Anyways, whenever I go to a BBQ restaurant, I order baby back ribs with a side of beans, and the second those beans hit my tongue I recognized that taste!

    I can’t speak for all the locations, but at this one, they were VERY similar to Love’s in taste, but that’s about where the similarities end. The texture is more watered down, kind of like canned pork and beans. So I bought a quart of beans and half a rack of ribs to take home and started experimenting. I shredded the pork into the beans and let it simmer until it was the thicker constancy of Love’s beans. I also added a little more molasses and brown sugar. I still felt like the taste could be a little richer, so I added a couple tablespoons of butter, which is something I’m sure you can avoid if you prepare them like Love’s did (fatty meat on top cooked in a smoker). Still,the end results were amazing! I felt like I was eating Love’s beans again! They seem to taste even better after you let them chill in the fridge overnight and re-heat them the next day. Oh and I noticed a little bit of spiciness the last time I ordered the Wood Ranch beans, but it went away after I gave them the Love’s treatment. So don’t be discouraged.

    I’ve done this routine a few times, but never with a smoker or fatty meat, which I’m sure would be be even better! So someone out there who has a smoker, try it and let us know how it goes! If you miss those beans I really recommend you guys try this. You’ll be glad you did!

  • Bob Custer Wilkie says:

    Located a 1979 Love’s TV Commercial on you tube–This commercial is at 3:17 on the tape–Amazing clear video of the great food–look at those bean cups! Those bowls of beans were pretty small–but it was awesome food…These commercials are from KHJ(now KCal) Channel 9 in Los Angeles…

  • Bob Custer Wilkie says:

    We also greatly miss Love’s-it seems every Love’s Wood Pit location had great huge drinks, friendly service, and that great BBQ sauce! Out of curiosity, we just today went by the Love’s Corporate Office in Diamond Bar, California-
    The office is located at 324 S. Diamond Bar Blvd., Suite 642, Diamond Bar, 91765? That Love’s “office” is simply a P.O. Box mail location. It does make one wonder-why don’t the owners more aggressively market Love’s Sauces on the West Coast?

  • Steve Sullivan says:

    Dad was from Massachusettes, Mom was from Missouri… and I was born in Hollywood, CA in ’72. I recall eating there at Love’s with Mom and Dad as a wee lad. Now at 44 and residing in Oregon, both Mom and Dad are gone… but I can still hear Mom rave about the beans (she loved them bbq beans) and I can still feel those red leather seats, that at the time seemed so huge. Thanks for letting me share a memory I just flashed upon on the bus this morning. FULL CIRCLE MOM!

  • Rosella A Alm-Ahearn says:

    We went to a Loves in (I think) near West Covina and loved the food. The most memorable thing were the toilet seats in the ladies room. They were clear plastic with sharp things embedded inside the plastic, such as barbs from barbed wire, sharp screws, nails, etc. I have looked for them on sale on web sites since but never found one.

  • Jeffrey Dintzer says:

    Doug, and others. I have been buying that sauce from the website for years. And it maybe that the sauce on the website is what was served at Love’s with cooked ribs and chicken (it is very nice compliment to them), but it is not the sauce that is used to cook the ribs and chicken. Trust me on this one. I have been perfecting all of Love’s menu for years now. When I was a kid my Dad would take us to the Love’s on Pico regularly and we would get the full platter of smoked meats. I have very found memories of those times, and the taste of the food always brings a smile to my face and good cheer to my heart.

    If you really want Love’s ribs (which you cannot buy anywhere at this time that I am aware of) you must do the following: First, get a medium to large bbq (pellet smokers are the best because you can control the temperature through the entire cooking process while the meats smoke perfectly). Next, get good ribs, not just ribs from the local market. But buy Snake River baby backs on line. They are a bit more costly, but make a huge difference in the end result. Remove the sheath from the bottom of the ribs so they cut and taste better when they are done. Plenty of videos on line show you how to do this process easily. Next salt and pepper the ribs and put them on the grill at 225 degree for about 2 1/2 hours or so. Use hickory wood though the whole process – but don’t over smoke the ribs. After about 2 1/2 hours or so remove the ribs from the grill. Place each rack on foil and liberally coat both sides with margarine (yes margarine not butter or olive oil – they just don’t work), brown sugar and honey. Rap the ribs in the foil and put them back on the grill for about 2 hours. Remember to keep the temperature at 225 degrees. Then, remove the ribs from the grill and open the foil. Take the ribs back to the grill and put the sauce in the recipe above with the pickling spice on the ribs by brushing them heavy at first and then more lightly as time goes on – about 45 minutes or so. When the ribs are tender, remove them and serve. We serve this with Love’s beans (with ground beef and a slight hint of bacon fat) and Love’s Coleslaw. And there you have it – enjoy – Because “when you’re in Love’s the whole worlds delicious.”

  • Donn Roach says:

    Thanks for the comments. My uncle Claude Martin started as a Loves cook in the 60’s. Owned the West Covina location until an argument with Dan Love. The company bought the store back from him. Later on in the early 70’s my uncle ran the Las Vegas restaurant for my dad who owned the Las Vegas location .

  • John Hindsill says:

    Robert Keyser,are you sure this “Loves” is actually a restaurant which is being opened or franchised by Love’s Barbeque, Inc.? The website (as of May 6, ’17) indicates the are no stores, and none are being solicited.

  • Robert Keyser says:

    I live in Roseville Ca next to Citrus Heights ca and Love’s is on the rise again opening new place on Sunrise Blvd

  • alexis barragan says:

    my dad was one of the original workers in Loves located in San Bernardino from 1985 to 1994 if any questions email me at

  • C. Hartman says:

    In the late 60’s I knew a girl who worked at the Loves in West LA. She told me never order the Loves Delight. They took all the meat scraps, fat and all, chopped it up finer and saved it overnight, in some cases, and called it Delight!
    I always enjoyed the food though, and often ate there on a date. A good sauce makes anything taste good.

  • The Management says:

    Doug, as I said in the article on this page, you can order Love’s sauce from that website. I do it all the time and just another case of the stuff a few weeks ago. It’s absolutely legit.

  • DOUG says:



  • Janet says:

    I worked at the Love’s in San Bernardino back in the late 80s (after I retired from being a flight attendant so I could be with my children full time). My absolute favorite there was the Love’s Barbecue Chicken Salad – was it ever good! Haven’t tasted anything like that since.

  • John Hindsill says:

    You may be interested to know, Diane, that the shopping center where your Loves was was replaced by a great big Albertsons Market, then a Haggens, and now, again, an Albertsons. I’m waiting to see what comes there next. Maybe a couple of movie/tv sound stages.

  • Phil Ankofski says:

    ~ This note is for Diane Goose and all Readers as well. ~

    Diane, you are my current information savior! Thank you for your recent posting of December 20th. I have been watching the Loves comments here for several years now, hoping to catch some authentic legal description regarding the demise of Loves. I have been aware of the IHOP / Loves relationship which initially caused the major problems. I am very glad to now learn of the succeeding ownership list and the parts they played in the saga.

    The first thoughts of this scenario of Loves ownership was ; why didn’t a guy like Jim Collins ” step up to the plate ” and rescue Loves ? Jim Collins started with the Hamburger Handout in Culver City, then signed up with KFC to be a Master Regional Franchisee. Next he bought the original Sizzler and grew that venue into a fabulous franchise system as well. Jim would have been the perfect operator to reincarnate Loves.

    I myself was never a patron at Loves. I was in the South Bay area for almost seven years during the 1960’s, but had never come across one of their units.
    ( very busy working at Woody’s and patronizing Johnnie’s Pastrami ).

    Until now, my unanswered question was ; why did Loves outlast all the other restaurant venues that were caught in the IHOP web ? ( perhaps 8 0r 10 )
    Answer ; there were enough Love’s assets to attract guys or banks that had no experience in the food service industry.

    Near the beginning, IHOP was guilty of criminal actions which resulted in major settlements with the Love franchisees . ( and other IHOP venues as well ). The succeeding owners of Love’s were looking for quick $$$$.

    From the employees standpoint, their jobs must have been somewhat dreary since there was no inspiration from guys at the top who loved the restaurant business.
    Thanks again Diane Goose. If I could, I would reach out and give you a big hug ! ~ Merry Christmas ! ~

    Phil Ankofski ~ jumping over from the Woody’s SmorgasBurger site. ~

  • Diane Garcia says:

    Hi I am looking for a waitress “Claire”, who worked at Tujunga location. Anybody know her last name? Thanks!

  • Diane Goose says:

    Mike Belman…..Actually what happened to Love’s was very sad. It was part of IHOP and a successful German chicken guy bought IHOP. He was very wealthy buying silver by the pound when silver was going up so fast years ago. Well he ended up filing for bankruptcy in Europe. So it affected what he owned here. About late 70’s. Regulators took over IHOP. Love’s was only one making money so they used it to keep IHOP going and Love’s got zero in R and D or anything. Love’s was the only one making money so regulators decided to sell it and use money for IHOP. They sold it to Butterfield Savings and Loan. That was during time of deregulating. Butterfield spent like drunken sailors. So here come the regulators AGAIN. They are bad for a business. So was sold to Harry Shuster for the amount of money that Love’s had in the bank Which he promptly took out after escrow. It wasn’t the food or the service it was because it was raped repeatedly. Through those years.

  • Diane Goose says:

    Love’s Woodpit Bar-B-Que. Shame it is gone great food. Finger bowls and cloth napkins. Good sized portions. Best beans cooked the old fashioned way low temp all night.

  • Corey says:

    I don’t have the words to express how much I miss loves.

  • Brian says:

    My wife & I were just wondering what happened to Love’s BBQ… it was our first date April 15, 1986, now we are coming to our 30 th anniversary on December 30. We would of actually went there if they were still open.

  • George says:

    I grew up going to the Love’s in Oceanside Ca, some ppl on here have said Carlsbad but that’s not correct, very close though. Beginning in the years of 1986, as a kid, it was my favorite restaurant to go because my dad loved it. Dad worked hard during the week and every Sunday after church he take my mom, 3 sisters and myself for a ride in his car then later choose a place to dine. I wished to go to Love’s every Sunday. As I grew older my favorite meal at Love’s was the The Wagon, sharing of course because it was huge, who remembers that one? Fast forward, after my wife and I had our first born, Loves was the first restaurant we dined at when both mommy and newborn were able to venture outside to socialize as a family. Since there closing in Oside, I was able to find one in Chula Vista, I treated dad and my family there a few times, along with my other siblings. Then Love’s completely disappeared. Currently now in my mid 30s, i enjoy to cook for friends and family. I’ve thrown myself into a new category of cooking, Smoking. Been smoking for 2 years now. My greatest accomplishments in smoking thus fas is getting this comment from dad, he said “it tastes almost like Loves”. I know I’ll never hit that mark but as long as the taste takes us there, Love’s, im ok with that.

  • Tim Lawton says:

    My first “real job” was at the Loves restaurant in El Cajon, CA. probably around 1980. I remember I was making $3.10 hourly, and was happy to get it as a 15 year old busboy with a work permit. I loved the food, and was disappointed to see that place go, I used to drive all the way to Carlsbad in later years as it was the last one to close in the San Diego area. I remember they had fantastic homemade Blue cheese dressing, along with great cheesecake and their incredible rib glaze. If memory serves, I think my manager’s name was Vi Pleasents, she was a great lady.

  • Debbie G. says:

    I have fond memories of the Love’s in La Mirada at the La Mirada Mall. I grew up right down the street and worked there as a hostess in 1980’s. I worked with Patty, Reggie, Tom and so many others. Jose and Duke were the managers. Jose was there for a long time. Remember Marjie – she stole everyone’s tables. Haha! Patty, let me know your email so we can talk about the good ‘ol days at Love’s! We had the best times and did work with some wonderful women and men! I miss that place. My parents still live down the street so when I go visit them, I always drive by where it used to be and picture how it was – my mom and I always say too bad they tore it down and now there is an ugly building in its place that can’t seem to stay in business. I wish they would open them back up again – I know they would do great! I’ve gone to other BBQ restaurants and none of them are as good as Love’s. They had the best everything! Does anyone remember their blue cheese dressing? We used to dip the wonderful bread in it and the beans were the best. My favorite was the Frankfurter – hot dog with the beans smothered over it with cheese. I see all these other restaurants making comebacks – Ferrell’s Ice Cream, Dunkin Donuts and so on. PLEASE BRING BACK Love’s BBQ!!!

  • Bob of the Village of Los Ranchos (NM) says:

    Yo Diana….Kudos and Bless your Heart!!! So few Folks today “last” as WaitStaff…it is so Welcoming to have Folks who “work at” remembering who we are! I swear a “Zio’s”, an Italian place in Albuquerque, has a Camera set-up that is of the ‘facial recognition’ sort whereby I’m greeted once a month such as ” Hi There! I’ve got your Grilled Salmon on order. What might you have to drink today?”
    Whoa, to all you Dianas who treat us so Especial!

  • Diana Hawks says:

    I worked at Love’s for 26 years. I might be able to get some memorabilia

  • Mike Belman says:

    Regarding IHOP- the company was called International Industries, they were a huge franchisor, in fact larger then McDonalds at one point. They were involved in retail stores, multiple restaurant chains, had the Sawyer and Bryman schools, nursing homes and financial services. They made a bid to acquire Ramada Inns to add to their hotel chain but the deal fell through. They were also mentioned as a buyer of American Broadcasting. The company accounted for all franchise income at one shot instead of amortizing over a number of years, the SEC made them restate earnings in 1970 and they had a huge loss and were never able to fully recover. The pancake division was making money. They kept Loves and Copper Penny and sold everything else off including Orange Julius. Eventually they closed Copper Penny and sold off Loves. Loves was eventually bought by a company controlled by Harry Shuster who ran Lion Country. They were going to go public but nothing happened. I lost a huge amount in the stock when it was International. I was a day late when they wrecked the store in Garden Grove. The guy there told me people took out everything that was left- glasses, dishes, signs. I took a brick, with the instructions to be buried with it. Only ate at Loves one time as I grew up in Chicago. I made my half blind aunt drive from Temecula to Encinatas. We didn’t have Love’s here, though International did build one House of Pies ( in Oak Park) before they closed the chain. If anyone has any memorabilia, let me know.

  • Adrienne Bass says:

    Thanks for the nostalgia. My first job (other than babysitting) was in the take out dept of the Love’s in Encino…the food was great, esp. the cheesecake.

  • Stewart Teaze says:

    My sister and I used to like to swipe the maraschino cherries they kept in the metal dispenser on the wall leading from the bar (for the waitresses to grab and drop in the customers’ drinks)… Our parents usually took us to the Mission Valley San Diego Love’s – the one in the photo at the top of this article… While my parents were sitting and drinking after dinner, I would climb up on the old ranch’s trails carved into the side of the hill behind the restaurant… you can kinda see them in the photo.

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