2014-Pike opening day - IMAG3326At 5pm today the Pike officially opened for business in Los Alamitos in the location where Mr. B’s and Casa Castillo have been feeding Los Alamitos and Rossmoor residents for years.

The Pike is owned by Chris Reece, a former drummer of Social Distortion and founder of the original Pike – a retro bar at 4th and Bropadway.  The Los Alamitos restaurant/bar will feature the same menu, color (Pike Blue) and vibe of the Fourth Street location, said Reece — but he will localize it with antiques, old photos and collectible knick-knacks.

2011-Kenny Brandyberry - Lucianne Maulhardt-07188913681_58ff1a046eMr. B’s has been an local institution since being opened by living legend Kenny Brandyberry (shown right with longtime Casa Youth Shelter Exec Director Lucianne Maulhardt) back in 1994. Prior to that the building had housed Casa Castillo (photos below left), one of the area’s favorite Mexican restaurants. Casa originally occupied the current Mr. B’s space and expanded their bar (and live band area) next door to the area now occupied by So-Low Pharmacy. And even before that, it was the site of Scharlin’s Deli — an eatery that offered similar fare to the Katella Bakery (then in the current Polly’s Pies spot) and not surprisingly, Scharlin’s didn’t last tool long.  Although Bill Scharlin came back a few years later and opened Bagels and Beer, a concept which soon was taken over by Kaplan’s Deli, which only last a few years before the spot was taken over by The Claim Jumper (which eventually moved to Marina Pacifica and the spot was taken over by Hof’s Hut.

PC Los Alamitos Casa Castillo Restaurant-2500PXWhen Kenny B. took over (after selling his stake in the Starting Gate — located right across from the entrance/exit to Los Alamitos Race Track)  he downsized back to the original dimensions, except for keeping the banquet room in back.  The joint did pretty well — certainly well enough to attract the attention of Rosie and Perry Apostle who bought it around 1997.  Perry’s dad had been a fixture in the Long Beach restaurant scene for more than 60 years, owning such places as the now-defunct King Arthur’s Steakhouse on Spring Street and Bellflower Boulevard, and the former Olive Tree bar, now the Gaslamp Restaurant & Bar, on Pacific Coast Highway and Loynes Drive.

Both Perry and Rosie had worked at the race track and were licensed ticket sellers, but after they bought the restaurant, he focused more on Mister B’s while she also worked the management at Santa Anita Race Track.  About six years ago health issues forced Perry to scale back on his workload although in the past year  or so he has been back to where he was.  But it was time to move on.

Reece says the biggest concept change will be in sounds.  “We’re going to have live music, and we’re wheeling in the same jukebox we have on Fourth Street,” he said. “Mr. B’s had a lot of karaoke, but that’s not going to happen here,” said Reece.  “It’s a subtle thing, but music — your audio senses — makes the mood of a place, and some knucklehead chooses a terrible karaoke song and customers start finding a reason to leave.”

The music change should go over well if the first couple hours were an indicator — with the juke box blowing out an eclectic mix of East Coast blues rock and Tony Bennett classics.   Another difference that stands out is the more open feeling provided by the loss of a front wall and some large TVs (don’t worry, there are still plenty).  The walls are a little bare right now but Reece plans to decorate them with old photos and items showcasing Los Alamitos area history as well as some aviation items.

Another change that should go over well is the menu offerings — more salads, more fish,  and only fresh vegetables.  The waitresses who worked for Mister B’s and now, say the customers so far seem to really like it.

That seemed to be evident on Friday night, when they were slammed .

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