December 12, 2019
By Bill Pumford, Image from Russ Keller Collection
JOE’S PLACE IN CEDARPINES PARK: In the early 1920s Joe Bertucci and his half brother Frank Nardi came to the San Bernardino Mountains looking for work as bakers. A year later Joe purchased property in Cedarpines Park which at the time had been known as “Winter Wonderland” or “The Mountain Forest Wonderland.” Joe and Frank constructed a building which served as their home, bakery and later a general store, post office, and gas station. Frank Nardi served as the postmaster. The building was constructed utilizing native river rock from Sawpit Canyon by Joe and Don Parmelee, local contractors. The massive walls and chimneys can still be seen. During the 1930s moonshine was one of those items that could be acquired in addition to general supplies. In 1940 part of the building was converted into a restaurant which included a bar and dance hall. The restaurant opening was on Saturday, July 27. The grand opening featured the Bill Graham Orchestra, Italian dinners and a steak dinner for a dollar. It was not uncommon for Akhay Kumar Mozumdar to stop by Joe’s Place for drinks and some philosophical discussions. In 1952 Jane Russell, the famous actress, and her cast of players ate at Joe’s Place after having put on a benefit show at the Mozumdar Amphitheater. Bertucci’s building was a very popular place for civic groups and other organizations to meet such as local real estate associations and the Crest Forest Women’s Club. In June of 1965 Joe’s Place was put up for sale. Easton’s Hayloft restaurant took over the establishment. Joe Bertucci died in December of 1965 and the building last known commercially as Easton’s Hayloft is now a private residence.