The opening of Pedalers Fork was still three days away when cyclist Keith Michaels rolled up to ask for a screwdriver -- not the drink but the tool, which he needed to fix a tire. Bicycle guru Mike Kalenda was already at work in the Calabasas restaurant's on-site bike repair shop and was happy to lend a hand.
Michaels, of Woodland Hills, spoke for many area cycling enthusiasts when he said: "We're all really excited about this. It's amazing. The idea of a place like this is pretty cool."
The eagerly anticipated, two-story, bicycle-themed venue opened this morning in an Old Town Calabasas spot next to the Saturday farmers market. Customers can order organic Ten Speed Coffee, a $10 breakfast or even a $10,000 handmade Moots bicycle.
After some construction delays, the space is finally complete, offering a dazzling, airy interior with reclaimed bricks, high ceilings accented with refurbished wood beams and, hanging throughout, vintage bicycles. Outside there's patio dining beside a picturesque creek and lots of greenery. With seating for 210, the restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week.
Co-owners Robbie Schaeffer and Tim Rettele say a challenge was figuring out how to integrate a bar, restaurant, coffee shop and cyclists hangout all under one roof. The goal was to appeal to a variety of patrons, from "the cyclist, to families, to people on dates, to people who are in shorts and T-shirts. We're trying to create something that, no matter who you are, any demographic feels comfortable here on any occasion," Rettele says.
The location of Pedalers Fork is ideal, Schaeffer says, because of its proximity to the Santa Monica Mountains: "We have some of the best roads and trails in the world right here, in pretty much year-round conditions. We also chose Calabasas because it's such an active community."
Since we first wrote about Pedalers Fork last May, Dan Murray was named chef. He describes the menu as healthy comfort food. "I'm a kind of a simple, straightforward guy with my food," Murray says. "The concept is to create an idealized diet, so that you can eat and not necessarily feel guilty about it, and yet still have those things where you can feel a little bit guilty."
The restaurant has teamed up with half a dozen area farmers for staples. Other ingredients will be provided by Kerry Clasby of Intuitive Forager. To attract families, there's an extensive kids' menu.
Pedalers Fork also is going to offer opportunities to burn off calories by hosting bike excursions. There will be Tuesday morning treks as well as a Thursday night "ride and pint" outing -- a two-hour mountain ride that concludes back at the bar. (There are 36 beers on tap and one of the largest selections of rye whiskey in L.A. County.)
And while you nurse your drink, your bike can get healed as well. "We repair any bike. It doesn't matter if you have an $80 bike or a $10,000 bike, we're happy to service it," says Schaeffer, adding that Pedalers Forks plans to promote other area bike shops, such as the Saturday banana bread and coffee ride at nearby Topanga Creek Bicycles.
"Cycling's been such a great, positive outlet for me," Schaeffer says. "No matter how bad things got, I had the bicycle to turn to, and it always sort of refocused me. Every time I took a cycling path, things got better in my life. I want to share that with everybody."
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