Bicyclists will have a new destination this fall when Pedalers Fork restaurant opens in the heart of Old Town Calabasas. Now under construction, its goal is to create a bike-friendly venue, offering food, coffee, drinks and even bike paraphernalia, tours and repairs.
"We wanted to create a sort of full-stop bike cyclist hangout that really has all the components, from food, to coffee and café culture, which is really integrated into the cycling community," says Gideon Kleinman, head of creative and marketing for Pedalers Fork. "Also, cyclists love to stop and have a beer at the end of a ride. We wanted to bring in somewhere we could do all of that."
In addition to a full breakfast, lunch and dinner menu, the restaurant will have a juice bar and will roast its own ethically sourced, organic Ten Speed Coffee brand. A small on-site repair shop will allow cyclists to get their bikes fixed while they relax and enjoy a meal or snack.
Kleinman says another goal is to have regular road and mountain bike tours meet on a weekly basis at the restaurant. An avid cyclist and racer, he plans to lead some of these jaunts.
He believes the Calabasas location is ideal for cyclists because of its proximity to nearby canyons: "Road bikers go through all of those canyons. They come down Stunt, go through Kanan, go over Las Virgenes, all through there. That's part of the reason we love the Calabasas location. It's at the gateway to the Santa Monica Mountains. It is a mecca for all this road biking and mountain biking, plus also hiking and trail running and things like that."
For serious cyclists, getting to Pedalers Fork will not be a problem. Kleinman explains: "If you're in the San Fernando Valley, you can basically take Ventura right to our restaurant ... from the Westside, take PCH and go up and over Old Topanga."
After initially getting approval from the city's Historic Preservation Commission, co-owners Tim Rettele and Robbie Schaeffer hit a bump in the road last November when a handful of Calabasas residents appealed the project, concerned that a two-story glass wall in the proposed project wasn't in keeping with the Old West vibe of the surrounding area. Architect Louis Skelton tweaked the design, eventually getting a green light from the Calabasas City Council.
Pedalers Fork's chef will be Sam Baxter, longtime sous chef at Providence. Baxter, himself an enthusiastic cyclist, is working with the Pedalers Fork team to develop a moderately priced farm-to-table menu, with an emphasis on seasonal, local food, some of it from the Saturday Calabasas farmers market. (And, speaking of local, Baxter is a 1997 graduate of Calabasas High School.)
Located at 23504 Calabasas Road, on the site of two former restaurants (Fins and Tour Eiffel), most of the interior and exterior of the building is being renovated. Even the trash enclosure in the parking will be reworked, to stop the ongoing problem of the wind blowing garbage into the adjacent creek.
"The creek is one of the property's strongest points," Kleinman says. "We're opening up the side of the building so that we can have creekside seating. That's our 'ocean view.'"
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Pedalers Fork will face another Calabasas landmark, Sagebrush Cantina, a popular Sunday hangout for Harley-Davidson riders. We wondered if there might be tension between the motorcyclists and the bicyclists, but Kleinman says there are no worries on that score.
"For the most part, both motorcyclists and road bikers really do get along because we love some of the same roads," he says, adding that there is a "kinship" between the two types of riders.
"I think it's kind of cool that the motorcyclists have their place and we welcome them," Kleinman says. "Hey, you want to come and have some food or have a beer, that's great. We really welcome anybody."
He adds: "Now road cyclists and mountain bikers have a place, too."