Here at Sirens & Scoundrels, we’re dedicated to bringing you only the best of the off-the-beaten path adventures that LA has to offer. We love to bring you secret hidden places that you never knew existed that are just waiting to be discovered sitting in your own back yard. Well today, you’ve hit the Motherload. Because we’re sharing our most secret, most hidden, most favorite place in all of Los Angeles.
Universally, when people step foot in the Old Place, they want to know “HOW ON EARTH HAVE I NEVER KNOWN ABOUT THIS PLACE BEFORE??!” That was a lot of caps, but it’s true. But don’t beat yourself up for not knowing about it. See, that’s the thing with a secret—it’s a secret, until you get let in on it. It has to be shared.
Just a little ways up Kanan in the mountains of Agoura Hills, the Old Place is an old general store and post office turned steak and clam house that’s been a staple in these parts for 46 years. Run by the Runyon Family (yes, the very same as every-actress’-favorite-hiking-trail fame), the Old Place is a tiny gem that feels like you’ve stepped back in time a century or so. With it’s Wild West wood saloon exterior and tiny low-ceilinged interior that boasts just 5 booths, 3 tables and one long bar, you definitely feel a bit like Billy the Kid on a hot date stepping through the doors.
The restaurant is only open for dinner Thurs-Sun and additionally for breakfast and lunch Sat-Sun. Because the place is so small, dinner seatings happen in waves: 5pm, 6:30pm and 8:30pm and reservations are only taken for groups of 4 or more. Otherwise, you can put your name in at the door for a spot at the bar whenever one opens up. The Mail Room in the back (the original post office, hence the name) is available for reservations of 9-12 people.
The space is too tiny to stand around in, so you are invited to wait next door at the delightful Cornell Winery. Here, you can do a wine tasting (4 wines for $10), order artisan chocolates and shop for trinkets and treasures. It’s the perfect place to sit with a date and make it seem like you really planned to be this romantic, not just out of necessity. It’s also a great spot to chat with some locals and make new friends. We met some local musicians here who, turns out, were the wandering troubadours next door and they promised to swing by the Mail Room to play us a few special tunes during our meal.
Though we have come for dinner many times and enjoyed the sumptuous steaks that are grilled over local red oak, this time we decided to bring a group to try out their legendary brunch. And we really have to say…we might prefer the brunch. Don’t get us wrong, the dinner here is absolutely to die for. These folks know how to do meat right. It’s just, the brunch gives you so many amazing options that it’s hard to not just order the entire menu. And at a fraction of the price of dinner, you can afford to do just that.
We started off with an order of homemade cinnamon rolls that arrived in a cast iron skillet topped with clouds of creamy deliciousness that had our guests moaning ecstatically while Manmosas made the rounds (mimosas served up in 16 oz. beer glasses). Every frittata under the sun was ordered, showing up in personal skillets on beds of crispy potato crust, alongside plates of steak and eggs that made us cry with joy. The good thing about making friends with insiders is you can get the inside scoop. We were advised to: ORDER THE BACON. We did. We will now advise you to: ORDER THE BACON. The big, thick, juicy hand cut applewood bacon is the stuff bacon dreams are made of. The musicians we met next door, The Deltaz, let us in on a little secret off-the-menu item too…the Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Bacon. EAT THIS. Order one for your table and split it. You won’t be sorry.
Speaking of The Deltaz, as we ate our insanely soul-satisfying meal, the brothers strolled in and played us a few throwback tunes—happy to take requests or just play some vintage favorites from the likes of Cash, Dylan, or Stevens, as well as some very good originals that got all of our toes tapping. Such a fun touch to create a truly festive atmosphere.
And as if this place could not get any better…it does. An added perk of coming to the Old Place during the day is that you can see the peacocks that live and stroll here, showing off all of their majestic aquamarine glory as they traipse by you chasing the sunlight. If you had already been pinching yourself thinking you must have stumbled into some old-timey dream, this confirms it: you have. Lucky for you, this is a dream you can revisit as often as you like.
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Visit the Old Place website for menu, directions & hours: http://www.oldplacecornell.com.
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