A dozen or so years ago there was a tiny restaurant tucked away in a sleepy little place called Calabasas. It had a few umbrella tables out front, a dirt parking lot and an owner who liked to please his customers.
Time passed, and like everything else in the West Valley, the Sagebrush Cantina grew like Topsy. You never knew what to expect when you dropped in--rooms and patios were remodeled and added, the menu was expanded, entertainment appeared, the parking lot was extended and paved. Change was part of the fun and charm.
It's still that way, because owner Bob McCord has a goal to continually set up good times for his patrons.
A recent surprise was a huge tent, added for viewing sports events over the next few months. During Monday Night Football, those declaring a team when they arrive can celebrate with two-for-one drinks when their team scores a touchdown.
"I'm hoping for low-scoring games," McCord quipped.
There's always something going on at the sprawling Cantina, which now includes a front dining patio, inside dining room, huge bar and a second patio that's strictly for cocktails and appetizers. Live entertainment varies, but usually includes groups on Friday and Saturday nights (sometimes on Sunday afternoons) and singles on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings.
A full bar is available, but most people opt for Margaritas or beer. Last call for drinks is 12:15 weeknights, 1:15 a.m. on weekends.
"After that, the complimentary coffee appears, and on weekends, usually donuts are added," McCord said. "I like people to have a good time, but I also want them to get home safely."
Happy hour is celebrated weekdays from 3 to 6 p.m. Drinks are regular price, but along with them comes a buffet. Offerings vary, but ribs, taquitos, salads and baked potatoes are typical fare. Word has it that Monday is the best night, when the menu includes some of the same offerings as the Sunday brunch.
And speaking of Sunday brunch--the $15.95 price includes a buffet table with up to 30 items, omelets made to order with a choice of 15 toppings, Belgian waffles made to order, a machine cranking out fresh donuts, and salad, seafood and dessert tables. It's offered from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and includes a glass of champagne.
New Items on Menu
If all of this isn't enough, you can also have Saturday breakfast, or the standard lunch and dinner. Old favorites like the Godfather Sandwich ($6.50), rib dinners ($12.95 and $13.95) and combination Mexican dinners ($6.95) are still on the menu, but plenty of new items have been added through the years.
The menu now runs 11 pages, from appetizers ($2.50 to $8.95), salads ($1.95 to $8.95), steaks, chicken and seafood from the charcoal broiler ($8.95 to $14.95), and burgers and sandwiches ($4.25 to $5.95) through desserts ($2.25 to $3.25). Lunch service begins Monday through Saturday at 11 a.m.; dinner is served nightly from 5 p.m.
The Cantina is always jumping, except maybe in the middle of the afternoon. That's when some of us enjoy it most--when it seems a little like the cozy hideaway we knew way back when.
Sagebrush Cantina, 23527 Calabasas Road, Calabasas; (818) 888-6062.