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Endearing Simplicity and Harley-Davidsons Meet at Cook's Corner

October 25, 1990|GUILLERMO TORRES

Its exterior and furnishings are as rough as the canyons that surround this South County establishment, which is on a fork where El Toro Road ends and Santiago Canyon and Live Oak Canyon roads begin.

Cook's Corner is one of perhaps the last country bars in Orange County.

If you are looking for ferns, mineral water and yuppie snacks, then it's best to head out to El Toro, Mission Viejo or beyond.

There is an endearing simplicity about this bar. It serves only beer (including European and Mexican labels) and wine.

A short-order cook fries up burgers and the like. Recommended are the roast beef and turkey sandwiches, each for $3.50. Side orders of calorie-rich potato salad will fill you up.

Two pool tables attract a steady stream of players at 50 cents a game.

Customers can watch sports on a large TV screen and two smaller screens. During "Monday Night Football," the bar offers two rounds of draft beer for $1.

The jukebox is heavy on nostalgia rock and country music. No piped-in Cocteau Twins or Joni Mitchell here.

The place has a patio, and always nearby it seems are several Harley-Davidsons and their riders exchanging road talk.

A historian once called Cook's Corner the "last rebel outpost" in Orange County because of the bikers who roar in and out of this place.

It may look like a rough place to spend an evening, but it's strictly a live-and-let-live atmosphere. It's country, not urban; rustic, not sophisticated. The regulars are laid back and friendly.

So if you are looking for hyper, fast-talking professional types, well . . . have you considered moving to Chicago?

Cook's Corner, 19122 El Toro Road, El Toro. Open daily 8 a.m. (bar opens at 9:30 a.m.) to 2 a.m. (714) 858-0266.

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