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Saturday, February 8, 2014



Jim Otto, first owner of the historic Valley Inn in Encino. 1947 to 1951.  Detail from original menu - Gift to The Museum of the San Fernando Valley from Gary Fredburg 2014.  (click on images to enlarge them.)

Believe in Dreams? The Listen...   (Introduction on original menu) 
Perhaps you have just ordered dinner. While awaiting its arrival you glance at the menu. Unusual, is it not" you've noticed too that the entire atmosphere here is different. Accident/or design? Let's say, rather, that it is a dream than a reality. It is a dream that has become a reality.It happened during the earlier days of the ar. A man and his wife sat in a small room in East Greenwich, Rhode Island. She had arrived that day from Van Nuys, California, to be with him on his last weekend. Tomorrow would find him on his way to the South Pacific.Talk had been desultory  – forced. Would he be back, both thought this. Neither mentioned it. For awhile they talk of their family – three boys and a girl. That, too, wrenched. Suddenly, the wife had an idea. Casual like, she said "just what plans have you made for when you return?"" He brightened, then answered: "ever since I was a kid I've had an idea for a restaurant that would be just a little different. You know…"
Well, he came back. And you're sitting in that very restaurant. It didn't just happen, at that. There were three long years of letter writing between these two. The letter had a similarity of start and finish. The start,.
Sure! She just had another idea for his restaurant. And so it went throughout the long and uncertain wait until finally it was all over and he came home.

With a background of 15 years in this business he was anxious to get started. Building conditions, however, hampered him for quite some time.
Them, at long last, the site of this present building became available. The results are all around you.We'd like for you to study them well. Enjoy them. And on your way out say hello to your host Jim Otto, the guy who had the dream and lived to see if to see its fulfillment.
And come again won't you?

 Bar in the historic Valley Inn 2014 - Photo by Jerry Fecht

 Furnishings in the original Valley Inn c. 1948

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