Wheel Inn Restaurant, Cabazon, California
Tribute by Jeffrey Sward
Click any picture to enlarge
Click here to view Roadside Attractions list.
qp city, state Photograph by Jeffrey Sward qp city, state Photograph by Jeffrey Sward
qp city, state Photograph by Jeffrey Sward qp city, state Photograph by Jeffrey Sward
Click any picture to enlarge



Adjacent to Calude Bell's Dinosaurs was the Wheel Inn Restaurant. The Wheel Inn was noted for the combination of kitsch and novelty. "Genuine Kitsch" as one Los Angeles Times reviewer noted. The Wheel Inn restaurant in Cabazon, California is so comfortably outdated that you could mistake it for a theme. The truck stop looks like it's in the middle of the desert as the town had yet to grow out that far. The inside of the restaurant however is a blast from the past.

The Wheel Inn opened in 1958 and closed to diners in 2013.

Demolished in 2015 due to neglect and economic inviability.

The landmark Wheel Inn Restaurant is just a pile of broken timbers and rubble, having fallen victim to vandals and changing building codes and finally toppled by heavy equipment earlier this month, its future development plans not public yet.

Cabazon residents mourned the restaurant's demise in Facebook posts as word spread about the fate of the eatery that closed to diners in 2013.

That year, the last in a series of owners said the costs of maintaining the more than half-century-old building were high, with a busy weekend crowd but slower weekdays and the Morongo Casino, Resort & Spa and nearby fast-food restaurants along I-10 eating into the bottom line.

The property, separately owned from the Cabazon Dinosaurs museum and prehistoric models, was put on the market to sell. The for-sale-or-lease banner was taken down in September 2015 because of ongoing damage to the building, including break-ins.

Sam Spinello, described as a managing member of Dinosaur Park LLC, sold the property to Imperial Consultants Inc. of Imperial, with the grant deed recorded Nov. 4, according to Riverside County property records.

A demolition permit was issued Nov. 28 to applicant Westmorland Date Shake of Brawley, and a box truck with that name was parked on the site last week. There are a date grove and a fast-food restaurant that serves the shakes in the town of Westmorland.

The vertical "EAT" sign remains standing, for now.

Visit Wheel Inn, Cabazon, California


All written content of this web site is solely the editorial opinion of Jeffrey Sward. All images, graphics, and written content of this web site, including the html files, are creative products covered by copyright law. All content copyright Jeffrey Sward 1975-2022. All rights reserved. No portion of this web site or its constituent elements may be reproduced in any form, by any means, without prior written permission. So there.