Original Cottage restaurant closes its doors
Iconic Rimforest restaurant to reopen under new ownership in January
By DOUGLAS W. MOTLEY
After eight years of owning and operating The Original Cottage restaurant in Rimforest, Sandra DeLeon has accepted an offer to buy it from Armando and Esteban Osorio, owners of The Bear House Family Restaurant in Top Town Crestline. DeLeon reportedly bought the restraint from previous owner Carol Ferrie in 2014, after winning a million dollars in the lottery.
In an excerpt from an Oct. 23 post on Facebook, DeLeon announced, “As most of you have heard, our last day open will be Oct. 30. It is with great sadness and a grateful heart that we say goodbye. It was not a decision we made lightly but it’s time for us to move on to new ventures. We were honored to serve the community that we have lived in for over 40 years and raised our daughters in. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for supporting us through the rough patches that were COVID and the highway closure. We would not have made it without your support. We have made wonderful memories with all of you. We will miss seeing your faces every day.”
During an Oct. 30 visit to the iconic restaurant, which first opened its doors in 1976, The Alpine Mountaineer found scores of well-wishers, some bearing floral bouquets, who had come for a final meal and a chance to say goodbye to DeLeon and other longtime patrons of the popular eatery, famed for its pizza and other Italian and Mexican-style meals.
Elva Perez-Islas, who has been dining at The Cottage since 2003, said, “I’m sorry it’s closing; this is devastating,” as she began devouring an enormous chef’s salad, while her daughter, Lydia, began eating a teriyaki mushroom burger and French fries. Elva, who frequently comes for breakfast, was asked what other meals she likes at The Cottage. “I love the Farmer Boy breakfast,” she said of the reasonably priced dish that consists of Cottage potatoes, bacon, sausage, scrambled eggs topped with cheese and homemade country gravy, served with a choice of toast, English muffin or biscuit.
Seated nearby were Adam and Clarissa Quin from Arrowhead Villas. “We’re heartbroken; this is one of my favorite places to eat. I’ve been coming here several times a week since I was 10 years old,” said Adam, who was enjoying a shrimp scampi pizza, while Clarissa was having chicken and shrimp Sorrento.
Bear House co-owner Armando Osorio told The Alpine Mountaineer on Oct. 28 that The Cottage would be given a new name, tentatively “Osorio’s,” and that it will reopen sometime in January 2023 after some interior remodeling and exterior painting. Asked whether there will be any menu changes, Osorio replied, “We will keep the pizza, burgers, sandwiches and salads and, in the winter, we will have soup.” When asked about the breakfast menu, Osorio shared that the restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner only.
The Original Cottage will be getting new exterior paint prior to reopening in January. (Photos by Douglas W. Motley)
Restaurant owner Sandra DeLeon (in background) with three of her 14 employees.
Arrowhead Villas couple Adam and Clarissa Quinn were enjoying shrimp scampi pizza and chicken and shrimp Sorrento.
Elva Perez-Islas (R) chose a chef’s salad while her daughter opted for a teriyaki mushroom burger.