By Crystal Duan
Signal Staff Writer
A restaurant offering the best of American cuisine and comfort food just opened Thursday on the corner of Main Street in Old Town Newhall.
Old Town Junction has been a passion project of the team of established Santa Clarita Valley chefs for years, said head chef and co-owner Daniel Otto.
“It’s been an emotional roller coaster getting everything together,” Otto said. “And now to be opening — it’s exciting.”
Otto, general manager Mandy Meeks, assistant manager Shane Bothwell, chef de cuisine Clayton Ryser and sous chef Adam Bokal had been trying to open the restaurant for two years before succeeding. The team had had relationships prior as locals to the chef industry in town, before they talked about envisioning a business.
“We really want to bring a food culture into this valley,” Otto said. “There’s not much out here in terms of the culinary arts. There’s only a few restaurants with in-house chefs, and we want to change that.”
Then came assembling the menu, which Ryser said is a mix of American cuisine and California-style comfort food.
All the food will be made from complete scratch, and the team hopes it will be a departure from the abundance of chains found in the Santa Clarita Valley.
The interior of the restaurant was also extensively thought out, Meeks said.
Its booths have vintage and rustic decor, with detailing to match.
“Every brush stroke of paint was thought out,” Meeks said of the area, which encompasses two dining areas, a fully stocked bar and sidewalk seating.
They oversee a team of 42 employees up front, and 15 in the back.
“We’re trying to bring a taste of Los Angeles up north, into one place,” Ryser said.
All team members had established reputations in the industry prior to coming together to start the restaurant.
Otto was the long-time executive chef at The Players Club and has been in the Santa Clarita community for 20 years, and in his career also worked at the Universal City Hilton Hotel, One Market, and other places.
Meeks worked at Wolf Creek Brewery for a number of years, while Bothwell worked for Princess Cruises. Ryser was sous chef at Valencia Country Club, while Bokal was executive chef at Mixers and Sisley Kitchen.
Recently, Otto’s culinary skills were auctioned off at the feedSCV Chefs Auction as the highest bid of the night for $7,000.
Old Town Junction is open Mondays through Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to midnight; Thursdays and Fridays from 11 a.m. to “late night” past midnight; Saturdays from 8 a.m. to late night; and Sundays from 8 a.m to midnight.
Their menu will soon be available online on their website at https://theoldtownjunction.com.
They are located at 24275 Main Street in Old Town Newhall.