View Full Version : Great DL Area Restaurants From Yesteryear

05-31-2005, 04:16 PM
I got the idea for this thread from the one about restaurants inside the park.

My all time favorite DL area restaurant was Belisle's. It was just up Harbor from the park. I believe they razed the building in favor of one of the big hotels during the big expansion.

Anyway, about Belisle's. The place had been around for years and their 'gimmick' was to have giant portions of everything on the menu. And I dont mean 'Claim Jumper-like' giant, I mean GIANT. Each meal could easily feed 4 adults. Order a soda and it came in a glass bigger then a pitcher. I remember sharing a hot fudge sunday with my wife and folks and it easily had well over a half gallon of ice cream.

And the food was good, too.

Flamingo Kid
05-31-2005, 10:35 PM
I have to agree. Belisle's was my all time favorite. It was our tradition before a day at D-land. Hubby and I would have breakfast(biscuits and gravy couldn't be beat) to start off a good day at the park. They had the largest desserts you have ever seen. They were the first things you saw when you walked inthe door. They were presented in a case, and around the counters inside the door. The soda came with a straw that was taller than you when seated.
Its such a shame that it made way for some chain restaurants. It truely was a one of a kind. I miss it.
It will have to live on in my memories. I have a few pages in the scrapbook of Belisle's. I go there when I want to remember what it was like. I have their book written by the family somewhere. It tells all about the restaurant.

06-01-2005, 03:04 AM
I saw that name and instantly remembered going past it!! It was always so crowded, so it had to have had good food.

06-01-2005, 03:05 AM
My family also went to Belisle's from time to time. The place had some good food from what I can remember.

06-01-2005, 09:38 AM
If you're interested, a Search of the word "Belisle's" reveals at least half a dozen threads that contain references to this great area restaurant of the past. There's even an existing multi-page thread similar to this one called "Great Restaurants No Longer."

The most recent thread that mentioned Belisle's was from just a couple of months ago. In that I wrote about Belisle's:

Oh man...you and me both. Wouldn't find too many Weight Watcher approved items on 'ol Harv's menus, though!

I practically grew up at Belisle's (and at Disneyland)!

For those of you that never had the pleasure, Belisle's was a coffeeshop/restaurant on the corner of Harbor and Chapman (where Red Robin or Joe's Crab Shack or Outback is now, I think one of those is there). It was noted not only for it's broad and fine "home cooking" menu offerings, but in it's large...no, huge...no, gargantuan portions! A stack of pancakes that would stretch to eye level! A plate of BBQ ribs that only the entire Anaheim Angels ball team could polish off! Open 24 hours a day!

I remember in 1959 when the Matterhorn opened, that Belisle's had a stack of pancakes they called The Matterhorn! Walt himself ate there often. Old man Harvey Belisle made sure his chefs always knew how Walt liked his chilli...a special mix of Hormel and Dennison's, if I recall. We used to order "Walt's Special" all the time.

What a great fun place that was. They tore it down to make way for the construction of the Crowne Plaza Hotel Garden Grove and the new restaurants out in the parking lot. It was a very bitter and hotly debated Eminent Domain case brought by the Garden Grove Redevelopment Agency, who eventually prevailed and then seized the property from the Belisles on behalf of a developer. We were contractors for several of those GG projects, but I always sided with the Belisle's on a historic basis. Garbage Grove didn't care. They just saw the dollar signs and Belisle's was history. :(

Another great restaurant from the past that I miss was at the Disneyland Hotel back in the early days of Jack Wrather's ownership of it. It was called "The Oak Room." It started out as a private club (sort of the precursor to Club 33). Very fancy-schmancy. Dark oak woods, red velvet, brass, coats of arms...very old-school men's club thing. Walt was a member (natch) and would entertain visiting VVIPs there. A family member was a member and I recall going in there as a young man and thinking, "Wow...this is different!" Members actually had an old-style Gold Key to enter (which are prized collectables now). The Prime Rib served tableside from sterling silver carving carts was really memorable, as were the flambe desserts also prepared tableside.

Sometime shortly after Club 33 opened, The Oak Room ceased being a private membership club and opened to the public. Our family had many a special occasion dinner there and enjoyed some very fine meals at what seemed like a dark and mysterious place to more than one young visitor.

It was located where part of Neon Cactus/Sgt. Preston's and the old Goofy's Kitchen used to be.

When The Oak Room was removed to make way for Preston's and Goofy's...the then newly constructed "Granville's Steakhouse" took over as the Disneyland Hotel's fine dining establishment.

06-01-2005, 02:43 PM
Thanks for the story and repost, Opus. I always enjoy reading your stories. You have been lucky enough to have lived quite the life.

06-02-2005, 04:29 PM
You're welcome. :) And yes...I've been very lucky.

06-02-2005, 04:38 PM
I was fortunate enough to eat at Belisle's but once, a year or two before the wrecking ball.

I'm ashamed I had skipped it all those years prior.

Pancakes the size of a pizza. Amazing.