Looking at the Town Crier last week, it looks like some restaurant owners may be finally waking up. I saw deals on food.

I have been up here now for 15 years and have been saying the same thing over and over: The prices up here to eat are crazy.

Chelsea’s was one of the only places up here where you could eat and not cost you an arm and a leg. Chelsea’s made it for years in this town.

How many restaurants have come and gone in the last 15 years? Slowly, year after year, restaurant owners who had a somewhat reasonable price and had been here for years decided it was time to retire.

They sold their business and the new owners had the same food but raised the price within a year $3 or more. Some have specials and within a year they are back up to the regular price.

I remember one place would just put a line through the price and add another and do it two or three times before changing menus. Always the excuse is, “We are so far from everything,” like many of the stores up here. I think that was proven wrong when one owner started selling gas 50 to 80 cents a gallon cheaper. He even did it on food until that got screwed up.

This is a disadvantaged community and most people can’t afford to eat here who live here. I never owned a restaurant and maybe I don’t know what I am talking about, but the way I see it is if you can’t get the people who live here to come into your restaurant once or twice a week, you’re never going to make it.

You can’t make it trying only to get the tourists. I think that has been a proven fact. I am now down to one place where I can afford to eat and I have to eat before 9 a.m.

Michael Freitas


  1. There are no “fast food” type restaurants in Idyllwild. I think this is a good thing, I would rather eat the higher quality, fresher food that is readily available in Idyllwild. Can I afford to eat out every night? Absolutely not, but when did it become a restaurant owner’s job to make sure his prices were low enough to make sure everyone could afford to eat out more than a few times a week? The people I know who have a restaurant are not getting rich, they are providing jobs to people who live here. In fact when they first opened up they tried to charge lower prices but it wasn’t economically feasible.

    I understand that there are times and things that could be less expensive, and those who can and do charge less get more business and goodwill associated with reasonable fair prices. Remember that a business must not only cover its direct costs, it must also have some amount of cushion for when times get hard. Labor is often the largest expense for most businesses and that labor cost is the jobs for our friends and neighbors.