Quality Dining Experience – The Grill at Lake Arrowhead Village

It was about two years ago when Larry Cummings, owner of The Grill at the Antler’s Inn and now The Grill at Lake Arrowhead Village, “planted a seed” at the new Village location. Although it was just a dream location at first, four months ago it became his reality.

The Grill at Lake Arrowhead Village moved in when California Thai Cuisine closed. With his new business, Cummings acknowledged that the Village now has a restaurant that “they’ve always envisioned having.”

Cummings’ experience began when he started working in the hotel management business and, when he and his family made the move to the mountain, he landed a position as the general manager for the Ice Castle International Training Center and Blue Jay Ice Rink.

He worked there for some time until the owner ultimately decided to sell. It was during that time that Cummings decided to pursue a different path, and open his own business. His first restaurant was in Big Bear, which he sold about 15 years ago. He then opened The Grill at the Antler’s Inn in Twin Peaks, and has been there ever since.

Even though he has The Grill at the Antler’s Inn, he mentioned that the restaurant in the Village is “a completely different dance.”

The difference, he said, is that people actually have to find him now. Meaning, at the other location, Cummings is already known. “I cater to local clientele [there] who know what I do, and how I do it,” he shared, adding that in the Village, it depends on if those passing by decide they want to eat there or not. “It’s a slow-down mentality,” he noted, describing that when tourists stop to eat there, they have to have a certain amount of patience to take in the full experience. Cummings went on to say that having a slower tone at his restaurants is important to him.

At the Village location, he has opened up a fine dining restaurant and sushi bar, which gives the Village that taste of something it did not have before.

“My perspective is always quality,” Cummings said. “I tend to remain pretty low key until I have it the way that I want it...and that takes time. People won’t recognize it, but I recognize it, and I do it for the proper experience.” In order to enhance the quality of the food, he explained his concept of farm to fork. For this, he likes to work with local businesses, such as Mountain Family Farms, Savory Greens, Suzy Bee Farm and Sycamore Ranch Vineyard and Winery.

His goal for The Grill at Lake Arrowhead Village is to focus on the look and the ‘back house,’ which means that all staff members are involved in understanding how the making of the food is done, and how to serve guests in a timely manner. “It’s important that we get it out at a certain rate,” he further explained, adding that sometimes that means spending his own time at the food stations. Most of the recipes were originated by Cummings himself. “We have to make sure we are not dropping the ball on the delivery of our product.”

In terms of running a successful restaurant, let alone two, Cummings acknowledged that it all comes down to understanding the economics of it. “If you don’t have the volume, you’re going to struggle,” he disclosed.

Cummings’ business continues to evolve and he is thankful to have had the opportunity to open the restaurant at the new location. Although his long-term goals are always changing, he emphasized, “We are here to stay.”