The Iconic Cuyama Buckhorn Retreat

JILL WEINLEIN

After graduating from UCLA, JIll traveled the world looking for unique destinations. She’s been writing about her travels for almost 30 years in various publications.

She writes a weekly restaurant review for the Beverly Press and Park LaBrea News. It’s inserted into the Los Angeles Times every Thursday and delivered to subscribers from Hancock Park to Beverly Hills, Hollywood Hills to the Wilshire Corridor.

The Iconic Cuyama Buckhorn Retreat

BY JILL WEINLEIN

In the Santa Barbara high desert is a hidden gem, Cuyama Buckhorn. It’s a step back into the 1950’s, when Atlantic Richfield Company helped develop the town of New Cuyama, and built some housing, funded schools, put in some of the utilities, and associated commercial business, including the Roadside Inn Cuyama Buckhorn. Their executives flew into New Cuyama in the small and only paved public-use air strip. It was the only one for more than 50 miles flying range to Los Angeles. Many of the infrastructure from ARCO still exists today, and are used by town residents.

The original ARCO-built gas processing plant is still in use in eastern Santa Barbara County, however when oil and gas production declined in the area, agriculture soon sprouted up with farms and ranches along the main road and hills.

Weary travelers would stop for a meal at the Buckhorn Restaurant & Bar attached to Cuyama Buckhorn, nestled in The Hidden Valley of Enchantment. Favorites on the menu included Santa Maria tri-tip grilled on the restaurant’s cherished Red Oak grill. The Buckhorn continues to create nostalgic classic dishes, among rows of Buckhorns decorating the wall. Menu favorites include handmade tortillas for tacos, Buckhorn burgers and club sandwiches on house-made bread.

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