Landmark Wheel Inn Restaurant closes at Cabazon Dinosaurs

Wheel Inn restaurant closes at Cabazon Dinosaurs

CABAZON, Calif. - We've all seen the famous dinosaurs as we drive through Cabazon on I-10. They're best known for their appearance in "Pee Wee's Big Adventure." The late Claude Bell created the dinos to go hand in hand with his Wheel Inn Restaurant, which opened in 1958.

Now loyal restaurant customers and truck drivers find themselves locked out and disappointed after the business shut down in September.

"If you tell someone to meet at the dinosaurs, everyone knows about the dinosaur restaurant," said truck driver Cheryl Pellosma.

Neighboring businesses said the restaurant couldn't afford to keep its doors open and that the owner claimed busy weekends couldn't pay the bills. He closed the restaurant without notice.

"We walk up and they're closed. We knocked on the door and it's totally dead inside so we had to walk to fast food, which is too bad," said Rebecca Clark, of Indio.

Some visitors said they're worried that without the restaurant, there won't be enough traffic to feed the world-renowned attraction, which will push the dinos closer to extinction.

"If people don't have a good place to eat, it's not going to bring in as many people," said Clark.

Despite the Wheel Inn closing its doors, drivers hope the three-story T-Rex will still work its magic.

"Hopefully people will still be able to get something to eat and enjoy the place," said Robert Phelps, of Santa Ana.

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