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Developed and initially owned by The Newhall Land and Farming Co., Castaic Landing was a 6,000-square-foot, 24-hour restaurant that offered home-style meals, a bar with a jukebox, video games and a big-screen TV. Located at 27701 Lake Hughes Road in Castaic, it was sandwiched between Castaic Road on the east and the northbound Interstate 5 onramp on the west. It opened in mid-1976 and closed September 25, 1988.
The restaurant had a nautical motif, tiering off the theme of the newly opened DWR Castaic Lake Reservoir. Operationally, the restaurant was the domain of Ken Porter, vice president of food services at the Newhall Land-owned Magic Mountain amusement park. Initial recruitment for positions at Castaic Landing took place at Magic Mountain in the spring of 1976. When Newhall Land sold Magic Mountain to Six Flags in 1979, Porter became Newhall Land's vice president of recreation, putting him in charge of Castaic Landing, the Valencia Country Club and Vista Valencia golf courses, Indian Dunes and other properties.
Newhall Land continued to divest itself of its commercial investment properties. On March 8, 1983, the company spun them off into a holding company called Newhall Investment Properties, headed by Newhall Land President James F. Dickason. Included were the two golf courses; the Ranch House Inn hotel and restaurant; Mustang Drive-In; Bob's Big Boy restaurant (Valencia Boulevard and Magic Mountain Parkway); Lumber City; Cordova and Greenbrier Mobile Home parks; Del Rio, Granary Square and Vista Village shopping centers; Travel Village; Univac and Valencia Medical buildings — and Castaic Landing.
About that time (1983), Porter bought the Castaic Landing business but not the acre of land on which it sat. With the growth of Castaic from about 2,000 inhabitants in 1976 to an estimated 5,000 by 1988 and 25,000 on the horizon — coupled with the restaurant's own success — land prices in the area had skyrocketed.
Newhall Land essentially finished liquidating its investment properties and shut down its spinoff company September 26, 1988. It sold the Castaic Landing acreage (one acre plus three adjoining acres for truck parking) to McDonald's. One day earlier, September 25, Castaic Landing served its last meal. At the time, Porter estimated that 40 percent of his business was coming from local customers, 40 percent from truckers and the balance from tourists.
McDonald's bought out Porter's lease (about five years remained), demolished the building and erected a new, 8,529-square-foot complex with the same address (27701 Lake Hughes Road, AIN 2865-036-013), anchored by a McDonald's restaurant in the prime corner location.