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Papagayos Mexican Restaurant & Cantina from "Vanderpump Rules"

Apr 10th, 2017 | By | Category: TV Locations

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It has been hot in Palm Springs lately.  Granted, it is always hot here, but the past few months have been unseasonably sweltering.  Two weeks ago, my parents, the Grim Cheaper and I decided to chill out a bit by heading to Lake Arrowhead for a short getaway.  Just prior to our trip, the GC and I started watching Vanderpump Rules over again from the beginning and, as fate would have it, one of the reality series’ Season 2 episodes was shot in the mountain town, which is located about 80 miles east of Los Angeles.  So I, of course, had to get in some VP stalking while I was there.

In Season 2’s “Only the Lonely,” Stassi Schroeder, Jax Taylor, and the rest of the Sur gang journeyed to Lake Arrowhead for the weekend to catch Tom Sandoval’s band’s show.  Several area sites appeared in the episode and I stalked pretty much all of them, excluding the beach where Jax showed Stassi his new tattoo, which I maddeningly did not manage to track down until after I had already returned home.

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One of the most prominent locales featured was the Lake Arrowhead Village eatery Papagayos Mexican Restaurant & Cantina, where the group headed for drinks shortly after arriving in town.  So the GC and I, of course, had to do the same!

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During their visit, Stassi and co. hung out mainly in the restaurant’s bar area.

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Drama, of course, ensued while there, as it always does with the Sur gang.  During this particular venture, Sandoval and then girlfriend Kristen Doute got into a heated dustup over whether or not Tom wore his pair of steampunk glasses regularly.  I’m not joking – that is actually what their fight was about.  Ah, the important things in life.  The girls wound up splitting off from the guys during the argument and both genders gave Sandoval and Kristen the same advice – break up, and fast!

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Our lunch at Papagayos was much less eventful.  (The GC does not own a pair of steampunk glasses, so what was there to fight about, really?)

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Like the Vanderpump gang, we ate in the bar area and I can honestly say that the eatery served up one of the best Mexican meals I’ve ever had.

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It’s no wonder the place was absolutely jam-packed, even though it was 3 p.m. on a Saturday.

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If you’re in the area, I cannot recommend Papagayos more.

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The building housing the eatery has quite an interesting history.  Lake Arrowhead Village was the brainchild of the Arrowhead Lake Company, an L.A.-based development group that purchased a 4,800-acre plot in the San Bernardino Mountains in 1920 with the intention of turning  it into a resort town.  Roadwork, 3 hotels, a 9-hole golf course, and a quaint Norman-style shopping center named Lake Arrowhead Village were soon completed at the sprawling site.  The center consisted of boutiques, an outdoor movie theatre, restaurants, a beach, and a 12-sided dance pavilion that was designed by McNeal Swasey.  The lakeside town quickly became a getaway for Hollywood’s elite, attracting such stars as Marilyn Monroe, Bette Davis, Jules Stein, Cary Grant, Charlie Chaplin, Doris Day, Liberace, Frankie Avalon, and Rock Hudson.

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By the late ‘70s, the Village had fallen into a state of decline.  When new developers purchased it in 1978, they decided it would be more cost-effective to demolish the center and build a new one in its place, rather than do repairs.  So in 1979, Lake Arrowhead Village was burned to the ground as part of a “burn to learn” exercise conducted by the Lake Arrowhead Fire Protection District and a few other city agencies.  Only a couple of the site’s original buildings were kept out of the blaze, including the post office, the bank, a real estate office, and the circular dance pavilion.  The later was restored and revitalized and today houses Papagayos, as well as a few other shops.  You can see a photograph of the exterior of the pavilion in its original state here and here, and an image of the interior here.

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According to More Magnificent Mountain Movies, the pavilion was featured prominently in A Swingin’ Summer.  I scanned through the 1965 film, though, and the venue said to be the dance pavilion in it is the single-story outdoor bandstand pictured below, which I believe may have been a set created for the shoot.  It looks nothing like the Village’s actual dance pavilion, which, from what I saw, never made an appearance in the movie.

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For more stalking fun, follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Los Angeles magazine and Discover Los Angeles.

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Until next time, Happy Stalking!  Smile

Stalk It: Papagayos Mexican Restaurant & Cantina, from the “Only the Lonely” episode of Vanderpump Rules, is located at 28200 Highway 189, Building P-100, in Lake Arrowhead.  You can visit the eatery’s official website here.

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  1. […] the band performed here, as well as about a couple of other sites that appeared in the episode here and here.)  Upon arriving in town, the group makes a brief stop at a local beach for some […]

  2. […] night in town, during which the gang grabbed drinks at Papagayos Mexican Restaurant & Cantina (I blogged about that site here), was a bit rocky, with Tom and then girlfriend Kristen Doute arguing – initially over […]

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