Ed Savko, who with his wife Vern owned the most famous lunch stop and general store in Los Angeles, died last Monday. Ed and Vern called their business The Rock Store.
It was an old stage coach station that got its name because it was made of volcanic rock. Ed and Vern opened the store on Mulholland Highway in the Malibu Hills in 1961 after they moved to California from Pittsburgh. It became the local grocery for numerous artists, writers, actors and other recluses. When it opened, bread cost 19 cents a loaf. It was also a school bus stop and free daycare center for local children. And, it quickly became a stop for bikers riding the canyons between the San Fernando Valley and Malibu.
The Rock Store began to grow famous as a celebrity hangout five years after it opened when Steve McQueen started riding in with Ali McGraw on the back of his bike. During the next 40 years Ronald Reagan, John Wayne, Peter Fonda, John Travolta, Matt LeBlanc, Tommy Lee, Harrison Ford, Ewan McGregor, Bruce Springsteen and Nick Nolte were all regulars for months, years or decades.
In the 90s The Rock Store began to grow a reputation as a place to see celebrities and as a hang out for rich urban bikers. “There are no gangs,” Savko told a reporter named Stephanie Bertholdo two years ago. “I have a guy who comes in – a big CEO with a suit and tie. On weekends he comes up here and looks like he rolled in the mud.”
The Rock Store was always much more interesting than that. Arnold Schwarzenegger called Vern “Mama” and while he was Governor of California he suggested that the Savkos donate their place to the state as an historical monument. “I told him to buy it and donate it himself,” Savko said. In recent years The Rock Store had been cursed with the label “Americana.” A documentary was produced about the place four years ago.
Ed Stavko was born September 28, 1925 and he served in the Navy from 1943 until 1946. He is survived by his wife, Veronica Mae Savko; his sister, Marion Nachreiner; his daughter, Sandra Clark; his son, Richard; seven grandchildren including Christopher Clark, Stacey Clark, Yvonne Savko, Sheri Savko, Lindsey Savko, Ryan Darling and Cory Darling; and his great-grandson Tyler Bossard.
His funeral is Tuesday, April 10 at 10 a.m. at Saint Jude’s Church in Westlake Village, California followed by burial at Pierce Brothers Mortuary. There will be a celebration honoring Ed Savko’s life at the Rock Store beginning at 2 p.m. Tuesday afternoon.
Ed Savko was a nice man who made great sandwiches and in 51 years he never once ran out of beer.
Requiscant In Pace