Check Out These Culinary And Community Experiences In Orange County

Orange County is home to countless dining experiences. And since it is Forever Summer in The OC, visitors can wine and dine in casual sophistication while enjoying pleasant weather.

This year, the retail landscape has gone from forever changing to forever changed. The pandemic added a unique element of surprise to the already confusing face of brick and mortar sales. The solution? Culinary and community experiences are popping up across OC and are well worth a visit with friends, neighbors or family.

Rodeo 39 Public Market Stanton

In the heart of Orange County, Rodeo 39 might be just minutes away from both Disneyland and the beach but it’s also in the city of Stanton. Doesn’t ring a bell? It won’t to most. Stanton is an overlooked, quiet, slightly shabby area that most people generally drive through on the way to the freeway. It doesn’t usually get such glamorous attention. But Dan Almquist, managing partner of Frontier Real Estate Investments, and his crew saw the potential in the rough little gem of the city and they have sincerely stuck it on the map and given it a little LA-worthy facelift in the process. They built Rodeo 39, a 41,000 square foot public space that houses over 25 dining, entertainment and retail concepts with accommodation for curbside pick up, too.

In addition to an Insta-worthy floral boutique and a bakery, Rodeo 39 has a retro arcade, a raw bar, a tea bar, a cocktail bar, a coffee shop and even a small stage for that exciting day when live music can resume. Rodeo’s biggest vendor coup though is scoring Skin Design Tattoo, which is owned by Robert Pho, who many argue is the best tattoo artist in the nation. Just to put it into perspective, Skin Design now has locations in Las Vegas, New York City, Honolulu — and Stanton.

There are 18 food choices, and they’re all over the map, from Vietnamese street crepes and Japanese ramen to Detroit deep-dish pizza, Hawaiin-style Kimchi Butter Chicken Katsu, artisanal vegan donuts and Filipino rice bowls.

Striving for Diversity vendors include Kra Z Kai’s, OC’s first Laotian BBQ spot. Beleaf Burgers sells vegan takes on popular fast-food sandwiches like McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish. At the artisan butcher shop Primal Cuts you can pick your own steak or burger from the case and have them cook it for you the way you like.

This is a must visit destination in OC to eat, drink shop and explore!

12885 Beach Blvd, Stanton, CA 90680 – www.rodeopublicmarket.com

Steel Craft Garden Grove

SteelCraft is a trio of like-styled concept locations built out of repurposed shipping containers with centrally located picnic table-style communal dining areas. Garden Grove is the first of its kind in the county and is the third SteelCraft rolled out since 2017. The other SteelCraft locations are in Long Beach and Bellflower. These community craft food and drink destinations offer everything from coffee to wine to community events to live music all featured within the barrier of SteelCraft. 

The complex is made up of 22 repurposed shipping containers connected with a steel-truss, barn-like roof structure, intended to be “reminiscent of Garden Grove and Orange County’s rich agricultural roots,” according to planners. The complex features Beachwood Brewing, Cauldron Ice Cream, Chick N’ Shack, Renegade Taco, The Penalty Box, Barrio, Dark Horse Coffee Roasters, Merenda and Wilson Creek Winery (coming soon).

12900 Euclid St., Garden Grove, CA 92840 https://steelcraftlb.com/steelcraft-garden-grove/

Trade Food Hall Irvine

The motto of Trade Food Hall is “Eat & Drink Well”, and this modern food hall does everything it can to help diners do just that.

This Irvine-based food hall has nine awesome vendors to delight local diners, and open and airy spaces to eat in. Try the fried chicken at Two Birds, or enjoy the amazing beer list at Center Hub (keep an eye out for specials like Whiskey Wednesday).  Trade in Irvine is the perfect place to please even the pickiest of eaters. From Mediterranean to Japenese, vegetarian and even some southern comfort. At Trade you”ll find delicious cuisine for whatever your palette craves.

2222 Michelson Drive, Irvine, CA 92612. www.tradefoodhall.com

4th Street Market Santa Ana

The 4th Street Market was the first food hall to be built in Santa Ana, and it’s still providing fantastic service nestled in the heart of downtown. A great array of food stores provides art for your mouth, and the food hall itself is full of visual art to compliment your lunch… and make it seriously Instagram-worthy. Check out Electric City Butcher for personalized and personable butcher services and humanely-raised meats, or a craft beer at Recess.

It’s worth noting that 4th Street Market has a 3-6PM Happy Hour Monday through Friday. They also have a cozy outdoor patio that’s dog friendly, if you can’t stand the idea of leaving your furry bestie home while you go to dinner. You can even host an event here!

Pro-tip: Parking in the 5th Street lot is the most efficient parking solution if you can’t find street metered parking.

201 E 4th St, Santa Ana, CA 92701 https://www.4thstreetmarket.com/

Union Market Mission Viejo

Staking its claim on Crown Parkway, Union Market Mission Viejo is a food hall with something for everyone. Great for date night or a quick lunch stop, offering locally-sourced food vendors and a fun family atmosphere. Hang out with board games, rent a ping-pong table, and grab a bite to eat from shabu-shabu joint Slice, or have an after-movie tea from Locca or craft cocktail from Dry Society.

Another combination of food and retail, Union Market Mission Viejo really plays up small businesses, offering a unique experience that can’t really be found anywhere else. Many of the vendors are business owners and have only one shop—there at the market. Within you’ll find Market 2 Plate, an Italian eatery that prides itself on using local farm-fresh ingredients, handcrafted pasta and house-made sauces. Milk Box is another favorite, though offering a different type of deliciousness—flavorful milk teas.

27741 Crown Valley Pkwy, Mission Viejo, CA, CA 92691

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