What was the anchor of a restoration and revitalization project spearheaded by the city of Anaheim nearly 10 years ago has culminated in a culinary collective that has transformed the historic Sunkist Packing House into gourmet dining hall destination. However, while the conventional idea of a communal dining hall paints a rather bland, generic scene, the Anaheim Packing House comes alive with all the charm of a meticulously detailed gallery. It is part better Homes and Garden, part Juxtapoz, and to call this place a food court of any sort just seems to sell it severely short. Complete with over 20 artisan eateries utilizing locally sourced, responsibly raised, and sustainable ingredients, the kind of variety housed in one location ensures return trips will be planned well in advance. Here is a rundown of just some of the best Packing House’s staples.
Anaheim Packing House
440 S Anaheim Blvd
Anaheim, CA 92805
As if the bustling staff wasn’t enough to draw your attention, the stack of freshly baked French rolls just behind the counter are definitely enough to turn heads. Pushing “reinvented comfort food”, the French dip sandwiches are stacked with prime rib here and the Canadian junk food classic Poutine are always moving. The equivalent to Chili Cheese fries, this version offers gravy, short rib, onions, mushroom, and cheese curds atop golden fried potatoes. Boasting an impressive menu of sandwiches that range from traditional to seasonal specialties, whatever the preference, it’s tasty and always wrapped in butcher paper.
Wheat & Sons
Partners Ashly Amador and Nate Overstreet have established the modern evolution of the neighborhood butcher with Wheat & Sons. Adhering to a fervent belief in responsibly raised and ethically butchered/prepared meat, the tandem live and work together and their passion is evident. With a specialized menu of a handful of incredibly executed deli sandwiches (Porchetta with pickled radish and watercress – WOW), in addition to their rotisserie chicken, there is something almost elegant in the simplicity. Offering charcuterie that will make the novice reconsider cold cooked meats, Wheat & Sons is the meat counter for the Twitter Generation.
The Iron Press
In truth, one would be hard pressed to find something that doesn’t work in a waffle sandwich. More than word play here, the Iron Press does a fantastic job of pairing delicious sandwiches on waffles with local, craft beer. From a savory Prosciutto and gruyerie, to the timelessly decadent Monte Cristo, sandwiches are reimagined, in waffle form of course. Nestled next to one of the many Bootlegger’s Brewery offerings on draft (the Pumpkin Ale might be one of the best anywhere), The Iron Press offers the kind of dining experience that transforms something gimmicky into something gourmet all while keeping things fun.
SEED People’s Market
In between fits of feasting, a healthy dose of shopping never hurts. Somewhere between REI and Urban Outfitters there is SEED People’s Market. Fashionable, functional, and socially mindful, SEED not only specializes in sustainable apparel and using recycled materials throughout, but does a great job of patronizing local artisans in an effort to provide current trends. Offering both men’s and women’s clothing, find tops, outwear, shoes, accessories, as well as gifts at SEED. The ‘Peoples Market’ also offers adventure goods such as backpacks, tents and sleeping bags and much more. Regularly offering classes and seminars to cultivate a community from their clientele, spending a little extra at SEED is an investment in the future.
Easily touting the longest lines at all points and times of any business day, Popbar utilizes specific terms like Popologists (Popbar employees) and their Poplab (Popbar’s kitchen) to further reel fans of popsicles in for an experience on a stick. Made fresh daily, the frozen treats in a multitude of flavors range from gelato, sorbet, and yogurt on a stick. The tasty vessel is then dipped in dark, milk, or white chocolate and coated with toppings like pistachios, coffee gains, shredded coconut, or granola to make for one delicious treat. The combinations are virtually endless and with seasonal offerings, the ante is always being upped.
Dedicated to perfecting the comfort classic of fish and chips, The Chippy’s signature batter is really what seals the deal here. Sticking to the basics, Calamari rings and jumbo shrimp are also available on the menu, but there is something special about a crunchy piece of flaky cod with some thick cut fries. Prepared in zero tans-fat oil however, at least part of the guilt associated with friend food is set at ease. A hearty dish with none of the grease latent glutton always makes a meal much more enjoyable.
In a sea of eateries all designed to one up another, the Lemon Drop is the kiosk of refreshment in this mall of food. The fruit and vegetable stand churns out fresh pressed juices from locally harvested produce that looks as good as it tastes. Appropriately named drinks are prepared in a clean open space loaded with colors from the surrounding ingredients. The fragrance this place puts into the air is worth the trip alone.
Pork chops, Catfish, Hot Links, Po’Boys – any chance to indulge in some soul food in Southern California is welcomed treat. Offering all of the traditional accoutrements like collard greens, candied yams, baked beans, and sweet potato pie, Georgia’s nails southern flavors with only one slight variation. Injecting a bit of Brazilian cuisine into the menu, garlic rice and savory Pastels are available as well. These pastries are fried pockets of seasoned beef or chicken and they are a can’t miss.
Japanese cuisine, culturally, tends to favor the healthier side of the spectrum. Using incredibly fresh ingredients, market fresh fish, and time-honored recipes, sushi and ramen are perfected at Orange Tei. Ramen Master Shigetoshi Nakamura works wonders with miso broth, handcrafted noodles, and succulent pork. Paired with a rotating list of locally brewed beer and specialty craft from the likes of Bottle Logic, among others, TEI is tops.