Fork & Salad
With two locations on Maui, this fast-casual eatery now gives O.C. diners the chance to build their own salads from a vast array of ingredients: five types of lettuce, vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts, and cheeses. Overwhelmed by the choices? Order one of the 10 suggested salad combos, and wash it down with a house-made lemonade or iced tea. 240 W. Chapman Ave., 657-223-9473
The minimalist black, white, and gray interior at this outpost of the well-known local ice cream chain ensures that the focus stays on desserts such as the famous milky bun: a warm glazed donut filled with ice cream and toppings. Some flavors, such as Cookie Monster, Dark Matter Brownie Batter, and Milk and Cereal, have devoted followings. 117 N. Glassell St.
The L.A.-based chain spent nearly a year restoring a historic building on the plaza, where it opened this cafe last year. Exposed brick walls, high ceilings, and a fire pit under a skylight provide a warm, cozy vibe. Diners line up for coffee and pastries to go, omelets and pancakes at breakfast, and paninis, pizzas, and salads at lunch. 100 W. Chapman Ave., 949-329-5755
The Potting Shed By Carlisle
The beloved home and garden store plans to move into a new space right on the plaza this winter. Until then, customers can visit the current location to browse an extensive selection of pots, plants, and vintage garden decorations. The friendly staff is happy to help gardening newbies select just the right greenery. 401 W. Chapman Ave., 714-468-5154
Good To Know
The beet and goat cheese salad at Fork & Salad features seasonal local fruit, cashews, spinach, and lilikoi-mango dressing.