Best New Restaurants 2022: Bosscat Kitchen & Libations in Old Towne Orange Oozes Cool

Photographs by Emily J. Davis


nstant crowds signaled that diners in Old Towne Orange were all-in for this ingenious retool of an iconic corner liquor shop. Already popular in the airport zone, Bosscat has a scalable formula—appealing eats, clever bar program, and a welcoming setting just the right shade of cool. Executive chef Peter Petro cooks Southern comfort fare with a twist. Expect shareables ideal for the busy happy hour—piping hot pulled pork-filled hush puppies, seared soy-glazed ahi lettuce wraps, or cheesy chicken dip with homemade potato chips. Mason jars of house-pickled vegetables are a crisp counterpoint to the rich noshes. There’s a fine 7-ounce custom-grind burger with Black Forest bacon that’s perfect with craggy fries dipped in chow-chow ketchup. Those fries also flatter an inspired shaved roasted pork chop sandwich with barbecue cabbage slaw. Gulf shrimp and Gouda-laced grits reappear at brunch alongside short rib chilaquiles and Fruity Pebbles French toast. Upbeat servers and the 48-seat patio welcome refugees from a lively bar blaring ’80s hits. Craft cocktails and flights exploit a fierce whiskey collection, and there’s a 14-person Whiskey Room for private parties and tasting menus.

118 W. Chapman Ave., Orange 714-716-1599

MORE: Orange County’s Best New Restaurants: 2022