Downtown Santa Ana’s food hall reflects its cool urban-suburban ’hood, acknowledges its indie-chef and food-truck origins, and provides space for cooks.
Part of the ambitious East End development covering several square blocks of downtown Santa Ana—DTSA to almost everyone—4th Street Market hums with energy and beckons foodies. Giant plate-glass windows afford peeks at its 15 vendors—many of whom were indie chefs who began with food trucks. East End Incubator Kitchens is a rentable space and project of Jason Quinn, whose Lime Truck led to his pioneering Playground restaurant just across the street. The Honor Roll grocery store, another Quinn project, sells products made by market vendors. His other interests are the three-counter Lunchbox and a bar, Recess. Former food-truckers Dos Chinos and Chunk ’n’ Chip make their first brick-and-mortar homes here (while keeping their trucks rolling), and there’s a large, luxurious outpost of Portola Coffee Lab. For the mighty Foodbeast, O.C.’s big dog of the online food world: a studio and kitchen for recipe and video development.
Electric City Butcher
Sausage is made and charcuterie is cured for DTSA restaurants and walk-in customers on the pristine premises of Electric City, the whole-
beast, artisanal butcher shop named for chef-owner Michael Puglisi’s hometown of Schenectady, N.Y. He is inspired by the traditional Sicilian butcher shop, so you won’t find cases full of plastic-wrapped protein. Puglisi custom-cuts every order.
Co-owned by chef Danny Godinez of Anepalco’s and chef Jaritza Gonzalez, this concept goes beyond waffle sandwiches. Start with the Waffle Inc. taco featuring a filling that recalls the classic fish taco. Or the Chino Latino, plum-glazed fried chicken tenders on a green pandan waffle, a cheeky homage to market-mates Dos Chinos’ global fusion. It doesn’t stop with savory—so save room for buñelo waffles with chocolate sauce.
Chef Felix Barron has been to L.A. and back, returning to his hometown of Santa Ana to open KTCHN DTSA. Serving stepped-up comfort food, it’s one of the few places open during breakfast hours—the others are Portola Coffee Lab and Radical Botanicals juicery. Bonus: The ubiquitous egg-on-top trend is especially welcome on Barron’s brunch-perfect dishes. ktchndtsa.com
Burgers, noodles, fried chicken: Jason Quinn has ’em covered at three separate counters. At Wagyu Chuck, Imperial Wagyu Beef from Nebraska makes a more decadent doppelgänger of In-N-Out Burger’s Double-Double. Or try the not-quite-off-menu Playground Burger, with a full half-pound of the luxury beef. Find Wagyu at Quinn’s Noodle Tramp, too, in brisket form—one of the meat choices for khao soi, the northern Thai noodle dish house specialty. And at PFC, Memphis-style battered fried chicken gets the Quinn treatment: Southwest seasoning and an agave drizzle, plus buttery cornbread and other sides with a Playground pedigree. lunchboxdtsa.com
Calling itself an “atypical grocer,” this all-artisanal store from Jason Quinn strives to live up to its moniker, with handmade pasta from wife Hillary Quinn and bread from Playground’s Dough Exchange. A new Toast Bar & Lardery makes a meal of fancied-up toast. Look for frequent tastings of store items made in the adjacent East End Incubator Kitchens.
Worth Trying Nearby
– Farmers Park next to the Packing House earns its name every Sunday with a certified farmers market selling local produce. littlesparrowcafe.com
– Stroll to the Packard Building at the far end of Farmers Park and try the revitalized Anaheim Brewery’s classic Hefeweizen. hopperandburr.com
– At Umami Burger, also in the Packard Building, the Welsh Rabbit burger with broiled cheese sauce and pickles is exclusive to this Anaheim location. wursthausdtsa.com
Vendors rotate secret menu items, so check the market’s social media accounts.
201 E. Fourth St., Santa Ana, 4thstreetmarket.com
7 a.m. – 9 p.m. Sunday – Wednesday
7 a.m. – 10 p.m. Thursday
7 a.m. – 11 p.m. Friday – Saturday
Parking: Two structures on Fifth Street between Bush and Spurgeon; pay lot at Third and Bush; or metered spaces throughout downtown