Food Halls: Anaheim Packing House

Feeding Frenzy: The ultimate guide to navigating Orange County’s energetic, fast-growing, and occasionally confounding food maze.

Repurposed as a food hall, this 1919 remnant of Anaheim’s citrus industry is the nexus of a downtown revitalization.

IMG_3655 No detail was too small in turning Anaheim’s last-standing citrus packing house into a destination food hall. The city approached Linda and Shaheen Sadeghi, hoping the developers of The Lab and The Camp in Costa Mesa would bring the same medium-is-the-message design ethic to this historic structure. The result is a rustic, retrofitted space with a modern air, where original trusses and skylights soar overhead and the decor is a mix of tractor-seat barstools and orange-crate art. The handpicked roster of restaurants that range from Indian street food to pizza to a speakeasy with enticing bar food includes longtime indie favorites such as The Chippy Fish & Grill and Hans’ Homemade Ice Cream, which both opened second locations here. All the restaurants share in an unusual blanket liquor license that allows wine and beer to be consumed from plastic bottles anywhere inside. Cook’s Chapel, a new, rentable event space downstairs, books weddings.

You’ll know this place by its long lines and tantalizing rainbow of don’t-call-’em-popsicles Popbars. Choose from a wide variety of chilly delights made on site with yogurt, gelato, or dairy-free sorbetto. Then choose your dip—dark, milk, white, or mint chocolate—and your crunch—crushed nuts, chocolate sprinkles, or caramel corn. Summer never tasted so good.

Indian food is a great choice for any food hall, but so far in O.C., only the Packing House has gotten the memo. Adya, from chef-owner Shachi Mehra, serves modern Indian street food in the form of chaats and savory pav sandwiches, along with her traditional curries. Mehra credits her California influence for dishes such as avocado raita. Adya’s boxcar patio also is a fine spot to catch the nightly Disneyland fireworks.

IMG_4081Buy’n Bulk
The Packing House’s resident grocery store, Buy’n Bulk offers everything from ready-to-eat candy and chocolate to esoteric baking ingredients in any amount you desire. Get dried fruits, spices, grains, nuts, pastas, rice, beans, peas, cereal, oats, and granola, along with decadent snacks. Gluten-free and organic options, too.

Black Sheep GC
Grab a seat at the GCB, or grilled cheese bar, and enjoy fine cheese the way it was intended: melted, between slices of good bread. Expect combinations such as Spanish ham with manchego, or apple and fig with brie, from the same expert artisans who own San Clemente’s The Cellar, nearby Center Street Cheese in downtown Anaheim, and The Cheese Shop at OC Mix.

The Blind Rabbit
Look for this hidden speakeasy behind a wall of sake casks. The Blind Rabbit, owned by O.C. restaurant magnate Leonard Chan with Robert Adamson, serves enticing crafty cocktails and a menu of luxurious bar food—duck confit macaroni and cheese, for instance. Drink up, eat up; your table is reserved for 90 minutes.

In addition to The Chippy and Hans’, Ecco Pizzeria is another O.C. fave that chose the Packing House for its second location. Ecco’s seminal shop at The Camp is a star in the local wood-burning, Neapolitan pizza firmament, and at the Packing House an expansive and inviting patio and bar extend the action beyond the main building, overlooking “The Backyard” area.

Hot Tip Polly the Trolley whisks visitors from the Packing House to parking and Center Street businesses.

Indian street fare at Adya; The Blind Rabbit
Indian street fare at Adya

Worth Trying Nearby
-Farmers Park next to the Packing House earns its name every Sunday with a certified farmers market selling local produce.
-Stroll to the Packard Building at the far end of Farmers Park and try the revitalized Anaheim Brewery’s classic Hefeweizen.
-At Umami Burger, also in the Packard Building, the Welsh Rabbit burger with broiled cheese sauce and pickles is exclusive to this Anaheim location.

440 S. Anaheim Blvd.,
Most restaurants open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Some close earlier Sundays. Bars open until midnight.
Parking: Small attached lot; some street parking; structures at Center Street Promenade and Lemon Street

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