Here’s one of the guilty secrets of journalism. The greatest demand for “news” isn’t about earth-shaking political events or scientific breakthroughs. It’s food.
In fact, in the 2.5 years since The Tribune debuted, the number one most-viewed article was about plans for an In-N-Out restaurant at Chapman Avenue and Harbor Boulevard in Garden Grove.
As you may know, just about all these hamburger heavens are busy 24/7 (well, during business hours). Chick-Fil-A isn’t far behind. But which is the next must-have fast food place in West Orange County?
We think it’s Raising Cane’s, the always-packed chicken finger restaurant chain which is rapidly expanding across Orange County. While one is on the drawing boards for a center at Garden Grove and Beach boulevards, the next one is planned for Brookhurst Street and Adams Avenue in Huntington Beach.
To be more specific – if approved by the powers that be – the poultry palace will be located at 10142 Adams in the Stater Bros. shopping center next to Woody’s Diner. A hearing on the project is expected in late April and the anticipated opening will be in 2020.
If you don’t know local history, you don’t know Jack
Although our local communities are all well over 100 years old, we haven’t done as good of a job preserving our history as we should. Frankly, we’ve made a practice of turning historic buildings into historic parking lots.
So it’s especially gratifying that Garden Grove will be saluting one of its recently departed salty pioneers. A bust of Jack Wallin will be unveiled at Atlantis Play Center, 13630 Atlantis Way (that’s near the back end of Garden Grove Park, which is itself across the street from Bolsa Grande High School) on Tuesday, March 26 at 4:30 p.m.
The bust, sculpted by Jennifer Stewart – owner and operator of the also-historic Azteca Restaurant on Main Street in downtown Garden Grove – helps to honor one of the men responsible for the creation not only of the Strawberry Festival, but also of the innovative ocean-themed Atlantis Play Center.
He served as the city’s first recreation and parks director, and was on the Strawberry Festival Association board until his death in September 2018 at the age of 88.
So far, he’s one of only three Garden Grovers similarly honored, the other two being Alonzo Cook (the original founding father, from 1874) and Tibor “Ted” Rubin, winner of the Medal of Honor for his heroism in the Korean War.
We could use more of these three-dimensional tributes to local demi-gods who shaped our history and brought honor to the Big Strawberry. We musn’t forget those who came before us and gave us much of what we appreciate today.
And now, again, it’s back to the future
Shaheen Sadeghi, the innovative retail developer who is the force behind the Cottage Industries project in central Garden Grove has more than just the Big Strawberry on his plate, so to speak.
Sadeghi, who started with his anti-mall The Lab in Costa Mesa and burnished his reputation with the Packing House food hall in Anaheim, is also undertaking projects in Corona and at the other end of Costa Mesa.
According to the Riverside Press-Enterprise, he’s now active in reviving the moribund Corona Mall into something hip and happening. His company, LAB Holding, has purchased half the mall – and plans to buy the other half, too – and restock it all with restaurants, cafes, brewpubs, coffee shops, craft shops and more, but none of it from national chains.
Closer to home, Shaheen is planning on helping to repurpose part of the “old” Los Angeles Times/Orange County edition offices on Sunflower in Costa Mesa.
Closed in 2014, the building was sold to a developer who renamed it “The Press” with plans to turn it into a modern office complex, reports the Orange County Business Journal.
Sadeghi’s part will be to bring about 75 food and drink operations inside the 380,000 square-foot structure – think two Costco buildings, for scale – which will also include a fitness center, a dog park and landscaped outdoor work spaces.
That’s pretty ambitious stuff, but Sadeghi has a muscular track record. Just two final thoughts: love the dog park idea, but don’t forget about your – comparatively tiny – project in Garden Grove.
Usually Reliable Sources appears on alternate Wednesdays.