Arts & Leisure

Coffee, tea and more on Main

PHUC LONG on Main Street in Garden Grove has a wide menu of coffees, teas and more (OC Tribune photos).

By Jim & Marilyn Tortolano

Which is the hottest and coolest spot in Garden Grove?

We’re speaking not of the weather, but of Phuc Long Coffee and Tea, recently opened on the historic Main Street. For ambiance, buzz, quality of product and amusing name, this is the place to try.

Located on a street that traces its origins back to 1874, this place brings a splash of cool modernity to an urban landscape transitioning from the traditional to the contemporary.

Phuc Long (translated, we are told, as “Happy Dragon”) is a chain that originated in Vietnam in Saigon in 1968 and has grown to over 60 locations. The Main Street spot is the chain’s first in the United States, and is located strategically in a city with a large Vietnamese population.

But you don’t have to be Vietnamese to enjoy this place. There’s very little sense that it’s aimed purely at that demographic, any more than Del Taco only wants to have an Hispanic clientele. All the signs are in English and on the busy Saturday morning that we visited, there was a sprinkling of different ethnic backgrounds.

The fare is varied and broadly-based. In addition to a variety of Euro-American teas and coffees there’s a selection of Vietnamese choices in beverages, as well as blended drinks. Gorgeous-looking baked treats like croissants and chocolate cake slices tempt the eye. Beyond the counter where you place your order – very much like a Starbucks – there is a large and well-attended seating area for patrons to congregate, chat and enjoy the laid-back atmosphere.

THIS IS the first of its kind in the USA.

Jim ordered an espresso, which was tasty but quite strong. He’ll ask for some cream and sweetener in it next time. Marilyn sampled an iced peach tea drink complete with slices of the fruit. Delicious and refreshing is her verdict.

The only drawback here is the very popularity of the place. We’ve never gone by when there’s not been a line to get in. But, as they say, good things come to those who wait. We did and so should you.

Phuc Long is located at 12936 Main St. in Garden Grove. Hours (subject to change) are 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Thursday and Sunday. Friday and Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Indoor and outdoor patio seating.


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