by Jeanne Brei
As regular readers know, I love everything vintage and retro. And when Anaheim began revitalizing their downtown, they started by restoring three historic landmarks—a 1919 Sunkist orange packing house, a 1925 Packard car dealership, and a 1917 orange marmalade factory—which became known as the Anaheim Packing District. The Anaheim Packing House was the former Sunkist citrus-packing facility that was abandoned for decades, and has now been reborn as a multi-story food hall, with live music and events. Inside, more than 30 food stalls and eateries—many focusing on local ingredients—are there to tempt you. According to Visit California, you should try soul food at Georgia’s, ramen noodles at Orange Tei, the street foods of India at Adya (one of the O.C.’s top new eateries), and dessert at Hans’ Homemade Ice Cream. There’s also a great restored 1920s railroad boxcar inside the Packing House at The BXCR Wine Bar (also known as the Underground Wine Society).
For the more adventurous, there’s a wonderful speakeasy inside the Packing House known as The Blind Rabbit (pictured left) where proper attire (and a reservation) is required after 5 p.m. Camouflaged floors within the Packing House restaurant give way to a concealed 550-square-foot bar that seats 35. To find the exact location, look for “The Black Rabbit Handle” and enter through the sake barrels. The place plays hard to get, which is part of the fun and while there’s no passcode, there is a dress code. This 1920s-style club features low lighting, eclectic glassware and a 1905 working piano.
Next door is the Packard Building, built in 1925 as a showroom for luxury cars. Today, it houses foodie-favorite Umami Burger (check out the license plate chandelier) and Anaheim Brewery, the re-imagining of a brewery closed during Prohibition (the bar was salvaged from an old saloon nearby).
The Packing District complex also includes Farmers Park, an inviting two-acre space with room to stroll and relax. There’s outdoor yoga classes, ping-pong tables, movies on an outdoor screen, and al fresco dining at 18 Folds (modern Chinese) or the vegetarian- and vegan-friendly shovel-to-fork eatery Cultivation Kitchen. As for safety, it is such a priority that Anaheim is one of four U.S. cities to have a specialized Tourist Oriented Policing team.
Or, if you’d prefer a more fine-dining experience, there’s several within walking distance of the ACC, including Morton’s The Steakhouse which specializes in USDA Prime-aged steaks and the Anaheim White House which is known for its Northern Italian fare and seafood, as well as its banquet and private dining rooms.
And just an Uber ride away, across the street from Angel Stadium and the City National Grove of Anaheim, The Catch has served fresh, hand-cut fish, chops, and 28-day aged steaks for more than 30 years.
Anaheim Packing House, 440 S Anaheim Blvd, Anaheim, CA 92805, (714) 533-7225.
Morton’s The Steakhouse, 1895 Harbor Blvd, Anaheim, CA 92802, (714) 621-0101
Anaheim White House, 887 S Anaheim Blvd, Anaheim, CA 92805, (714) 772-1381
The Catch, 2100 E Katella Ave #104, Anaheim, CA 92806, (714) 935-0101
This story originally appeared in the January/February issue of Exhibit City News, p. 82. For original layout, visit https://issuu.com/exhibitcitynews/docs/exhibitcitynews_janfeb_2020