Originally built in 1919, the Anaheim Packing House played an important role during the Orange County agricultural years. This was where local citrus farmers would prepare and ship their goods. Restored to its former glory the Anaheim Packing House pays tribute to Orange County’s farming days by creating a public market space to bring the community together.
When I planned to visit the Anaheim Packing House with my family, I just figured it was this new really cool eating venue with unique specialty merchants. I didn’t quite realize the historical significance of the building for the city. I’m a bit of history dork, so the building’s story made the experience of the day all the more special. And what a day we had!
From the outside the building doesn’t look that big, but once you step through the doors a whole world of exciting food and drink opens up. This expansive two-tiered open market place has a wonderfully bright atmosphere. I was instantly overwhelmed. Where do we start first?
“Let’s get a beer,” Grams suggests.
We did a preliminary lap just to check all our options, before navigating my double wide stroller to Georgia’s for our first (of many) beer stops. With an IPA in hand I checked out the menu. Georgia’s offers up Southern style comfort food that is good for the soul. I love anything with a bluesy vibe and I made a mental note to return for a snack.
I noticed outside that the patio was a reinvented train car. Lined with sturdy wooden tables, I rushed to get a seat on the steel bed of the rail-car. Sitting along a once functioning railway gave us a neat feeling, seeing this historical area given new life.
I was told by a friend to try the ramen noodles, so that was my first mission (after beer of course). Our first round of cuisine included a huge bowl of Karamiso Ramen, tempura shrimp and two orders of shrimp crunch rolls from Orange TEI, goat cheese stuffed naan and Pav Bhaji (Bombay style sloppy joe) from ADYA, and fish & chips and shrimp from The Chippy Fish & Grill. We washed it all down with a couple large bottles of Hanamachi, a deliciously refreshing rice lager.
After having our fill, we decided to mosey back inside to get the kids ice cream and listen to the live music. I really wanted to try the Popbar, but the line went all the way back to the Hammer Bar and I just couldn’t wait with two toddlers for gourmet popsicles. I forced to explore, which ended up being a good thing. As we walked past Dark 180, the smell of chocolate lured us over. I sat Firecracker and Cuddle bear at the bar for a frozen hot chocolate and had a pleasant conversation with the staff.
For Cuddle Bear we headed over to Han’s for some homemade ice cream. Desserts in hand, we met the rest of our family back at Georgia’s for some more food and beer. The manager came over to greet us with homemade cornbread, which Firecracker proceeded to devour. My girl can eat!
Next we explored the lower-level some more. We found a spot to get cozy, enjoy the music and people watch. The diverse crowd of happy families, love birds and youth made the atmosphere overwhelmingly happy. What I love about old buildings is the smell and the sound of the old wood. I could have sat there all day listening to the creaky floors as people walked overhead.
The kids fell asleep, so naturally it was time for more beer. We ordered delicious pale ale from the rolling boil.
I was on a mission to find the little black rabbit that was hidden somewhere within the Anaheim Packing House. I’m pleased to say I found it! I gave it a little pull and the secret door opened revealing the Blind Rabbit Speakeasy. I had the kids with me so I could only take a peek, but the menu looks great and it is safe to say I will be back for an adult evening out.
Surprisingly we were getting hungry for a little nibble, so headed to The Kroft for some fried cheese curds and thanks to a pleasant conversation with a couple in line with us, I was talked into trying the peanut butter stout. Yes, more beer. Grams stopped by the Buy’n Bulk for some rainbow colored popcorn.
The kids were sleeping soundly in their stroller, so HotDaddy and I enjoyed a relaxing swing while we listened to the band.
Once the kids woke up we decided to go back to the patio and feed the kids (and ourselves). Cuddle bear devoured the mac ‘n cheese from Georgia’s. We all shared another bowl of ramen and a spicy tuna roll from Orange TEI and a jumbo bottle of Tattered Prince spiced beer.
Although we spent the entire day eating and drinking our way through Anaheim Packing House, we still didn’t scratch the surface. Next I want to get a fresh juice from Lemon Drop (served in real coconut) and a crepe from Crepe Coop. I’ll have to bite the bullet and wait in line for Popbar, eventually. I want to enjoy some of the bars like Iron Press, Hammer Bar and the Blind Rabbit. I want to try the organic meat from Wheat & Sons. I was told the Country Fried Poutines from Kroft are amazing, so I’ll have to save room for those. I need to try the gourmet grilled cheeses from Black Sheep. I’ll have to come back when Ecco Restaurant and Sawleaf open.
Parking is a bear, so cough up the $3 (plus tip of course) for valet. Going to the Anaheim Packing House should be a happy day, don’t ruin it by getting angry looking for a parking spot.
Check the event calendar often. There is always something exciting happening at the Anaheim Packing House. On Sunday mornings there is the farmer’s market. There is live music every weekend. On Tuesday evening Dark 180 hosts story time by the fire pit. A professional actor tells the tale, so you are guaranteed to keep the kids interested. Kids receive hot coco and a smore for a $1 and the grandmas drink free frozen hot chocolates. Check here for events.
Overall, we had a great experience at Anaheim Packing House. I can see why it is so popular and I think it is a great addition to the city. It makes for a perfect gathering place for the community. It is such a happy and social place that left us with a feeling of euphoria, but the food and beer probably played a large role too. Anaheim Packing House is my new favorite hangout and I will be back week after week!