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Jason’s by the Circle has opened near Old Town Orange, appropriately a few blocks east of the neighborhood’s iconic Orange Circle. The eatery marks a return to restaurants for Orange County restaurateur, chef and caterer Jason Kordas, whose resume includes cooking for President Clinton and operating Jason’s Downtown in Santa Ana. The venue features a globally inspired contemporary menu with an emphasis on Mediterranean flavors. Lunch & Dinner daily. Jason's By the Circle, 513 E. Chapman Ave., Orange, CA 92866, 714-347-1130.
Osteria Vicario in Santa Ana will feature two patios where guests can enjoy pasta and wood-fired pizzas. There will also be an Italian delicatessen and market. Osteria Vicario, 1002 W. Third St., Santa Ana, CA 92703, No phone.
The Ritz Restaurant, the long-standing Fashion Island eatery that closed its doors in 2014, is re-emerging at a new location. The restaurant, which was known for its take on classic continental cuisine, seafood and cocktails, will be housed in the waterfront space along Newport Beach’s Mariners Mile, formerly occupied by the Chart House. It is slated to open sometime in October 2015. Lunch & Dinner daily. The Ritz Restaurant, 2801 W. Coast Hwy., Newport Beach, CA 92663, no phone.
Lemonade, the Los Angeles-based, cafeteria-style restaurant, has opened its second location in Orange County. The new location can be found in the Park Place retail and apartment complex in Irvine. Like their flagship OC locale in Newport Beach, this eatery will be serving up a rotation of salads, sandwiches, braises and soups, along with a wide selection of lemonades. Lunch & Dinner daily. Lemonade, Park Place, 2967 Michelson Dr., Irvine, CA 92612, 949-396-1560.
Former HopScotch executive chef Cody Storts has opened Grits Fullerton. The downtown Fullerton venue, which is located just a couple blocks from Storts’ former stomping grounds, is a brunch spot serving up forward-thinking takes on Southern comfort food infused with California inspiration. Guests can enjoy standards like biscuits and gravy, or something a little more progressive like roasted pepper grits. Grits Fullerton, 133 W. Chapman Ave., #102, Fullerton, CA 92832, 714-449-0939.
Pour Vida Latin Flavor has opened in Anaheim’s Center Street Promenade. Owner/executive chef Jimmy Martinez, who previously worked at BOA Steakhouse and 41 Ocean Members Club in Santa Monica, oversees this relaxed Mexican restaurant, whose menu places an emphasis on tacos. The venue also serves up salads, along with fresh-pressed juices, craft beer and wine. Lunch & Dinner daily. Pour Vida Latin Flavor, 185 W. Center Street Promenade, Anaheim, CA 92805, 949-338-2806.
TAPS Fish House & Brewery has opened its second Orange County location. The new venue is situated within the sprawl of The Market Place in Irvine. Like its sister OC location in Brea, the restaurant features a menu of steaks and seafood, accompanied by a deep selection of craft beers, including several selections made by their own brewery. The venue will also roll out brunch every Sunday. Lunch & Dinner daily, Brunch Sun. TAPS Fish House & Brewery, The Market Place, 13390 Jamboree Rd., Irvine, CA 92602, 714-619-0404.
Sushi Roku, the popular Los Angeles-based sushi concept, has opened its doors in Fashion Island. As the name suggests, the venue serves up sushi and sashimi, along with an eclectic array of specialty rolls. The menu also features modern Japanese fare created with a California influence. Guests can round out their dining experience with a selection from the venue’s beer, wine and sake list. Sushi Roku Newport Beach, Fashion Island, 401 Newport Center Dr. Ste 327, Newport Beach, CA 92660, 949-706-3622.
Luna Kutsi has opened in downtown Santa Ana, in the space formerly occupied by Memphis at the Santora. The restaurant is serving regional Mexican cuisine that encompasses the different traditions of the country’s eclectic culinary scene, from Baja California to the Yucatan peninsula and all spaces in between. The venue also features cocktails and late-night dining. For more information, visit www.lunakutsi.com. Dinner nightly. Luna Kutsi, 201 N. Broadway, Santa Ana, CA 92701, no phone.
Amar Santana, executive chef and owner of Laguna Beach’s Broadway by Amar Santana, has announced plans for a second restaurant. The new venue, Vaca, is slated to open in fall 2015 across the way from South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa. The restaurant marks a return to Costa Mesa for Santana, who built up a solid following among dining patrons as executive chef at Charlie Palmer’s at Bloomingdale’s South Coast Plaza. Vaca, 695 Town Center Dr., Costa Mesa, CA 92626, no phone.
Sunday Suppers at SOCIAL Costa Mesa
SOCIAL Costa Mesa hosts special Sunday Supper menus. Executive chef Jeffrey Boullt taps into his Southern roots by crafting a hearty weekly menu that emphasizes flavors and ingredients from the region, such as Cajun-style fried chicken and ham and cheddar biscuits. Bar director Mike West will also be creating fresh craft cocktails to pair with the dishes. SOCIAL Costa Mesa, 512 W. 19th St., Costa Mesa, CA 92627, 949-642-2425.
The Costa Mesa restaurant Pueblo and executive chef Michael Campbell have parted ways. No reason was given for the chef’s departure from the eatery, which is located in the popular OC Mix at South Coast Collection shopping center. No replacement chef has been named. Pueblo, OC Mix at South Coast Collection, 3321 Hyland Ave., Ste. D, Costa Mesa, CA 92626, 714-340-5775.
Greg Moro has taken on the role of executive chef at Chapter One: The Modern Local. The downtown Santa Ana eatery marks the latest stop for the veteran Orange County chef, whose resume includes stints at former OC dining stalwarts French 75, Neuport 17 and Charlie Palmer at Bloomingdale’s South Coast Plaza. Chapter One: The Modern Local New Chef, 227 N. Broadway, Santa Ana, CA 92701, 714-352-2225.
Executive chef Eric Samaniego has parted ways with Little Sparrow. He had been with the downtown Santa Ana restaurant since it opened in 2013. The restaurant’s sous chef, Melissa Ortiz, will be running the restaurant’s kitchen on an interim basis. Little Sparrow, 300 N. Main St., Santa Ana, CA 92701, 714-265-7640.
Z’Tejas in South Coast Plaza has announced it is closing. The modest chain restaurant, which was known for its approachable take on Southwestern cuisine, will be serving its last lunch and dinner on August 29, 2015. Plans for a replacement restaurant have not been announced. Z'Tejas, South Coast Plaza, 3333 Bristol St., Costa Mesa, CA 92626, 714-979-7469.
Watson’s Drug Store will temporarily shutter on August 31, 2015, for renovations after an ownership change. The iconic café and soda fountain, whose storefront has been a fixture on the Orange Circle since 1899, will embark on a top-to-bottom renovation that is slated to yield an expanded soda jerk counter, refurbished furniture and a selection of craft beer. Watson's Drug Store, 116 E. Chapman Ave., Orange, CA 92866, 714-633-1050.
Tabu Grill has closed its doors after 11 years of serving up contemporary cuisine. The south Laguna Beach restaurant acknowledged an increase in stellar local competition in the wake of the recent recession as one of the factors in their closure. No future plans have been made for the former restaurant’s compact space. Tabu Grill, 2892 S. Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, CA 92651, no phone.
The Globe Dine Bar in Garden Grove has closed its doors. The restaurant, which was known for serving global cuisine, and its massive collection of Belgian beers on tap, is planning to re-emerge next year in a different location with a new name --- New World Abbey. No plans for a replacement restaurant in the venue’s old space have been announced. The Globe Dine Bar, 12926 Main St., Garden Grove, CA 92840, no phone.
Pinot Provence in Costa Mesa has closed its doors, after serving French cuisine for 18 years. The restaurant, which was located within the Westin South Coast Plaza, served its final meal June 19. No plans for a replacement venue have been announced. Pinot Provence, The Westin South Coast Plaza, South Coast Plaza, 686 Anton Blvd., Costa Mesa, CA 92626, no phone.
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