By Vickie Vertiz
The Anaheim Packing House just had its grand opening. The old Sunkist packing plant is now a new marketplace and dining hall sure to attract locals and tourists alike. Although the words “dining hall” make it sound like a college cafeteria, the Packing House is anything but that.
The market is filled with various mouth-watering businesses such fresh vegetable stands, a juice spot, a bakery, two bars, a pizzeria, fish market, several restaurants and even a chocolatier.
The 100-year-old building was renovated at the cost of several million dollars and took many years to complete. The former Sunkist packing plant spans 42,000-square-feet and is a historic Spanish revival building owned by the city of Anaheim. The building is an example of many others in a national trend to restore older or historical buildings and develop trendy food markets, such as the Ferry Building in San Francisco, for instance.
The operator-developer of this project is Shaheen Sadeghi, from LAB Holding. Sadeghi compared the process of construction to heart surgery in a Los Angeles Times interview. The company is also responsible for the Lab and the Camp, both off-beat retail spaces located in Costa Mesa, with indoor-outdoor spaces to hang out.
The Anaheim Packing house has a warehouse feel, with two floors that beg to be explored. According to the Orange County Register, it was rehabilitated by Thirtieth Street Architects and features hundreds of windows, whitewashed beams, maple floors, tall barn-style sliding doors, a redwood deck with Chinese elms and a carbon steel fireplace designed by landscape architect Ken Smith.
The new businesses include Wheat & Sons, a butcher with a chef’s counter, Hans’ Homemade Ice Cream, and coffee roaster Cafecito Organico, based in Los Angeles. Seating is available throughout the Packing House in a communal style, with large tables to share. Guests can buy drinks from one place and buy food at another, encouraging folks to move around and have a good time.
At one bar, owners are looking to welcome beer lovers and those looking for inspiring cocktails. “We want to serve things that you wouldn’t be able to get anywhere else,” said Sean Schickling of Hammer Bar to the OC Register. “We will serve some classic (cocktails), but we will have some completely unique spirits and cocktails as well.” Options will include drinks made with homemade bitters including Szechuan peppercorn and habanero bitters.
The Anaheim Packing House is located at 440 S. Anaheim Blvd., Anaheim. For more information, visit www.packingdistrict.com.