Fullerton – Orange County Register

Brock Keeling


The Fullerton train station — or the Fullerton Transportation Center, as it’s technically called — is a rail and bus depot that serves city denizens, office drones, service-industry workers and hordes of college students. Situated near Cal State Fullerton. and all of the off-campus revelry that comes with it, scores of restaurants, watering holes and cafes can be found within the blocks of the station, all of them within a reasonable distance for pedestrians.

The station is home to the Metrolink 91/Perris Valley Line and Orange County Line commuter rail services, Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner (which runs between San Diego and San Luis Obispo) and Southwest Chief (between Chicago and Los Angeles) trains, and a bus terminal for the Orange County Transportation Authority.

Hungry? Sign up for The Eat Index, our weekly food newsletter, and find out where to eat and get the latest restaurant happenings in Orange County. Subscribe here.

While poring over the guide, bear in mind that selected venues throughout the series are each within a reasonable distance of their stop, whether on foot or by wheelchair, with no major freeways or arteries required to cross. Nearly all of the spots featured are bounded south of Chapman Avenue, east of Highland Avenue, north of Orangethorpe and west of Lemon Street. This list doesn’t cover every single Fullerton bar and restaurant in the area; consider it a selection of favorites near the station, or a palatable jumping off point during your next arrival or layover.

B&B Donuts: One of Orange County’s few remaining 24-hour doughnut shops, this place features the usual roster of doughnuts (bars, crullers, glazed, old-fashions and more), as well as themed doughnuts (Cookie Monster, Fruity Pebbles, footballs, letters) and sandwiches. Design geeks: Don’t miss the midcentury-modern vibe of the store itself, with its sloped rooftop and ‘60s-era signage. 925 Harbor Blvd., Fullerton

Boootlegger’s Brewery and Tasting Room: Independent brewery, with another location in Costa Mesa, that creates such suds as peach tea blonde ale, boysenberry cream ale, a slew of IPAs and more. andouille sausage plate, loaded fries, burgers, sandwiches, tacos and salads. 130 S. Highland Ave. Fullerton

Callahan’s Pub: Formerly Joe’s Tavern, this lively spot in downtown Fullerton’s newfangled SOCO District offers hamburgers, salads, appetizers (like chicken wings, loaded fries and nachos) and a hearty breakfast menu including pozole, breakfast burritos, pancakes and eggs. The pub also has beers galore, live music, karaoke and outdoor seating. 124 W. Commonwealth Ave., Fullerton

The Cellar: An underground restaurant designed by Gene White, a former Disney Imagineer who helped create the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, this subterranean venue has been going strong since 1969. Look forward to semi-private banquettes, circular booth seating, arched brickwork and red velvet, all of which create quite the vibe as you dine on chateaubriand steak tartare, escargot, shrimp cocktail, duck breast, bouillabaisse, chocolate or vanilla souffle, champagne floats and other fine-dining, white-tablecloth fare. Ideal date-night spot. 305 N. Harbor Blvd., Fullerton

Chakos Social: Billed as an “immersive dining experience,” this supperclub-style restaurant lets you dine on .wings, flatbread, Creole jambalaya and rib-eye kabab while watching belly dancers, aerialists, burlesque performers, and other live talent acts. A lively place ideal for groups and planned outings. 101 S. Harbor Blvd., Fullerton

Chicana Vegana: Jasmine Hernandez’s vegan Mexican eatery, which started out as a food truck before becoming a brick-and-mortar restaurant in 2020, features a slew of choice hits, including meatless California burritos, asada fries and a dairy-free tres leches cake crowned with strawberries slices. Her successful spot also has a roster of burgers like the Wild West Burger (an Impossible or Beyond patty, American cheese, BBQ sauce, onion ring, Bac’n and a side of fries) and a Philly Melt. 113 E. Commonwealth Ave., Fullerton

Linda Thach of B&B Donuts displays a selection of glazed sprinkles and French cruller donuts in Fullerton on Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2024. B&B Donuts half-mile south of the Fullerton Train Station. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Chomp Sushi: Sushi bar where dishes are made in front of diners. Highlights include the truffle unagi sashimi, scallop uni, salmon blue crab and more. It also offers an expanded Japanese menu featuring udon noodles and bento platters. 181 E. Commonwealth Ave., Fullerton

SEE ALSO: The Orange County train-station dining guide: Orange

Continental Room: Pouring drinks since 1925, when it housed a pool hall/speakeasy, this bar’s best feature, in addition to the stiff cocktails, is the semi-circular leather booth seating. Also of note, the live DJs and bands who perform. 115 W. Santa Fe Ave., Fullerton

Crawfish Cave: Oysters, crab, crawfish, fries, tater tots, wine, beer and more can be found at this warehouse-style eatery focusing on Cajun and Asian seafood flavors. It also sells a lobster-boil bucket for $96, which comes with lobster, snow crab, shrimp, Andouille saisages, corn and potatoes. 150 S. Harbor Blvd., Fullerton

Cupid’s Hot Dogs OC: One of two O.C. locations, the other in Newport Beach, this hot dog joint offers a bevy of franks (like Chicago that comes with mustard, onions, relish, tomatoes, peppers, pickle spear and celery salt or the Pastrami Dog featuring a spicy polish dog, spicy brown mustard and pastrami), as well as milkshakes galore. 106 N. Harbor Blvd., Fullerton

Don Carlos: Mexican restaurant offers combo platters, burritos (from wet and breakfast to chorizo-egg and carne asada), pork chili verde, menudo, burgers, nachos, quesadillas and more. 300 E. Commonwealth Ave., Fullerton

El Fortin: Eatery specializing in cuisine with ingredients imported from Oaxaca, here you will find molotes (three fried chorizo with potatoes molotes, covered with guacamole and cheese), taco Oaxaqueno (tasajo meat, quesillo, beans, guacamole, lettuce and pico de gallo) and nopalitos con tasajo o chorizo (fried nopalitos with either tasajo or chorizo, served with rice and black beans). For the adventurous, order a basket of chapulines (roasted grasshoppers with lime, garlic and salt). 700 E. Commonwealth Ave., Fullerton

Farolito of Fullerton: Popular taqueria featuring birria tacos, carnitas plates, chilaquiles with carne asada, fajitas, crunchy milanesa de res, green enchiladas, Santa Fe chicken salad. Don’t miss out on the breakfast fare, which includes huevos con jamón, homemade menudo and enchiladas topped with two over-easy eggs. 310 N. Harbor Blvd., suite 103, Fullerton

Fuoco Pizzeria Napoletana: Ranked as the No. 1 napoletana pizza in Orange County, according to a comprehensive pizzeria feature the Washington Post published last year, Fuoco Pizzeria does indeed make a mighty fine pie (the margherita, in particular, is divine, but also check out the black truffle with smoked prosciutto crudo or the bufala that uses imported buffalo mozzarella), as well as mezzaluna paninis and calzones. Desserts include gelato, sweet ricotta-filled cannoli, tiramisu, and limoncello-spiked lemon gelato. 101 N. Harbor Blvd., Fullerton

Server Christian Rico delivers pizzas to diners at Fuoco Pizzeria Napoletana in Fullerton on Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2024. Fuoco Pizzeria Napoletana is located two blocks from the Fullerton Train Station. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Gen Korean BBQ: Cook your own sliced meats on a grilling tablet at this lively Korean barbecue spot. Menu options include a bevy of meats, seafood and vegetables, as well as traditional ban-chan sides. 1300 S.Harbor Blvd., Fullerton

SEE ALSO: The Orange County train-station dining guide: Santa Ana

Hello Sushi: Located inside the Fullerton Metrocenter, serves sushi staples, as well as baked salmon rolls, shrimp tempura, crispy rice rolls, and all-you-can-eat sushi (like uni, oyster, bluefin tuna, and carpaccio, to name a few). 1301 S. Harbor Blvd., Fullerton

Heroes Bar and Grill: With 119 beers on tap and a full service bar, this eatery steeped in Americana gets lively during happy hours and weekend nights. Chili fries, chicken fingers, pizza, chili, barbecue salad, chicken-fried steak and other assorted comfort-forward fare can be expected here. 125 W. Santa Fe Ave., Fullerton

High Horse Saloon: A country bar and restaurant featuring lunch, dinner, brunch, and such late-night entertainment as live music and line dancing. Grub includes skillet cornbread, deviled eggs, a “big as Texas” pretzel, burgerns, chicken sandwiches, red meats galore and a campfire brownie with graham crackers and marshmallow fluff. Giddy up. 102 N. Harbor Blvd., Fullerton

Hopscotch Craft Beer and Whiskey: Located inside an old train depot (very fitting), this restaurant and bar features beers on tap and an abundance of whiskeys, just as its name suggests. Dishes include fries, pasta, Alaskan cod, empanadas and more. 136 E. Commonwealth Ave., Fullerton

Kawaii Boba: Exceedingly charming boba tea house, from the cat ears-shaped cup toppers to the bubble waffles. Expect all of the usual suspects when it comes to boba tea, like brown sugar and jasmine, as well as whimsical iterations like galaxy milk tea (made with green milk tea and butterfly pea flower tea) in an ombre blue hue. Delightful. 1327 S. Harbor Blvd., Fullerton

Customers dine inside a Pacific Electric trolly located inside the Old Spaghetti Factory in Fullerton on Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2024. Part of the restaurant is located in what was Fullertonxe2x80x99s Union Pacific Depot built in 1922 and the restaurant is a few hundred feet from the Fullerton Train Station. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Kentro Greek Kitchen: Noted casual yet elegant Greek eatery with a lineup that includes Tiropites (feta, mint and honey-stuffed phyllo pies), avgolemono (lemon, rice and chicken soup), tzatziki, flatbreads, pitas, lamb sandwiches and burgers, moussaka, souvlaki, baklava and frozen Greek yogurt. 100 S. Harbor Blvd., Fullerton

Khan Saab Desi Craft Kitchen: Contemporary spot that’s “a culmination of cuisines from Pakistan, India, and Afghanistan” care of chef Imran Ali Mookhi. Highlights here include papadum and khakra (crispy lentil chips), pani puri (puff pastry stuffed with garbanzo, potato, onion and spiced mint and tamarind), wood-fired bone-in tomahawk, khan biryani with Thai chili and kulfi “Desi ice cream” with mango and pistachio. 229 E. Commonwealth Ave., unit A, Fullerton

SEE ALSO: The Orange County train-station dining guide: Anaheim Canyon

Kopan Sushi and Ramen: Just like the name says, a sushi and ramen joint with the latter specializing in tonkotsu (pork bone) ramen. Other ramens include kara miso, kuro mayu and vegan. The sushi menu is impressive and lengthy with all the usual suspects like salmon belly, yellowtail, eel, squid, masago and a host of specialty rolls. 141 E. Commonwealth Ave., Fullerton

Lagos Mexican Cuisine: High-end Mexican restaurant with such dishes as scallops with ponzu vinaigrette, al pastor tacos, mole enchiladas with jidori chicken, chuck beef tamales with red guajillo sauce and more. The strawberry tres leches cake looks out-of-this-world delicious. 139 W. Santa Fe Ave., Fullerton

Let It Brie: In addition to pairing a Beatles song with a French cheese to make a pun for the store name, this cheese shop gets extra points for also selling artisan cheeses and meats. It also prepares a series of panini sandwiches, like honey berry jam’brie, the goat and a classic grilled cheese. 117 E. Commonwealth Ave., Fullerton

Made Coffee: Sleek cafe with such contemporary coffee house drinks as matcha tea lattes, cold brews, spiced chai tea latte and more. 107 W. Amerige Ave., Fullerton

Matador Cantina: Mexican restaurant open for lunch, brunch (on weekends) and dinner. Expect nachos, carne asada fries, carnitas, birria tacos, fish tacos, burritos and more. 111 N. Harbor Blvd. Fullerton

Mickey’s Irish Pub: Warm bar with wood details offers beer and booze to accompany such fare as Irish stew, chili, fries, eight different burgers, shepherd’s pie, bangers and mash, corned beef and bread pudding. 100 N. Harbor Blvd., Fullerton

SEE ALSO: The Orange County train-station dining guide: San Juan Capistrano

Monkey Business Cafe: In addition to serving breakfast, sandwiches and organic coffee, this eatery is a nonprofit that benefits at-risk and foster youth. Highlights here include chili cheese fries, loaded potatoes and a slew of sandwiches, burgers and wraps. 301 E. Amerige Ave., Fullerton

The Mugs: Choice artisan coffeehouse brewing lattes (like honey lavender, horchata, dalgona) cold brews, espresso drinks (cappuccino, macchiato, americano) and more. This is the cafe’s second location, with the first being in Irvine. It also sells whole beans. 444 N. Harbor Blvd., Fullerton

The Night Owl: Harking back to the halcyon days of ’90s cafes, this tea and coffeehouse says open until 10 p.m. (ergo its name) and features live music, patio seating, and a roster of caffeine-spiked drinks to keep awake until the wee hours.

The Old Spaghetti Factory in Fullerton on Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2024 is located in what was the Union Pacific Depot built in 1922 is located in what was the Union Pacific Depot built in 1922 and is a few hundred feet from the Fullerton Train Station. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

The Old Spaghetti Factory: The Fullerton Old Spaghetti Factory, one of several throughout the world, has the distinction of being located inside a Union Pacific Railroad Depot that was originally built in 1923. Every meal comes with three courses: bread with soup or salad, main entree and dessert (a scoop of our signature spumoni or vanilla ice cream). Come for the Italian-American staples, stay for the historic environs. 110 E. Santa Fe Ave., Fullerton

Play Coffee: Noteworthy for its turquoise-hued facade, this ultra modern cafe prepares coffee and espresso drinks using beans by local roasters. An ideal spot for coffee enthusiasts. 128 W. Commonwealth Ave., Fullerton

Pour Company: An upscale comfort food place, Pour Company serves bacon mac and cheese, kung pao pork ribs, chicken and waffles, French toast, a short rib Philly hoagie, hanger steak, pork belly and shrimp fried rice, avocado toast salad, short rib poutine and other starchy, meaty goodness. 136 W. Wilshire Ave., Fullerton

Qamaria Yemeni Coffee: Cafe that uses 100 percent Yemeni beans to prepare traditional Yemeni drinks, espressos, and pour overs. 229 E. Commonwealth Ave., Fullerton

Rialto Cafe: Charming spot that serves breakfast and lunch, as well as Stumptown Coffee. The pancakes and French toast look amazing. Omelets, sandwiches, eggs benedict and even vegan options are also available. No reservations; first come, first served. 108 W. Wilshire Ave., Fullerton

SEE ALSO: The Orange County train-station dining guide: Anaheim

Roscoe’s: Deli-style restaurant specializing in sandwiches (owned by the same people as Heroes Bar and Grill) whips up such concoctions as pastrami and rye, the Italian Job (with capicola, dry salami, prosciutto, provolone and pepperoncini), roast beef, BLT and more. 116 W. Commonwealth Ave., Fullerton

Rutabegorz: Vegan and vegetarian eaters can find solace and sustenance inside this picturesque little restaurant (check out its Spanish-Mission digs) that offers such dishes as the Mexican casserole (with brown rice, zucchini, olives, cilantro and mushrooms, topped with cheese, onion and tomato), a mu shu burrito (snow peas, carrots, broccoli, brown rice and almonds wrapped in a wheat tortilla topped with mu shu sauce) or a veggie lasagna (three cheese, spinach and marinara sauce). Meat dishes are also available for the carnivorous. 211 N. Pomona Ave., Fullerton

Customers enjoy a drink at Hopscotch Craft Beer and Whiskey in Fullerton on Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2024. Hopscotch is located across the parking lot from the Fullerton Train Station. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Santa Fe Express Cafe: Mere steps away from the train platform, this small venue serves Metrolink workers and passengers (and train enthusiasts!) chef salads, turkey clubs, breakfast burritos, patty melts, quesadillas, more than a dozen different hot dogs, burgers, chili cheese fries and even a kids’ menu. 136 E. Santa Fe Ave., Fullerton

Seoul Eats — J’s Korean Cuisine: Counter-service restaurant featuring comfort Korean fare Korean Fried Chicken, bibimbap, bulgogi, tacos and more. Among a menu full of top-notch eats, the soy garlic fried chicken sandwich and bibimbap burrito are especially noteworthy — and worth missing your next train for. 114 W. Commonwealth Ave., Fullerton

Brock Keeling www.ocregister.com Restaurants Food and Drink,Things To Do,Restaurants,Top Stories OCR

2024-01-08 18:29:55 , Fullerton News: The Orange County Register

Leave a comment