Old Towne Goes Alfresco

 In A Circle in a Square Podcast, Food + Drink, Old Towne Orange, Top Posts

Alfresco (adj. or adv.): taking place or located in the open air

Do you already know where we’re going with this? Old Towne Orange is going entirely alfresco, and we are here to give you the scoop. 

(Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Alfresco dining is not a new concept for any of us. For example, in United States culture, our most-talked-about yet under-actualized events are picnics. They sound idyllic and like they’d make for the perfect Instagrams, so of course, we’re in. That is, until it comes to sitting in the sun with no shade, itchy grass, and warm sparkling waters. But maybe that is too pessimistic. Either way, picnics are 100% in fact alfresco dining!

Other forms of culinary experiences that have been brought to “the open-air” are beer gardens where you are usually corralled into a pen like sheep, rooftop bars where the drinks are overpriced and the views are priceless, and vineyard wine tasting. Now that we think about it, do people just love mixing alcohol and a windy breeze? We suppose we see the allure. 

Either way, alfresco dining is about enjoying the sunshine and having a great meal at the same time, and in Southern California we are more than lucky to have the perfect weather to do so. Alfresco dining can be a romantic dinner for two, a fun brunch with friends, or just a quick meal alone to absorb nature and be with your thoughts. The current dining restrictions in the state of California mandate that all indoor restaurant (and other) operations must stop. If you have taken a drive through the Orange Plaza, you might’ve noticed that the north and south ends of Glassell St. are blocked off, only allowing circle traffic to flow east and west on Chapman Ave. This allows restaurants to expand their seating into the streets, many with sunshades, to provide sun protection and a cool environment to dine. 

This week on the podcast, we got some insight from Lauren and Mike Hernandez, owners of Laurenly Boutique and Smoqued Barbecue right here in OTO. Lauren and Mike are a true OTO power couple with neighboring establishments, who both have had to make quick adjustments to adapt to the restrictions of the state while trying to provide great service to their customers. 

“Every day you turn on the news and see what the governor is going to say and what the numbers are today. It’s unique – every day – waking up and trying to figure it out! And pivoting,” shared Mike about his experience running a business during COVID-19.

We loved talking with Mike and Lauren because they share an optimism that’s inspiring during these tough times. They shared how Lauren created a sandwich that ended up on the Smoqued menu, how their take-charge personalities mingle in their work and relationship, and even shared an exciting announcement: Lauren and Mike are in the works of opening a brand-new brewery here in Old Towne Orange! That is correct, y’all! They shared that their new project, Brewery 1886, will be coming soon (hopefully this August)… and you can say you heard it here first. 

The show is available on Spotify and Apple Podcasts for easy download and listening! Be sure to subscribe and leave a five-star rating!

You can also listen right here, right now.

Thank you for coming back to the blog once again folks! Or if it was your first time, welcome! As always, please dine out at your own risk and do what makes you and your family feel safe! The more we social distance and wear our masks, the quicker we can beat the pandemic. Have a great weekend everyone, and we will see you around town! 

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