Downtown Santa Ana Dining Rumors: Raw Restaurant? Diner? High-End Mexi? And Another High-End Mexi?

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Forgive the bad picture--it must've been taken during a weekend brunch at Memphis in downtown SanTana, while I was on my fourth Manhattan. But that's the current storefront for Au Naturaw, a planned raw-foods restaurant directly across from Memphis. Can a downtown support this, the veggie-leaning Gypsy Den, and the planned vegetarian restaurant by one of the Seabirds girls?

That's a question that'll be repeated again and again, as plans are being whispered around town about more restaurants opening in the coming months, joining an already crowded food scene.

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Photo by Ben Dayhoe

The project generating the most buzz is the reclamation attempt at the corner of Third and Main streets seen above. Once the site of a great Salvadoran restaurant, the corner spot has been abandoned for a good decade but has finally been covered up in butcher paper as to hide its remodeling. What's going in? The current talk is that it's going to function as an upscale greasy spoon during the day, and a bistro a night, the better to utilize the Nighthawks milieu.

There are also currently plans for TWO high-end Mexican restaurants. One would occupy the long-abandoned gas building across the way from the Grand Central Arts Center, but I'll believe it when I see it. That building was supposed to be a steakhouse, a 'cue place, a food marketplace ala what's being built at the Sunkist Packing House, even a restaurant-cum-art gallery--yet nothing has popped. The other high-end Mexican restaurant, on the other hand, is going to happen--but I've already said too much. Details to come on that one when I'm at liberty to discuss...

Got insight into any of these projects? Leave a comment below!

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