New Restaurant Opening in Downtown Santa Ana With Great Concept, Terrible Name: The Volstead OC


Sometime late last year, a restaurant signed a lease to occupy the historic brick gas building in downtown SanTana that's been abandoned since forever. It's going to be nearly 8,000 square foot of happiness, not just for the new concept, but because that's the last swath of the Promenade that had yet been occupied. It just might be the centerpiece of a great 2013 for the city's dining scene, an area that had a pretty damn good 2012. Its current chef is Cody Storts, who did pretty good stuff at Bourbon Street in Fullerton and the Lime Truck, while consulting on great concepts such as Burger Parlor and the Wild Goose.

We wish them well, we really do. And it's out of our love for great restaurants and their success that we plead with them to change their terrible name: The Volstead OC. As in the Volstead Act--get it? Prohibition? Har-har-har! BLECCH.

News flash to the new owners: Prohibition chic is SO 2008. There's at least five other "The Volstead" bars or restaurants in the United States--and it took me all of two seconds to find them, so I'm sure there are more. And distinguishing your Volstead from the other Volsteads by deeming it "The Volstead OC" is TACKY. Restaurant ideas like this just reinforce what I told a group of LA foodies last fall: that Orange County's culinary scene, while much better than before, is usually five years behind the rest of the country, even though we're better than that.

We're not Scottsdale, Volstead owners: we're better than that. Change your name, por favor. It's not like there's not local precedent: early last year, another downtown restaurant wanted to open with the name Floral Park Cafe. I also raised a big stink then, and while I'm not going to take credit for the owners changing the name of their place Little Sparrow Cafe, it's a far-better name (and they're supposed to open early next month). Don't get me wrong: I'll still go in if the Volstead name remains, but I'll never stop cringing every time I hear the name...

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