Grande Bakery and El Pollo Norteño, Legendary Mexican Restaurants, Closed by Santa Ana via Eminent Domain

el_pollo_norteno.jpg
Adiós, adiós, adiós...
Multiple generations of Mexican families have sworn by the masa of Grande Bakery, off Grand Street in SanTana, open since 1951 and the second-oldest remaining Mexican eatery in Orange County. They were drawn by their pan dulce and tamales and champurrado and tortillas. And when they were done with the compras for the day, they'd walk down the strip mall to El Pollo Norteño, one of the first Mexican charbroiled chicken restaurants in Orange County when it opened for business in the early 1980s. They were both grand places worthy of their address, and it's a damn shame that I have to write about them in the past tense. See, this week is the last week of business for the both of them, as the city of SanTana is pushing them out via eminent domain to demolish them and widen Grand Avenue.

The Orange County Register, which is just up the street from the two businesses (quick thought: why doesn't the city eminent domain the Reg out of business instead?) has done a great job of covering the closure of the two restaurants, and I'd link to their stories except you can't read them because of that darned paywall. But what you should know is that the city is singing a tune of wanting to help each spot open while simultaneously low-balling them on the money they're legally obliged to give them. The family behind Grande Bakery is taking the city to court, and we're wishing them well in their fight, but it's nevertheless a tragedy, as they're not planning to open again.

Man, why can't the city eminent domain the Reg instead?

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Location Info

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El Pollo Norteno

202 N. Grand Ave., Santa Ana, CA

Category: Restaurant

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49 comments
Michael Ceja
Michael Ceja

Can you please do a list of other bakeries in SA that are near the quality of Grande. Gras!

gsanchez228
gsanchez228

It is extremely disheartening to know that the City of Santa Ana will bend over backwards to help out the Michael Harrah's of the world but cannot come to an agreement with a small long time family owned shop in our community. My family and friends have patronized this store for over 35 years. This store holds the tiny bit of history left in this city. After part of the historical Guadalupe church across the street burned down, this store was the only part of history that tied us back to our childhoods, community's progression and neighborhood façade allowing us to remember the good 'ol days. No need to mention that the food and drinks are GREAT! Grande Bakery's "goodwill" is priceless . Get it together City of Santa Ana, how difficult can it be to relocate this small business to the many vacant spaces within a one mile radius. They are no Michael Harrah, but they are worth your time and understanding.

FishWithoutBicycle
FishWithoutBicycle

Sad story. Are they REALLY planning to widen Grand Ave...or are they just saying that to make the situation sit better with the folks being displaced? I have been extremely suspicious of Eminent Domain ever since the city of HB was trying to force out people who owned buildings on Main Street/PCH.

Juan Espinoza
Juan Espinoza

A little part of everybody dies whenever a place like this closes. The community is not a community no more. Thank god that La Mascota bakery in boyle heights sits on a hill , out of reach for those willing to trash the past.

Ask a Mexican
Ask a Mexican

La Chiquita is third-oldest; oldest is Sarinana's Tamale Factory.

David Rios
David Rios

Businesses are entitled to relocation benefits that will reestablish them at new location . Under the relocation assistance program, businesses can get reestablishment cost paid for all of their relocation cost. Its up to business owner to demand these rights. Title VI grants these rights under the federal discrimination act of 1964. They need to be represented to avoid a debacle of these rights

Crystal Martinez
Crystal Martinez

Santa Ana, the streets don't need to be widened, the streets need to be fixed!! Put our tax dollars to good use. -_- Don't close businesses that many enjoy. Shame on Santa Ana!!

americanlender12
americanlender12

Business owners that are made just compensation for their business, they are also entitled to relocation benefits under these proceedings. Relocation Assistance program (RAP) allows them many options ..from moving expenses, to unlimited expenditures to relocate to new location.

Britta Kvinge Pulliam
Britta Kvinge Pulliam

I guess we don't believe in historical landmarks in this area!! I am sure that the city believes that they can just relocate!! It is businesses of this kind that make the character of an area. Provides memories and traditions. The city would probably prefer an Red O or something like that. "Because that is what the people want". Or least what the city thinks they should want!!

Madilyns Cooking
Madilyns Cooking

I really liked Grande Bakery. During tough times their prices allowed me to put delicious antojitos on the family table. The women making their tamales, always polite and chatty. Their champurrado as good as my grandmothers. Thank you Ladies, you made Grande Bakery .

Veronica Piña
Veronica Piña

Best pan dulce in Santa Ana! Sorry to see them go :-( Gerardo, did you hear about this?

Luke Vafiades
Luke Vafiades

El Pollo Norteno has incredibly delicious chicken. I wish they would open one up in HB.

Robert Flores
Robert Flores

SanTana city council not qualified to run our city! FTP!

Lucia S. Avila
Lucia S. Avila

My family and I were just talking about this we missed there pan :(

deanielinden
deanielinden

Was it so important for Grande Bakery to close down right before the holidays.  The City couldn't even give Grande's loyal customers a chance to enjoy the tradition of going to the bakery for our masa and tamales. I was there at 5:15 a.m. yesterday because the thought of never having their pan dulce again saddened me.  The parking lot was full and the bakery was crowded, but the mood was somber.  Seriously, the east side of Grand Avenue should have been torn down.  I'm sure the City could have found a place for The Register, say near The Los Angeles Times on Sunflower.  I always stick up for my city, but Santa Ana you need to make this right!

epnocweekly
epnocweekly

The other 2 locations are 1525 W First St, Santa Ana, and 13185 Harbor Blvd in Garden Grove, Ca. 

Lauren Renee
Lauren Renee

NOOOOOO. That is the only place I get pan from :,(

Anthony Garcia
Anthony Garcia

Fortunately El Pollo Norteño in Garden Grove is still open. And it happens to be the best Pollo Norteño... Why you ask? Because it's close to me!! LEZ GO!

Michael Ceja
Michael Ceja

My nana took me there 45 years ago as a kid, horrible story, a$$holes!

Chris Carey
Chris Carey

one of those HUGE supreme court verdicts that fell below the general public's radar.

Andrea Robles Miles
Andrea Robles Miles

Shame on the city of Santa Ana! These businesses are what built the city and now they want to crush them for what? A wider street. This makes me so sad...

thefool333
thefool333

Love El Pollo Norteno! What the "journalist" fails to mention is that you will still be able to obtain their delicious Mesquite grilled chicken at their other locations. There's actually one right down the street from the shuttering location on 1st. Did you know they are the only one of all the "charbroiled chicken" places using actual mesquite as their method of fire? Que autentico!

Ken Webb
Ken Webb

Santa Ana has done itself a huge long term stick in the eye with their current behavior. Santa Ana would be wise and profitable if it would seriously work at establishing a walk only area that showcases the many great businesses and eateries that are owned and operated by the Latino community. And not some back street crap-o-rama,... But a street lined with food/resturants/shops and services. With a location for free parking and clean public restrooms and a business community that has a strong commitment to keeping a business area clean,..drug free and gang & graffiti clean. I have to admit that my friends south of the boarder to a dang better job at food than most. OMG the bakery!! My heart is crushed !!! Those crunchy sugary bites of heaven and goodness! Businesses do well when people buy the product,.. Killing two well liked and hugely popular businesses is uber stupid --- stealing money by short changing them is even worse. It would be smarter and better to start establishing a shopping district - re-locate these guys to a great location that's bigger and upgrade some equipment and provide new fixtures. It is a better money maker for everyone. WTH - why kill businesses?! Shame on the city and it's board. Shame. A lawsuit will be costly and no one wins and resources are wasted. Knock it off Santa Ana. Knock it off.

Elvia Rubalcava Taylor
Elvia Rubalcava Taylor

That shopping plazita is part of my childhood family memories. Many family parties were catered by Pollo Norteno and hundreds of tamales made by Grande Bakery masa. :(

BenDayhoe
BenDayhoe

Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!! I love their chicken. It's the only aroma that can overpower Ware Disposal!

Efren Batista
Efren Batista

guachale..what about blue eye contacts and a fake blond hair and moustache?...no pos wow....you are right tan - pendejos....

Julian Quauhtli Yaotl Avila
Julian Quauhtli Yaotl Avila

Damn, pollo norteño is one of my favorite place to eat. I still tell my friends about it. Even though I haven't eaten there in like a decade (moved to the northwest)

JBinOC
JBinOC topcommenter

"(quick thought: why doesn't the city eminent domain the Reg out of business instead?"  

LOL!!  

I was driving on Saturday and I heard one of the DJs on Hot 92.3 (I think it was 92.3) say that Grande Bakery was closing and that there was a line outside (no surprise).  This is sad news...Santa Ana is the one city that desperately needs an active preservation society, before more of these charming establishments disappear.  

americanlender12
americanlender12

If they are tenants they are still entitled to relocation benefits. If they own the property they can negotiate the first written offer before it goes to court. Eminent domain can be over welming but can be settled to benefit the business owner. Loss of good will

GustavoArellano
GustavoArellano moderator editortopcommenter

@JBinOC Oh, there is an active preservation society in SanTana—they hate Mexicans haha!

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