The Downtown Report: Mid September Edition


New stairs at train station.

Not only are the new staircases in, but the Santa Fe Café is looking cool in more ways than one with nice shade and greenery all around now.

Santa Fe Cafe

It’s interesting to just grab a drink and some food and sit outside, watching the trains and train hoppers go by, and imagining what it must have been like when the railroad first came to town.

Historic Fullerton train depot.

We often take what we have for granted, but not many places are like Fullerton, with a transportation center with trains and busses, an airport, and freeways on our southern and eastern borders, connecting us to the rest of the world.

Korean War Memorial under construction.

The Korean War Memorial has taken shape over the past month, with forms in, concrete poured, getting ready to install the monuments.

New in Town

Mr. Fries has opened at 410 E Chapman across from Fullerton College. Back when almost everyone lived on North Yale Avenue and attended that college, there was no Zombie Donuts within walking distance. There was no Mr. Fries just down the road. What a shame! If only. We actually had to make our own breakfast and munchies.

This page was turned in before the grand opening on September 9, but we took a look at the menu at and wow. Their fare is no snack or side order, with so many BBQ options, chicken, bacon, shrimp, crab, for vegans and vegetarians, beyond meat, and plenty of sauces and add-ons.


Two popular Facebook pages, Fullerton Loves Food and Fullerton Buzz, recently asked the same basic question with slightly different wording as they tried to determine which Fullerton restaurant has been around the longest. Of course, most of us know that Angelo’s and Vinci’s, The Cellar, Rutabegorz, Polly’s Pies and others have been around a long time, but many mentioned some that are no longer around. The Dal Rae and Velvet Turtle were mentioned, but hard to believe nobody seemed to recall Steele’s Café or Taco Villa on Harbor, or La Paz in Villa del Sol.

Dal Rae matchbook.

Unless the masses missed something, the winner is A&Js on Brookhurst, which opened in 1957 followed by Giovanni’s on Williamson in 1958. Any mention of Giovanni’s brings back memories of owner Paul Codispoti, who was one of the most revered and respected Fullerton residents ever. Paul was the Chamber of Commerce Man of the Year in 1989 but seemed like he was Man of the Year every year. He generously supported youth sports organizations, The Boys and Girls Club and so many more causes. Was there ever a person who walked in the front door and did not immediately feel like his friend?

Congratulations to both restaurants. Longevity is the result of a lot of hard work, and obviously giving diners what they crave is a must. Remember to shop and dine in Fullerton first. If you own a downtown restaurant and want to let me know how things are going and what your upcoming plans are, please contact me. You know the drill.

Last Minute Voting

Tuesday September 14 is the last day to vote in the Recall election. You can still drop off your ballot in ballot drop boxes behind the Main Library and at the Train Station, or make sure it is postmarked by Sept 14.


The response has been great, and if you want to honor someone who has served our country or our city (we include Police officers and Fullerton Firefighters too) please contact me at You will get an order form with info, and you can check out the order form online in the past issue. Below are two of the newest ones, recognize them?

Photo Quiz

Last issue: Where is this lamppost and what is its story?

This lamppost is one of two that were stolen from the Post Office on Commonwealth and Pomona, and later found and returned.  Reader Melinda Guinaldo was the first to give the correct answer.

This issue: Where are these (below) and what are they for?

Send answer to Mike at

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