Downtown Report Mid-February issue

Francine and Jeff

Francine and Jeff

Downtown Report

A Moving Tribute And More

Rico gave all who would listen a heads-up about the celebration of life for his good friend Steve Omalev at Bourbon Street on Saturday, February 4. Since it started at 2 pm, not 2 am, many of us ‘mature’ music lovers came out in full force. It was great to run into so many who appreciate the talent of our local musicians, some of whom are pictured here. But, of course, any memorable song needs a good refrain, so here goes- we need more live music downtown. With live music venues like Steamers and The Slidebar long gone, it’s good to know there are still a few places that continue to carry the musical torch, so when heading out the door looking for a fun place to go, take a look at our downtown, and you will find it. Two places for a variety of live music performances will be the always-popular Fullerton Market, which returns in the Spring, and Bootlegger’s Brewery open mic nights every Monday.



Rico Lozano

Rico Lozano

Art Walk

Years ago, when Art Walk was at its peak, an April Fools’ Day page appeared here in the Observer. The monthly event was spread out over a wide swath of downtown. We joked that it was being renamed Art Run since art lovers would have to run to make it to all of the locations in one night. Sorry if anyone actually fell for it, but always beware of what you read on April 1. This Art Walk night, Modelmania was nearly overflowing with attendees, many there to see and hear friend Albert (you can call me Al) Garcia entertain the crowd. Apologies if it appears the other Albert was not amused, but art can be all about perspective. Literally right around the corner, also at Bootlegger’s, another enthusiastic crowd was digging the musical selections of first-time DJ Aaron Simcoe, who refused our requests for Death Metal, telling us it was still too early for that. The Kobe art, in particular, was a huge hit in more ways than one, thanks to the distinctive talent of local artist Carla Roque.

New In Town

JP23 on Harbor and Commonwealth has been sold and transformed into Chako’s Social- details are coming here soon. Across Harbor on another corner is a bit of a puzzle, as we expected it to open last Fall. Calls to the owner have gone unanswered, but we will keep trying. Just a quick note to anyone looking for employment, Crawfish Cave, Domino’s Pizza, and Kentro are all hiring. You can find them online for details. On Pomona and Commonwealth, also hiring, a new place called Qamaria Yemeni Coffee Company is coming soon, expected to open in the Spring.

Old In Town

You really have to be a long-time resident to remember downtown bowling. An announcement from June 1940 told anyone within shouting distance that The Fullerton Bowling Center would soon open at 118 West Commonwealth in the former Robinson’s Market. 4½-year-old Twinkles Watts, a bowling sensation of the Sunset alleys, would attend the grand opening by golly. Followed by a match between Cliff George’s “strong Val Vita bowlers and the powerful Warner Brothers five.” An ad two years later announced you could “BOWL your blues away!” by rolling your troubles down the Centennial Lanes. Just call phone number 646 and ask for Mr. Acton. Sadly, the alley burned down in 1965, but a new building arose from the ashes. It would eventually house Boege & Bean Sporting Goods, followed in 2003 by Roscoes Famous Deli.

Photo Quiz

Send answer to Mike at

Last time: You got it, yes, it was Anita’s

This time: When was the sign installed? If you look closely, you will see that the landmark sign in front of our Police Department needs repair. This is the second oldest neon sign in Fullerton. A Go Fund Me effort to restore it is underway thanks to Fullerton Heritage, and you can help by going to