A new Crab Cooker and a new Burrell's Rib Cage are coming to Orange County.
After more than 30 years of what Crab Cooker owner Bob Roubian terms "one captain, one ship" in Newport Beach, a second Crab Cooker will open in the Enderle Center, 17th Street at the Costa Mesa Freeway in Tustin. "I've groomed another captain in the family," said Roubian of his decision to clone the no-frills, reasonably priced menu featuring mesquite-broiled fresh fish, chowders and shellfish. Roubian's son-in-law, Annapolis graduate Jim Wasko, and nephew, Steven Bolton, will be in charge of the new restaurant, modeled after the original. No opening date yet, but the lease is signed and work beginning.
True to his promise, Fred Burrell called to say, "I have the keys in my hand to the old Orange Inn Cafe," on Sand Canyon at the Santa Ana (5) Freeway in Irvine. He expects to open Rib Cage number three there sometime between mid-May and the first of June. The restaurant will be exactly the same as the two Santa Ana locations, famous for ribs and Southern fare, except that it will also serve breakfast. "Southern style, of course," Burrell promises, "with stewed apples, grits, biscuits and red eye gravy, and muffins." He expects the new restaurant to serve from 6:30 a.m. until about 11:30 p.m.
For the first time, Mrs. Knott's original fried-chicken dinner and boysenberry pie is now available outside Knott's Berry Farm. You'll find them at Mrs. Knott's Restaurant & Bakery, which debuted last month at Alton Parkway and Jeffrey Road in Irvine. Actually, the full-scale family restaurant offers a lot more than chicken and pie. Its menu includes soups, steak and fresh seafood, entree salads, sandwiches, fresh-baked bread and desserts. Look, too, for a children's menu and all-you-can eat soup and salad bar. Dinner entrees from $6.75 to $11.95. The restaurant is open daily: breakfast, 7 to 11 a.m.; lunch, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and dinner from 5 to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and till 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Information (no reservations): (714) 559-8633.
It took $5 million worth of remodeling, but the Aztec Bowl in Buena Park is now Wild Bill's Western Dinner Extravaganza, a restaurant where folks can dress Western, if they like, and take in a two-hour revue that includes dancers, a knife-thrower, magician and rope tricks. The family-style dinner serves up beef barley soup, salad, fried chicken, barbecued ribs, baked beans, baked potatoes, biscuits, corn on the cob, and hot apple pie with ice cream. Included are beer, wine or soft drinks. Show times and prices: Sunday through Thursday, 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, 4:30 p.m.: $27.95 for adults and $18.95 for kids ages 3 through 11; Friday, 6:15 and 9:15 p.m., and Saturday, 3:15, 6:15 and 9:15 p.m.: $30.95 for adults, $19.95 for children; Sunday, 1:30 p.m.: $25.95 for adults, $17.95 for kids. Wild Bill's Western Dinner Extravaganza is at 7600 Beach Blvd. Information: (714) 522-6414.
The Disneyland Hotel continues to celebrate spring break by "going Goofy" with Disney character breakfasts at the Chef's Kitchen restaurant through Sunday. Disney characters on hand for greetings and picture-taking include Goofy, Minnie Mouse and Chip 'n' Dale. The all-you-can-eat buffet breakfast features bacon and sausage, scrambled eggs, fresh fruit, beverages and Mickey-Mouse-shaped waffles. The cost: $10.95 for adults, $6.95 for children. Breakfast is served from 7 to 11:30 a.m. Reservations are not required. The hotel is located at 1150 W. Cerritos Ave. in Anaheim, adjacent to Disneyland.
George Cairo, former captain of the Club Grill and Bar at the Ritz-Carlton in Dana Point is now maitre d' of the restaurant. Cairo, a native of Buenos Aires, has been with the hotel since its 1985 opening. The Club Bar and Grill also has a new chef de cuisine, Jeffrey Potter, who began his Ritz-Carlton career in the Dining Room, where he honed his talents under Michelin star chef de cuisine Boris Keller. For reservations, call (714) 240-5008.
The new menu at JW's Sea Grill in the Irvine Marriott highlights modern cuisine with a Southwestern twist. Standouts of the new fare, devised by George Liechty, the hotel's executive chef, include salmon salsa verde (fresh filet of salmon with a jalapeno chutney and tomatillo sauce) and swordfish San Felipe (lightly breaded swordfish, sauteed and topped with jalapeno mustard tartar sauce and jicama macadamia slaw). The restaurant's dinner menu also features mainland favorites and a selection of sushi, which is also available at the sushi bar Tuesdays through Saturdays. Information and reservations: (714) 553-0100.