Rodeo 39 Public Market thanks community as tenants reflect on one-year anniversary
On Saturday, Oct. 23, Rodeo 39 Public Market marked its one-year anniversary in Stanton with a daylong celebration that included live entertainment, free food giveaways, a scavenger hunt and an address from Stanton Mayor David Shawver.
“I am honored to be here on the one-year anniversary of my favorite place, Rodeo 39,” said Shawver.
He went on to thank the tenants for choosing to open up shop at the Village Center shopping plaza, which a couple years before had nothing going on besides mostly shuttered storefronts and the Department of Motor Vehicles office.
“All you owners that took a chance with us, we want to thank you for being here,” said Shawver. “We really appreciate all of the support from you and our neighboring communities over the last year, coming here and making this a great success.”
Since opening last fall, the 40,000-square-foot dining and retail destination has been a success, flourishing where other food hall concepts have faltered.
“I think this is what Stanton needed,” said Lisa Mancarella, general manager at Rodeo Bar and Bearded Tang Brewing. “It really brought different cultures that probably wouldn’t have normally come together, together under one roof. Different food, different ages, different walks of life.”
The diverse offerings are part of what has made Rodeo 39 popular to multiple demographics.
Kra Z Kai’s Laotian Barbeque, for example, is one of Orange County’s few Laotian spots and virtually the only one specializing in barbecue.
“I would get tons of messages from our people saying how proud they are, calling me a legend because they see that I am on a journey to expose Laotian cuisine. Something that has not been done before,” said Musky Bilavarn, owner/president at Kra Z Kai’s Laotian Barbeque, “There is only a handful of Lao restaurant out there in the U.S., and I can say that Kra Z Kai’s bbq is making a lot of noise being at Rodeo 39.”
Rodeo 39 also brought Bearded Tang Brewing to the community. Bearded Tang is Stanton’s first brewery and an award-winning one at that. Helmed by head brewer, Jon Chiusano, the brewery that makes beer on site at Rodeo 39 took home a gold medal at this year’s Great American Beer Festival in the category of Coffee Stout or Porter.
“Everybody is impressed that there is something like this here and it is pulling more people into this area,” said Kyle Coltrain, a “beertender” at Bearded Tang. “This isn’t just a food court, it is a legit brewery.”
Many of the original tenants at Rodeo 39 are still there, despite weathering shutdowns and navigating changing pandemic restrictions during the past year.
“It has been a roller coaster, a lot of extreme lows and extreme highs,” said Nolan Perez, co-owner at Shootz, which specializes in Hawaiian inspired food for the soul. “But it has been mostly highs.”
Shootz has fared so well since opening last year, it is now expanding into a larger location within Rodeo 39.
“From day one we have received a lot of love from the start,” said Perez. “It has honestly been overwhelming and because of it, we are able to move.”
Shootz will take over the area formerly occupied by Hook & Anchor, with more seating and a bar serving Soju cocktails.
The community the tenants at Rodeo 39 created helped them survive a tough year for restaurants in general. When restaurants were only permitted to do to-go orders, alcohol could only be sold with food. The food vendors helped the bar and brewery stay open.
“I felt like we were fortunate enough to have the food here because for a while you couldn’t purchase anything without a food receipt,” Coltrain said.
Mancarella said everyone rallied when it came time to reopen too.
“It was a challenge to get everybody on the same page at first with all the tenants,” Mancarella said. “But then it was like, OK, we are all going to do this together, we are all going to open up at 10 a.m. ... Everybody was getting back in the groove.”
PhoHolic is a newer tenant that has found success with its pho concept, serving the traditional Vietnamese soup in large stainless steel bowls along with a half-sheet pan of accoutrement. PhoHolic is the number one tenant in terms of sales, which is impressive considering it is a stone’s throw from plenty of competitors in Little Saigon.
Besides food and drink, Rodeo 39 also has retail and entertainment to keep guests busy even after they eat. Stores like My Flowers, the Nail Boss, Skin Design Tattoo, which is created and designed by Robert Pho, draw customers while Joystix arcade features classic games like Street Fighter 2, Mortal Kombat, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, NBA Jam, Super Mario Bros and Donkey Kong.
Rodeo 39 Public Market has been so successful there are plans to replicate the concept in Fullerton and San Juan Capistrano. New tenants are joining the party too, like Buenos Migos, a modern, Latin-inspired fast-casual concept opening next month that will serve specialties like birria street dogs and ube-dipped churros.
For now tenants are looking forward to another year of success and growth, with each other and the Stanton community.
“We love all the tenants here, and they love us, it is cool to see everybody every morning,” said Coltrain, “You get a bunch of regulars too. You get people coming back and that always tells me that we are doing a good job.”
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