By: Gigi Hume and Clea Thomas
Old Town Tustin is a part of town that is overflowing with history that has contributed greatly to the creation of modern-day Tustin. It combines notable sites of the past, like Utt Juice Company and the Pankey Residence, with those of the present. Both of which make the balanced mix of historic and contemporary, making it a great area to explore and discover places. On our very own trek through these weathered roads we discovered the top 5 go-to’s, old and new, for dining, arts, and treatin’ yo’ self.
Cream Pan is a bakery located on the outskirts of Old Town, but unlike a typical sweet-shop, it’s far from being boring. As soon as we walked in, it was packed to the brim with people all wanting a taste of their renown pastries and baked goods, featured in media outlets like NBC’s Today in LA and Orange Coast magazine. The owner and creator of these famed treats, Yoshinori Inada, originally opened this Old Town location in 2002 just selling their popular strawberry croissants. Gradually, Inada began creating more and more pastries, incorporating flavors of France with those of his native country Japan. In doing so, he created one of the most well-known establishments in all of Old Town continuing to attract more and more people on the daily.
Ever since acai bowls have become the healthy crave of the nation, more and more establishments have begun popping up to fulfill it, including in Old Town with Acai Republic. It’s been discovered that the little acai fruit offers amazing health benefits, which are brandished proudly across the store’s walls, including better sleep, increased energy, fighting cancer cells, slowing the aging process, and helping to reduce obesity and body fat. At Acai Republic, they offer all of these benefits in their specialty acai bowls but also in a wide range of healthy options like fresh juice and smoothies. And for those who want to indulge in a treat, they also have coffee and Brazilian pastries called Salgado for a different type of energy boost. Although Tustin is a quieter town, it is still completely up to date with all of the health trends.
Reviving the lack of an interest art in our generation’s children, one brushstroke at a time. Brushstrokes is a small family owned business establishment, run by Betty Carl alongside her husband Claude Morgan. In 2012, the pair renovated this historic location previous playing host to many different businesses from a drugstore, to a drapes factory, and even a stop for the stage coach. Now, this “paint and party place” offers a unique experience where people can create their own canvas art with the seemingly endless supplies of paint and brushes along with the help of seasoned instructors. Along with letting the artistic side run free, co-owner Claude Morgan says, “ It’s a great venue for kids and adults alike to create something that’s all theirs and having fun while doing it.” Anyone and everyone can certainly find their inner artist here.
Over a span of 37 years, Rutabegorz, has been the friendly eating establishment to the health conscious eater, but still suffices the needs for vegetarians and meat-lovers alike. The owner, Paul Berkman, opened this location with high hopes of creating an alternative to fast food but still being good for the soul. Their food is heavenly to the nutritionally aware foodie, from the premium, right-off-the-vine fruits and veggies, to house made dressings and low fat condiments. While Rutabegorz offers all of these healthy options, they still serve up delicious desserts for those looking to treat themselves. Rutabegorz is a place to enjoy any and every kind of option for every eater.
As high school students, caffeine is an essential for the infamous late night study sessions, and now can be found more conveniently than ever at Zama Tea. This quaint tea shop that just opened for business on November 18th, located in the heart of Old Town, offers everything related to tea. Whether it’s pots, mugs, or tea itself, they have it, and a lot of it. Particularly, they specialize in kombucha, an antioxidant known to, in the words of owner Leanne Herrera, “help mental clarity which will help you with a big test.” Every high schooler definitely needs some of that. Although Zama Tea is currently open to the public, the location is only using half of its planned location space. Once completed, it will be the first ever tea bar in all of Orange County, just a short walk away from Tustin High. When looking for a healthy option without a crash during finals or any occasion, Zama Tea is definitely the place to go.
Every one of these places has a flowering history and unique purposes making Old Town all the more special in the hearts of the community. In doing so, they have grown the character behind it and created the town that it is today, an eclectic combination of old and new.