For a tiny area, we have had a lot of restaurants over the years. I started compiling a list on a whim and help from locals on the Facebook Rossmoor page. The lists got too long so I broke them up into multiple posts. The first was the restaurants of the Rossmoor Shopping Center. The third segment will be Los Al restaurants On the Boulevard, and the fourth will be the restaurants on Katella, etc.
Northern Rossmoor — the homes north of a line formed by Rossmoor Way and Silverwood — was the third part of Rossmoor to be built, with most construction happening in 1959 or later. Never considered for housing was the entire block from Hedwig to Katella, Los Al Blvd to
Ross Cortese conceived the area as a place for medical offices, a hospital and some supporting businesses — pharmacy, restaurants, etc. He said as much when the Anaheim School District wanted the site for a junior high school site. Cortese offered them the site where St. Hedwig Church is now, but county planners wouldn’t approve a public school that
So, clear of these issues, Cortese, his investing partners, (the Los Coyotes Land Co.) and some local doctors formed the Rossmoor Medical Park Corporation to develop the center. The first building — where the Fish Company is now — went up in 1962. It soon became apparent to some that 1) Cortese wanted too much money for his hospital plan
Also, by this time, Cortese was far more involved with his expanding Leisure World empire, and other challenges for his Rossmoor vision. So the Medical Park concept went away and Cortese began selling off all his undeveloped Rossmoor land. Sometime in 1963, Cortese sold the chunk of land that is now Bethlehem Lutheran Church (it was open by March 1964). I assume he sold the land for the Rossmoor Manor apartments soon after this. The apartments had a sneak preview in August 1966, so I think a year and
Eventually, the center would basically have five sections. The first two were developed under Cortese. The first building (built 1962) is the building now occupied by the Fish Company and the second (1963) is the building now occupied by Polly’s, the Boot Barn, and the Family Medicine practice. The rest were built after the change of ownership and over the 1965-1970
As I said in my article on the Rossmoor Center eateries, this is a work in progress. I didn’t grow up here so I don’t have those early memories. But I have tried to use newspaper articles or published company histories to verify time frames as accurately as possible. If you have information (or photos) to add, feel free to comment or contact me. Anyway, here goes.
Park Pantry (1962-1980) 11061 Los Alamitos Blvd (present Fish Co. site) – was the first non-gas station business at this shopping area. It was about the sixth of 8 or so Park
Original Fish Co. (1981- 11061 11061 – Los Alamitos Blvd. This originally opened in February 1981 as the Los Alamitos Fish Company. Harold Rothman, who had grown up in the restaurant business at his parents Katella Deli on the opposite side of the Rossmoor Village center, gutted a former coffee shop, (Park Pantry), redesigned it and reopened it as a combination restaurant and fish market. Managed by Harold and his wife, Wendy Rothman, and after their divorce she took it over,. Her daughter Vanessa Travis has been managing it for a number of years. Steve Meisner, Wendy’s brother, was the manager for many years in the 1980s. They changed the name to Original Fish Company in 1988. Around 2005, the Rothmans had purchased most of the Rossmoor Village site from the D.D., Dunlap Co., and terminated the lease for Deux Amies and used that space for their restaurant offices. A few years later, when the Fio Ritos lease expired, Fish Company used that space to expand their oyster bar which immediately became quite popular.
Fio Ritos (c.1966-c2014) – 11101 Los Alamitos Boulevard – per Ted Thomey’s Table Talk column in LB Press-Telegram, Fio-Rito’s opened in late 1964, (another source says January 1965) as Fio-Rito’s Pizza Villa by Leonard and Margie Fio-Rito who already had a location at Del Amo and Paramount in North Long Beach. The place quickly became a local favorite and Fio-Rito soon expanded, taking over an office (or was it the Post Office’s
Drug Fair (1964-c1990) – We would be remiss to leave Drug Fair out. What self-respecting drug store wouldn’t have a decent
Charo Chicken (2000-c.2008) – 11105 Los Alamitos Blvd. owned by Steve Meisner, who had previously been a manager at the nearby Fish Company, not to mention a Los Al native and former member of the Los Alamitos Mounted Police. [Of course, the original Charo was on Main Street in Seal Beach, and this was one of its earliest attempts at franchising. It did OK, but Steve and Mo
Blake’s Place (2010-2016) – 11105 Los Alamitos Blvd. This was a second location for Blake’s, a popular Anaheim BBQ joint. This one was co-owned by Mike ___, wh also owned Domenico’s on 2nd Street in Long Beach.
Off the Hook – 11105 Los Alamitos Blvd.
Katella Deli & Bakery — 3464 Katella Avenue (1964 – 1985, moved 10 blocks east to Katella & Lexington] Opened by Sam and ___ Ratman. Also working there were their three sons, Harold, Alan
Jongewaard’s Bake and Broil – 3464 Katella Avenue – (c1986-1988) an offshoot of the original Jongewaard’s in Bixby Knolls. [still there and still getting great reviews]
Polly’s Pies – 3464 Katella Avenue – (by Sep 1989 – present) – opened are in the old Katella Deli location as early as September 1989. [They were not there as of July 7 of that year] The restaurant was started in Fullerton in 1970 by the Sheldrake Brothers. The Katella location was their 12th.
Michael’s Markets – 3462 Katella Avenue – located on the site of the current Boot Barn. This site was open as early as July 1965. Michaels was a new Orange County chain. Los Al was its second operation but by 1971 it had 12 in OC alone and many others outside the county. They may have expanded too fast because the site was up for auction in September 1973.
Stater Bros. Markets – 3462 Katella Avenue – The Oct. 11, 1973 issue of the Press-Telegram ran a
The Sportsman – 11133 Los Alamitos Blvd. (opened April 1, 1967) hard to believe but this place started as a classy Vegas style (piano bar, trios) club in
Juice Stop (there in 1997
OJ’s “was a hamburger place that was also the only place that had soft serve ice cream at the time. It opened about 1967 or so and only lasted a few years.
Taco Pronto – 11151 Los Alamitos Blvd. (listed in 1968 Chamber Directory)
West’s Cafe (is this the samesite as OJ’s drive in?)
Tong’s Satay House – 11151 Los Alamitos Blvd. An ad in the 35th anniversary Rossmoor special edition says
Fortune Cookies – 11151 Orangewood (opened around 2003 or 4 and hasn’t done too bad for itself.