Named for the “big orange” groves that once bordered the Rose City, La Grande Orange Café debuted on March 17 in the main terminal of the shuttered Santa Fe Railway Depot (1935), combining history and market fresh ingredients on a level that’s almost unheard of in the forward-focused city of Los Angeles.
LGO Hospitality founder Bob Lynn, a former Houston’s Executive Vice President who opened 13 links in the chain, has lived in Los Angeles the past seven years, but started developing in Phoenix because he owned the real estate. Lynn worked with partners Sandy Henry, Craig and Kris DeMarco to create a culinary cluster along the city’s North 40th Street dividing line: La Grande Orange Pizzeria, Chelsea’s Kitchen, Radio Milano and Postino Winecafe (in an old post office). Lynn stressed, “They’re all different. We don’t take the same thing and stamp it out again.”
In order to build the mixed-use development that surrounds La Grande Orange Café, the train depot had to be dismantled and moved across the street to Central Park. Once the building was back in place, to get the layout right, LGO designed and redesigned the floor plan 11 times. Lynn said, “We started with pencil sketches on scale and took it to 3D CAD, then got a bucket of chalk from Toys ‘R Us and drew it life size on the floor.” Designer Kristofer Keith energized the white walls with a more festive color scheme, to accent the original wall tiles, light fixtures and cedar ceiling. An open kitchen is situated behind the depot’s old ticket counter. The African mahogany bar in back has huge windows looking out on to the patio, offering views of passing Gold Line trains.
Executive Chef Scott Malin previously worked at every LGO establishment in Phoenix, front and back of the house. The Cleveland native graduated from Johnson & Wales in Miami and worked for Morton’s before meeting Bob Lynn at a baby shower. At La Grande Orange Café, Malin adheres to Lynn’s imperative that “cooking is honest and from scratch,” with fish and vegetables that change every day chuck ground to order for burgers, and fish filleted under refrigeration. Nothing’s frozen.
Courtesy of FOOD GPS
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CATERING FOR LA GRANDE ORANGE IS CHANGING!!
Starting October 2008, the LGO Hospitality Catering Department will be restructuring. Platters and Bowls are still available for pick up, but each restaurant will handle their orders separately. Delivery and Full Service Events will not be a regular service option. Any orders for the month of September can be placed through the current catering service, but orders after September 30th will need to be placed with the individual restaurant. We are sorry for any inconveniences this may cause, and appreciate all the customers that have chosen LGO Hospitality in the past.
Please contact Melanie with questions at 480-540-0856.
05/12/2008 Posted by pasadenagal
What a fabulous place! I thought the food was excellent and the service was extremely friendly and efficient. The brussel sprout salad is to die for--and I don't even like brussel sprouts! They were barely cooked so they were still crisp, and broken up like mini lettuce leaves with almonds, bacon if you like and a tasty dressing. Also excellent was the Dixie fried chicken--the meat was moist and the crust was flavorful and crispy. It was chilly the night we went, but there is outdoor dining and the bar is open to a courtyard, just the place to be on a hot summer night. The old train station is beautifully restored. Valet parking out front is efficient and costs $6. The place is noisy due to the acoustics of the old building, but you can barely hear the quiet Gold Line trains go by. Definitely check this place out, especially if you happen to be in Old Town. It's just a block or two south of Colorado Boulevard.
Courtesy of Zagat
We absolutely adore this restaurant. It's so refreshing to finally have a restuarant that mixes excellent food, service and ambience and is a wonderful change from the chain restuarants popping up everywhere in Old Town. We had the short ribs which were unbelieveable, and the Olive Oil Cake for dessert, which was also excellent. The service was fabulous, and it has easily become one of our favorite Pasadena restaurants. Reviewed by cuisine101 on 04/15/2008.
A new gem hidden behind the bright lights of Old Town Pasadena. Patrons can enjoy the classy dining room redone in earthly tones and savor the dinner feel of the open air patio. The menu includes modern and traditional American dishes like fried chicken and aged prime ribs, wine-braised short ribs. Additionally, the menu includes a homage to the Mexi-Cali influence in American culture with a variety of tacos. The bar features an intimate setting. Reviewed by wongdr on 04/05/2008.
We enjoyed a good meal with no first-week glitches in this beautifully restored space. Enough variety in the clever menu to attract families, couples and groups out for the evening. Could become a regular. Reviewed by FoodieSkeptic on 04/10/2008.