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Officials turn out for Triangle ribbon cutting

Two more restaurants join the downtown Costa Mesa center's lineup.

May 17, 2013|By Bradley Zint
  • Dominique Llanes, left, and Gina Archie enjoy a cotton candy tower in one of lounge areas at the newly opened Saddle Ranch Chop House at the Triangle in Costa Mesa.
Dominique Llanes, left, and Gina Archie enjoy a cotton… (Don Leach, Daily…)

The Saddle Ranch Chop House and El Corazón de Costa Mesa, two new restaurants at The Triangle, held small ribbon-cutting ceremonies earlier this week.

Costa Mesa Chamber of Commerce employees, city officials and others posed for the grand-opening photos — complete with the big scissors — for the Western-themed steakhouse restaurant and Mexican food establishment Wednesday afternoon.

Mayor Pro Tem Steve Mensinger and representatives from the offices of Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa) and Assemblyman Allan Mansoor (R-Costa Mesa) were also present at the downtown center to hand out certificates of recognition.

Saddle Ranch, which first opened its doors last month, purports a "rock meets Western" concept in its 7,880-square-foot space that also features a mechanical bull, two bars and an outdoor pool table. Wood signs with text such as "Ride a Bull / Meet a Nurse" line the wall.

Costa Mesa's Saddle Ranch is the chain's fourth restaurant and the only one in Orange County. The others are in West Hollywood, Universal City and Glendale, Ariz. Saddle Ranch replaces Chronic Cantina, which was part of the Chronic Tacos chain.

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Employees said Wednesday that the restaurant is already very busy on Fridays and Saturdays, with long lines and standing-room only situations onto the outside patio, which has created a difficult parking situation for guests and employees alike.

The 5,560-square-foot El Corazón is the first of its kind and, organizers said, potentially the first of a chain. The restaurant is designed to resemble beachside dining found in Mexican resort towns such as Cabo San Lucas.

El Corazón replaces Upper Crust Pizza Works and Johnny Rockets.

The Black Knight Gastro Lounge and Olive Branch Wood Fired Pizza also recently opened at The Triangle. Black Knight is a revamped version of Little Knight, a once-popular dive bar on East 17th Street that closed in August.

Planning Commissioner Rob Dickson said he and his wife saw many "dead" times during their frequent visits to The Triangle, but that with the new additions, things seem to be turning around for the historically struggling center.

"It's a long time coming," he said, expressing hope that the success would spread to the other downtown environs.

"We came here on a Saturday night for dinner and we brought our son," Dickson added. "And my wife's first comment to me was, 'It's a parallel universe,' because it was completely packed."

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Part of a renovation effort

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