Cafes galore: 4 new coffee houses in Orange County include a Lee’s roastery
By Nancy Luna | | Orange County Register
Steelhead Coffee curates coffee from roasters who buy directly from coffee farms. (Courtesy Steelhead)


The specialty coffee scene in Orange County doesn’t appear to be slowing down. The latest gourmet cafes include a third location for Hidden House Coffee Roaster and a newcomer to the county, Steelhead Coffee, a popular Long Beach cafe.

Hidden House, with its flagship cafe in the historic Los Rios district in San Juan Capistrano, opened a location this spring near the Santa Ana train depot. The cafe roasts its beans and specializes in pour-over coffee. The coffee house is at 511 E. Santa Ana Blvd.

The coffee house owners also opened Dear Lacy in the same center. The bistro, at 601 E. Santa Ana Blvd., is open Wednesday through Sunday. The small menu features sandwiches and shareable appetizers such as grilled corn, crispy wings and al pastor fries. The bar menu features local craft beer from breweries such as Unsung and Cismontane.

Steelhead, which first opened in the California Heights area of Long Beach in 2015, opened its first Orange County cafe in late July.

The Laguna Hills location is in an office campus serving 30 companies on Mill Creek Drive. Owner John Aguirre started Steelhead because he and his wife found their neighborhood of historic bungalows lacked good coffee shops.

Unlike other specialty cafes, Steelhead takes a different approach with its coffee. Aguirre’s cafe curates coffee the same way a gastropub sources fine craft beer. He looks for the best coffee beans from around the country. The Laguna Hills cafe is currently serving coffee from Denver roaster Huckleberry.

Steelhead also operates a cafe at the steel container food hall in Long Beach dubbed Steelcraft. Aguirre said he was able to nab space in the popular food hall because one of the developers is a regular at the California Heights cafe. Steelcraft is opening another food hall in Garden Grove. It’s unclear if Steelhead will be part of that project, which is still in its early stages of development.

The Laguna Hills cafe is at 23382 Mill Creek Dr.

Also, Brot Coffee opened recently in Orange. The Main Street cafe near is in the same strip center as Staples, near Children’s Hospital of Orange County. The espresso and coffee menu features pour over and French press coffee. Address: 316 S. Main St., Orange.

The owners behind Lee’s Sandwiches opened their first cafe, Lee’s Coffee Roastery, on Tuesday, Aug. 8 in Westminster. The roastery sells Lee’s classic coffee and Vietnamese specialties such as cà phê sữa đá (iced coffee.) The latter beverage has become so popular over the years that it is now sold in Asian supermarkets around the world, as well as Costco.

The cafe is adjacent to Lee’s sandwich shop on Bolsa: 9261 Bolsa Ave.

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