CAFÉ CHIARINI (now closed- no news yet on whether this is temporary)
Santa Ana, Ca.
On the far end of 3rd St. heading west from the Santa Ana Artist’s Village, you will find a unique corner of the neighborhood. Right next to Angel Park, the two-story red brick building sits square on the corner of 3rd & Olive St. It is a delightful surprise with a unique location for the new Café Chiarini.
Walking into the building, you know you’re in for something good when you find beautifully carved marble and tiles, large vases of flowers, art in abundance and a happy line of patrons ready to order delicious Greek salads, capresse- tomato with mozarella and basil, Greek yogurt and homemade granola, soups, sandwiches, gourmet pizza and espresso cafe.
The vision is right out of the hearts of Richard Chiarini, Iliana Chiarini and Judy Fleenor. As partners, their dream has been to provide a place that people could enjoy good food with art, culture, and a beautiful environment to share life and love. “We are all the same,” states Iliana. “In Greece we share the table, cry around the table, live life at the table.” The goal was to have a place for people to enjoy culture, become friends, and display art. Indeed after enjoying a delicious pastry, mocha cappuccino and spending some time with Iliana, I began to feel as though I knew this petite and bright spirited woman with a great big heart. She was as busy as could be, but took time to tell us about herself, partners and the Café Chiarini.
It was wonderful to see people enjoying the pleasant environment and good food. You will want to spend time in the café foyer and interior. Afterall, it has been a private showroom for the Chiarini Brothers sculpting business in Santa Ana for many years. The Chiarini’s purchased the building in 1998. The historic building dates from 1919 and was once the Busy Bee Market. The brothers, Richard and George Chiarini, preserved and renovated the building and used it as a special place for clients to see their works, such as custom sculpted stone fireplaces, marble counters, venetian plaster walls and gorgeous tiles. The quiet and humble brothers are well-known in Santa Ana for their Chiarini Fountain located in the middle of the 2nd St. Promenade in the Artist’s Village. Iliana met George in Greece in 1988. Now years later, combined family skills have brought together this lovely café and the dream has become reality.
The staff is courteous and pleasant with smiles to greet you and happy demeanors ready to serve and prepare the food. The Café makes its own delicious breads daily for sandwiches and uses fresh greens with tasty heirloom tomatoes. The drink bar includes espressos and of course delicious lemonade and passion fruit iced tea. Judy Fleenor has a flair for cooking- her salads, sandwichs, soups and homemade dressing are all prepared from scratch. Pastry Chef
Vicky Schrimmer, creates the beautiful cinnamon bubble buns and blueberry muffins- all of course made daily. Her homemade granola is used in the delicious yogurt parfait.
Open from 7:00 a.m to 4:00 p.m., M-F, breakfast and lunch-goers can enjoy their food in the outdoor courtyard complete with a beautifully carved fountain that George made for Iliana. The lunch area is pleasant and quiet although it is in the center of a large urban city. Café Chiarini delivers it all- excellent food, a pleasant environment and good people. Stop in for a splice of life and something good to eat!
1002 W. 3rd St.
Santa Ana, Ca 92703
(right) Iliana Chiarini
Last Updated (Saturday, 24 November 2012 15:00)