McFadden Public Market has made an excellent entrance into the hubbub of Downtown Santa Ana's food scene. It brings two new bars, fantastic fried chicken, and loads of other fun and trendy food packaged in a beautifully renovated old Santa Ana building.

Rooster Republic

Adnan Amin

Fried chicken was first on my list to try, and Rooster Republic served up some freakin’ delicious fried chicken. The distinctively flavored thin crust was well adhered and the meat within was perfectly cooked and juicy. Their spicy honey sauce rounded out the well-seasoned, savory experience.

The chicken was fantastic, but the creamed corn unexpectedly placed as one of the best foods I tried for this article. I say “unexpectedly” because I can’t remember the last time I had memorable creamed corn outside of my mom’s kitchen. The pimento-type macaroni salad was also excellent.

For me, Rooster Republic alone is reason enough to make the trek to McFadden Public Market and write this article, but just in case you’re a weirdo and don’t love fried chicken, here’s some more food that you can get there.

En Tu Boca

salad, tacos, salsa, corn
Adnan Amin

Gotta love that name, right? En Tu Boca has more tacos than you can shake a stick at -- fillings include various Filipino meat preparations, such as adobo, and multiple vegetarian options, like potato, -- as well as nachos. All tacos are served on pretty blue tortillas (“very aesthetic” was a thing that was said of them), which are subtly sweeter than regular yellow corn tortillas, making a good pairing with all of the taco fillings we tried. 

The seared ahi/salmon taco (bottom) was a standout for me - the fruit added an amazing complexity to the flavor profile. The curried potatoes taco, the one vegetarian option we tried, was as satisfying as any non-vegetarian taco. Overall, fresh vegetables, flavorful proteins, and well thought out flavor profiles across the board.

Bone Stock

meat, vegetable, salad, lettuce
Adnan Amin

This name treads dangerously close to my least favorite pair of words of all time (starts with "b" and ends with "one broth"), but I can still get behind it. I’ll rationalize a lot in order to get my phở fix.

Bone Stock offers a good selection of solid and reasonably priced Vietnamese staples, but they also have this thing called the Springception.

Yup, that’s an egg roll in a big ol’ spring roll. It’s sort of like if someone was eating a nem nướng and thought, “Hey, what if that fried spring roll wrapper in there was actually an actual egg roll?” This is great for me because I can never decide between spring rolls and egg rolls, and it’s also pretty much a meal in itself.

McFadden Public Market also has two whole bars. Well, one bar (Under Control) and one barcade (Mission Control). That’s “barcade” as in “bar and arcade."

Adnan Amin

The downstairs bar, Under Control, serves mixological pinkies up-type drinks, but the upstairs bar, Mission Control, is mostly tap-based, so you can keep drinking between rounds of your pinball tourney or favorite arcade game. Large selections of craft beer are available at both.

Milk Man

chocolate, ice cream, milk, dairy product, sweet, ice, cream
Adnan Amin

Finally, for dessert, how about a tiny ice cream cone? What? You’ve never had a tiny ice cream cone before? That’s what I said!

The ice cream pictured above is called an "itty-bitty with a single dip." Don’t worry, you can get a normal size scoop (or “dip”) too. They also have a drink called a "freezie," which is ice cream and soda blended together.

Milk Man’s PB&J ice cream (PB ice cream with J ribboned in) was excellent, and the pink lemonade sorbet is only distinguishable from the real thing because it's in a solid state instead of a liquid state.

Speaking of solid liquid, McFadden Public Market’s final tenant Solid Coffee Roasters are scheduled to open later this month.

For me, McFadden Public Market is an excellently curated selection of all the best foods one could find in Southern California. I've been known to make the trip to one food hall or another specifically for one place in that hall, but here, I don't need to be so fussy. There is truly something for everyone.

Here's MFP's website, Insta, and Facebook.