Category Archives: Arts & Entertainment

La Habra gets its first bar for craft beer lovers

Cask & Hammer - La Habra, Ca

David Mora pours a glass of beer at his newly-opened craft beer bar in La Habra– Cask and Hammer.
Photo by PAUL RODRIGUEZ, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER – David Mora, who has opened up a craft beer bar on Harbor Bl. 

Locals are buzzing about Cask & Hammer, La Habra’s first craft beer bar.

Owner David Mora didn’t expect about 100 comments when he posted a picture on Instagram of the bar’s logo and the bar’s opening date, July 24.

Let’s go try this place out.

Take me here!!

It’s already on my calendar!

The first day of business drew a standing room-only crowd, said Mora, 29, who opened the bar with his father, Raymond Mora.

Craft beer is exploding all over the United States, and particularly in California: the Golden State ranks No. 1 with the most craft breweries in the nation and the biggest economic impact, raking in $6.5 billion in 2014, according to California Craft Brewers Association. The number of craft breweries in the state is up 60 percent, at 431 of the businesses in 2014, compared to 270 in 2011, according to the Brewers Association.

Richard Garcia of La Habra said that he went to the Cask & Hammer during its first week, after learning about the bar through Facebook. Garcia, 35, left one of the first Yelp reviews for the business – positive, of course.

“In La Habra you don’t have anything like this, that offers craft beer,” Garcia said. “You have to go to Red Robin to get Stone IPA on tap.”

La Habra’s bars are old-school, serving domestics like Budweiser and maybe a few Mexican brews.

Cask & Hammer is a little different. Murals of Los Angeles, La Habra and a barrel room adorn the walls, designed by a street artist who Mora saw painting electrical boxes in downtown L.A.

There are 30 rotating beers on tap, mostly from Southern California and Orange County, such as Stone, The Bruery, Left Coast, Bootlegger’s, Ballast Point and Golden Road.

Still, some customers are disappointed that Mora doesn’t serve mainstream labels like Coors or Budweiser. He tries to get them to try something similar – maybe a lager from Glendale’s Golden Road or a Mexican-style ale from San Clemente’s Left Coast.

Mora, who is living in downtown Los Angeles as he completes an MBA at USC, said he got some flack after telling people that he was opening a bar in La Habra. But, the monthly rent is about $2,000 less when compared to downtown Los Angeles or Uptown Whittier.

“Everybody was telling me it’s never going to work in La Habra,” said Mora, who grew-up in nearby Whittier. “I’m like, that’s not true.”

Like much of North Orange County, La Habra is an under-served market for restaurants, particularly because it’s far from any major freeway, said Greg Stoffel, a retail analyst from Irvine. In 2013, the city’s restaurants brought in $1,535 per capita compared to the county average of $1,996 per capita, according to state data analyzed by Stoffel.

“That means it’s not doing well now, but there’s plenty of potential,” Stoffel said. “If (Cask & Hammer) turns out to be good – even better, then it can have a wider draw.”

Mora’s bar could already have that wide draw. Michelle Dominguez drove about 30 miles from the Highland Park area of Los Angeles to visit Cask & Hammer.

“I actually found them on Instagram before they even opened up and I thought it was amazing that someone is bringing only cask and craft beer to La Habra, especially since no one else has that out there,” Dominguez said.

On a recent weekday, Mora was at the bar before it opened, taking a delivery of Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin.

Larry Johnson, 23, saw the sign as he drove by, recognizing it from Instagram. He walked inside and asked Mora if he could look around.

“I’ve been telling everyone about it,” Johnson said.

Mora says that happens quite a bit.

“I’m worried this place might actually be too small for how excited people are,” he said with a laugh. “People refuse to leave during the week.”

Meet La Habra, the corniest town in Orange County

La Habra, Ca Corn Festival 2015

A boy in the under eight children’s category races to finish an ear of corn Saturday afternoon at the 2012 La Habra Corn Festival during the corn eating contest. The 2012 La Habra Corn Festival celebrates corn with a corn eating contest, displays, and a parade.

Source: OC Register

La Habra has something no other city in Orange County has. A corn festival.

That’s right, corn – as in the plant that grows so high it meets an elephant’s eye.

Now, you may wonder why a celebration of corn. And I am here to report and reveal. But for context, you probably are asking yourself some basic questions about La Habra – like where the heck is La Habra?

Not to be confused with La Palma, another Orange County city, La Habra is arguably the least freeway-connected city in our county. And that explains why so many know so little about La Habra, including its location – north of Fullerton, west of the 57 freeway.

But that doesn’t tell you much about this city that proudly calls itself a “caring community.” To explore La Habra, you need to drive its streets, including ones the locals call “our freeways.”

After flying along Beach Boulevard and, later, Imperial Highway, where speed limits range from 50-55 mph, I get that surface-street-as-freeway thing. Still, La Habra is best seen through the eyes of City Manager Jim Sadro.

Understand, Sadro grew up here. Point to a big city map and he shows where in high school he chowed down hamburgers.


The recession hit all municipalities. But some were especially hard hit. Without a big mall and with relatively low property taxes, La Habra suffered.

“The recession was incredibly damaging,” Sadro allows. “We’re still feeling the effects.”

Consider that the city’s biggest employer is CVS and its warehouses, where some 900 people work. The next biggest employers are big-box stores such as Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club and Costco.

During the recession, two new-car dealerships disappeared and tax revenue plunged. Making matters worse, an old utility tax had expired. Still, basic maintenance was needed. Streets were in poor shape.

But residents rallied with a half-cent sales tax. And today, after a six-year-project, all residential streets have been repaired or replaced. Sadro points out that one of the vacant car dealership sites will soon become a gated community with 32 homes.

It’s a series of small and large successes like these that cumulatively make a big difference in a city that covers 7.4 square miles and has nearly 62,000 people.

The support of citizens means a lot to Sadro, and not just because he’s city manager. A teacher he had at Whittier Christian High School reached back to the civic service values of the 1960s and inspired Sadro to get involved with government. He went on to earn his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Cal State Fullerton, focusing on public administration.

Matthew Gaitan, 2, and Destiny Alvarado, 3, play around wooden ears of corn at the annual La Habra Corn Festival. ///ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: 0808.spr.corn – 8/2/14 – NICK AGRO, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER  The La Habra Corn Festival is the biggest event in the city. The doggy costume contest begins at 2:30 p.m., with registration at 1:30 p.m. The corn eating contest begins at 2 p.m.

Matthew Gaitan, 2, and Destiny Alvarado, 3, play around wooden ears of corn at the annual La Habra Corn Festival.

The La Habra Corn Festival is the biggest event in the city. The doggy costume contest begins at 2:30 p.m., with registration at 1:30 p.m. The corn eating contest begins at 2 p.m.Approaching two years as city manager, Sadro doesn’t look to turn the city, incorporated in 1925, upside down. His goal is similar to his predecessors: “Create a more livable city.”

He explains that the city is in a valley with La Habra Heights to the north and Fullerton’s Coyote Hills to the south. He boasts, “It’s dead quiet here at night. You don’t get that constant freeway hum.”

Still, he’s quick to declare, “We’re not a sleepy bedroom community. There’s a lot going on.”

That’s especially true after council’s vote last week to completely remodel the city’s civic center.


Will La Habra try to one-up Newport Beach and its new $142 million city hall?

Sadro smiles thinly, suppressing a comment. Instead, he explains what will happen in La Habra over the next three years. His guiding principle follows previous city councils as well as new members: “Help the city become more of a community.”

The current City Hall will be replaced by 71 townhomes – which means more people and more sales tax. City Hall will move across the street and into existing buildings. The plan also puts City Hall closer to prized Portola Park, which includes baseball fields, a tennis center and the city’s Children’s Museum, which offers a hand-carved carousel, an interactive model train village and tours of a 1942 caboose.

Total funding? Sadro estimates that the entire civic center project, which includes updating other buildings, should cost $19 million. But the new civic center is only part of the focus

“We will create a new downtown community with a new La Habra vibe and restaurants, shops and stores,” Sadro predicts. “I’m a big believer in government presenting the opportunity and letting developers develop.”

Andrew Ho, director of community and economic development, admits he has his work cut out for him and estimates that it could take years before the area sees dramatic change. Still, he is encouraged with the plans as well as some newer additions already in the area such as G-Burger, a gourmet hamburger restaurant.

Mind you, the plans are a far cry from what Sadro’s predecessor handled back when Sadro was in high school. Those were days when tagging was a serious problem. The best the city could do was send crews out to paint over the graffiti. Sadro recalls one worker starting at 4 a.m. so residents could wake up to pristine neighborhoods.

Today, crime remains an issue just as it does in many areas. But Sadro reports that many of the old gangs are gone and tagging is less of an issue. As he talks, we pass El Centro Park in the downtown area. Kids in bathing suits squeal as they slip down a waterslide, and jump up and down in a bounce house.

Sadro mentions that it’s a city program. We pass La Bonita Park, where four softball fields rival the best in Orange County. We visit Vista Grande Park, where the city soon will build fields for soccer and football, and perhaps a dog park.

“If you don’t have to think about your government,” Sadro says, “then we’re probably doing a good job.”


By now, you’ve either forgotten about the corn festival or given up learning about it. Don’t worry. The corn festival happens to be one of my favorite Orange County events, if for nothing else because it has the same simple theme every year.

Realize there are no cornfields in Orange County. And even back in the day, La Habra apparently had no cornfields.

The idea for a festival started a couple of years after World War II, when the Lions Club needed a fundraiser. Soon, a member by the name of Bill Miller concluded that the city should have a corn festival because a lot of residents were from the Midwest.

It’s turns out Miller was onto something. Although few residents today hail from the Midwest, in less than four weeks the local Lions Club will launch its 67th Corn Festival.

Randy McMillan, a 26-year Lion, zeroes in on the hometown appeal: “I look forward to meeting up with my friends that I grew up with.”

The three-day festival includes what the Lions call Southern California’s longest-running summer parade, live music and, of course, corn eating contests.

Too corny? Perhaps. But in a very cool way.

La Habra Heights rocks out once again in The Park

By Katelyn Chavez

The La Habra Heights Improvement Association brings families and friends together each summer for an entertaining event every Wednesday night.
Last week, the audience experienced the music of U2 performed by the Whittier worship band, 40.
Brian Guthrie on vocals, Sol Rodriguez on guitar, Josh Mervin on drums, and Ed Eller as their event manager; this has been their second time playing for the LHHIA’s  music in the park, and said they are glad to do it.
“The energy is so awesome and we want to keep coming back,” Guthrie said. “There’s people we know here, and new faces and it’s so thrilling to see!”
Melisa Villanueva and Eric Nicolson are from Fullerton, and they attended the event for the first time this year and said the band sounds just like U2!
They added that this event is sure to bring them back because it was so fun.
For over 20 years, LHHIA has sponsored music in the park, and each year the music gets better and better.
American favorites this year include tribute bands that play sounds of: The Beach Boys, U2, Swing Era, Elvis, Brooks & Dunn, Neil Diamond, Smooth sounds of Santana, and a battle of the bands with the Beatles and Rolling Stones.
This year there’s a concert tribute for everyone with good food and desserts to make this event even more enjoyable.
The event is so popular and has grown with people starting with an audience from 400 people to 2000, according to organizer Jennifer Jones .
“We start planning for this event in January, and like to create a fun atmosphere where friends and family create memories, and bring new people to create some of their own,” Jones explained.
Elizabeth Espinoza is from La Habra has been coming to the concerts for the past five years. Thistime, she brought her friends to celebrate her birthday.
“It’s my second week of summer vacation, and this is perfect to start with,” she said.  “My husband asked me what I wanted to do to celebrate, and I couldn’t think of anything better to do than this! Next week I’m bringing my family.”
Fernando Menchaca who is from Whittier has been working for this event for the past six years and puts his joy in his work to see all the smiling faces.
He describes this event … “simply irresistible!  Everyone has to come at least once because it automatically puts you in a good mood. The vibe never decreases.”

Source: La Habra Journal

July 4th Photo Contest

La Habra Heights, Ca July 4th Photo Contest - Kevin Allen - First Team Real Estatela-habra-heights-july4th-11st Annual July 4th Photo Contest

Fire up your cameras & cell phones and show off your community’s patriotic spirit!

Photo concept ideas:

Scenic Shots, Family photos, Showing Your Patriotic Spirit, and Fabulous Food For The Fourth.  If it Shouts American Pride capture it and share with your neighbors.

More Idea Samples: la-habra-heights-july4th-2Rules:
Must be a resident of La Habra Heights, CA or La Habra, CA.
Must be an original photo.
Photos will be featured on
Deadline for submissions will be July 10th, 2015
Submit photos via email to:

La Habra Firework Show Information – Time & Address

La Habra, Ca FireworksGates open 5 p.m. Food available for purchase, music on the main stage, local bands on the second stage, and KidZone with free inflatables, games and activities.

Fireworks begin 9:15 p.m.

Purchase pre-sale wristbands at the La Habra Community Center, 101 W. La Habra Blvd., 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday until July 3. $5 adults, $3 for ages 3-12.

Day of event, prices are $7 and $4. If sitting on grass, must bring own lawn chairs and/or blankets.

Celebration at La Habra High School stadium,


801 W. Highlander Ave.
La Habra, Ca


Other Local Cities:

Hacienda Heights:

Fourth of July parade begins at 9 a.m. on Stimson Avenue, starting at Colima Road and ending at Steinmetz Park, 1545 S. Stimson Ave., includes bands, floats, equestrian units and other groups.

La Mirada: Annual Independence Celebration will be held from 4-9:30 p.m. Friday, July 3 at La Mirada Regional Park, 13701 Adelfa Drive. Live music, food vendors. Bring chairs and/or blankets. Free. Overflow parking at La Mirada High School stadium lot, Biola University (entrance off of La Mirada Boulevard), and Civic Center Plaza. Shuttle service from Biola University parking lot from 4-10 p.m. 562-943-7277 or


Kevin Allen
First Team Estates
CHRISTIES Luxury Real Estate

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