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Where Locals Dine with Cindy Avila

Updated: Aug 31, 2023

Cindy Avila holding her favorite shake from The Straw: Modern Milkshakes. Credit: Photo courtesy of Cindy Avila

While I do my best to cover brand new as well as established restaurants, I’m reminded that there are many places that go overlooked for one reason or another. So to give a different perspective of the dining scene that is Orange County, I established a quarterly series of interviews with individuals in the community who share an appetite for good eats. I keep in touch with many people I research for a story, as they are often the catalyst for future topics. We share dining recommendations and, on occasion, break bread.

One person in particular is Cindy Avila, who has spent the past decade consulting on food halls and mixed-use properties. Her focus is on current and new venues as well as event spaces. She is also rebuilding the Union Market food hall in Mission Viejo. While most of her time is spent searching for new spots and identifying trends throughout Southern California, she calls Costa Mesa home. She considers herself lucky to live in OC. “We have so much good food here,” Avila said. “Why go far for good food?”

Cindy and I first met while working on a scholarship committee for a nonprofit. It was only after we started chatting at a beer festival that we realized how well we got along. Initially, she was concerned about the majority of her restaurant selections being in Costa Mesa. The fact of the matter is that most locals don’t want to drive far from home for a solid meal.

This full story can be accessed for free in its entirety at Voice of OC.



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