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Watson's Drugs & Soda Fountain

116 E Chapman Ave., Orange, CA 92866, Call: (714) 633-1050



Orange, California--Watson's Drug & Soda Fountain in the City of Orange is located in the historic  Old Towne Orange at the Orange Circle. Established in 1899, it is one of the oldest restaurants and businesses in Orange County, California. But the restaurant is by no means alone for its age in the downtown shopping and dining district. Old Towne was founded in 1873. 


While people vary in their opinions about the food at Watson's Soda Fountain, the name should provide some indication of the tried and true items the diner delivers on. A huge selection of old-fashioned bottled sodas, the big container of malt powder to go into malts, and the pot of steaming coffee don't do the trick for me.


I made my way to a counter seat and went straight to the request--a vanilla phosphate. The waitress who worked there 11 years looked like a teenager but she had a can-do attitude, and she knew how to make her soda beverages the old-fashioned way. I first requested a lime-aide, and she asked me for clarification. It is fresh lime juice (approx. 1 full lime) squeezed into a bubbly sweet drink such as 7-up, then a little bit of cherry juice or a maraschino cherry is placed on top. No--they didn't have fresh limes. But she knew vanilla phosphates and even knew enough to ask which version I would like--the sweet-sweet drink, or the sweet-sour version with a squeeze of citric acid added. Delicious!


French fries come hot out of the oil, sandwiches and burgers all smell great. But some people love them and others say "not great". Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, the hot waffles seem to be one of the all time favorites on the menu. I've tried their food and don't recall whether I liked it or not. But there's only one thing I really come to savor--and that's the flavor of a vanilla phosphate.


The restaurant was used in the Tom Hanks featured film, "That Thing You Do". You can buy several postcards with Hanks pictured in the store with the owner.


Bonus points:

All-American fare includes hamburgers, french fries and sandwiches.

1950s jukebox tunes.

Cherry sodas, banana splits, chocolate malts

Good pie with ice cream




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