Redlands has and continues to become a destination for food, wine and beer. The city’s numerous restaurants, breweries and wineries are gaining in popularity from Redlanders and outsiders.

By Sandra Emerson, Redlands Daily Facts
Posted: 02/22/14, 4:42 PM PST |

REDLANDS >> Foodies are traveling from within and beyond Southern California to find artisan foods, craft beverages and locally sourced ingredients in Redlands.

Word of the town’s many local restaurants, wineries and breweries has gotten out, helping to brand the city as a food and beverage destination.

“It’s so encouraging to see that this is the case,” said Kathie Thurston, executive director of the Redlands Chamber of Commerce. “We have been looking for that identity for so long, and we are now in a place where we can literally put our arms around it and claim it as our own.”

Through the growth of Redlands’ specialty food and beverage sector, many locally owned Redlands businesses use locally produced ingredients, creating a trend to support local farmers.

“It happened on its own,” said Mayor Pro Tem Paul Foster. “People come here with high quality boutique-type restaurants downtown, many of whom purchase locally grown produce from Three Sisters Farm, the Farm at the Grove School (and there’s also) Hangar 24’s use of locally grown oranges.”

Longtime Redlander Steve Dunkerken, who founded Ritual Brewing Co. in Redlands with Owen Williams, said he remembers his mother’s efforts to boost downtown with the Redlands Chamber of Commerce in the 1970s.

Since, Dunkerken said, the city has succeeded.

“If you go downtown, not only is there a wide variety of great businesses and restaurants, but for the large part, they’re not corporate-owned average chains from elsewhere,” he said. “It’s the unique, passionate, locally owned businesses that really sets Redlands apart.”

Thurston said the city has not always had the variety of businesses it does now.

“Some time ago the leadership in the community decided that the downtown would be a hospitality center and it has clearly accomplished that,” Thurston said.

The historic charm of the city is also something other cities do not have, said Carl Baker, city spokesman.

“They would love to have the historic feel and look about their downtown like we do. They’d love to have a walkable downtown like we do,” he said.

The boutiques and restaurants are gaining momentum, Thurston said.

“They feed off one another. We are following this design,” she said, comparing Redlands to Old Pasadena. “We have our own little boutique stores that are unique, interesting and fun and different, amazing restaurants that enhance those and complements them.”

Wilson Turley, accredited sommelier at The Lounge 22, said he imagines Redlands will be a version of Old town Pasadena in five to 10 years.

“I foresee this town really becoming something big,” he said.

Five years after first opening at the Redlands Municipal Airport, Hangar 24 is one of several microbreweries operating within the city, and their beer is sold throughout California, Nevada and soon, Arizona.

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