Chelsea Madren aka OC Food Diva: Johnsonville's The Sausage Dome Champion, World Food Championships E.A.T. Certified Food Judge, KCBS Certified BBQ Judge, Brand Ambassador, Culinary Researcher, Food & Travel Critic, Food Competitor, and Recipe Developer
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Knowlwood is a piece of Orange County, CA farmland history
In 1960, Roy and Fay Knowlton partnered with Gene Wood to start a restaurant called Knowl-Wood at the old Orangewood Ranch which is now called Anaheim Hills, CA. Their homemade food and friendly service became their trademark. Even before the 91 freeway was built, Knowlwood was a favorite stop along the old Imperial Highway.
When we first moved to California in the 1970s, there were still row upon row of orange trees that dotted the side of the 91 freeway from its border with Corona and all the way west to Anaheim. As a small child, I remember seeing deer nibbling away on grass on the Green River Golf Course on the north side of the freeway. As we were acclimating to our new home, my dad tried a lot of little restaurants around his workplace. One place stuck out so much that he had to take us there for dinner. The place was Knowlwood, right on the corner of La Palma Avenue and Imperial Highway in Anaheim Hills. Back then, it was in a dirt lot with lights strung up over picnic tables and a little shack pumping out the best burgers in town. Over the years, Knowlwood actually became a covered restaurant and they expanded to Fullerton, Irvine, Laguna Niguel, Santa Ana, and now they have a Knowlwood Café at the Zoo at the Santa Ana Zoo.