The Cauldron is a hit

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New Buena Park bar draws a crowd as it unveils unique food, drink, and ambience

By Brooklynn Wong

As noted in last week’s Independent, a new bar and restaurant has opened in Buena Park. The Cauldron Spirits and Brews had a “soft opening” earlier in the year, but on Jan. 30 held its grand opening and ribbon cutting, unveiling more of its menu items and opening the door to media and city personnel.

Mayor Virginia Vaughn, Police Chief Corey Sianez, and a couple of City Council members could be seen enjoying the fare.

The Cauldron is located right next to the La Palma & Beach entrance of Knott’s Berry Farm, close to the bright lights of the Buena Park Entertainment Corridor, which contains Porto’s, Medieval Times, Pirate’s Dinner Adventure, and Rock & Brews.

The Cauldron, dressed to the nines according to its theme and lit up with green and purple projectors outside, looked like it could fit right in on the boulevard.

The Executive Chef, Lara Hanneman, is the former Creative Director for Knott’s Berry Farm, and the bar is marketed as a “uniquely themed gastro grub that features French-casual bites with a wicked twist, local craft beer, themed cocktails and a wine from various regions in California.”

The inside of the bar transports one to 17th-century Europe, or perhaps a Harry Potter set. A bar is at the center, with several tables surrounding, as well as a fireplace that holds a bubbling cauldron and a mirror above it with a large green holographic eye scanning the room. One entire wall is made up of a bookshelf, and conceals a door, which opens to a private room that can be rented out.

The low lighting, chandeliers, candlelight, and seating in every nook and cranny, create a cozy atmosphere.

Samples of beef bourguignon served in cauldrons
The secret entrance to The Cauldron’s private party room
A steamy cauldron and a holographic moving eye add character to The Cauldron
The entrance to The Cauldron Spirits & Brews

Samples of some of The Cauldron’s menu items were out for the taking, including gougeres (savory cheese puffs), turkey meatballs in a mushroom sherry cream sauce, french dip sliders, and croque monsieur sliders, and a delightful drink at the bar called the Grey Witch.

The very friendly staff also floated around the room with trays of more menu items (crostini topped with house made bacon jam, prosciutto wrapped shrimp, beef bourguignon served in small plastic cauldrons, and finally a creme brûlée) and chatted at every table, checking in and giving tidbits of information about the restaurant.

The menu includes small, reasonably priced eats, soups and salads, and an extensive list of drinks with names like “Wizard’s Cup,” “Harvest Moon,” and “Cat’s Claw.”

It remains to be seen how The Cauldron will do; it is certainly targeted to a certain type, and perhaps will see a swell in business in fall in general and at Halloween and perhaps would have been better opened then, but its pomp and themed nature fits in well with the rest of the flashiness of the Knott’s Berry Farm/Beach Blvd. area, and makes for a lively night out.

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