Armenians in Orange County, CA
Orange County, about 40 miles south of downtown Los Angeles, is a rapidly growing metropolitan. Given its fairly close proximity to Glendale (about 50 miles), a strong job market, better air quality, and significantly less crowded than many cities in Los Angeles county, many Armenians have began moving to Orange County over the last decade.
Early Days: Compared to other neighborhoods in California, Orange County is fairly nascent in terms of its Armenian population. Most of the cities in Orange County were incorporated much later than cities in Los Angeles, and even then, the majority of the land was farmland until the mid 1950s to 1960s. The earliest record of a count of the Armenian population of the area is from the Board of Trustees of the Orange County Armenians in 1973. The group identified 150 local residents as Armenian, and soon set out to build the community's first Armenian church.
Today: The largest population of Armenians can be found in northern and central Orange County, specifically in the cities of Anaheim, Costa Mesa, and Irvine. Although there has been an ample amount of Middle-Eastern shops and restaurants in the OC area for many years, Armenian establishments only began springing up since the mid-1990s. Sarkis Pastry opened its doors in Anaheim in 1995, followed by Zankou Chicken in 1996, and most recently in 2011 Ararat Armenian Cuisine in Anaheim began operating as a restaurant in addition to its banquet hall and catering business which it had been doing for many years already.