Irvine News and Notes for August 2018
John Russo is Irvine’s new city manager, replacing Sean Joyce, who retired in February after a nearly 13-year career in Irvine. Russo was a city councilman and city attorney in Oakland, served four years as city manager for the city of Alameda, and most recently was city manager of Riverside. Russo is “a forward-thinking manager who helped shore up the city’s financial position and brought more openness to city government,” according to Riverside City Councilman Mike Gardner, who was quoted in the OC Register. The new city manager says he plans to publish meeting agendas 12 days ahead so the public and the city council have more time to read and analyze them, and he hopes to move Irvine to a two-year budget cycle. “Among our priority goals, this city council will turn to him to forge traffic improvement initiatives; support of public safety and our schools; the opening of large sections of the Orange County Great Park; and the continued high service to our community,” says Mayor Don Wagner in a statement about Russo’s hiring.
The city’s culinary scene is seeing a wave of anticipated new openings this month. The second location of the always-busy 85°C Bakery Café is opening at Irvine Spectrum Center, part of the $200 million remodel there to replace a shuttered Macy’s store. Other foodie finds coming to the center include Hello Kitty Café, Falosophy, Afters Ice Cream, Robata Wasa and BLKdot Coffee (which has another new location at Irvine Market Place). Several of the new dining options will be in a family-friendly area near Target where the carousel has been relocated. Also opening soon are Pizza Press, a welcome addition to the Woodbridge Village Center, and JimBoy’s Tacos coming to Oak Creek. The taco shop offers old-school ground beef tacos in a corn tortilla shell that’s griddled, not fried, and dusted with Parmesan. They’re delicious and addictive, and just like those first created at the original location in Lake Tahoe in the 1950s. Pizza Press may seem like another build-your-own pizza place, but we love the 1920s newspaper ambiance, complete with signature pizzas named after major newspapers. We plan on creating an Irvine City News selection soon. Go to thepizzapress.com/gpg to register for a free pizza voucher redeemable at the Great Pizza Giveaway event on Aug. 2, the opening of the Woodbridge location.