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advertising message. CN&R is printed at Western Web on recycled newsprint. CN&R is a member of Chico Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Chico Business Association, AAN and AWN. OPINION 4 Editorial 4 Editor’s Note 4 Letters 4 Guest Comment 5 This Modern World 5 Second & Flume 6 Streetalk 7 NEWSLINES 8 Briefed 8 Tackling food insecurity in abundant California 8 FEATURE: BEST OF CHICO 12 All the best pickings ARTS & CULTURE 42 Sept. events 42 Reel World 45 Chow 46 Music 49 Arts DEVO 50 Brezsny’s Astrology 51 ON THE COVER: DEMETER, GODDESS OF AGRICULTURE DESIGN BY TINA FLYNN WITH AI ASSIST 49 MORE ONLINE Find content available only at chico.newsreview.com 12 Bruce Jenkins Insurance & Financial Services CA License #0B86680 • Medicare Supplement Plans • Medicare Advantage Plans • Social Security Maximization • Retirement Income Planning • Life Insurance 530-781-3592 We will do the research for you! www.brucejenkinsinsurance.com $10 OFF *Excludes UGGs. HEEL & SOLE SHOES Autumn Arrivals!
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Another paradise burns

Butte County can relate to the devastation wrought by the wildfire in Maui better than arguably any other community in the world. For anyone who lived here during the 2018 Camp Fire, the videos shared by Hawaiians fleeing the flames on Aug. 9 hit close to home. Indeed, the images of chaos and destruction are painfully reminiscent.

Suffice to say, we empathize wholeheartedly, especially with the residents of Lahaina. That beloved beach town was utterly destroyed, much like our own town of Paradise. As of the CN&R’s deadline, 115 people had been confirmed dead. The disaster is officially the deadliest blaze in modern American history since the Camp Fire, a mass-casualty event that killed 85 people, many of them elderly.

As of this writing, the origin of the island fire remains unconfirmed, but the circumstances are eerily similar to what occurred in Butte County. The deadly combo: drought conditions, strong winds, and downed power lines. As was the case with PG&E during the Camp Fire, Maui’s electrical provider, Hawaiian Electric, reportedly kept the power on despite wind gusts of up to 80 mph. Another familiar factor: Public safety bungling evacuation efforts.

As we know from our local tragedy, the consequences of extreme weather events driven by climate change are long-lasting. Case in point: It’s been nearly five years since the Camp Fire and, despite rebuilding efforts, Paradise is less than one-fifth of its former population.


Meters watching us?

The city of Chico obviously didn’t build or program the robo parking meters; they used a third party. My question is this: Is there anything about these robo meters that is connected to Communist China? Also, these things must communicate with the police. Is that communication at all hackable?

Animals crossing

I’ve lived on Vallombrosa Avenue

Beyond that, there’s the psychological toll. For those who fled the Ridge back on Nov. 8, 2018—or lost loved ones, or were first-responders, etc.—the trauma likely will remain with them for the rest of their lives.

In the months to come, the extent of the destruction in Maui will be revealed. As of this writing, more than 300 people were still missing. As we know first-hand, it’s likely to take quite a long time to locate and identify all the victims. During this time of uncertainly, loss and grief, we want to convey our utmost sympathy.

In addition, we encourage our readers to consider giving to recovery efforts. As we learned during the Camp Fire, funds are best spent when given to an affected area’s local nonprofit organizations, which are dedicated to aiding the places they regularly serve and will be there once the parachute reporters leave, the headlines start to fade, and the community begins to rebuild.

Our suggestion is the Hawaii Community Foundation, which, similar to the local North Valley Community Foundation and its Butte Strong Fund, has created a Maui Strong Fund (hawaiicommunityfoundation.org). Finally, our thoughts go out to locals for whom the disaster in Maui triggers anxiety and depression. You aren’t forgotten.

for almost 20 years. Not only is it a historical street, but it’s an important buffer for the animals of Lower Bidwell Park. We have deer, fawns, foxes, kits, coyotes, raccoons, opossums, skunks, quail, birds and more. All of these animals frequently cross Vallombrosa. Today (Aug. 10), I drove down Vallombrosa in the middle of the day and there was a dead or dying deer lying by the side of the road. All contacted city of Chico services, such as Animal Control and the Animal Shelter, didn’t even bother to pick up the telephone during weekday

business hours. Additionally, the non-emergency Chico police staff indicated that they are unable to help.

Why did the city remove large-truck controls on Vallombrosa Avenue? Why is the current speed limit 35? Why are stop signs minimized? Why don’t we have speed bumps like Eighth Street [on the other side of the park]? Cars consistently travel at speeds higher than 35 on this street, particularly during commute hours and weekends. In spite of several stop signs,

During last year’s Best of Chico contest, I took a deep dive into the spreadsheet of votes cast for Best Local Personality. It’s the category that receives the biggest number of unique responses each year, and even though there are a few popular (and deserving) locals who routinely take the top spots, there’s a lot of Chico personality in the rest of the votes. When I presented a list of “the rest” in this space last year, I noted that it “painted a colorful picture” of our community, and readers agreed. It got a huge response. So, not one to let a popular idea go to waste, I decided to revisit the category this year, and was pleasantly surprised to see even more people selected (over 100) and that it was a largely new batch of folks. Once again, I’ve gathered as many of them as I could dig up info on and fit in the space below.

Addison Winslow – Chico city councilman

Alan Marsden – Action News Now anchor

Andan Casamajor – open mic promoter; singer/guitarist for Route 66

Austin Farwell – funky bassist for Smokey the Groove

Bob Trausch – board vice president Chico Housing Action Team

Clay LaFaro Ellington – KZFR host (“Miles Ahead, Miles Behind”)

Cootdog – DJ, sound engineer, MC for Mystic Roots Band

Cort Klopping – weatherdude at KNVN/KHSL

Dann Moser – owner of Esplanade Furniture

David Nopel – local historian

Deryl Northcote – The Ultra Beautician!

DJ Amburgers – KZFR host (“Funky Reservation,” “Feral Radio”)

DJ Jigga Julie – Power 102 FM

Doug Churchill – photographer

Gary Darling – veterinarian

Jake Hollingsworth – shredder in Aberrance

Jake Sprecher – rocker; rock promoter (Valley Fever)

Jeremy V – radio personality (Z-Rock) and local theater dude

Jesse Grigg – co-owner of Commons Social Empourium

Jim Howell – KZFR host (“The Fun House,” “American Pastimes”)

Joey Moshiri – videomaker, costume boss

John Garrett – social science teacher at Pleasant Valley High

John McKinley – musician/funk boss at Black Fong

Jonathan Richman – musician; stone mason; original Modern Lover

Josh Indar – musician (Tite Nauts, Sev Pac); KZFR host (“EOD”)

Kasandra Partain – burlesque/drag producer (Atalanta Productions)

Kelli Saam – Action News Now anchor

Kozmic Kev – astrology dude; KZFR host (“Bohemian Express”)

Marty Dunlap – lawyer; community activist

Michelle Shover – local historian; author

Nancy Wiegman – NSPR host (“Nancy’s Bookshelf”)

Nick Anderson – radio personality (Z-Rock); also a theater dude!

Randy Taylor – Chico History Museum volunteer

Samantha Shaner – theater goddess

Sawyer Goodson – goth; show promoter

Scout the Wise – singer/songwriter; barista

Steve Michaels – radio personality (KZAP); kilt guy

Steve O’Bryan – owner Pullin’s Cyclery; KZFR host (“Celt Radio”)

Sue Reed – owner Bootleg consignment; super-Cali girl

Tim Buc Moore – radio personality (Z-Rock); visual artist

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Send guest comments, 300 words maximum, to gc@newsreview.com or to P.O. Box 56, Chico, CA 95927. Please include photo & short bio. OPINION
You’re the best, and so are you
During this time of uncertainty, loss and grief, we want to convey our utmost sympathy.

Future of our groundwater

The future of groundwater beneath Chico and its surroundings is being decided right now in ways that will not be reversible. Business interests, with heavy thumbs on regulatory boards and public officials in our dark-money era, are making these decisions behind closed doors.

small minority of landowners petitioned to force a new taxing entity upon the majority of area residents—one most will have little say in because votes are weighted by assessed land value.

Its claimed purpose is to build pipelines, bring in surplus river water in wet years, and “recharge” the aquifer. But that water will be “banked” by the pumper once put in the ground, slowly erasing public ownership. And “recharge” is dubious at best in a basin that seeps towards Glenn County’s proliferating deep ag wells.

Not surprisingly, few are aware that plans are afoot to let the water table drop far enough to guarantee widespread domestic well failure and the death of Chico’s tall-tree canopy. In order to create a “water bank” plugged into the State’s water markets, officials responsible for groundwater sustainability are choosing to allow business-as-usual for agriculture rather than limit overdrafting right now. The Tuscan Water District, proposed to overlay the lands west of Chico, is being sold as the solution to this reckless policy. A

Butte County growers were persuaded they had a black-and-white choice between keeping groundwater control in local hands (“good”) or having the state put meters on all wells, keep track of who is pumping what, and charge fees above certain thresholds (“bad”).

But once the Tuscan Water District connects our basin to the state’s water markets, the state can simply demand transfers during drought emergencies. Indeed the Tuscan Water District is a creature of the state, and the many engineering-oriented, businesssavvy consultants maneuvering about its laws and infrastructure budgets.

More info at groundwaterforbutte.org. Ω

SEPTEMBER 7, 2023 CN&R 5
The author is a map artist who also serves as communications director for Groundwater For Butte, a new politicalaction committee.

Personal bests

Like many locals, I’ve been thinking about Maui, particularly the residents of Lahaina. As is stated in the editorial on page 4, having experienced the Camp Fire (and North Complex fires), Butte County can empathize in a way most regions of the world simply cannot.

Indeed, aside from those who know war, not many people understand what it’s like to have their entire community reduced to rubble in a few hours. It’s unthinkable, unless you’ve been there, or, as in Chico’s case, witnessed it. The residents of Paradise and a few other local foothills hamlets know this pain intimately. Our hearts go out to them, as the Maui fire has certainly triggered terrible memories.

Thankfully, the world has responded with compassion. More than $70 million has already poured into the Maui Strong Fund.

After the Camp Fire, Butte County also received an incredible amount of support, including from local residents. Some gave money. Others volunteered or donated clothes and food. Still others opened their houses to evacuees. The selflessness that came out of the tragedy was heartening, perhaps the only bright spot during what was an extremely dark time.

To me, the generosity represented the Best of Chico. Speaking of which, I’m hoping the community will rally around some good folks: the Phillips family. Mick and Ruth Phillips have been my neighbors for a dozen years. Chicoans may know Mick from his volunteer work with American Legion Baseball and Ruth for her many years working at Enloe Medical Center.

The Phillipses are active retirees, but they’re laying low these days to protect the health of their 5-year-old grandson, Easton, who is medically fragile right now. His recent diagnosis of leukemia comes after a few very challenging years for the family. The couple’s daughter-in-law, Megan, Easton’s mom, recently fought her own battle with cancer. On top of that, she lost her mother last year quite suddenly.

She and husband Derek are taking time off work to get Easton top-notch care at Sutter Health in Sacramento, and in Megan’s case, it’ll require a yearlong leave of absence from her job at Save Mart. That’s quite the financial hurdle, on top of the emotional one that comes with caring for a seriously ill child. Easton’s aunt, Nicole Phillips, has set up a GoFundMe to help with the expenses. Readers can find it at tinyurl.com/EastonWarriors. Lastly, I want to say how saddened I am by the news that my amazing longtime family doctor, Roy Bishop, of Argyll Medical Group, passed away on Aug. 22. He was 58 years old. Like many of his patients, I knew he’d been fighting his own medical battle. In fact, during a recent telehealth appointment, he talked about his treatments at UC Davis.

When I received a letter stating that he was abruptly retiring, I decided that thanking him in the Best of Chico issue would be a nicer gesture than emailing him. I did that very thing, but he didn’t get to read it. And now, of course, I’ve rewritten it with references to him in the past tense.

I was fortunate to have known the Scotland native for roughly the past decade, finding him at the recommendation of a friend following bad experiences with another local physician. That included the guy taking a call on his cellphone in the middle of an exam to chat about his hunting plans.

Dr. Bishop was that doctor’s polar opposite: thorough, professional and personable. Sometimes we’d chat about the perils of the newspaper business, something he was interested in because his father had been a journalist. Other times, we’d talk about the perils of medicine, mainly how difficult insurance companies made it to run a successful practice.

Despite challenges, Dr. Bishop provided excellent care. This patient is certainly going to miss him. Farewell, good doctor.

Melissa Daugherty is editor-at-large for the Chico News & Review

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Best bite in Chico?

Asked in downtown Chico

That’s a hard one, actually. I just go to Mexican places a lot, honestly, [especially] Atzlan. I get tacos; I like that place a lot.

numerous accidents have occurred on Vallombrosa in which cars have crashed into residential properties. Why does the city of Chico find this acceptable?

Sharing the love

I wanted to give a shout out and promote some good local news. The city of Chico and Butte County Fire Safe Council (BCFSC), with the assistance from the California Conservation Corps, have partnered to begin reducing the fire fuel and hazard along Little Chico Creek. Though in progress, the work done is impressive. Many of the private owners along Little Chico Creek have not done any clearing, which contributes to the fire risk, but the city and BCFSC are attempting to help where possible.

Abdullah dam security

Burgers and Brew is always pretty good, [but] there is a restaurant right here in downtown, Pho Bonsa—they serve the best pho. It’s really nice and pretty unique.

In a time where the city gets pounded on and criticized for so much, here are some positive highlights. Linda Herman and Jim Houtman have worked hard to collaborate and break down some of the barriers that bureaucracy has created over the years.

One correction; one update:

For me, honestly, Panda Express— orange chicken.

Actually, I really like going to Pita Pit, usually for lunch. It’s cheap and it’s healthy. I usually get a turkey pita. I also frequently go to Smokin’ Mo’s down the street. They have probably one of my favorite barbecue burgers.

In last month’s Arts DEVO column (Aug. 3, 2023), in the blurb regarding $326,850 in funding for the Upstate Creative Corps program, one of the organizing groups, Nevada County Arts Council, was incorrectly identified as Nevada Arts Council.

In the same column, the Feb. 3 concert at Laxson Auditorium with Marcia Ball, Angela Strehli and Lou Ann Barton that was previewed has been canceled by the artists and is no longer on the Chico Performances schedule. For the latest on the season, visit chicoperformances.com.

Both items have been corrected online.

John Eaton student Tameekah Tommy Watson student Zachary Bennett grad student
Write a letter Tell us what you think in a letter to the editor. Send submissions of 200 or fewer words to cnrletters@newsreview.com. Deadline for October 5 print publication is September 22. LETTERS




BIDWELL PARK AND CHICO CREEKS CLEANUP: Join Butte Environmental Council for the 36th Annual Bidwell Park & Chico Creeks Cleanup and Restoration Projects. Sign up to be a volunteer at: bit.ly/Cleanup 2023. Day of, participants will sign-in at a central location and be given a map to their clean up site, along with tools. Sat, 9/16, 9am. 530-891-6424.

CHICO PEACE ENDEAVOR VIGIL: Join peace and social-justice advocates a the corner of Third and Main streets every Saturday, 12:30-1:30pm. facebook.com/ChicoPeaceVigil

FREE FOOD DISTRIBUTION: The SCCAC holds free food distributions every second and fourth Saturday. Sat, 9/9 & 9/23, 2pm. South Chico Community Assistance Center, 1805 Park Ave. southchicocac.org

MAGALIA RESOURCE CENTER: Food, clothes, and household items distributed Thursdays and Saturdays. Donations of non-perishable food and small household items accepted. Magalia Community Church, 13700 & 13734 Old Skyway. 530-877-7963.

MASTER GARDENER ORIENTATION: The U.C. Master Gardener Program is open to anyone who wishes to increase their horticultural knowledge and skills and has the desire to serve their community via volunteer programs. Thu, 9/7, 7pm. Butte County Library, Chico Branch, 1108 Sherman Ave.


BUTTE COUNTY SUPERVISORS: Meetings are normally held the second and fourth Tuesday of the month. Visit site for posted agenda as well as current meeting calendar. Tue, 9/12 & 9/26, 9am. Butte County Board of Supervisors Chamber, 25 County Center Drive, Oroville. buttecounty.net

CHICO PLANNING COMMISSION: The commission normally meets first and third Thursdays. Agendas are posted to the web the previous Friday. Thu, 9/1 & 9/15. City Council Chambers, 421 Main St. chico.ca.us

CHICO CITY COUNCIL MEETING: The City Council meets on every first and third Tuesday of the month. Agendas, minutes and video archives are available at chico.ca.us/agendas-minutes.

Tue, 9/5 & 9/19, 6pm. City Council Chambers, 421 Main St. chico.ca.us

Hungry California

Millions struggle to eat well in an abundant state

California is full of food, yet scarred with hunger.

Despite the state producing nearly half the country’s fruits and vegetables, one in five Californians are food insecure, meaning they have limited or uncertain access to adequate food. Food insecurity does not necessarily cause hunger, but hunger is a possible outcome.

About this story: It was produced by CalMatters, an independent public journalism venture covering California state politics and government. For more info, visit calmatters.org.

People experience food insecurity in different ways. Some families may only eat lesser quality food, while others may simply eat less. Food insecurity can have long-term physical and mental health effects. Research shows that food-insecure children can experience developmental delays and have trouble learning language. Children also are more likely to fall sick,

recover more slowly, and be hospitalized more often if their access to food is inconsistent, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Food-insecure adults face higher rates of obesity, chronic illness, anxiety and depression.

The COVID-19 pandemic brought sharper awareness to hunger in California, as many Americans experienced food insecurity for the first time. In the last year, record inflation drove food prices up 4.5 percent. Then in April, an influx of federal food aid from the pandemic dried up. The state has tried to take advantage of federal programs that provide food aid and expand the pool of who is eligible for help. Still, some warn that the number of food-insecure Californians will rise far beyond 20 percent in 2023.

The situation varies widely depending where you live—from as low as 17 percent to as high as 44 percent across the 58 counties—and not always where you might expect. Butte County is at 22 percent, while Colusa is the highest at 44 percent.

Here’s a look at how big the problem is, why it’s challenging to get help to those who

need it and some potential solutions to hunger in California.

What is the problem?

When the pandemic struck in 2020, recipients of CalFresh, California’s version of food stamps, were given the maximum benefits available for their household size. Advocates theorize that may have contributed to a steady growth in enrollment; total payments to California families rose from $505 million in March 2020 to $1.4 billion in March 2023.

In May 2019, before the pandemic, the average Californian receiving food stamps got $132 a month; In May 2021, when benefits were boosted during the pandemic, the average Californian receiving food stamps got $214 a month.

Those emergency allotments ended in March, reducing benefits to 5.3 million Californians by a total of nearly $500 million a month. For some single-person households, CalFresh benefits dropped from $281 to as little as $23 a month. In May, the average

8 CN&R SEPTEMBER 7, 2023

Californian receiving food stamps got $179 a month.

The extra benefits maintained the number of food insecure Californians at 20 percent during the pandemic. However, that number is expected to rapidly rise this year.

Since March, Californians have turned to their local food banks in record numbers. Instead of functioning as sources of emergency aid, food banks say they are becoming long-term supermarkets for Californians facing food insecurity.

March and April were among the busiest

How far does food aid go in California?

State government’s primary way to help low-income families afford food is CalFresh. Qualifying recipients get money each month on an Electronic Benefits Transfer card, which is similar to a debit card, and can spend it on food items at grocery stores and some farmers markets.

How much each family gets depends on their household size and their income. Benefit amounts are set each year by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and are based on nationwide cost-of-living measures. That can result in benefits that don’t always account for the way food prices rise locally.

The federal government has boosted benefits during emergencies, such as the Great Recession and the pandemic. In October 2021, it also overhauled its formula for calculating benefits, resulting in a significant hike during record inflation.

California enrolls fewer in aid

A little more than 70 percent of those who qualify for food benefits are actually receiving them. That participation rate has frustrated advocates because it leaves valuable federal funds on the table that could feed more Californians and boost the state’s economy.

months ever for the Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services. Before the pandemic, the food bank served around 150,000 people per month. Since March, it has averaged more than 270,000 people each month.

The statewide food banks association is warning of a “catastrophic hunger crisis” this year, and it appears to be coming true.

Food aid distributed in California

The reasons are complex and varied: Geographic and ethnic diversity makes some poor Californians difficult to reach. Many immigrants fear signing up could hurt their citizenship chances. It can be hard to apply for seniors or those who don’t speak English. And college students face a byzantine set of special eligibility rules.

Another major challenge is that California’s 58 counties administer food benefits, rather than the state government, creating a variety of application processes statewide.


SEPTEMBER 7, 2023 CN&R 9
Left: Families carry boxes of fresh produce during a food bank event at El Verano Elementary in Riverside. PHOTO BY ANNE WERNIKOFF FOR CALMATTERS
Final month of boosted aid Boosted aid begins
Since March, Californians have turned to their local food banks in record numbers. Instead of functioning as sources of emergency aid, food banks say they are becoming long-term supermarkets for Californians facing food insecurity.
COVID-19 pandemic brought a massive influx of federal food aid to California. When the boosted benefits ended in April 2023, food aid to California dropped by nearly $500 million a month.


California is one of only ten states that use a county-based system to distribute the aid.

That means some counties enroll far more eligible families than others.

In 2020, the latest year for which the state has data, Los Angeles County had nearly 80 percent of its eligible population receiving the benefits. Contra Costa County, meanwhile, had enrolled about 64 percent. That year, five other counties, including relatively affluent San Mateo and San Luis Obispo, had fewer than half their eligible residents receiving benefits.

Red tape can get in the way

Many college students, immigrants and older Californians have particular trouble accessing food assistance. There are additional eligibility rules that can affect those groups, which complicate an already lengthy application.

Food assistance advocates say counties should be doing more to help qualified residents get on CalFresh, but beleaguered counties say they’re underfunded and understaffed. The state—following federal regulations—only pays county social services agencies based on how many people receive aid, not on how many apply. Critics say this means counties are not incentivized to help vulnerable groups go through the application process.

Take, for example, mostly

rural Yolo County just west of Sacramento. It has the state’s highest poverty rate in part because it is home to tens of thousands of college students at UC Davis.

After conducting extensive outreach to students and campus groups, the county’s Health and Human Services agency received double the applications each month for CalFresh from 2016 to 2021, said Nolan Sullivan, its director.

Despite that, CalFresh households rose only 21 percent and the county’s funding went up only 6 percent in that time. That’s because college students have high rejection rates for food stamps, because the rules for them are so complex.

But getting more people on food aid includes walking them through the application, which is a time- and labor-intensive process.

And when students ultimately are denied at the end of the process, Sullivan’s department doesn’t get any extra funding for the work it took to help them apply.

“It penalizes us for doing outreach to try to get students on,” he said. “I want every student to apply that thinks they might be eligible. But we get overwhelmed.”

What changed during the pandemic?

Though the COVID-19 pandemic has largely receded, the spike in need that began with the health emergency hasn’t.

Enrollment in food stamps has steadily grown. CalFresh participation climbed to more than 3 million households—more than 5.3 million people—earlier this year before dipping slightly.

The growth in food stamps recipients may be due in part to the boosted benefits that ended this year and several more flexible, but temporary state and federal rules that made it easier to apply or qualify for CalFresh. Some of the temporary changes that are scheduled to lapse in 2024:

• Interview requirements: Federal regulations require applicants and CalFresh recipients who are renewing their benefits to interview with a county welfare office to verify their application. California counties vary on whether they offer a phone option or require in-person interviews, and advocates say failing to clear this hurdle is one reason eligible recipients often lose access to aid and reapply, a phenomenon experts call “churn.” During the pandemic, however, applicants were not been required to interview if counties can verify their identity other ways. This relaxed rule is in place until April 2024.

• Signature requirements: All CalFresh applications must be signed, either physically or through a telephonic recording. Another

relaxed requirement in place until April 2024 allows an applicant to simply verbally attest to a county welfare worker that their application is correct.

• College student access: College students are typically barred from food stamps unless they meet one of a dozen complex exceptions. During the pandemic, a much more flexible eligibility rule allowed many more students to qualify for aid. But that rule ended in June, and those who signed up under it will get a year of food stamps before they are either cut off or must find another way to qualify.

What solutions are being tried?

California will begin a test next year in select counties that increases the minimum monthly CalFresh benefit from $23 to $50 per household and that supporters hope will go statewide with a higher amount.

In addition to a longstanding nutrition program for expecting mothers or moms with young children and a universal school meals program, lawmakers are continuing to expand California’s nutrition safety net. The California Nutrition Incentive Program runs a variety of programs to help CalFresh recipients buy healthy food. At 270 farmers’ markets across the state, food aid recipients get as much as $10 in matching money—meaning they have at least $20 to spend every week on fresh fruits and vegetables.

Policymakers recognize that CalFresh recipients predominantly shop at big-box stores and supermarkets. So the state recently funded a pilot, based on a model pioneered by

Massachusetts, that allows recipients to get money rebated directly back on their EBT cards after buying fruits and vegetables at authorized grocery stores. Gov. Gavin Newsom just signed into law a bill for the state to seek federal waivers so that recipients can buy hot and prepared foods. Challenges of scale, funding and inclusiveness still remain for California’s food aid programs. Continuing budget deficits could mean a shrinking of resources available to documented and undocumented food insecure Californians. With future budget surpluses, however, policymakers will be able to expand existing programs and consider new, research-based programs to end hunger in the state. What else could be done?

• Increase public funding to food banks, to buy more from small farmers and distribute the produce to all.

• Expand access to undocumented: Beginning in 2025, California will be the first state to issue food stamps to undocumented immigrants who are 55 and older. Advocates are calling for this policy to be expanded to all of California’s 2.3 million undocumented people and beyond to drastically reduce hunger in the state.

• Provide produce prescriptions: Imagine going to the doctor, who gives you a prescription to buy fresh fruits and veggies, and then getting reimbursed by your insurance provider. “Produce prescriptions” are already being tried in Stockton and Los Angeles, and advocates are calling for its large-scale expansion. Ω

10 CN&R SEPTEMBER 7, 2023
Fresh produce distributed at the Solano County Mobile Food Pharmacy in Fairfield. PHOTO BY SEMANTHA NORRIS FOR CALMATTERS CalFresh application. PHOTO BY ANNE WERNIKOFF FOR CALMATTERS
SEPTEMBER 7, 2023 CN&R 11

Bounty of Chico

It’s a been a long summer, and Chico has blossomed in the sunshine with an impressive crop of well-tended goods/ services, bountiful restaurants and impressive community members sprouting up throughout the year.

The votes have been counted. Here’s what you picked.

12 CN&R SEPTEMBER 7, 2023
READERS’ PICKS Goods & Services ..................... 14 Food & Drink ............................ 22 Nightlife & The Arts ................ 26 Health & Wellness................... 30 Community ............................... 34 EDITORS’ PICKS CN&R staff picks their faves ................................ 38
Let us rejoice in a cornucopia of local goodness
SEPTEMBER 7, 2023 CN&R 13 Your holistic pet store specializing in sustainable dog and cat nutrition, grooming, and great gear for your pets. 752 Mangrove Ave • 1354 East Ave, Ste S and now in Meriam Park at 2267 Springfield Dr, Ste 110 trailblazerpetsupply.com Now with 3 locations in Chico to serve you! Now with 3 locations in Chico to serve you! Voted Best of Chico!

Goods & Services

Picking the cream of the local crop


Auto Paint/Body Shop

FIRST Place: Knockout Collision Repair 3225 Esplanade, (530) 899-9202

Knockout Collision Repair owner Kareem Abouzeid has been working with cars nearly his whole life, starting with sweeping floors in a local repair shop as a teen, today he and his staff of body repair experts make Chico’s cars look as good as new.

SECOND Place: Concours Elite Collision Center 2267 Esplanade, Ste. D, 891-0234

THIRD Place: JP’s Paint & Body Works 1840 Park Ave., 342-1328

Auto Repair Shop

FIRST Place: Affordable Automotive 2106 Park Ave., 892-1774; 906 Nord Ave., 3438500

Affordable Automotive can handle any repair, from preventive maintenance to transmission work to diagnosing and fixing those mystery rattles we all know too well. With the shop’s guarantee and warranty promise, Butte County residents know they’re getting service they can trust at two locations of this locally owned shop.

SECOND Place: Spencer Automotive 2540 Dominic Drive, 345-5600

THIRD Place: Superior Auto Clinic 2862 Esplanade, 924-4195

Baby/Kids’ Clothier

FIRST Place: Once Upon a Child 801 East Ave., Ste. 106, 592-3824

Once Upon a Child boasts being North America’s No. 1 children’s resale franchise. The Chico store reduces wast by selling “gently used kid’s clothes, shoes, toys, furniture and baby gear.”

Ag/Growing Supplies

FIRST Place: Northern Star Mills 510 Esplanade, 342-7661

Since 1898, Chicoans have trusted Northern Star Mills with their farming needs. The store—operating at its location across from Bidwell Mansion since 1933—stocks everything from pet and livestock feed and supplies to fertilizer, soil and seeds for the garden, yard and farm.

SECOND Place: Tractor Supply Co. 2475 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Pkwy, 897-0669

THIRD Place: C Bar D Feed 3388 Hwy 32, Ste. C, 342-5361

Antiques Store

FIRST Place: Eighth & Main Antique Center 745 Main St., 893-5534

Across two buildings, this treasure hunter’s paradise spans 29,000 square feet, housing vendors selling everything from antiques and collectibles to vintage clothing and vinyl records.

SECOND Place: Little Red Hen Vintage 215 Main St., 894-1311

THIRD Place: Country Squyres Antiques 164 E. Third St., 342-6764

Appliance Store

FIRST Place: Ginno’s Kitchen & Appliance Center 2505 Zanella Way, 342-2182

Family-owned and -operated for more 50 years., Ginno’s is Chico’s largest independent appliance dealer. The friendly and knowledgeable staff helps customers navigate a wide selection of styles from leading manufacturers and also visits homes for installations and trusted repairs.

SECOND Place: Hudson’s Appliance Center 587 Country Drive, 292-6970

THIRD Place: Collier Hardware 105 Broadway, 342-0195


FIRST Place: Rooney Law Firm 1458 Esplanade, 345-5678

Michael Rooney has a lot of experience with the justice system, but his practice isn’t limited to criminal defense—Chicoans also trust him with cases in other areas, such as personal injury and family law.

SECOND Place: The Law Office of Nikki Farris 2607 Forest Ave., Ste. 120, 898-1488

THIRD Place: Law Offices of Aaron J. Stewart 2571 California Park Drive, Ste. 100, 345-2212

SECOND Place: Apple Blossom Baby 1356 Longfellow Ave., 345-1617

THIRD Place: Kat’s Meow 138 W. Third St., 899-8811

Bank/Credit Union

FIRST Place: Tri Counties Bank

Multiple locations

The first branch of Tri Counties Bank opened in Chico on March 11, 1975, at the current 2171 Pillsbury Road location. There are now branches all over the state operated by more than 1,500 employees. Customers have come to know the bank by its core values of trust, respect, integrity, communica-

14 CN&R SEPTEMBER 7, 2023
Best Nursery: The Plant Barn

tion and opportunity, or TRICO.

SECOND Place: Members 1st Credit Union

Two locations: 969 East Ave. & 550 Salem St., 222-6060

THIRD Place: Golden Valley Bank

190 Cohasset Road, Ste. 170, 894-1000


FIRST Place: Liberty Barber Co.

240 Main St., Ste. 180, 630-7313

This is three years in a row for the warm and welcoming Liberty Barber Co. A traditional shop offering cuts, beard trims and hot-towel straightrazor shaves, Liberty also features a complimentary beverage and a shoulder massage with each visit.

SECOND Place (tie): Chico’s Barbershop

162 E. Third St., 487-7373

SECOND Place (tie): Danny’s Barbershop

544 Broadway St., 332-0553

Bike Shop

FIRST Place: Pullins Cyclery

801 Main St., 342-1055

Pullins Cyclery is as synonymous with Chico as Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. It has been the locals’ shop since it opened in 1918, and since owners Steve and Katy O’Bryan took over in 1984 its taken home maybe every Best Bike Shop award the CN&R has given out.

SECOND Place: Greenline Cycles

515 Main St., 894-7885

THIRD Place: North Rim Adventure Sports

178 E. Second St., 345-2453

Cab Company

FIRST Place: Taxi Dave


It’s just Dave and his plain white cab, taxiing locals around town at night (8 p.m.-4 a.m.) every day except Sunday.

SECOND Place: G-Ride Pedi-Cab & Trolley


THIRD Place (tie): Chico Yellow Cab


THIRD Place (tie): Uber uber.com

Cannabis Dispensary (within driving distance of Chico)

FIRST Place: Sweet Flower

1998 Alcott Ave., 809-1620

Chico finally has cannabis dispensaries that customers can walk into. Sweet Flower was the first to open in town, and quickly established itself as a clean and welcoming space where adults can learn about cannabis products that they can purchase and take home and enjoy right away.

SECOND Place: Embarc Cannabis Goods

185 Cohasset Road, 636-1420

THIRD Place: Organic Care of California (916) 476-5702

Car Dealership

FIRST Place: Chico Nissan Hyundai

575 Manzanita Ave./2562 Cohasset Road, 8911777/893-1777

This locally owned business started with the Nissan dealership in 1961 and added the Hyundai half in 1992. Many of the employees have been with the company for years, even decades, contributing to Chico Nissan Hyundai’s reputation for customer service.

SECOND Place: Chuck Patterson Toyota 200 East Ave., 895-1771

THIRD Place: Courtesy Automotive Center 2520 Cohasset Road, 345-9444

Car Wash

FIRST Place: Surf Thru Express Car Wash

Two locations: 2470 Forest Ave., 801-6479; 2573 Esplanade, 774-2363

Two local locations of the Surf Thru chain offer quick, full-service, water-saving washes, plus selfserve vacuums and a floor mat-washing station.

SECOND Place: Scrubbs Car Wash & Detail Center

1020 Skyway, 893-4885

THIRD Place: California Car Wash

150 Commercial Ave., 894-3017

Consignment/SecondHand Threads

FIRST Place (tie): Labelz Upscale Consignment Boutique

974 Mangrove Ave., 345-1615

Owner Jamie Withrow took over Labelz Upscale Consignment Boutique in 2019 and has curated a stock of seasonal/current clothing and accessories.

FIRST Place (tie): Arc Thrift Store

2020 Park Ave., 343-3666

The huge Arc store is packed with a well-organized selection of second-hand items, especially clothing. Plus, all proceeds fund a good cause—services for developmentally disabled people.

THIRD Place: Bootleg

126 W. Second St., 895-1426

Convenience Store

FIRST Place: PDQ Market and Deli 156 E. Eaton Road, Ste. A, 345-9966 PDQ Market covers all the essentials—beer, sodas, ice, gas, snacks—for folks on the north side of town.

SECOND Place: Sierra Market

1646 Park Ave., 342-4579

THIRD Place (tie): Ray’s Liquor

207 Walnut St., 343-3249

THIRD Place (tie): 7-Eleven

Multiple locations

Day Spa

FIRST Place: Angels Nails & Spa

965 Nord Ave., Ste. 100-A, 487-7322

See Best Place For A Mani/Pedi.

SECOND Place: SkyLab Nails & Spa

611 Walnut St., 518-6908

THIRD Place: Urban Medspa

3221 Cohasset Road, 891-8772

Dry Cleaner

FIRST Place: 3rd Generation Cleaners 1380 East Ave., Ste. 128, 899-0333

Full-service “wet cleaning” specialists, these cleaners also do alterations, pickup and delivery. One online reviewer sums up 3rd Generation’s appeal: “Quality cleaning and top notch alterations with pleasant personal service.”

SECOND Place: Flair Custom Cleaners 660 Mangrove Ave., 345-0522

THIRD Place: Chico Express Cleaners Two locations: 641 Walnut St., 343-6013; 752 East Ave., 343-8844



❦ SEPTEMBER 7, 2023 CN&R 15
Studio FIRST Place: Angels Nails & Spa 965 Nord Ave., Ste. 100-A, 487-7322 See Best Place For A Mani/Pedi. Knockout Collision Repair 3 BDRM APARTMENT | $1,099 2 and 3 bedroom apartments Income restrictions apply! Professionally managed by Cambridge Real Estate Services. | WAITLIST OPEN | (530) 899-9300 | We are committed to providing equal housing opportunities and invite interested households to contact our management and leasing office for further information. This institution is an equal opportunity provider and employer. (530) 624-6964 TIM@TIMKEMPERLOANS.COM MLO# 971542 Host of “2 Penny Opera” on KZFR Need Cash? You Have Options Purchase Loans, Refinance, Reverse Mortgages Live better today, invest in tomorrow. TIM KEMPER Specializing In First Time Home Buyers EXPERIENCED INDEPENDENT FRIENDLY

SECOND Place: Skincare by Christan Allison www.instagram.com/christian.allison

THIRD Place: Silhouette Waxing Studio 1803MangroveAve.,Ste.D,342-7131

Feed Store/Farm Supply

FIRST Place: Northern Star Mills 510Esplanade,342-7661

See Best Ag/Growing Supplies.

SECOND Place: C Bar D Feed 3388Hwy32,342-5361

THIRD Place: Tractor Supply Co. 2475Dr.MartinLutherKingJr . Parkway,897-0669

Financial Planner

FIRST Place: Miste and Steve Cliadakis AltumWealthAdvisors,1074EastAve.,Ste.T-1, 924-0110

With each having more than 20 years’ experience in the field, Miste and Steven Cliadakis and their team help clients achieve their individual financial goals— from retirement plans and investments to risk management and insurance—with “objective, unbiased” advice.

SECOND Place: Kim Huber EmbraceWealthManagement,418Broadway, 349-4738

THIRD Place: Renée Michel & Joe Sweeney Sweeney&Michel,196CohassetRoad,Ste.100, 487-1777


FIRST Place: Christian & Johnson 1098E.FirstAve.,891-1881

Christian & Johnson is one of the longest-running businesses in Chico—from its 1907 beginning as a nursery run by Annie Bidwell’s gardeners, to more than a century alongside Big Chico Creek before moving to its current location five years ago. Owner Melissa Heringer and her team have kept the name at the top of locals’ list of iconic businesses with their focus on quality flowers hand-selected from the San Francisco Flower Market.

SECOND Place: Flowers by Rachelle

2485 Notre Dame Blvd., Ste. 260, 345-2661

THIRD Place: Chico Florist

1600 Mangrove Ave., Ste. 145, 345-185

General Contractor

FIRST Place: Proframe Construction

11128 Midway, Ste. 3, 636-4574

Proframe has been building just about everything—custom homes, rebuilds, patio covers and more—since owner Ben Eckstrom opened for business in 2006.

SECOND Place: Birchard Construction

2414 Florida Lane, Durham, 864-5427

THIRD Place: Slater & Son General Contractor 3753 Morehead Ave., 893-3333

Gift Shop

FIRST Place: Hubbs & Co. 956 Mangrove Ave., 892-4940

Tucked away in the Mangrove Plaza shopping center, Hubbs & Co. houses one of the most eclectic collections of merchandise in Chico, everything from women’s fashion and home goods to an everchanging selection of gift options—garden flags, stuffed animals, scented candles and much more.

SECOND Place: Little Red Hen

897 E. 20th St., Ste. B, 897-0100

THIRD Place: Made in Chico 127 W. Third St., 894-7009


FIRST Place: S&S Organic Produce & Natural Foods

1924 Mangrove Ave., 343-4930

From one end to the other, there is a world of good stuff inside S&S Produce & Natural Foods, a one-time roadside produce stand that now offers on-site barbecue, a full-service butcher and natural supplements and body care products in addition to a grocery stocked with natural and specialty items and a beautiful selection of organic produce.

SECOND Place: Trader Joe’s 801 East Ave., Ste. 110, 343-9920

THIRD Place: Chico Natural Foods Co-Op

818 Main St., 891-1713

Hair Salon

FIRST Place: Da Capo Style House

1925 Market Place, 715-7183

De Capo Style House was one of the first businesses in Meriam Park when owner/stylist Danielle Dietz opened it 2019. The chic little salon has taken first place in this category in every Best of Chico contest since.

SECOND Place: The Hair Co.

1229 E. Ninth St., 894-2002


136 W. Third St., 717-0819

House Cleaning Service

FIRST Place: C&A Cleaning


Established in 2008, C&A Cleaning offers residential and office cleaning services (including window washing!) using “environmentally friendly products, equipment and systems.” A recent online reviewer sang their praises thusly: “I am a real estate agent. I had a house that was thrashed and it needed to get ready to go on the market. C&A came through and cleaned the entire place up. Fair price and hard working people.”

SECOND Place: Cleaned to Perfection


THIRD Place: Deb’s Detailed Cleaning 570-3561

House Painter

FIRST Place: Hawkes Painting


Besides his impeccable work on the homes of Chico, John Hawkes’ only calling cards are the signs he stakes in the yards of jobs he’s working on—with a paint-splattered bird in flight—and his Best of Chico wins for the past three years.

SECOND Place: Bestway Painters 343-0430

THIRD Place (tie): Joe Shaw Painting 891-5563

THIRD Place (tie): SM Painting 321-1592

Insurance Agent

FIRST Place: Heritage Insurance Agency

290 Airpark Blvd., 894-3276

Heritage Insurance has operated as an independent agency for 45 years. Steve and Kelly Mora head a team of more than 15 people with expertise spanning agribusiness, commercial accounts, personal insurance, employee benefits and workers’ compensation.

SECOND Place: Brad Jacobson (Farmers) 25 Jan Court, Ste. 120, 891-7900

THIRD Place: Eddy Rodriguez (State Farm) 45 Jan Court, Ste. 165, 899-0100


FIRST Place: Kirk’s Jewelry

246 W. Third St., 891-0880

Owner/jeweler/metalsmith Kirk Bengtson has been operating his popular downtown shop for 50 years now. Kirk’s Jewelry is a fixture, acclaimed especially for custom-made engagement and wedding rings, and showing off all the dazzling jewelry designs in a museum-like showroom.

SECOND Place: Julianne’s 1925 Market Place, Ste. 120, 342-3117

THIRD Place: Olde Gold Estate Jewelry 225 Main St., Ste. O, 891-4610


FIRST Place: Blue Moon Landscape 521-6587

Judging by online reviews and the photo galleries of the work of Blue Moon Landscaping, the company is professional and detail-oriented, whether the work is a simple gate repair or a full yard redesign.

SECOND Place: Summit Landscaping 230-7156

THIRD Place (tie): Dawson Landscaping


THIRD Place (tie): Hanson & Hanson Landscaping


THIRD Place (tie): Vega Landscape & Irrigation


Liquor Store

FIRST Place: Spike’s Bottle Shop

1270 E. First Ave., 893-8410

Spike’s Bottle Shop remains at top of the craft-beer scene in Chico, boasting close to 3,000 different brews to choose from. Owner Kevin Jaradah has also curated an impressive selection of whiskeys and keeps the shelves stocked with the latest new beverage trends and plenty of non-alcoholic options as well.

SECOND Place: Star Liquor 933 Nord Ave., 891-4842

THIRD Place: Mangrove Bottle Shop 1350 Mangrove Ave., Ste. 160, 342-7575

Loan Officer

FIRST Place: Tim Kemper Guild Mortgage, 2463 Beacon St., 624-6964

Tim Kemper is one of many Chicoans who came to town for college (in 1979) and never left. After years in construction and as a financial advisor, he moved to the world of mortgages, focusing on purchasing, refinancing and reverse mortgages. On the side, he keeps the sounds of old, weird America (and Ireland) alive on “2-Penny Opera,” his long-running folk music show on KZFR.

SECOND Place: Tanya Quakenbush Movement Mortgage, 901 Bruce Road, Ste. 150, 715-2213

THIRD Place (tie): Andy Taylor CMG Home Loans, 10 Declaration Drive, Ste. A, 924-6478

THIRD Place (tie): Ashley Brooks Brooks Lending Team/Fulcrum Home Loans, 1253 Mangrove Ave., 588-1344

Local Pet Supplies Store

FIRST Place: TrailBlazer Pet Supply

Three locations: 752 Mangrove Ave., 892-1848; 1352 East Ave., Ste. S, 774-2332; 2267 Springfield Drive, Ste. 110, 895-0092

Erik Gledhill opened TrailBlazer Pet Supply in 2009 with the goal “to offer pet owners, like himself, a place where they could get the help and resources they needed to care for their pets in healthy and holistic ways that encompassed both the emotional and nutritional support of a pet.” A third location is now open in Meriam Park.

SECOND Place: Northern Star Mills 510 Esplanade, 342-7661

THIRD Place: Chico Pet Works & Pet Salon 2201 Pillsbury Road, Ste. 186, 345-0934

Men’s Clothier

FIRST Place: Upper Park

122 W. Third St., 487-7118

This year marks one decade in business for Upper Park, the all-local purveyors of clothing—including

Best Loan Officer: Tim Kemper Best Cannabis Dispensary: Sweet Flower

a full complement of men’s basics—and provisions “that represent Chico and the surrounding California area.” Part of Upper Park’s mission is to support the community, which it does most directly with its “Giving Back” collection, featuring items for which a significant portion of proceeds is donated to local causes, such as preservation of Bidwell Park and the sports booster clubs of local high schools.

SECOND Place: Men’s Wearhouse

1950 E. 20th St., Ste. 501, 342-1769

THIRD Place: K Custom Clothier

126 W. Third St., 624-4195

Motorcycle Dealer

FIRST Place: Sierra Steel HarleyDavidson

1501 Mangrove Ave., 893-1918

The lot at Sierra Steel Harley-Davidson on Mangrove Avenue is the unofficial gathering spot for Chico’s motorcycling enthusiasts, and the attached shop is the official home of the king of American road bikes.

SECOND Place: Ozzie’s BMW Center

2438 Cohasset Road, 345-4462

THIRD Place: Northstate Powersports 11096 Midway, 342-4216

Moving Company

FIRST Place: Murdock’s Moving & Storage

2590 Hwy 32, 354-8089

Neacail Murdock started his moving company as a way to create a work schedule that would fit around his college classes. Now graduated, he uses the business management skills he attained

to direct his popular moving, packing and storage company.

SECOND Place: Two Men and a Truck 3851 Morrow Lane, Ste. 592-0093

THIRD Place: Sorenson Moving & Storage 600 Orange St., 343-4253

New Business (non-food service)

FIRST Place: Covello Plumbing

55 Pauletah Place, 249-7749

After 16 years in the trades, Kyle Covello has put out his own shingle. Covello Plumbing is a full-service company that handles installation, diagnosis, repair and engineering for residential and commercial customers.

SECOND Place: Coin-Op Game Room 229 Broadway, 809-2688

THIRD Place: Embarc Cannabis Goods 185 Cohasset Road, 636-1420


FIRST Place: The Plant Barn and Gifts 406 Entler Ave., 345-3121

New owners, same love from Chico. Earlier this year, Courtney Paulson and Chris Hunter purchased the Plant Barn—which has been in operation since 1980—and they kept all the employees and left the place just as locals have grown to like it: a sprawling compound of vegetable starts; plants and trees of all types; and a wide range of garden art and other plant-related gifts and supplies. It’s not unlike their other local business, Magnolia Gift & Garden Center (see second place below).


1367 East Ave., 894-5410

THIRD Place: Little Red Hen Nursery

189 E. 8th St., 891-9100

Outdoor Living (patios, pergolas, pools, etc.)

FIRST Place: Patio Pros

11128 Midway, Ste. 3, 924-6400

The Patio Pros keep Chico in the shade, literally. Specializing in a variety of shade structures, as well as outdoors-integrated sun- and life-rooms, the local company has made a name for itself with its dependability and customer service.

SECOND Place: Hughes Ski Hut

13600 Hwy 99, 891-4032

THIRD Place (tie): At Home

1982 E. 20th St., 630-6469

THIRD Place (tie): Perfection Pools & Spas

172 E. 20th St., 895-0437

Pet Groomer

FIRST Place: Coature Pet Spa

1411 Mangrove Ave., 899-8433

Promising a “luxury experience for your dog,” Coature Pet Spa is a full-service salon that offers shampoo, nail trim, de-matting and more with its hair cuts. As one online reviewer shared: “James and his staff are the most caring and professional you could ever ask for!”

SECOND Place: TrailBlazer Pet Supply Three locations: 752 Mangrove Ave., 892-1848; 1352 East Ave., Ste. S, 774-2332; 2267 Springfield


Patrick Riley

Helping buyers and sellers of Real Estate achieve their goals through kind, quality service. SERVING CHICO AND BUTTE MEADOWS


CENTURY 21 Select Real Estate | 1101 El Monte, Chico, CA 95928 (530) 588-6593 | Patrick.Riley@C21SelectGroup.com

❦ SEPTEMBER 7, 2023 CN&R 17
Best Liquor Store: Spike’s Bottle Shop

Drive, Ste. 110, 855-0092

THIRD Place: Carol’s Dog Grooming

975 East Ave., Ste. 160, 343-1554

Piercing Studio

FIRST Place: Red Room Adorned

101 Salem St., Ste. 140, 399-3120

The piercing-only offshoot of Red Room Tattoo is making its mark on Chico’s pierceable body parts. Using implant-grade titanium and solid gold, the artists at Red Room Adorned offer the full range of piercings—for ears, septums, tongues, lips and more.

SECOND Place: Eye of Jade

1238 Mangrove Ave., 343-5233

THIRD Place: Pure Gold Studio

231 Nord Ave., 342-1287

Place For A Mani/Pedi

FIRST Place: Angels Nails & Spa

965 Nord Ave., Ste. 100-A, 487-7322

Open the door of the unassuming west Chico business on any given day, and inside the place will be packed with customers and nearly as many manicurists at work, offering everything from a regular mani to a milk honey with full set gel pedi—plus a full range of the usual salon services.

SECOND Place: SkyLab Nails & Spa

611 Walnut St., 518-6908

THIRD Place: Lily’s Nails & Spa

208 W. East Ave., Ste. E, 898-8765

Place For Electronics/ Computer Repair

FIRST Place: Chico Computer Clinic

1450 Mangrove Ave., Ste. 140, 636-1337

The “on-call nerds” of Chico Computer Clinic specialize in computer repair, cleaning and upgrade installation. The work is done fast, too, with average turnaround being less than 24 hours.

SECOND Place: Best Buy

2005 Forest Ave., 566-1012

THIRD Place: PCI Computer Services 225 Main St., 891-4152

Place To Buy Books

FIRST Place: The Bookstore

118 Main St., 345-7441

The Bookstore is comfort. It’s an escape. It’s a downtown home. It’s Chico. The overfilled shelves offer a wide selection of used and new books—with impressive selections of children’s books, cookbooks, history, gardening, religious, art books and classic literature—in which to lose oneself for hours.

SECOND Place: Barnes & Noble 2031 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway, 8941494

THIRD Place: ABC Books 950 Mangrove Ave., 893-4342

Place To Buy Home Furnishings

FIRST Place: Esplanade Furniture

1750 Esplanade, 891-4788

The formula at Esplanade Furniture is simple: American-made, solid-wood and top-grain leather furniture. Since 1982, the popular local shop has supplied Chico with its bedroom furniture, dining tables, cabinets and more.

SECOND Place: Finds Design & Decor 1341 Mangrove Ave., 892-1905

THIRD Place: HomeGoods

1962 E. 20th St., 893-8770

Place To Buy Outdoor Gear

FIRST Place: Mountain Sports

176 E. Third St., 345-5011

Mountain Sports is here to outfit local outdoor enthusiasts with clothing, footwear, equipment and accessories for whatever adventure awaits along the trails, from Bidwell Park to the Sierra-Cascade range.

SECOND Place: Chico Sports Ltd. 698 Mangrove Ave., 894-1110

THIRD Place: Sportsman’s Warehouse 765 East Ave., Ste. 170, 897-0500


FIRST Place: Earl’s Performance Plumbing 2264 Park Ave., 343-0330

Earl’s Performance Plumbing techs arrive in fully stocked vans, answering calls 24/7 to fix everything from water and sewer lines to pumps and water heaters. For more than two decades, Earl’s has kept Chico’s pipes in order.

SECOND Place: Attaboy Plumbing 3028 Esplanade, Ste. G, 328-3907

THIRD Place: Able Plumbing 551 Country Drive, Ste. 150, 899-9009

Professional Photographer

FIRST Place: Erin Lackey Photography 370-3597

Erin Lackey specializes in family portraits, striving to “create timeless images of your family so you can relive these moments with joy and gratitude.” The local photographer also focuses on the emotional health of young girls in Butte County by hosting immersive “I’m Possible Tween Girl Empowerment” events.

SECOND Place: Ashley Carlascio hello@ashleycarlascio.com

THIRD Place: Park Avenue Photography 521-4340

❦ 18 CN&R SEPTEMBER 7, 2023
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Property Management

FIRST Place: Madsen Properties

2607 Forest Ave., Ste. 110, 570-6192

Alicia Madsen is a licensed real estate broker whose Madsen Properties provides management services for owners of rentals in Chico, Paradise, Magalia and Oroville.

SECOND Place: Blue Oak Property Management

2889 Cohasset Road, Ste. 5, 636-2627

THIRD Place: The Hignell Companies

1750 Humboldt Road, 576-5376

Real Estate Agent

FIRST Place: Heather Cooper (Willow & Birch Realty)

121 W. Fourth Ave., 521-2606

Heather Cooper has been a local realtor for 13 years and has made a name for herself by focusing on customer service and a commitment to be “there for her clients every step of the way … [she]

feels truly grateful to be able to help her clients make their dreams of home ownership a reality.”

SECOND Place: Sabrina Chevallier (RE/MAX)

1834 Mangrove Ave., 718-9115

THIRD Place: Brandi Laffins

1834 Mangrove Ave., 809-4594

Reptile Store

FIRST Place: Nor Cal Reptile


43 Dacy Ave., 228-5011

In addition to selling reptiles and reptile supplies, Nor Cal Reptile Adventures owners Kenni and David Huff also sell, well, adventures. Locals can hire them out to bring lizards, snakes and a gigantic turtle to birthday parties, school and other special events.

SECOND Place: Killer Clutches

44 Rock Creek Road, (310) 993-5459

THIRD Place: Chico Pet Works & Pet Salon

2201 Pillsbury Road, Ste. 186, 345-0934


FIRST Place: Baird Roofing

11025 Midway, 342-1631

For 25 years, Michael Baird’s company has covered residential homes and commercial buildings, doing everything from attic ventilation and skylights to new roofs in a variety of materials.

SECOND Place: Powell Roofing

43 Norfield Ave., Ste. 4, 892-1410

THIRD Place: Butte Roofing Co.

8 Seville Court, Ste. 110, 342-6553

RV Rentals

FIRST Place: Happy Campers Chico

329 Southgate Ave., 321-8180

Like many RVers, Matt Dunckel and his family started their adventures in nature as tent campers. However, after experiencing the ease of execution in hitching up a camp trailer and just heading out, he started Happy Campers, offering hitch trailers of all sizes as well as small-scale motor homes for rent.

SECOND Place: Chico Offroad Rentals

2990 Esplanade, 965-5289

THIRD Place: Enterprise Rent-A-Car

2267 Esplanade, Ste. C, 899-1188

Shoe Store

FIRST Place: Heel & Sole Shoes

708 Mangrove Ave., 899-0725

Heel & Sole is packed to the ceiling, literally, with seemingly endless boxes of every style of footwear—funky boots, swanky high heels, easy-breezy flip-flops and classic canvas sneakers.

SECOND Place: Beck’s Shoes

801 East Ave., Ste. 145, 343-8923

THIRD Place: Birkenstock

333 Broadway, 345-4880

Solar Company

FIRST Place: Alternative Energy Systems

13620 Hwy 99 & 876 East Ave., 855-254-6754

This locally owned business brings the resources, materials and manpower of a national company to the projects for solar systems and battery storage that keep local residential and commercial properties in power.

SECOND Place: Ohm Solar Solutions

1300 Nord Ave., 433-4609

THIRD Place: Royal Aire Heating, Air Conditioning & Solar

2530 Zanella Way, 899-9999

Sporting Goods

FIRST Place: Chico Sports Ltd.

698 Mangrove Ave., 894-1110

Matt and Wendy Smith opened Chico’s sports superstore in 1985, growing it into a warehousesized selection of essentials for camping, hiking, cycling, backpacking, running, yoga, swimming, snowboarding, disc golf and more.

SECOND Place: Dick’s Sporting Goods

1922 E. 20th St., 343-3351

THIRD Place: Big 5 Sporting Goods

1717 Mangrove Ave., Ste. C, 891-1545

Tattoo Parlor

FIRST Place: Eye of Jade

1238 Mangrove Ave., 343-5233

There are so many Chico tattoo studios with talented artists that receive votes from loyal customers for Best of Chico. This year, it’s Eye of Jade, the shop opened by Ben Lucas that’s remained a local favorite for more than 16 years.

SECOND Place: Tanner Drake Tattoo Studio

250 Vallombrosa Ave., Ste. 560, 965-5842

THIRD Place: Red Room Tattoo 231 Nord Ave., 342-1287

Thrift Store

FIRST Place: Arc Thrift Store

2020 Park Ave., 343-3666

See Best Consignment/Second-Hand Threads.

SECOND Place: Thrifty Bargain 2432 Esplanade, 774-2158

THIRD Place: Goodwill


Tree Service

FIRST Place: Tree of Eden Tree Services


Tree of Eden specializes in limbing, trimming, removals, fire-fuel breaks, lot clearing, general tree maintenance and even offers crane rentals.

SECOND Place: About Trees 343-4533

THIRD Place: North Valley Tree Service 893-9649

Video Production

FIRST Place: Metric Cosmetics


Metric Cosmetics will make any video you need— commercials, Kickstarters, music videos, even a relaunch campaign for a beloved locally brewed IPA.

SECOND Place: Spruce Studio 418BroadwaySt.,604-6008

THIRD Place: U.T.B. Studios 415-932-9891

Wedding/Event Planner

FIRST Place: North State Events 801-1275

North State Events owner Ashley Smith’s mission is clear and inspiring: “Tell me what your vision is, and I’ll make it a reality,” she says. “I will take care of even the tiniest elements, so you can enjoy your event as much as your guests.”

SECOND Place: The 530 Bride 988-8344

THIRD Place: CES Weddings & Events 592-0728

Window Treatments

FIRST Place: Budget Blinds of Chico 2525DominicDrive,Ste.C,343-3400

Local owners Tim and Kim Long pride themselves on detail-oriented customer service for all windowtreatment consultations and installations.

SECOND Place: Allen Allen Shades 292-6940

THIRD Place: Nantucket Design & Home 603BroadwaySt.,895-1038

Women’s Clothier

FIRST Place: Hubbs & Co. 956MangroveAve.,892-4940 See Best Gift Shop.

SECOND Place: For Elyse 228 Broadway, 893-0106

THIRD Place: 5th Street Clothing Co. 328 Broadway St., 345-5754

TrailBlazer Pet Supply
SEPTEMBER 7, 2023 CN&R 21
| www.proframeconstruction.com
LICENSE #1024110

Food & Drink

Devouring Chico’s bounty

Asian Cuisine

FIRST Place: Ginger’s Restaurant

2201 Pillsbury Road, Ste. 100, 345-8862

Huge portions of traditional Chinese dishes, served by an attentive staff, make Ginger’s a local go-to spot.

SECOND Place: Cocodine Thai Cuisine

2845 Notre Dame Blvd., Ste. 250, 891-1800

THIRD Place: Happy Garden Restaurant

180 Cohasset Road, 893-2574


FIRST Place: Upper Crust Bakery & Cafe

130 Main St., 895-3866

Go to the Upper Crust Bakery & Cafe for the sweets—pastries, cakes, muffins, scones, coffee cake and cookies (try the lemon bars if you won’t be ashamed to moan loudly in public)—and stay for the vegetarian chili, which none other than Guy Fieri (of Diners, DriveIns and Dives) has given his seal of approval.

SECOND Place: Tin Roof Bakery & Cafe

637 Broadway, Ste. 170, 892-2893

THIRD Place: Lovely Layers Cakery

131 Meyers St., 828-9931


FIRST Place: Smokin’ Mo’s BBQ

131 Broadway, 891-6677

At Smokin’ Mo’s, the secret is in the sauces— four distinct signature flavors that can be slathered on just about anything on the menu, from mouth-watering pork ribs to shredded pork, beef or chicken sandwiches to the crave-worthy tri-tip salad.

SECOND Place: Kinder’s BBQ 1369 East Ave., 342-3354


THIRD Place: Bootleg BBQ 521-3284 (“Bootleg BBQ & Catering” on Facebook)


FIRST Place: Cafe Coda

265 Humboldt Ave., 566-9476

Cafe Coda has added a beautiful outdoor patio— where monthly markets and weekly music programs are going off—and it brings an all new look to the cafe and a fun, very Chico vibe to the local restaurant scene. Oh, and they still serve one of the most inventive menus of breakfast items in town. Try the Wise Guy, a plate of jasmine rice topped with slices of smoked pork belly, two eggs, marinated peppers, cilantro, radish and green onions.

SECOND Place: Deja Vu Breakfast Company 3221 Esplanade, 287-5660

THIRD Place: The Roost Cafe 817 Main St., 892-1281


FIRST Place: Nash’s Restaurant 1717 Esplanade, 896-1147

On the weekends, Nash’s Restaurant takes things up a notch with bottomless bubbly alongside its huge morning menu, featuring everything from Benedicts to chicken-and-waffles.

SECOND Place: Cafe Coda 265 Humboldt Ave., 566-9476

22 CN&R SEPTEMBER 7, 2023
The Commons Social Empourium Nobby’s

THIRD Place: Deja Vu Breakfast Company

3221 Esplanade, 287-5660


FIRST Place: Nobby’s

1444 Park Ave., 342-2285

Two words: Cheeeeeeeese skirrrrrrrrrt!!! It’s a crispy thing of beauty on an already gorgeous stack of beef and bun. A Chico icon.

SECOND Place: Burgers and Brew

301 Broadway, 879-9100

THIRD Place: Burger Hut

Two locations: 3211 Cohasset Road, 342-4555; 2451 Forest Ave., 891-1430


FIRST Place: Aca Taco

Two locations: 133 Broadway, 894-0191; 1000 W. Sacramento Ave., Ste. D, 343-0909

In Chico, there are as many opinions about the best burritos and tacos as there are food trucks, taquerias and sit-down Mexican restaurants. Aca Taco makes a case against most comers, however, as its ridiculously oversized burritos hold onto the title for the ninth straight year.

SECOND Place: Gordo Burrito

1295 E. 8th St., 809-1211

Thank You to our Patrons!

THIRD Place: La Cocina Economica

905 Wall St., 809-0370


FIRST Place: Bacio Catering

1903 Park Ave., 345-7787

If you’ve attended a local wedding or work party, odds are Bacio was probably there. Owner Erika Montanez’s business is the go-to catering company in town, feeding Chico revelers with creative, fresh-made and beautifully presented spreads.

SECOND Place: Butte Creek BBQ

196 Cohasset Road, Ste. 150, 990-0023

THIRD Place: Italian Guy Catering

28 Bellarmine Court, 321-3456

Cheap Eats

FIRST Place: La Comida

954 Mangrove Ave., 345-2254

For more than 50 years, this institution of institutions has served generous plates of Mexican food to generations of Chico families at very affordable prices. The lines out the door don’t lie.

SECOND Place: Aca Taco

Two locations: 133 Broadway, 894-0191; 1000 W. Sacramento Ave., Ste. D, 343-0909

THIRD Place: La Cocina Economica 905 Wall St., 809-0370


FIRST Place: Ann Leon (Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.)

SierraNevadaBrewingCo.,1075E.20thSt., 893-3520

Chef Ann Leon is a Chico institution who has run the kitchens at some of the most popular places in town, starting with her own former downtown spot, Leon Bistro, and including everything from the Burban Kitchen in Meriam Park to the Canyon Oaks County Club. Earlier this year, she took over possibly the busiest spot in Chico, the Tap Room at Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

SECOND Place: John Dean (Drunken Dumpling) DrunkenDumpling,1414ParkAve.,774-2173

THIRD Place: James Taylor (Sicilian Cafe) SicilianCafe,240WallSt,345-2233

Craft Beer Selection

FIRST Place: The Commons Social Empourium 2412ParkAve.,774-2999

The Commons Social Empourium’s pour-your-own model is ideal for trying out a bunch of different craft brews. The electronic key-card system allows for quick sips of everything on tap—28 choices total, with wines and kombuchas in addition to a wide range of beers—before settling on the night’s selections. The bar also serves food—pizzas and Sunday brunch items—and features live music inside or on the patio.

SECOND Place: The Chico Taproom 2201PillsburyRoad,Ste.114,774-2943

THIRD Place: The Handle Bar 2070E.20thSt.,Ste.160,894-2337


FIRST Place: Petra Penunuri –Entree Express EntreeExpress,chicoentreeexpress.com

Petra Penunuri has made such an impression on customers that Chicoans voted for the Entre Express driver by name!

SECOND Place: Door Dash doordash.com

THIRD Place: Michael Castaldi – Christian & Johnson Christian&Johnson,1098E.FirstAve.,891-1881


FIRST Place: Cozy Diner 1695MangroveAve.,895-1195

Whether it’s breakfast at suppertime or a broasted chicken at lunch, Cozy Diner serves an extensive menu of down-home comfort food 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

SECOND Place: Morning Thunder Cafe 352VallombrosaAve.,342-9717

THIRD Place: The Roost Cafe 817MainSt.,892-1281

favorites including Eggs Benedict, Buttermilk Bisuits & Gravy, Huevos Rancheros, Burgers, Melts, and so much more!

❦ SEPTEMBER 7, 2023 CN&R 23
Cafe Coda
We appreciate your business and support. $5 OFF your purchase of $40 or more Offer good through September 30, 2023 FOOD TO GO! Closed Monday HAPPY GARDEN CHINESE RESTAURANT 530-893-2574 530-893-5068 180 Cohasset Rd • www.HappyGardenChico.com The Roost is
Real Food. Real Butter. Real Good Home Cooking. Now open EVERY DAY for Breakfast & Lunch! 817 Main Street 530-892-1281 | Dine-in, delivery through Entree Express, and to-go orders Best breakfast, brunch, lunch, burger, sandwich, and more!
Alert Important message to all area businesses, CN&R advertisers and potential winners in CN&R’s 2023 Best of Chico competition: CN&R will never contact a person or business with intentions to sell a Best of Chico winner’s plaque. Any company attempting to do so is NOT associated with the Chico News & Review or the Best of Chico contest. 23
open from 7am to 2pm every day with

Fine Dining

FIRST Place: 5th Street Steakhouse

345 W. Fifth St., 891-6328

A perennial fine dining champ, 5th Street Steakhouse is a local icon, and the destination for special-occasion splurges and regular-occasion beef hankerings. There’s a full bar, a fantastic wine selection, a new patio and of course, USDA Prime rib-eye steaks that will make your toes curl.

SECOND Place: Red Tavern

1250 Esplanade, 894-3463

THIRD Place: Crush

201 Broadway, Ste. 200, 342-7000

Food Server

FIRST Place: Amanda Blankenship –Deja Vu Breakfast Company

Deja Vu Breakfast Company, 3221 Esplanade, 287-5660

Take a quick scroll through the online reviews for

Deja Vu, and “our server Amanda” starts popping up everywhere: “She was top notch. It was busy but she was very attentive to us.” “Overall, service was amazing, super friendly staff especially our server Amanda, was great.” “Amanda is more than a server at the end of your meal. How about friend!?”

SECOND Place: Krystin Harvey –

The Roost Cafe

The Roost Cafe, 817 Main St., 892-1281

THIRD Place: Angel Hagen – Big Tuna Sushi Bistro

Big Tuna Sushi Bistro, 1722 Mangrove Ave., Ste. 18, 345-4571

Ice Cream/Frozen Yogurt

FIRST Place: Shubert’s Ice Cream & Candy

178 E. Seventh St., 342-7163

When it’s still 100 degrees after the sun goes down, nothing takes the edge off the heat like a scoop of

Shubert’s. On most summer eves, the benches and sidewalk out front are filled with locals cooling off and capping their day with a little something sweet from the locally owned ice cream and candy shop that’s been in business since 1938.

SECOND Place: Savor Ice Cream

1905 Notre Dame Blvd., Ste. 100, 399-3686

THIRD Place: Jon & Bon’s Yogurt Shoppe Multiple locations

International Cuisine

FIRST Place: Priya Indian Cuisine

2574 Esplanade, 899-1055

To say that Priya is a staple of the local food scene is an understatement. The impressive menu features both north and south Indian dishes, and the exceedingly popular lunch buffet is irresistible.

SECOND Place: Cocodine Thai Cuisine

2845 Notre Dame Blvd., Ste. 250, 891-1800

THIRD Place: Sofi’z Kitchen and Bar

134 Broadway, 592-3969

Italian Cuisine

FIRST Place: Sicilian Cafe

240 Wall St., 345-2233

Part of what makes the Sicilian Cafe’s food so perfect is consistency. Chef James Taylor has been at the stove in south Chico for 39 years! Starting this year, his local favorites—Calamari Originale, Chicken Americana—are being created in a bigger downtown location (with a full bar!).

SECOND Place: Crush

201 Broadway, Ste. 200, 342-7000

THIRD Place: Italian Cottage

2234 Esplanade, 343-7000

Local Brewery –Regional

FIRST Place: Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

1075 E. 20th St., 893-3520

Chicoans adore Sierra Nevada and its community-minded approach to creating great beers that are considered among the best in the world. The “mother ship” on 20th street— where you can take tours to see how the treats are made—is like a Willy Wonka experience for beer lovers, with its immensely popular tap room, the new Brewhouse Bar next to the gift shop, and regular concerts and special events like the upcoming Oktoberfest celebration, Sept. 29-30 and Oct. 6-7.

SECOND Place: Secret Trail Brewing Co.

132 Meyers St., Ste. 120, 487-8151

THIRD Place: Farmers Brewing Co.

1950 Market Place, 399-7374

Local Coffee House

FIRST Place: Stoble Coffee

418 Broadway, 513-5547

Stoble has made a name for itself quickly, serving up fine house-roasted coffee and wonderful baked goodies (courtesy of Camina Bakery) in a gorgeous, expansive space that includes a rooftop patio.

SECOND Place: Daycamp Coffee

1925 Market Place, Ste. 150, 636-4283

THIRD Place: Bidwell Perk 664 W. First Ave., 899-1500

Local Restaurant –Chico

FIRST Place: Grana Wood Fired Foods

198 E. Second St., 809-23048

The scene at Grana is nearly perfect: Dine inside or sit on the lovely shaded patio and enjoy wine and antipasta as the chef removes your Neapolitan pizza from the huge wood-fired oven in the corner of the restaurant. Seasonal offerings, friendly servers and great ambiance make for a memorable night in downtown Chico.

SECOND Place: Drunken Dumpling 1414 Park Ave., 774-2173

THIRD Place: Red Tavern 1250 Esplanade, 894-3643

Local Restaurant –Oroville

FIRST Place: Union Patio Bar & Grill

2053 Montgomery St., Oroville, 693-4388

The Union’s spot in historic downtown Oroville, featuring one of the most beautiful patios in the county, serves up decadent elevated pub fare, cocktails and a wide variety of live music.

SECOND Place: Tong Fong Low

2051 Robinson St., Oroville, 441-0876

THIRD Place: Ethan’s Eatery

2275 Myers St., Oroville, 854-4348

Local Winery – Regional

FIRST Place: New Clairvaux Vineyard

26240 Seventh St., Vina, 839-2200

At the recent Blessing of the Grapes ceremony at the winery/vineyard inside the Vina monastery, New Clairvaux shared that its James Block Assyrtiko scored 100 points at the recent California State Fair, making it the best white wine in the state. The winery also recently announced that its longtime winemaker, Amy Sunseri, was chosen as Best Woman Winemaker at the 2023 International Women’s Wine Competition.

SECOND Place: Almendra Winery & Distillery 9275 Midway, Durham, 343-6893

THIRD Place: LaRocca Vineyards

12360 Doe Mill Road, Forest Ranch, 899-9463

Locally Produced Food –Regional


11630 Dairy Road, 680-4543

There are a lot of good culinary products made in this area, but can anything outdo a freshly harvested head of cauliflower that’s bigger than your head? GRUB grows food locally and sells to locals—either at the markets around town or via the weekly boxes of the Community Supported Agriculture membership program.

SECOND Place: Live Life Juice Co.

Two locations: 220 Broadway, 566-3346; 2279 Springfield Drive, Ste. 150, 809-2635

THIRD Place: Burns Blossom Farm burnsblossomfarm.com


FIRST Place: Tea Bar & Fusion Cafe

Two locations: 250 Vallombrosa Ave., 895-8100; 555 Flying V St., Ste. 1, 809-1545

Both Chico locations of Tea Bar (also in Sacramento and Redding) are regularly packed for lunch by folks who want hearty, healthful meals, which the menu of wraps and bowls provides. Oh, and there’s tea! Lots of teas!

SECOND Place: Broadway Heights 300 Broadway, 899-8075

THIRD Place: Spiteri’s Deli 971 East Ave., 891-4797

❦ 24 CN&R SEPTEMBER 7, 2023
Priya Indian Cuisine

THIRD Place: Sofi’z Kitchen and Bar

134 Broadway, 592-3969


FIRST Place: The Pour House

855 East Ave., Ste. 270, 893-3000

With its Jumbotron-sized TV and outdoor bar, the lively Pour House patio is the place to be when a big game is on.

SECOND Place: Grana Wood Fired Foods

198 E. Second St., 809-23048

THIRD Place (tie): Red Tavern

1250 Esplanade, 894-3463

THIRD Place (tie): The Allies Pub 426 Broadway, Ste. 130, 809-1650


FIRST Place: Pho C&C

3211 Cohasset Road, Ste. 110, 892-1415. Pho—the Vietnamese noodle soup of broth, meat, vegetables and herbs—is a thing of beauty. The gorgeous, fresh ingredients at Pho C&C are especially fetching, aromatic and tasty, a great complement to the rest of the simple menu of grilled meats and egg rolls.

SECOND Place: Vietnam Bistro

788 East Ave., 433-7108

THIRD Place: The Banshee

134 W. Second St., 895-9670


FIRST Place: Celestino’s New York Pizza

101 Salem St., 896-1234; and 1354 East Ave., Ste. 5, 345-7700

Celestino’s New York Pizza’s original location in downtown Chico opened in 1997, and the restaurant’s thin crust, Big Apple-style pies have been a local favorite ever since. Popular pizzas—sold by the slice or whole pie—include the meaty Tom Jones, the vegetarian Godfather and Celestino’s jalapeno-adorned take on a classic Hawaiian, Oscar’s Spicy Luau.

SECOND Place: Farm Star Pizza

2359 Esplanade, 343-2056

THIRD Place: Woodstock’s Pizza

there were the taco trucks. They’re still here, and they still own the scene. Gordo Burrito is part of the local foundation, offering tasty Mexican fare under the awning in the parking lot of Downtown Liquor & Market.

SECOND Place (tie): Tacos El Tapatio

1359 Longfellow Ave., 828-2449

SECOND Place (tie): Tacos Super Tonaya

1456 Mangrove Ave., 519-2212


FIRST Place: Big Tuna Sushi Bistro

1722 Mangrove Ave., Ste. 18, 345-4571

Yes, Big Tuna is a sushi joint, and the award here is for Best Sushi, but feast on this: the Japanese taco, with a choice of crab mix, spicy tuna, avocado or tofu in a tempura eggplant shell with sriracha, spicy mayo and cheese. Of course, Big Tuna has all the nigiri, rolls and sashimi anyone could want, with chefs who love to get creative.

SECOND Place: The Raw Bar

346 Broadway, 897-0626

THIRD Place (tie): Aonami Sustainable Sushi

128 W. Second St., 774-2981

THIRD Place (tie): Izakaya Ichiban 2072 E. 20th St., 342-8501


FIRST Place: Aca Taco

Two locations: 133 Broadway, 894-0191; 1000 W. Sacramento Ave., Ste. D, 343-0909 See Best Burrito.

SECOND Place: Aztlan

Two locations: 1645 Park Ave., 487-7062; 2599 Esplanade, 965-5984

Mexican Cuisine

FIRST Place: El Guayacan Mexican Restaurant

2201 Pillsbury Road, Ste. 124, 893-3777

El Guayacan is the place for sit-down Mexican food in north Chico. Nestled in the heart of the Almond Orchard shopping center, it has a relaxed vibe and big plates of nearly every classic dish available.

SECOND Place: Aca Taco

Two locations: 133 Broadway, 894-0191; 1000 W. Sacramento Ave., Ste. D, 343-0909

THIRD Place: La Hacienda

2635 Esplanade, 893-8270


FIRST Place: Midnite Munchies

234 W. Third St., midnite-munchies.com

Midnite Munchies started in 2010 as a late-night snack-delivery service, moved into the kiosk in the Nord Safeway center in 2019, and is now slinging its cookies, cheesecakes and other

treats from a new spot in downtown Chico.

SECOND Place: Aca Taco

Two locations: 133 Broadway, 894-0191; 1000 W. Sacramento Ave., Ste. D, 343-0909

THIRD Place: Crumbl Cookies

855 East Ave., Ste. 220, 230-9361

New Eatery (opened in the last year)

FIRST Place: Farmers Brewing Restaurant and Taproom

1950 Market Place, 399-7374

The much anticipated debut of Farmers Brewing Restaurant and Taproom finally happened last summer. The Princeton-based brewery set up a spacious Chico base with a huge outdoor patio in the Meriam Park neighborhood. It has quickly become a go-to spot for a cold brew and hearty pub fare— burgers, sandwiches, salads and more.

SECOND Place: Discovery Bar 250 Cohasset Road, Ste. 10, 399-0564

240 Main St., 893-1500


FIRST Place: Spiteri’s Deli

971 East Ave., 891-4797 Spiteri’s might be kind of a “hidden gem,” tucked into an out-of-the-way strip mall on the north side of Highway 99, but the longstanding local icon has been around for 45 years. Huge, traditional sandwiches served with a wide selection of deli sides have made this shop a Chico institution.

SECOND Place: Fast Eddie’s Sandwich Shop

1175 East Ave., 342-8558

THIRD Place: The Redwood Sandwich Co.

1354 East Ave., Ste. U, 965-5293

Street Food

FIRST Place: Gordo Burrito

Eighth & Pine streets

Before street food was a Best of Chico category,

THIRD Place: Gordo Burrito

Corner of Eighth and Pine streets


FIRST Place: Happy Garden Restaurant

180 Cohasset Road, 893-2574

When “What’s everyone want for dinner?” gets five different responses, Happy Garden is the answer to the problem. With its legendary enormous menu of Chinese classics, there are enough choices for everyone and always plenty to share.

SECOND Place: Aca Taco

Two locations: 133 Broadway, 894-0191; 1000 W. Sacramento Ave., Ste. D, 343-0909

THIRD Place: La Hacienda 2635 Esplanade, 893-8270

Vegetarian Cuisine

FIRST Place: Drunken Dumpling 1414 Park Ave., 774-2173

Slow down. Plan your meal for a night when you’re in no hurry. Put your phone in “cell phone jail” (and get 5 percent off your bill), and take your time to enjoy the big flavors and the locally sourced produce from a menu that’s roughly 50 percent vegetarian-friendly—from vegan baos and shroom dumplings to Sexy Spicy Noodle and seasonal salads and other vegetables.

SECOND Place: Live Life Juice Co.

Two locations: 220 Broadway, 566-3346; 2279 Springfield Drive, Ste. 150, 809-2635

THIRD Place: Pizza Riot 712-1647


❦ SEPTEMBER 7, 2023 CN&R 25
Big Tuna Sushi Bistro Farmers Brewing Co.

Art Space

FIRST Place: 1078 Gallery

1710 Park Ave., 630-7522

Open since 1981,the 1078 Gallery continues to remain faithful to its mission “to offer exciting exhibitions of contemporary and experimental artworks.” With the addition of Equilateral Coffee to the space, the works of local and visiting artists are now accessible beyond the previously limited hours.

SECOND Place: Museum of Northern California Art (MONCA)

900 Esplanade, 487-7272

THIRD Place: Chico Art Center 540 Orange St., Ste. 6, 895-8726


FIRST Place: Argus Bar + Patio

212 W. Second St., 332-9914

Not to take away from the main bar indoors, but the back patio at Argus—with its vine-covered stone walls, wide-open seating and frequent

An abundance of good times Nightlife & the Arts


intimate concerts—is just about the most perfect spot in Chico to hang out with a cocktail or brew. It’s just a bonus that the inside is also great—a low-key swanky room, where a rotating selection of cocktail specials is served.

SECOND Place: Duffy’s Tavern 337 Main St., 343-7718

THIRD Place: Parkside Tap House 115 W. Third St., 636-4239

Bloody Mary

FIRST Place: Duffy’s Tavern 337 Main St., 343-7718

After one year away from the top spot, Duffy’s Tavern is back in its usual place of No. 1 local Bloody Mary, a bold spicy concoction that’s as much a part of the fabric of Chico as the downtown dive bar that makes it.

SECOND Place: Mom’s Restaurant 209 Salem St., 893-3447

THIRD Place: Unwined Kitchen & Bar 980 Mangrove Ave., 809-2634

Casino – Regional

FIRST Place: Feather Falls Casino 3 Alverda Dr., Oroville, 533-3885

The campus of Feather Falls Casino in Oroville has more than just gaming halls (though there’s all you would want, including blackjack tables and 850 slot machines). It’s like a small city out there, with a microbrewery, multiple concert venues, a buffet and two cocktail lounges, a lodge and a KOA campground.

SECOND Place: Rolling Hills Casino

2655 Everett Freeman Way, Corning, 528-3500

THIRD Place: Gold Country Casino Resort 4020 Olive Hwy, Oroville, 800-334-9400

Dance Company/Studio

FIRST Place: North State Ballet

2400 Notre Dame Blvd., 774-2364

In addition to intensive, professional-level training for future prima ballerinas, North State Ballet offers lessons and programs for dancers of all ages and skill levels. It’s not just ballet, either, as the studio

Local Music Act

also offers opportunities to learn styles ranging from acro (acrobatic dance) to hip-hop and tap.

SECOND Place: Hype Dance Studio 1033 Mangrove Ave., 898-8789

THIRD Place: Kinetics Academy of Dance & Gymnastics 627 Broadway, Ste. 100, 345-2505

Happy Hour

FIRST Place: The Pour House 855 East Ave., Ste. 270, 893-3000

The Pour House wins again; they offer two separate multi-hour happy times, 3-6 p.m. and 9 p.m. until closing, featuring discounts on drinks and appetizers, with the option to enjoy them on the big street-corner patio (see “Food & Drink,” Best Patio).

SECOND Place: Crush 201 Broadway, Ste. 200, 342-7000

THIRD Place: Unwined Kitchen & Bar 980 Mangrove Ave., 809-2634

FIRST Place: Hot Flash tinyurl.com/hotflashchico

For long-running regularly gigging groups in Chico—i.e., the tribute acts, party bands, and other dance-friendly crews—there’s often a lot of turnover in the ranks. While that’s been true for the “female-fronted cover band” Hot Flash, the band remains fronted by the core of drummer/ keyboardist/singer Holly Taylor and singer Kathy Slater, keeping the personality and popularity of this local favorite intact for many years.

SECOND Place: Whiskey River Band facebook.com/Wildasscountrymusic

THIRD Place: Smokey the Groove facebook.com/smokeythegroove

Local Visual Artist

FIRST Place: Ama Posey amaposey.com

A longtime local abstract artist, Ama Posey has recently branched out—way out—opening Ama

26 CN&R SEPTEMBER 7, 2023
Best Local Music Act: Hot Flash PHOTO BY KEN PORDES

Posey Studios (which just moved to a new location at 234 W. Third St., Ste. D) and offering a variety of art camps for kids in the mediums of drawing, painting, collage, fiber arts, photography, sculpture, and hands-on sensory based projects. As she says on her site: “Art Camp is a place where children can feel safe enough to express their own unique creativity, receive positive feedback, create work that they feel proud of, and most importantly, have fun.”

SECOND Place: Josh Kaercher instagram.com/joshkaercher

THIRD Place (tie): Janet Lombardi Blixt chicoartschool.com

THIRD Place (tie): Ben Lucas instagram.com/ben_lucas

THIRD Place (tie): Christine MacShane christinemacshaneart.com


FIRST Place: Tres Hombres

100 Broadway, 342-0425

With its expansive list of varieties of the classic— including various fresh-fruit flavors (peach, melon, banana, etc.)—plus more than 120 types of tequila and seasoned mixologists, perpetual local favorite Tres Hombres remains El Rey de Margaritas in Chico.

SECOND Place: La Hacienda

2635 Esplanade, 893-8270

THIRD Place: Sol Mexican Grill

3269 Esplanade, 342-4616


FIRST Place: Richard Garcia-Silva Franky’s, 606 Ivy St., 898-9948

The man behind the bar at Franky’s is also adept at slinging bars as his rap alter ego, Michael Elias. When he’s behind the bar, the name is Richard Garcia-Silva, and his work is the drink specials, party bowls, wines and beers that go along with the Italian dishes and pizzas of the Five-and-I institution.

SECOND Place: Wendy Reid

Studio Inn Lounge, 2582 Esplanade, 343-0662

THIRD Place (tie): Pablo Trenado Jr.

Parkside Tap House, 115 W. Third St., 636-4239; Tres Hombres, 100 Broadway, 342-0425

THIRD Place (tie): Harrison Carter Coin-Op, 229 Broadway, 809-2688


FIRST Place: Museum of Northern California Art (MONCA)

900 Esplanade, 487-7272

Housed in the beautiful and historic Veterans Memorial Hall (a landmark since it was built in 1927), the Museum of Northern California Art (MONCA) is the pride of Chico with its fine permanent collection of Nor Cal art and varied schedule of rotating special exhibits and community events.

SECOND Place: Chico History Museum

141 Salem St., 891-4336

THIRD Place: Gateway Science Museum

625 Esplanade, 898-4121

Place To Buy Art

FIRST Place: Chico Paper Company

345 Broadway, 891-0900

This locally owned art store opened in 1968, and since then Chico Paper Company had made a name for itself for both providing conservation framing services, as well as showcasing dozens of local artists among the works of national/international artists in its 2,500-square-foot gallery in the heart of downtown Chico.

SECOND Place: 1078 Gallery

1710 Park Ave., 630-7522

THIRD Place: Art Etc.

256 E. First St., 895-1161

Place To Dance

FIRST Place: Crazy Horse Saloon

303 Main St., 894-5408

Everything you need to “cowboy up,” in Chico, is upstairs at the Crazy Horse Saloon. A full bar, pool tables, mechanical bull, loud country music and, of course, a big dance floor.

SECOND Place: The Beach

191 E. Second St., 898-9898

THIRD Place: Madison Bear Garden

316 W. Second St., 891-1639

❦ SEPTEMBER 7, 2023 CN&R 27
READERS’ PICKS CONTINUED ON PAGE 28 Bloody Mary at Duffy’s Tavern.
RECYCLE THIS PAPER * ♥ *After you read it!

Place To Drink A Glass Of Wine

FIRST Place: Wine Time

26 Lost Dutchman Dr., 899-9250

In north Chico, there’s a mini booze district with options for fine libations at every corner of the parking lot: craft beers at Lost Dutchman, speakeasy cocktails at Strong Water and an impressive array of varietals at Wine Time. At the latter, wines from California, Europe and more are paired with a concise menu of fine dining options to enhance the experience.

SECOND Place: Unwined Kitchen & Bar

980 Mangrove Ave., 809-2634

THIRD Place: Grana Wood Fired Foods

198 E. Second St., 809-2304

Sports Bar

FIRST Place: Bella’s Sports Pub

231 Main St., 893-5253

Bella’s Sports Pub offers a variety of entertainment options—like regular dance nights, open-mic comedy and trivia contests—but at heart (and in its name), it’s a sports bar. All the elements for a good 49ers, Kings, Giants or A’s game day—beer, bar food and

big screens—are found in abundance at this downtown institution.

SECOND Place: Oasis Bar & Grill

1007 W. First St., 343-4305

THIRD Place: The Pour House

855 East Ave., Ste. 270, 893-3000

Theater Company

FIRST Place: Chico Theater Co.

166 Eaton Road, Ste. F, 894-3282

Many theatrical productions that take place in Butte County are of the musical variety, and Chico Theater Company has been specializing in just that, producing everything from Seven Brides for Seven Brothers on the theater’s first opening night in 2003 to Fiddler on the Roof opening later this month (Sept. 22).

SECOND Place: California Regional Theatre

139 W. First St., 800-722-4522

THIRD Place: Blue Room Theatre

1005 W. First St., 895-3749

Venue For Live Music

FIRST Place: Sierra Nevada Big Room 1075 E. 20th St., 893-3250

The Big Room is back. After a long pandemic-

enduced hiatus, Sierra Nevada’s concert hall is back to scheduling regular shows featuring renowned and up-and-coming touring bands. In the next couple of months, the dance floor will be open for The Mother Hips (Sept. 7-8); Sona Jobarteh (Oct. 16); The Expendables and Bumpin’ Uglies (Sept. 23); and STRFKR (Oct. 25).

SECOND Place: Argus Bar + Patio 212 W. Second St., 332-9914

THIRD Place: The Barn at Meriam Park 1930 Market Place, 399-0753

Watering Hole For Townies

FIRST Place: Duffy’s Tavern 337 Main St., 343-7718 See Best Bloody Mary.

SECOND Place: Studio Inn Lounge 2582 Esplanade, 343-0662

THIRD Place (tie): Secret Trail Brewing Co. 132 Meyers St., Ste. 120, 487-8151

THIRD Place (tie): Quackers Fire Grill and Bar 968 East Ave., 895-3825


❦ 28 CN&R SEPTEMBER 7, 2023
READERS’ PICKS CONTINUED FROM PAGE 27 Best Local Artist: Ama Posey Did readers vote your business among the “BEST” in our “Best of Chico” issue? Brag about it in our 2023 Best of Chico Winners Issue October 5! To Advertise Contact: Ray Laager 530-520-4742 rlaager@newsreview.com GET READY TO VOTE FOR To Advertise Contact: Ray Laager 530-520-4742 rlaager@newsreview.com Brag about it in our 2023 Best of Chico Winners Issue October 5!
Season STARTS MAY 3 chicobestof.com Did readers vote your business among the “BEST” in our “Best of Chico” issue?

Here are the seven 2023 Upstate Creative California Corps Grant Recipients, bringing in over $326,000 to Butte County. These unique projects will increase community involvement and well being concerning Environmental Awareness, Social Justice, Civic Engagement and Public Health.

1. Butte Creek Wild Chinook Salmon - Camp Fire Memorial Sculpture

2. M.A.T.SU. Project - Making Art Together Supporting Unity

3. Amplifying Art, Business, & Culture Sealed with Black

4. Labels - facing our assumptions can change the world

5. Growing 1,000 Acres More Food Through Art

6. Wintu - We Are Still Here (WWASH)

7. Mobile Creative Reuse Center

SEPTEMBER 7, 2023 CN&R 29
Details at upstatecreativecorps.org

Growing healthy bodies and minds Health & Wellness


in medical, surgical and cosmetic dermatology— offering everything from Botox and filler injections to laser skin rejuvenation treatments.

SECOND Place: Chico Dermatology 774EastAve.,280-3196

THIRD Place: CK Derm 1817ConcordAve.,Ste.100,767-3376

Eye Care Specialist

FIRST Place: North Valley Eye Care 1700BruceRoad,891-1900

North Valley Eye Care’s Chico office—one of three Butte County clinics (out of 10 overall in the North State)—moved Meriam Park last year, and voters are still impressed with the company’s comprehensive vision care, from eye exams to new glasses and contact lenses to laser surgeries.

SECOND Place: Chico Eye Center 3401Esplanade,895-1727

THIRD Place: Family Eye Care 2565CeanothusAve.,Ste.155,899-3939

General Practitioner

FIRST Place: Dr. Julie Archer 1645Esplanade,Ste.1,896-0386

Acupuncture Clinic

FIRST Place: Chico Community


1815 Mangrove Ave., 345-5300

Open since 2010, Chico Community Acupuncture is a nonprofit and part of a national cooperative, People’s Organization of Community Acupuncture, dedicated to increasing access, availability and affordability of treatment. Chico Community Acupuncture does so in a group setting without sacrificing individual attention.

SECOND Place: Amy Dawson

572 Rio Lindo Ave., 891-1823

THIRD Place: Healing Center 1560 Humboldt Road, Ste. 5, 892-1196

Alternative Health Care Provider

FIRST Place: Privvy Modern Health 1950 E. 20th St., Ste. E-523, 309-0671

The Privvy Modern Health team features registered nurse Morgan Hatzis, a competitive athlete with extensive experience in IV therapy, and Dr. Nerissa Prieto, a board-certified anesthesiologist and critical care physician with over 15 years in practice. Located in the Chico Marketplace, Privvy provides therapeutic infusions and injections in a spa setting.

SECOND Place: Ashley Olberg 4 Governors Lane, Ste. B, 715-2115

THIRD Place: Eternal Wellness Spa 1940 Notre Dame Blvd., 487-5061

Boutique Gym

FIRST Place: Sweet Fitness Kickboxing

1390 E. Ninth St., Ste. 170, 521-8495

“Hate boring workouts? Our 47-minute kickboxing workouts are the most fun workout you’ll ever have!” Sweet Fitness Kickboxing offers a new kind of workout that uses the fighting sport’s

moves and gear to get fit, not hit.

SECOND Place: Basis Health & Performance 177 E. 20th St., 636-0850

THIRD Place: Orangetheory Fitness 874 East Ave., 722-4000


FIRST Place: Preference Chiropractic 1635 Magnolia Ave., 895-0224

Just a block away from Enloe Medical Center, in a beautiful, blue converted house, the McDonald family-run Preference Chiropractic offers treatment in a welcoming environment.

SECOND Place: Joyce Family Chiropractic 9 Frontier Circle, 899-8500

THIRD Place: Chico Chiropractic Center 1140 Mangrove Ave., Ste. C, 345-3043

Dental Care

FIRST Place: Nelsen Family Dentistry 1307 Esplanade, Ste. 4, 898-8511

Dr. John Nelsen and Dr. Missy Nelsen met the first day of dental school and moved to Chico to start their practice, which has been going strong for more than 20 years. For at least 15 of those years, Nelsen Family Dentistry has taken the dental top spot for Best of Chico.

SECOND Place: Kremer Dental Care

Two locations: 140 Independence Circle & 3 Glenbrook Court, 892-1234

THIRD Place: Willow Creek Dentistry 2765 Esplanade, 891-6611


FIRST Place: Hodari MD Dermatology & Rejuvené 80 Declaration Drive, 342-8295

Dr. Kafele Hodari’s Rejuvené practice specializes

Dr. Julie Archer is an internal medicine physician who practices at Chico Primary Care, where she’s made a name for herself for her attentive care. Archer has made an impression on CN&R readers, who’ve repeatedly voted for her as Best General Practitioner.

SECOND Place: Dr. Vimali Paul 85DeclarationDrive,Ste.110,894-6600

THIRD Place: Dr. J. Randal Sloop 2575ForestAve.,809-0009


FIRST Place: In Motion Fitness 1293E.FirstAve.,343-5678

In Motion Fitness again retains the top spot as locals’ choice for getting in shape. The perennial Best of Chico winner is still impressing voters with its five acres of pools, weights, cardio machines, basketball gym and fitness classes that keep our city fit and healthy.

SECOND Place: Sweet Fitness Kickboxing 1390E.NinthSt.,Ste.170,521-8495

Chico Community Acupuncture
SEPTEMBER 7, 2023 CN&R 31

THIRD Place: Basis Health & Performance

177 E. 20th St., 636-0850

Gymnastics Studio

FIRST Place: Athletic Horizons

415 Otterson Drive, 893-4967

This year is the Best of Chico debut for the Gymnastics Studio category, and it is no wonder Athletic Horizons took first prize. Their 15,000square-foot gym on Otterson Drive looks like an amusement park for movement, with trampolines, springboards, a ball pit, bars, beams and more. They offer classes for kids 18 months to 18 years, plus private lessons and special events.

SECOND Place: Kinetics Academy of Dance & Gymnastics

627 Broadway, Ste. 100, 345-2505

THIRD Place: Chico Cheer All Stars

13306 Cabin Hollow Court, Ste. 120, 894-2227

Hearing Aid Specialist

FIRST Place: Chico Hearing Aid Center

1600 Mangrove Ave., Ste. 160, 342-8132

Since 1949, Chico Hearing Aid Center has served the community’s hearing aid needs. Audioprosthologist Deanna McCoy has been there 20 years and leads a team that specializes in digital and open fit hearing aids, along with providing exams, hearing tests, device cleaning and repairs.

SECOND Place: Costco

2100 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Pkwy, 332-1742

THIRD Place: UpState Hearing Instruments

– Chico

676 E. First Ave., Ste. 12, 893-4327

Local CBD Source

FIRST Place: Sweet Flower

1998 Alcott Ave., 809-1620

Now that brick-and-mortar cannabis dispensaries are open in Chico, locals have another source for CBD as well. Sweet Flower carries a wide variety of products, from body-ache creams to soft drinks that feature THC and CBD blends.

SECOND Place: Embarc Cannabis Goods

185 Cohasset Road, 636-1420

THIRD Place: S&S Organic Produce & Natural Foods

1924 Mangrove Ave., 343-4930

Local Healthcare Provider

FIRST Place: Nurses and Professional Healthcare 1801 Foundation Lane, 899-2255

When it comes to providing local healthcare, Sis Gilmore’s company is everywhere. Working from its Meriam Park headquarters with a roster of more than 450 caregivers, Nurses and Professional Healthcare provides temporary and long-term staffing for all types of medical facilities throughout the North State.

SECOND Place: Butte Home Health and Hospice

10 Constitution Drive, Ste. A, 895-0462

THIRD Place: Enloe Medical Center 1531 Esplanade, 332-7300

Martial Arts Studio

FIRST Place: Azad’s Martial Arts Center

313 Walnut St., Ste. 150, 892-2923

Grandmaster Farshad Azad is acclaimed for his hands, as well as his heart. He is a 10th degree black belt in both Hapkido and Tai Chi; holds master rank in Jung SuWon and Kali; and created multiple martial arts forms. He’s also widely recognized for his philanthropy, a model he sets at his studio, which has been a Chico staple for 38 years.

SECOND Place: Haley’s Martial Arts Center

260 Cohasset Road, 895-3114

THIRD Place: Morning Sun Martial Arts 181 E. Ninth Ave., 342-5833

Massage Therapist

FIRST Place: Babette Maiss

13 Williamsburg Lane, 321-5668

Babette Maiss moved to the United States from Germany, and has been living in Chico for more than 30 years. Her massage practice is geared towards medical-therapeutic techniques, and as of late she’s focused on lymph massages.

SECOND Place: Wendy’s Massage Chico

1351 Mangrove Ave., 342-2222

THIRD Place: Prana Endura Wellness Center 40 Constitution Drive, Ste. E, 520-3459


FIRST Place: Chico Pediatrics 670RioLindoAve.,Ste.300,343-8522

This is Best of Chico win number seven for Dr. Ejaz Ahmed, and his fellow providers at Chico Pediatrics. The office, founded in 1977, cares for newborns up to age 18.

SECOND Place: Dr. Patrick Tedford 1515SpringfieldDrive,Ste.175, 781-1440

THIRD Place: James Logan, M.D. 254CohassetRoadSte.10,877-KIDS

Personal Trainer

FIRST Place: Nate Carlascio BasisHealth&Performance,117E.20thSt., 636-0850

As owner and trainer at Basis, Nate Carlascio’s dedication—and his uncomplicated approach, “lift weights, eat whole nutritious foods and move daily”—has earned him loyal devotees and a third straight Best of Chico award.

SECOND Place: Jorden Estes NSFit,1026Skyway,898-8348&BasisHealth& Performance,117E.20thSt.,636-0850

THIRD Place: Crystal Thomas CrystalThomasFitness,crystalthomasfitness.com

Physical Therapy Office

FIRST Place: Avail Physical Therapy 2555CeanothusAve.,Ste.150,892-2810

Matt and Julie Eller opened Avail Physical Therapy in 2004 and have grown the business like raising a family, where healing and movement


are encouraged in a comfortable, open and fun environment. Currently, there are four full-time physical therapists on staff—including the two owners—addressing orthopedic injuries, sports rehab, post-surgical care, spinal rehab and much more.

SECOND Place: Coast Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine

1044 Mangrove Ave., 892-2966

THIRD Place: Enloe Rehabilitation Center Outpatient Therapy

340 W. East Ave., 332-6110

Plastic Surgeon

FIRST Place: Dr. Daniel Thomas 619 W. East Ave., 891-4391

Dr. Daniel Thomas has been practicing in Chico for more than 20 years. As it says on his website, “Whether you decide you need a subtle correction or a more significant transformation, Dr. Thomas specializes in the most advanced body and facial procedures to help you attain the natural beauty you are looking for.”

SECOND Place: Emily C. Hartmann, M.D. Beauty Eternal Medspa, 1930 Notre Dame Blvd., 487-5020

THIRD Place: Dr. Kevin D. Myers

Northstate Plastic Surgery, 1260 East Ave., Ste. 100, 345-5900

FIRST Place: Chico Creek Animal Hospital

3449 Highway 32, 343-3516

Chico Creek Animal Hospital was established in 2014, and since then Dr. Matthew Bettencourt and staff “have worked hard to create a warm and friendly environment where exceptional care can be delivered in a positive, stress-free way.” They offer the full range of vet services, from general animal health and wellness care to surgery and dentistry.

SECOND Place: Darling Veterinary Clinic 2520 Dominic Drive, Ste. 145, 892-8910

THIRD Place: Evers Veterinary Clinic 1150 El Monte Ave., 343-0713

Yoga Studio

FIRST Place: Hot Yoga Club Chico 1140 Mangrove Ave., Ste. B, 321-0611 Hot Yoga Club is a hit, drawing thousands of rave online reviews for its amenities, classes and, most importantly, instructors. Said one: “Amazing flow that was challenging and fun! Professional, knowledgeable, thoughtful and reflective instructor!”

SECOND Place: The Pilates Barre 1905 Notre Dame Blvd., Ste. 170, 433-9522

THIRD Place: Yoga Center of Chico 250 Vallombrosa Ave., Ste. 150, 342-0100

Nate Carlascio (Basis Health & Performance) Nurses and Professional Healthcare
SEPTEMBER 7, 2023 CN&R 33 Located in the Chico Marketplace at 1950 20th Street, Unit E523 530.309.0671 • privvyhealth.com IV Therapy•Weight Loss•Aesthetics Dr. Nerissa Prieto, Medical Director Thank You for Voting! FEEL GOOD LOOK GOOD FOR LIFE



For the benefit of Chico

Charitable Cause

FIRST Place: Butte Humane Society

13391 Garner Lane, 343-7917

Butte Humane Society is one of the oldest nonprofits in California, having provided humanitarian care to dogs, cats and other animals in our area since 1911. The organization provides a wide variety of services, including a veterinary clinic, pet re-homing, behavior and training resources, animal-assisted wellness visits and an animal fostering program. Butte Humane also assists low-income pet owners by providing a spay and neuter clinic with low-cost options and a pantry with pet food and supplies.

SECOND Place: Chico Housing Action Team (CHAT)

125 Mission Ranch Blvd., 399-3965

THIRD Place: Catalyst Domestic Violence Services

330 Wall St., Ste. 50, 800-895-8476

Community Event

FIRST Place: Saturday Farmers Market

Second & Wall streets, 893-3276

There’s no shortage of delicious, locally grown produce and eclectic, handmade goods offered at the Saturday Farmers Market, a Chico tradition and family-friendly event that draws crowds of people every week.

SECOND Place: Wildflower Music Festival

Wildflower Open Classroom, 892-1676

THIRD Place (tie): Thursday Night Market Downtown Chico, 345-6500

THIRD Place (tie): Woofstock

Butte Humane Society, 343-7917

Farmers’ Market Vendor


11630 Dairy Road, 680-4543

GRUB Community Supported Agriculture is

motivated to provide local, healthy food to the community. In addition to its appearance at multiple farmers’ markets, the farm delivers fresh produce to local restaurants, offers a CSA membership program, and regularly donates produce to non-profit organizations that serve seniors, people with disabilities and the unhoused.

SECOND Place: Camina Bakery caminabakery.com

THIRD Place: Burns Blossom Farm burnsblossomfarm.com

Festival (Butte County)

FIRST Place: Wildflower Music Festival

End of Normal

It doesn’t get much better than The Brothers Comatose, John Craigie and Con Brio outside with food trucks, tons of kids activities and a huge cross-section of the community dancing in a grassy field (even if a quick downpour damped part of the day this years). This was the first year back (since pre-COVID) for the annual fundraiser for Wildflower Open Classroom.

SECOND Place: Woofstock

Butte Humane Society

THIRD Place: Oktoberfest Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Golf Course – Regional

FIRST Place: Bidwell Park Golf Course

3199 Golf Course Road, 891-8417

The Bidwell Park Golf Course is Chico’s public course, nestled in the mouth of Big Chico Creek Canyon. In addition to its 18 holes, the 103-yearold municipal course features cart rentals, chipping greens, a pro shop and a clubhouse/ restaurant.

SECOND Place: Butte Creek Country Club 175 Estates Drive, 343-7979

THIRD Place: Canyon Oaks Country Club 999 Yosemite Drive, 343-2582


FIRST Place: Sanjay Dev –Butte College

“Math is my passion and music is my salvation,” says Sanjay Dev. As a beloved math instructor at Butte College, as well as host of the popular “Devastation Sounds” reggae show on KZFR, the Nepal native is living his dreams here—and Chico is loving him in return. The same warmth and kindness that comes through the airwaves also informs his approach in the classroom, making him a Best of Chico regular.

SECOND Place: Neisa Schuler –North State Ballet

THIRD Place: Christine Leistner –Chico State

Local Personality

FIRST Place: Mike “G-Ride” Griffith

G-Ride Pedi-Cab & Trolley

It’s impossible to miss Mike “G-Ride” Griffith and his rockin’ pedi-cab when venturing into downtown Chico. This Best of Chico Living Legend is known for his friendly demeanor, his little dog and co-pilot Little G, and his dedication to the community, especially in helping with fundraising for and bringing awareness to the Kristina Chesterman Memorial Foundation.

SECOND Place: Linda Watkins-Bennett

Action News Now anchor and producer

THIRD Place: Grandmaster Farshad Azad Azad’s Martial Arts

Place For Family Fun

FIRST Place: Bidwell Park chico.ca.us/bidwell-park

Bidwell Park is the boss! It’s hard to compete with its array of hiking, running and mountain-biking trails, picnic areas and swimming holes. The 3,670-acre municipal refuge offers the whimsical playground Caper Acres, fishing at Horseshoe Lake, horseback riding opportunities, stargazing at the Chico Community Observatory, swimming at Sycamore Pool, many picnic and barbecue spots perfect for birthdays and other get-togethers, and settings beneath shady trees nurturing quiet contemplation.

SECOND Place: FunLand/Cal Skate Chico 2465 Carmichael Dr., 343-1601

Grub CSA
SEPTEMBER 7, 2023 CN&R 35
36 CN&R SEPTEMBER 7, 2023

THIRD Place: Rare Air Trampoline Park

1090 E. 20th St., 433-5557

Place To Pray/Meditate

FIRST Place: Bidwell Park chico.ca.us/bidwell-park

See Place For Family Fun.

SECOND Place: Center for Spiritual Living Chico

14 Hillary Lane, 895-8395

THIRD Place: Bidwell Presbyterian Church 208 W. First St., 343-1484

Radio Station


90.1 FM, kzfr.org

KZFR is community radio, and chances are that’s why The Mighty Zephyr gets your votes every year. It’s been a platform for Butte County for 33 years with a variety of shows covering topics such as public affairs, peace and social justice, environmental issues, local music and an eclectic range of themed music programs, including jazz, reggae, Native American, folk, Zydeco, Celtic and more. KZFR is also a nonprofit and active participant in community, promoting frequent concerts at the Chico Women’s Club.

SECOND Place: Z-Rock 106.7 FM, zrockfm.com

THIRD Place: The Blaze 103.5 FM, 1035theblaze.com

Teacher (K-12)

FIRST Place: Kate Carlisle –Sierra View Elementary

A fourth-grade teacher who inspires her students and their parents, Kate Carlisle got top marks from Best of Chico voters.

SECOND Place: Margie Werner – Little Chico Creek Elementary

THIRD Place: Colleen Taylor – Chico Jr. High


FIRST Place: Tom McClain (aka Mr. Tom) Little Chico Creek Elementary science volunteer.

SECOND Place: Farshad Azad

Thanksgiving Basket Brigade, Gimme-Some-Sole shoe drive

THIRD Place (tie): Shelly Rogers

Animal foster mama extraordinire; volunteer for Bidwell Wildlife Rehabilitation

THIRD Place (tie): Charles Withuhn North State Shelter Team

Youth Organization

FIRST Place: Boys & Girls Clubs of the North Valley 601 Wall St., 899-0335

wants to ensure that our team of dedicated journalists can of the worst economic and health crises of the past century. one-time contribution, the CN&R can continue our award-winning impact the residents of Butte County, including COVID-19, fight for equality, and wildfire recovery and prevention.

The nonprofit Boys & Girls Clubs of the North Valley was founded in 1995 to “inspire and enable all young

people to reach their full potential as responsible, productive and caring citizens.” Today, the organization serves more than 2,000 children and teens, ages 6-18, across 10 locations in Butte and Glenn counties—offering a variety of educational and mentorship programs in areas such as academics, health and wellness, and character and leadership.

SECOND Place: Chico Area Recreation & Park District (CARD)

545 Vallombrosa Ave., 895-4711

THIRD Place: Youth for Change 260 Cohasset Road, Ste. 120, 877-1965, 877-8187

With your recurring or one-time contribution, the Chico News & Review can continue our award-winning coverage on the topics that impact the residents of Butte County, including homelessness, the arts, the fight for equality, and the environment.

Mike “G-Ride” Griffith Wildflower Music Festival
donation chico.newsreview.com/support address and email, and do not send cash.) alternative
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CN&R staff picks their faves

Editors’ picks

Best morning addiction

Oatmeal peanut butter cup cookies

Stoble Coffee, 418 Broadway

It feels good to be bad sometimes—no more than once a day, though. Well, maybe twice a day, if you skip lunch and run to the coffee shop and back.

Stoble’s huge house-made oatmeal peanut butter cup

Best Bidwell Park regulation

The early morning hours are for the dogs

Although some city of Chico rules for Bidwell Park are in place to quash the party (“Alcohol is not permitted in any City Park”— except for during certain events in City Plaza), there’s one forgotten regulation that keeps things fun, for part of the day at least: “Dogs may be off leash from 5:30 a.m. until 8:30 a.m. in Lower Park.”

You read that correctly. In Lower Park, your dog can run free during early morning walks. Of course, they have to be trained to be under voice control and are not allowed in the One-Mile or FiveMile swimming areas, but if Rex is a good boy he can be sort of wild in Lower Park.

The few folks who take advantage of this are known to set up impromptu “dog parks” in grassy areas to allow for morning play dates and important socialization— for the pets and the people.

cookies are too good. The way the sugars, butter and toffee combine to caramelize with the nooks and crannies created by the flakes of oats is a marvel of cookie engineering. They are so irresistibly good, they don’t even need the peanut butter cups—which is something that no one has said about anything ever.

Best free revolution

Online anarchist free-shares

Tell certain people you’re part of an anarchist group and they’ll raise their eyebrows, but that’s only because they don’t realize that peaceful anarchists are radical about things like community, equality and mutual aid. To that end, there are a few local Facebook groups designed to allow their members to give away goods and services for free.

The Anarchist Discount Center 530 was the first to form during the early

part of the pandemic. Its membership is limited to 666 people, so the wait-list is long.

However, Actual Anarchists Offering Goods in Chico/Butte County came along shortly thereafter and doesn’t have a strict cap. The group has a few rules, but the basic gist is that everything must be given freely—no strings attached—and members must respect that it’s a safe space. What’s not to love? Now go forth, and be generous!

38 CN&R SEPTEMBER 7, 2023
The dog hour. PHOTO BY JASON CASSIDY Banana for scale. Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cup Cookie.
t t

Best avian neighborhood Birdhouses on West Sac

Make a left turn off of Nord Avenue onto West Sacramento, like you’re heading out to the river, and it looks as if you’re heading into a typical suburb in Chico. But wait, just past the intersection of Eighth Avenue you’ll start to notice small, colorful objects hanging on the tall, wooden fences lining the right side of the road. Grouped in clusters, the birdhouses are fashioned in an array of styles, some traditional, some representing well-known buildings in Chico.

Best alternative to the Big House Stansbury Home

307 W. Fifth St.

It’s impossible to discuss Chico’s historical architecture without mentioning the big, pink-ish elephant in the middle of town—the Bidwell Mansion. But if you’re bored by the Bidwells, there are other ways to appreciate Chico’s unique historical landscape and delve into the lives of its less well-known denizens.

Started as a simple project by local residents Bruce and Jodie Dillman and their grandchildren in 2019, the number of birdhouses has expanded to almost 300, mounted primarily on the fences between Colmena Drive and Mayette Drive. The Dillmans continue to build and repair the tiny homes today, while neighbors have joined in on the fun by contributing even more new birdhouses and other objects. No official report yet of birds actually living in the houses, but humans can experience this outdoor art display by just walking down the sidewalk.

One of the most fascinating and well-preserved is the Stansbury Home. Built in 1883 for the family of Dr. Oscar Stansbury and located at Fifth and Salem streets, the Italianate Victorian-style house is packed full of artifacts and oddities of earlier times, including a beautiful wooden statue of Hermes, the doctor’s Masonic regalia, and a spooky surprise lurking in the closet of the room where he practiced his trade.

The knowledgeable docents do a great job of honoring the home’s early residents and sharing details of their lives. It’s open for public tours on weekends and hosts two annual events: an ice cream social in the summer and a Victorian Christmas during the holidays. For more info, go to thestansburyhome.com. EDITORS’ PICKS

SEPTEMBER 7, 2023 CN&R 39
West Sacramento Avenue bird houses. PHOTO BY TINA FLYNN Phonograph at the Stansbury Home. PHOTO BY KEN SMITH

Best elusive must-try meal

Pork Katsu Sando at PB & Jimmy’s 119 W. Second St., (209) 349-2241

The opening of PB & Jimmy’s last spring sparked a social media sensation in the local food community, with rave reviews and pictures of delectable dishes flooding Instagram feeds and Facebook groups like Foodies of Chico. The biggest buzz is about the eatery’s chicken, fish and pork Katsu Sandos—spicy, crispy, breaded meat garnished with cabbage and served on Japanese milk bread. But many have still not managed to

get their hands and lips wrapped around this masterpiece, and not for lack of trying: The restaurant has limited hours; the sandwiches are a special and not part of the regular menu; and when they are featured, supplies go quick. We encourage everyone to keep trying … it’s worth it! The best way to catch one is to monitor PB & Jimmy’s Facebook page for updates on hours and specials, and if you see it open, go!

Best memorial to overlooked victims

Camp Fire Pet and Wildlife Memorial

Bille Park, Paradise

Bille Park, a well-manicured and bucolic sanctuary in the town of Paradise, was mostly spared from the devastating Camp Fire, with the exception of some tall, still visibly singed pines that stand as evidence of that fateful event nearly five years ago. In the northwest corner of the park, in a beautiful spot overlooking Butte Creek Canyon, there is a more intentional reminder of the tragedy: the Camp Fire Pet and

Wildlife Memorial. The large stone monument honors the thousands of “pets, working animals and wildlife” that suffered, perished or were otherwise lost to the blaze.

Even more touching than the impressive edifice are the photos, trinkets and dozens of hand-painted stones dedicated to individual cats, dogs, birds, fish, snakes and other creatures left by visitors to memorialize their beloved companions.

Best way to get to the tree tops … fast!

Elevator at Butte Hall

Chico State campus

Don’t have time to drive up Highway 32 to get a view? No energy to hike to the top of Monkey Face in Upper Bidwell Park to be above the trees? Then take the easy way up: the elevator to the seventh floor of Butte Hall on the Chico State campus. This is the tallest building in Chico that has an elevator and is open to the public. (Yes, at nine stories

Whitney Hall is taller, but its access is restricted to dorm residents, and besides it’s closed for the 2023-24 school year.)

Peek out the openings at the stairwells of Butte Hall and you’ll get a bird’s-eye view of campus and maybe the Sutter Buttes in the distance. Better yet, visit one of the professors with a corner office that includes big windows. Extra points for taking the stairs all the way up instead.

The view from Butte Hall. PHOTO BY TINA FLYNN Camp Fire Pet and Wildlife Memorial. PHOTOS BY KEN SMITH Katsu Sando at PB & Jimmy’s. PHOTO BY KEN SMITH

A Remodeled Version of Downtown Chico’s Favorite Music Venue

New Mocktail Menu


with Scott Pemberton & Modern Methods


September 20 • Ron Artis II

September 29 • Emo Night

319 Main Street • Chico • (530) 892-2445

Table Service

SEPTEMBER 7, 2023 CN&R 41

Arts & Culture


Sept. 17

Business Association is hosting a day-long musical shindig headlined by county star Frankie Ballard. Openers include Marin rock band Stroke 9, Nor-Cal country cover act Township and long-time local faves The Funnels. Downtown venues are encouraged to host bands for evening after-parties. Sat, 9/9, noon-7pm. $35$65. City Plaza, downtown. (530) 345-6500. downtownchico.ticketspice.com

COMEDY ON TAP: Nor-Cal comedian Dejan Tyler visits Chico. Sat, 9/9, 7pm. $25. Secret Trail Brewing Co., 132 Meyers St., Ste. 120, secrettrailbrewing.com


RAGDOLLS: Aerosmith tribute act. Sat, 9/9, 10pm. Free. Feather Falls Casino & Lodge, 3 Alverda Drive, Oroville.

RHM BAND: Live at the pub. Sat, 9/9, 6pm. The Allies Pub, 426 Broadway St., Ste. 130.

STRUNG NUGGET GANG: Live bluegrass/ Americacna. Sat, 9/9, 5:30pm. The Barn at Meriam Park, 1930 Market Place. meriampark.com


Special Events


and has stand-up special on Comedy Central. Thu, 9/14, 7:30pm. $15-$25. El Rey Theater, 230 W. Second St. elreychico.com


P-TOWN TONIGHT!: A whole new version of local playwright/director Jerry Miller’s variety show that harkens back to the classic years of The Tonight Show. Music, comedy, so much more. Runs Sept. 14-Oct. 1. Thu, 9/14, 7:30pm. $18. Theatre on the Ridge, 3735 Neal Road, Paradise. totr.org


REGGAE THURSDAYS: Weekly reggae night with DJs Ted Shred and O’Snap. Thu, 9/14, 10pm. $5. Winchester Goose, 800 Broadway.

FRI15 Theater

P-TOWN TONIGHT!: See Sept. 14. Fri, 9/15, 7:30pm. $18. Theatre on the Ridge, 3735 Neal Road, Paradise. totr.org


COMO LA FLOR BAND – SELENA TRIBUTE: Selena tribute in the courtyard. Fri, 9/15, 9pm. $20. Rolling Hills Casino, 2655 Everett Freeman Way, Corning. rollinghillscasino. com


Galleries & Museums

1078 GALLERY: The Sun to Your Back | El Sol a Tu Espalda, a print and woodblock narrative drawn from Brandon A. Hernandez’s personal and shared migratory experience. Through 9/24. 1710 Park Ave. 1078gallery.org

BUTTE COLLEGE ART GALLERY: Constellating Narratives, works by visiting artist/art historian Cynthia Branvall. Reception: Sept. 7, 2-4pm. Shows through 9/21. ARTS Building, 3536 Butte Campus Drive, Oroville.

CHICO ART CENTER: Groundwork, the Painting Process Revealed with Cris Guenter and Rick Vertolli. Through 9/22. 450 Orange St. chicoartcenter.com.

MUSEUM OF NORTHERN CALIFORNIA ART: Jack Windsor & Students, works by the late Chico State ceramic arts teacher and his students. Through 10/8. 900 Esplanade. monca.org

THIRD FLOOR GALLERY: Interlaced Expressions, group show. Through 9/11. Bell Memorial Union, Chico State. as.csuchico.edu

THE TURNER: Northern California Horizons, prints from the collection of Reed Applegate, including works by Wayne Thiebaud, Nathan Oliveira, Robert Arneson, David Gilhooly and more. Through 10/14. Chico State. www.csuchico.edu/turner

Open Mics

OPEN MIC COMEDY AT GNARLY DELI: Every Tuesday, 7pm. Gnarly Deli, 243 W. Second St.

COMEDY OPEN MIC AT STUDIO INN: Open mic comedy night. Wednesdays, 9pm. (Sign-ups 8pm.) Free. Studio Inn Lounge, 2582 Esplanade. (530) 520-0119.

SECRET TRAIL OPEN MIC: Weekly event at the brewery. Wednesdays, 6pm. Secret Trail Brewing Company, 132 Meyers St., Ste. 120.

DISCOVERY SHOWCASE & OPEN MIC: Comedy open mic. Thursdays, 7pm. Discovery Bar, 250 Cohasset Road.

WHAT IS ART: Open to all. Sign-ups at 7pm. Thursdays, 7pm. Idea Fab Labs, 603 Orange St.

OPEN MIC AT THE DOWNLO: Hosted by Jeff Pershing. Sign up to perform two songs. All ages until 10pm. Fridays, 6:30pm. Free. The DownLo, 319 Main St.

OPEN MIC NIGHT AT MULBERRY STATION: Sundays, 6pm. Mulberry Station Brewing Company, 175 E. 20th Street. 175 E. 20th St.

THU7 Music

JOHNNY LEE: County music legend, Johnny Lee—of “Lookin’ for love in all the wrong places” fame—will be live at The Box! Thu, 9/7,

7pm. $40. Tackle Box, 379 E. Park Ave. tackleboxchico.com

MARS THE FINE POET: Live at the pub. Thu, 9/7, 6pm. The Allies Pub, 426 Broadway St.

REGGAE THURSDAYS: Weekly reggae night with DJs Ted Shred and O’Snap. Thu, 9/7, 10pm. $5. Winchester Goose, 800 Broadway St.

FRI8 Music

DUFFY’S HAPPY HOUR: The Pub Scouts bring traditional Irish music weekly to Duffy’s. Fri, 9/8, 5pm. Duffy’s Tavern, 337 Main St. 530-343-7718.

HEATHER AND SARAH: Live music for extended happy hour. Fri, 9/8, 5:30pm. Secret Trail Brewing Company, 132 Meyers St., Ste. 120. secrettrailbrewing.com

MARK3, PRIS BROS, HOLE-PUNCHER: Mosh night! Three bands! Fri, 9/8, 7pm. $10. Naked Lounge, 118 W. Second St.

ONE UP: Local crew live at The Box. Fri, 9/8, 9pm. $10. Tackle Box, 379 E. Park Ave. tackleboxchico.com

THOSE DUDES: Live music. Fri, 9/8, 5:30pm. The Barn at Meriam Park, 1930 Market Place. meriampark.com


Special Events


Traditional Cidery hosts more than 20 local makers for a pop-up that includes food trucks, kids activities and live music from Chico Swing Band. Sun, 9/10, 11am. Lassen

Traditional Cidery, 643 Entler Ave., Ste. 52.


IVY FLATS: Live music. Sun, 9/10, 3pm. Secret Trail Brewing Co., 132 Meyers St., Ste. 120.

MON11 Music

RON BRUDER: Acoustic Americana/roots/folk/ blues. Mon, 9/11, 3pm. Secret Trail Brewing Co., 132 Meyers St., Ste. 120.

TUE12 Music

AFTER NATIONS: Post-metal crew After Nations headlines a night of music that includes Alaska/Cali experimentalists Clockwork Jenny and a couple of local acts, With You All Day and Lyslourdes. Tue, 9/12, 7pm. $10. Naked Lounge, 118 W. Second St.

S.R. LAWS: Rock, rhythm and soul with Marysville bred musician and his band The Heartsleeves. Tue, 9/12, 6pm. Mulberry Station Brewing Co., 175 E. 20th St.


Special Events

COMEDY NIGHT WITH MICHAEL PALASCAK: Nationally known comedian who has performed on all the late-night talk shows

DUFFY’S HAPPY HOUR: See Sept. 8. Fri, 9/15, 5pm. Duffy’s Tavern, 337 Main St. 530-343-7718.

HEIRLOOM: Local quartet live. Fri, 9/15, 8pm. Free. Jen’s Place, 7126 Skyway, Paradise. 530-413-9130.

JERRY’S MIDDLE FINGER: Relive the music of the Grateful Dead co-founder with JMF, the premiere JGB tribute act. Fri, 9/15, 7:30pm. $25-$35 (available at Music Connection, Pullins Cyclery, ACE Hardware in Paradise, Authentic Thai Cuisine). Paradise Performing Arts Center, 777 Nunneley Road. 530-521-1984. paradiseperformingarts.com

MATEUS AVALOS: Live music for extended happy hour. Fri, 9/15, 5:30pm. Secret Trail Brewing Co., 132 Meyers St., Ste. 120. secrettrail brewing.com

PINKHOUSE: Local alterna-rock supergroup at The Box. Fri, 9/15, 8pm. Tackle Box, 379 E. Park Ave. tackleboxchico.com

PUSH BUTTON BOBBY, VALVE CONTROLS, GREY LOOM: A night of local experimental fun. Fri, 9/15, 8pm. Argus Bar + Patio, 212 W. Second St.

THE RAT PACK REVUE: A swinging evening of song and dance from the 1950s-1960s, featuring a lineup of vocalists joining the Lorna Such Band. Fri, 9/15, 9pm. $15-$60. Winchester Goose, 800 Broadway. eventbrite.com

THUNDER LUMP: That local funk-soul fusion. Fri, 9/15, 5:30pm. The Barn at Meriam Park, 1930 Market Place. meriampark.com


Special Events


42 CN&R SEPTEMBER 7, 2023
Laxson Auditorium



festival with country cover bands, featuring Highway Vagabonds (tribute to Miranda Lambert), Flat Busted (Luke Bryan), Take a Little Ride (Jason Aldean) and more. Sat, 9/16, 1pm. $40-$95. Degarmo Park, 199 Leora Court. blueskyfestivalsandevents.com

WHISKEY & WINGS: An upscale whiskey-tasting event to honor military veterans and to raise money for Chico Noon Exchange Foundation. Sat, 9/16, 4pm. $65-$75. Chico Air Museum, 165 Ryan Ave. chicobrewfest. ticketleap.com


P-TOWN TONIGHT!: See Sept. 14. Sat, 9/16, 7:30pm. $18. Theatre on the Ridge, 3735 Neal Road, Paradise. totr.org


A CHEAPER TRICK: Cheap Trick tribute act. Sat, 9/16, 10pm. Free. Feather Falls Casino & Lodge, 3 Alverda Drive, Oroville. featherfalls casino.com

DARK MEDITATION, CRYO, MURDER OF CROWS: Dark Meditation (diabolic heavy metal from Seattle) with locals Cryo (deathrock) and Murder Of Crows (metal). Sat, 9/16, 7pm. $10. Naked Lounge, 118 W. Second St.

LOST ON MAIN GRAND RE-OPENING: Portland’s Scott Pemberton will christen the newly remodeled downtown club. Modern Methods opens. Sat, 9/16, 9pm. $20. Lost on Main, 319 Main St.

MAMUSE, WILDCHOIR & THE FEELINGS PARADE: A deep love of harmony and soulful tunes is shared with all three bands on this


cross-collaboration bill featuring local faves MaMuse on stage with a couple of like-minded Bay Area crews. Sat, 9/16, 7:30pm. $25. Paradise Performing Arts Center, 777 Nunneley Road. eventbrite.com

MUSIC ON THE GREEN: Free live music each week. This week: Strung Nugget Gang. Free. Magalia Community Park, 13917 South Park Drive. (530) 877-9356.

RADIO RELAPSE: High-energy ’90s covers. Sat, 9/16, 9pm. Free. Jen’s Place, 7126 Skyway, Paradise. 530-413-9130.

FEEFAWFUN, XDS: Oakland art-punks Feefawfun are joined by local disco punks XDS, and a couple of experimental duos—Sac’s Trebsquire (with Chico ex-pats Esquire Ali and Trevor, er, Trebbie) and Vik Whistle with trumpeter Aman. Sat, 9/16, 8pm. $10. Winchester Goose, 800 Broadway. vik-whistle.ticketleap.com

THE RIGGED BAND: Live music. Sat, 9/16, 5pm. Free. The Barn at Meriam Park, 1930 Market Place. 530-399-0753.

SOULFISTICATION: Live music. Sat, 9/16, 6pm. Secret Trail Brewing Co., 132 Meyers St., Ste. 120. secrettrailbrewing.com

ZACK SANDERS: Live at the pub. Sat, 9/16, 1pm. The Allies Pub, 426 Broadway, Ste. 130.


Special Events

MARGARET CHO: Comedian/actor/advocate Margaret Cho’s strong voice has been lighting the path for other women, members of underrepresented groups and performers to follow, and she kicks off the Chico Performances season with a one-woman performance. Sun, 9/17, 7:30pm. $20-$63. Laxson Auditorium, Chico State. 530-8986333, chicoperformances.com

TOUCH OF CHICO: After a long pandemic-induced break, KZFR’s popular annual fundraiser is back. Under the trees of Bidwell Park and with a local live music soundtrack, local holistic healers provide bodywork, sound healings and readings for $1 per minute. Sun, 9/17, 12pm. Chico Creek Nature Center, 1968 E. Eighth St. kzfr.org


P-TOWN TONIGHT!: See Sept. 14. Sun, 9/17, 2pm. $18. Theatre on the Ridge, 3735 Neal Road, Paradise. totr.org


IN THE PINES: Live music. Sun, 9/17, 3pm. Secret Trail Brewing Co., 132 Meyers St., Ste. 120. secrettrailbrewing.com

VULTURE FEATHER, LATHE OF HEAVEN: Vulture Feather (post-punk from Hayfork), Lathe Of Heaven (NYC post-punk) with locals Exposure Therapy (scare core) and Laughlines (synthpop). Mon, 9/18, 7pm. $10. Naked Lounge, 118 W. Second St.



THE MANHATTAN TRANSFER: The popular quartet has won 10 Grammys, been inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame and been performing for 50 years. This is the group’s final tour and Chico Performances will host one of the stops at Laxson. Tue, 9/19, 7:30pm. $15-$57. Laxson Auditorium, Chico State. 530-8986333, chicoperformances.com

WED20 Music

DANA COOPER: Chico Concerts presents the poetic songwriter/insightful storyteller at a benefit for Paradise Arts Theater & Culture Hub. Wed, 9/20, 6:30pm. $25-$35 (eventbrite. com). Theatre on the Ridge, 3735 Neal Road, Paradise.

RON ARTIS II: Hawaii-based soul singer/songwriter and passionate performer. Wed, 9/20, 8pm. $20-$25. Lost on Main, 319 Main St. 53054-5028. eventbrite.com

THU21 Theater

P-TOWN TONIGHT!: See Sept. 14. Fri, 9/22, 7:30pm. $18. Theatre on the Ridge, 3735 Neal Road, Paradise. totr.org


DEXTER & THE MOONROCKS: “Western space grunge” from Abilene, Texas. Thu, 9/21, 8pm. $20. Senator Theatre, 517 Main St. jmaxproductions.net

REGGAE THURSDAYS: See Sept. 7. Thu, 9/21, 10pm. $5. Winchester Goose, 800 Broadway.



Sept. 24


Special Events

COMEDY WITH JOSH WOLF: A comedian, actor and NY Times bestselling author. Fri, 9/22, 8pm. $35 - $50. Colusa Casino Resort, 3770 Hwy 45, Colusa. eventbrite.com


ANASTASIA: California Regional Theatre presents this musical adaptation of the animated feature—which was based on the story of early 20th-century duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna— that transports the audience from the twilight of the Russian Empire to the euphoria of Paris in the 1920s. Runs Sept. 22-Oct. 8. Fri, 9/22, 7:30pm. $27-$40. CUSD Center for the Arts, 1475 East Ave. crtshows.com

FIDDLER ON THE ROOF: The classic Broadway musical about Tevye the milkman trying to hold onto traditions in a small Russian village as he raises three daughters during a time of great change. Runs Sept. 22-Oct. 22. Fri, 9/22, 7:30pm. $25-$28. Chico Theater Company, 166 Eaton Road, Ste. F. chicotheater.com

P-TOWN TONIGHT!: See Sept. 14. Fri, 9/22, 7:30pm. $18. Theatre on the Ridge, 3735 Neal Road, Paradise. totr.org


CELTIC CREEK: Live at the pub. Fri, 9/22, 5pm. The Allies Pub, 426 Broadway, Ste. 130.

CJ SOLAR: Dubbed one of the “New artists you need to know” by Rolling Stone Country, CJ Solar has released three EPs and one full-length in addition to penning hits for others (including Jason Aldean and Jameson Rodgers). Michael Russell and Aaron Gee open. Note: Tickets from previously scheduled show will be honored. Fri, 9/22, 7:30pm. $15-$25. El Rey Theater, 230 W. Second St. elreychico.com

events for the online calendar as well as the monthly print edition at chico.newsreview.com/calendar
Jacob McClain hosts a night of comedy with a talented lineup of stand-ups. Sun, 9/17, 8pm. $5. Mulberry Station Brewing Co., 175 E. 20th St. 530-809-5616.
Country Fest at DeGarmo Park. And just a couple days into fall, on Sept. 23, the folks at Kai Music & Arts are putting on the Kai Music Festival at the Lake Concow Campground, with vendors, sustainability workshops, traditional Konkow Maidu dances and songs, and roster of live local bands, including Mystic Roots, Cherry Ghoul, Furlough Fridays, Melli Farias, Pat Hull, Henry Crook Bird and more.
1078 Gallery
Don’t let the beginning of the school year fool you. There’s still plenty of summer left. For proof, look no further than the three late-season music marathons on the September calendar. First up, the Downtown Chico Business Association tries its hand at a day-long concert, with the ChicoLive event, featuring four acts, including visiting county-music star Frankie Ballard and long-time local faves The Funnels, Sept. 9, in the City Plaza. On Sept. 16, the former Chico Summerfest goes country, with several tribute acts for Chico



Sept. 22-Oct. 8

CUSD Center for the Arts

Sept. 16

DUFFY’S HAPPY HOUR: See Sept. 8. Fri, 9/22, 5pm. Duffy’s Tavern, 337 Main Street. 530-343-7718.

GIMME GIMME DISCO: A DJ dance party with all your favorite disco hits from ABBA, Bee Gees, Donna Summer and more. Fri, 9/22, 8:30pm. $15. Senator Theatre, 517 Main St. jmaxproductions.net

PAINTED MANDOLIN: Joe Craven leads this four-piece exploration of the acoustic music of Jerry Garcia. Presented by Chico Concerts. Fri, 9/22, 7pm. $20 (Pullins, Music Connection, eventbrite.com). Chico Women’s Club, 592 E. Third St.

WALKING ON BOULEVARD: Live music. Fri, 9/22, 5:30pm The Barn at Meriam Park, 1930 Market Place. meriampark.com


Special Events

CHIP’S ROCK THE HOUSE 2023: Rock the House raises awareness and money for the Community Housing Improvement Program (CHIP) to continue its mission of providing affordable housing solutions and related services to the North Valley. Catered dinner, no-host bar, games, dancing, music and a raffle. Sat, 9/23, 5:30pm. $75. The Palms, 2947 Nord Ave. (530) 636-0684. chiphousing. kindful.com


ANASTASIA: See Sept. 22. Sat, 9/23, 7:30pm. $27$40. CUSD Center for the Arts, 1475 East Ave. crtshows.com

FIDDLER ON THE ROOF: See Sept. 22. Sat, 9/23, 7:30pm. $25-$28. Chico Theater Company, 166 Eaton Road, Ste. F. chicotheater.com

P-TOWN TONIGHT!: See Sept. 14. Sat, 9/23, 7:30pm. $18. Theatre on the Ridge, 3735 Neal Road, Paradise. totr.org


HEART OF BLONDIE: Blondie tribute act. Sat, 9/23, 10pm. Free. Feather Falls Casino & Lodge, 3 Alverda Drive, Oroville. featherfallscasino. com

KAI MUSIC FESTIVAL: Kai Music and Arts presents a convergence of music, art, and sustainability on the shores of Lake Concow.

2pm. $25-$28. Chico Theater Company, 166 Eaton Road, Ste. F. chicotheater.com

P-TOWN TONIGHT!: See Sept. 14. Sun, 9/24, 2pm. $18. Theatre on the Ridge, 3735 Neal Road, Paradise. totr.org



MISCOMINGS, SO PITTED, DISCON LOCUS: Miscomings (no wave from Seattle), So Pitted (experimental metal from Seattle) with locals Discon Locus (screamo) and one other TBA. Wed, 9/27, 7pm. $10. Naked Lounge, 118 W. Second St.


Workshops, Konkow Maidu ceremonial dance and songs, and a full roster of live bands: Mystic Roots, Cherry Ghoul, Furlough Fridays, Melli Farias, Pat Hull, Henry Crook Bird and more. Sat, 9/23, 11am. $35-$70. Lake Concow Campground, 12967 Concow Road, Oroville. 530-717-5949. kaimusicfestival.com

THE SUN KINGS: Beatles tribute act comes to Paradise. Sat, 9/23, 7:30pm. $28-$63. Paradise Performing Arts Center, 777 Nunneley Road. (530) 513-0659. thegoodworkskitchen.org


Special Events

OFF CAMPUS COMEDY: Comedy night hosted by the Jesssy Jaymes. Sun, 9/24, 7pm. $15. Blue Room Theatre, 1005 W. First St. 408-449-2179. eventbrite.com


ANASTASIA: See Sept. 22. Sun, 9/24, 2pm. $27$40. CUSD Center for the Arts, 1475 East Ave. crtshows.com

FIDDLER ON THE ROOF: See Sept. 22. Sun, 9/24,

Special Events

COMEDY NIGHT WITH JON RUDNITSKY: Comedian/ actor Jon Rudnitsky is a Groundlings alumni whose also been a Saturday Night Live cast member. Thu, 9/28, 6:30pm. $15-$25. El Rey Theater, 230 W. Second St. elreychico.com


ANASTASIA: See Sept. 22. Thu, 9/28, 7:30pm. $27$40. CUSD Center for the Arts, 1475 East Ave. crtshows.com

FIDDLER ON THE ROOF: See Sept. 22. Thu, 9/28, 7:30pm. $25-$28. Chico Theater Company, 166 Eaton Road, Ste. F. chicotheater.com

P-TOWN TONIGHT!: See Sept. 14. Thu, 9/28, 7:30pm. $18. Theatre on the Ridge, 3735 Neal Road, Paradise. totr.org


BLÜ EGYPTIAN: Local jam-band faves take over the Goose. Thu, 9/28, 8pm. $10. Winchester Goose, 800 Broadway St. eventbrite.com

REGGAE THURSDAYS: See Sept. 7. Thu, 9/28, 10pm. $5. Winchester Goose, 800 Broadway.

THE SHIVAS: Tasty throwback pop rock from Portland at what promises to be an oldschool Duffy’s barn-burner! Chico’s Madde opens. Thu, 9/28, 9pm. $10. Duffy’s Tavern, 337 Main St.

Sept. 28

Duffy’s Tavern

FRI29 Theater

ANASTASIA: See Sept. 22. Fri, 9/29, 7:30pm. $27$40. CUSD Center for the Arts, 1475 East Ave. crtshows.com

FIDDLER ON THE ROOF: See Sept. 22. Fri, 9/29, 7:30pm. $25-$28. Chico Theater Company, 166 Eaton Road, Ste. F. chicotheater.com

P-TOWN TONIGHT!: See Sept. 14. Fri, 9/29, 7:30pm. $18. Theatre on the Ridge, 3735 Neal Road, Paradise. totr.org


DALLAS DARNELL: Live music for extended happy hour. Fri, 9/29, 5:30pm. Secret Trail Brewing Co., 132 Meyers St., Ste. 120.

DUFFY’S HAPPY HOUR: See Sept. 8. Fri, 9/29, 5pm. Duffy’s Tavern, 337 Main Street. 530-343-7718.

EMO NIGHT TOUR: JMax brings the Emo Night tour to Lost. Fri, 9/29, 8pm. $18. Lost on Main, 319 Main St. jmaxproductions.net

HOT FLASH: Live music. Fri, 9/29, 5:30pm. The Barn at Meriam Park, 1930 Market Place. meriampark.com

SPARK & CINDER: The originals, Chico’s favorite sons, return to the stage for an all-night party. Fri, 9/29, 7pm. $15. Mulberry Station, 175 E. 20th St. 530-809-5616.

THOMPSON SQUARE: Multiple-award-winning, multi-platinum-selling duo bring their country anthems, like new single, “Country in My Soul,” to The Box! Fri, 9/29, 9pm. $45. Tackle Box, 379 E. Park Ave. tackleboxchico.com


Special Events

MOVIE IN THE PARK: CARD is showing Super Mario Bros. outdoors. Bring the family and your blankets and/or low-back chairs, flashlights and bug spray and some enjoy free cake (celebrating CARD’s 75th birthday). Movie begins when the sun goes down. Sat, 9/30, 6pm. Free. Wildwood Park. chicorec.com


ANASTASIA: See Sept. 22. Sat, 9/30, 7:30pm. $27$40. CUSD Center for the Arts, 1475 East Ave. crtshows.com

FIDDLER ON THE ROOF: See Sept. 22. Sat, 9/30,

7:30pm. $25-$28. Chico Theater Company, 166 Eaton Road, Ste. F. chicotheater.com

P-TOWN TONIGHT!: See Sept. 14. Sat, 9/30, 7:30pm. $18. Theatre on the Ridge, 3735 Neal Road, Paradise. totr.org


CARNAVAL: Santana tribute act. Sat, 9/30, 10pm. Free. Feather Falls Casino & Lodge, 3 Alverda Drive, Oroville. featherfallscasino. com

DRIVER: Live music. Sat, 9/30, 8pm. Free. Jen’s place, 7126 Skyway, Paradise. 530-413-9130. IVY FLATS: Live music. Sat, 9/30, 5:30pm. The Barn at Meriam Park, 1930 Market Place. meriampark.com

WOLFTHUMP AND CHICO LATIN ORQUESTRA: Chico’s favorite all-percussion ensemble returns for a show with Chico Latin Orquestra. Sat, 9/30, 7pm. $15-$20. Chico Women’s Club, 592 E. Third St. eventbrite.com

SUN1 Theater

ANASTASIA: See Sept. 22. Sun, 10/1, 2pm. $27$40. CUSD Center for the Arts, 1475 East Ave. crtshows.com

FIDDLER ON THE ROOF: See Sept. 22. Sun, 10/1, 2pm. $25-$28. Chico Theater Company, 166 Eaton Road, Ste. F. chicotheater.com

P-TOWN TONIGHT!: See Sept. 14. Sun, 10/1, 2pm. $18. Theatre on the Ridge, 3735 Neal Road, Paradise. totr.org


QUINTETO LATINO: Chico Performances presents the Bay Area classical wind quintet that melds the vibrant colors and vigorous rhythms of Latin American music with the sumptuous voices of the wind quintet. Sun, 10/1, 2pm. $15-$44. Recital Hall, Chico State, 530-898-6333, chicoperformances.com

THU5 Theater

ANASTASIA: See Sept. 22. Thu, 10/5, 7:30pm. $27$40. CUSD Center for the Arts, 1475 East Ave. crtshows.com

FIDDLER ON THE ROOF: See Sept. 22. Thu, 10/5, 7:30pm. $25-$28. Chico Theater Company, 166 Eaton Road, Ste. F. chicotheater.com

44 CN&R SEPTEMBER 7, 2023
Paradise Performing Arts Center MaMuse

Return of the blockbuster

Barbie and Oppenheimer lure us back to the big screen

part of it, J. Robert Oppenheimer’s extraordinary life story eludes full capture within even the most expansive confines of a threehour biopic. The invocation of the legend of Prometheus is apt, but while Greek Tragedy embraces the story of Prometheus, Nolan’s

film remains a somewhat baffled portrait of an exceptional scientist trapped in a hell of unintended consequences.

Nolan’s film is rather labored and unwieldy. Barbie, by contrast, is rapturously entertaining (and seemingly lighthearted) throughout. While it is very much preoccupied with superficiality and the surface of things, director Greta Gerwig’s fanciful comedy and satire thrives brilliantly with the deftly challenging intelligence of its script and character portrayals. That screenplay, co-written by Gerwig and her partner, indie filmmaker Noah Baumbach, strikes me as eminently worthy of Oscar consideration.

Both films have some outstanding performances. Robert Downey Jr., as one of Oppenheimer’s deceptively collegial antagonists, delivers what may be the most genuinely immersive performance of his career. And Cillian Murphy is excellent in the title role.

Margot Robbie’s Barbie and Ryan Gosling’s Ken are truly brilliant. America Ferreira’s rendition of a long, heartfelt monologue and Kate McKinnon’s stylized antics as “Weird Barbie” are special standouts as well.

The “Barbieheimer” phenomenon—the dual runaway success of the films Barbie and Oppenheimer—is a tribute to their movie magnificence as well as their lavish production and marketing and their social and cultural traction amid the traumas and horrors of a hellacious summer the world over.

Both offer a shrewd kind of temporary escape from the terrors and anxieties of our historical moment, and yet theirs is the “escapism” of an alert, self-questioning sort. We viewers are richly entertained and grandly “transport-

ed”—but in ways that never really lose touch with stuff that matters greatly in the here and now. That may seem almost too obvious in the case of Oppenheimer with its history of the atom bomb, but don’t forget that the flashy musical comedy of Barbie centers on a large helping of pertinent, and briskly intelligent, social satire—on gender relations, monopoly capitalism, consumer culture and more.

Oppenheimer is plainly the weightier of the two, but its manifest power has more to do with the prestige and gravitas of its subject matter than with what it actually delivers on screen. It deserves

real credit, as does Barbie, for drawing audiences back to movie theaters and the big screen, and for giving them much that they’ll want to talk about, and even study, after the show.

But as a movie, Oppenheimer staggers under the massive burdens of its subject matter. For all that’s impressive in its performances and staging, Christopher Nolan’s film seems to flounder in the long run. Failure, I’m guessing, almost inevitably accompanies this eminently ambitious venture. Because the atom bomb is

SEPTEMBER 7, 2023 CN&R 45
Cillian Murphy is J. Robert Oppenheimer. Ryan Gosling and Margot Robbie are Ken and Barbie.

Over the moon

A magical combo of food and ambiance at new Mediterranean restaurant

The hamsa—an open hand with an eye on the palm—is regarded as a powerful symbol in many Middle Eastern cultures, representing good fortune and positive energy. It’s also known for its protective qualities, and is particularly useful for guarding against the baneful curse of the old “evil eye.”

Colorful paintings of this symbol hang throughout Chico’s newest Mediterranean restaurant, Meze Moon Mediterranean Cuisine, ranging from traditional representations to modern takes (Mickey Mouse lurks in the eye of the one in the restroom). But they’re not the only touch of something mystical here; the fledgling

restaurant’s excellent food, exceptional hospitality and exotic atmosphere all coalesce to create a transcendent dining experience.

The downtown eatery is divided into two dining areas. The main door opens into the restaurant’s central, cafe-style section, with one wall dominated by a counter display case filled with various forms of mouth-watering baklavas and Turkish delights. There is also a more formal dining section, replete with ornate wall coverings and fancy chandeliers (decorations left over from the former tenant, the short-lived French restaurant Provencal). Windowed doors running along another side of the cafe offer glimpses into the main source of Meze Moon’s supernatural power—the kitch-

Gyro and kabob plates.

en. As appealing as the décor is, the most obvious and attention-grabbing element upon entering the building is the beguiling blend of rich, delicious aromas.

“Meze” is the Mediterranean term for appetizers, and that portion of the meal is not to be missed here, where dinner begins with some of the restaurant’s excellent fresh-baked bread and herbed butter. The Meze Moon Combo ($19) is a great starter and features dolmas, falafel, pita bread and an array of dips and salads—on the night of this reporter’s visit, it was baba ghanoush, hummus, tzatziki, tabouli and ezme. I’d previously experienced all of these except ezme—a slightly spicy tomato-based concoction—and each was exemplary.

For our main course, my dining companion and I shared two entrees—the beef koobideh kabob and beef/lamb gyro plate ($24 each). The former was served with grilled tomatoes and a side of ratatouille and the latter with fresh tomatoes, pickles and garnished with tahini sauce. Both included jasmine rice. Again, everything was perfectly prepared, or very near it (some might say the gyro was a bit salty that night, but I didn’t mind at all).

We were too stuffed for dessert by the time we finished the main course. However, our wonderful server gave us two complimentary slices of baklava to go. We ate

46 CN&R SEPTEMBER 7, 2023
story and photos by Ken Smith kens@ newsreview.com
Meze Moon Mediterranean Cuisine 163 E. Second St. (530) 345-6789
Left: The Meze Moon appetizer combo featuring dolmas, falafel, pita bread, olives, baba ghanoush, hummus, tzatziki, tabouli and ezme. Below: Meze Moon proprietor, Emin Tekin.
48 CN&R SEPTEMBER 7, 2023
48 CN&R SEPTEMBER 7, 2023 Laurie Aaron Joseph Acciaioli Maria Aguilar Kim Agur Karen Aikin Kanji Aiso Ron Aker Glenna Akers Robert Alber Lory C Allan Emily Alma Jeanette Alosi Karen Altier Pilar Alvarez Lance Anderson Davy Andrek Jean Andrews Barbara Andrews David & Lori Angel Ronald Angle Karen Ann Nelson Anthoine Amy Antongiovanni William & Cheryl Appleby James & Mary Aram Christina Archuleta Vicki Artzner Janet Ashley Laura Askim Wayland Augur Ted Baca Mat Bacior James Bailey Shereen Baker Karen Balestieri Antoine Baptiste Florin Barnhart Kathleen Barrera John Barrett Kathy Barrett Thomas Barrett Linda Bates Maureen Baumgartner Roger Beadle Claudia Beaty Norman Beecher Christianne Belles Daniel & Charlene Beltan Mary Kay Benson Kathy Berger Gordon Bergthold Bryan Bickley Robert Biehler John Bisignano Earline Blankinship Erica Blaschke Mark Bloom Barbara Boeger Pamela Boeger Jamie Boelter Stephen Bohnemeyer April Boone Daniel Botsford Janice Branch Michael Branton Vicky Breeden Marlene Brenden Janet Brennan Trish Briel Lindsay Briggs Gregory Brislain Diane Brobeck Dennis Broselle Caryl Brown Christopher Brown Danielle Browning Cindy & Martin Buckley Laura Burghardt Terry Burgoyne Anika Burke Barbara Burke CJ Burkett Stacey Burks John Burnham Carol Burr Robert Burton Lynne Bussey Julie Butler Philip Butler Sherry Butler William Bynum Candace Byrne Deborah Cady Vic Cantu Michael Capelle Caroline Carey Jennifer Carey Mark Carlsten Douglas Carroll Daniel Carter Linda Cartier Jeanine Cartwright Joel Castle Elen Castleberry Delena Cavaness Lisa Ceynowa Michelle Chambers Amanda Chambless Beth Chase Randy Chase Marion Chase Susan Chin Susan & Michael Christensen A. 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Kim Jeff Lindsay Anna Logan Howard Lucas Ed Luce Lundgren Kaelin Lundgren Tanha Luvaas Lee Lyon Don Lytle Mercedes Linda MacMichael MacNeil Magliari Mandeson Bob John Martin Martin Keitha Mason Matteucci Treva Mauch Gregory McCleary Miller Robin Judy McCreary McCreary B. 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Our neighbor Jonathan

The Duffy’s show, however, was a straight-up rocker, a cavalcade of danceable/lyrical story-songs about this thing called life, delivered with Richman’s golden charm and laid over Larkins’ faultless beats. He sang, played and shimmied around for 51 minutes straight, frequently displaying his singular dance stylings. Watching him groove, it’s hard to believe he’s 72 years old. The smallish crowd, composed mostly of locals, even loosed a collective “awe” of amazement when when he threw a series of high kicks that brought his foot level with his head.

and his Bandcamp site (jonathan richman.bandcamp.com). Some of this newer material rounded out this night’s spectacular set.

One of my favorite moments was when he played a jazzy instrumental snippet of the standard “Strangers in the Night” before launching it into one of these newer songs—a touching and truly homegrown song called “Outside O’Duffy’s” about meeting his wife on the street outside the very location at which he was performing.

Chico’s favorite troubadour treats locals to a five-show tour

If you happen to run into Jonathan Richman while grabbing a cup of coffee or walking the streets of Chico—and the odds of that happening, in certain parts of town, are pretty good—just be cool.

Even if he’s carrying a guitar (and he likely is), he’s probably not looking to take your requests. If you’re lucky enough to chat with him, topics like the weather, classical Indian poetry or any music under the sun— other than his own—are bound to go further than gushing and gawking. And keep your camera in your pocket, weirdo, because here he’s just our quirky neighbor Jonathan, not the guy who even your heroes revere as a hero.

But there are times—when he

performs locally—that the wall comes down, and we’re free to stop pretending that we’re not awestruck and openly acknowledge that we live in the presence of greatness. This was the case last month, when he played five shows (with his frequent sidekick, drummer Tommy Larkins) in as many days at three local venues: a three-day stint at Duffy’s Tavern (Aug. 20-22) followed by nights at the Blue Room and Pageant theaters (Aug. 23 and 24).

I’ve been lucky enough to catch a handful of his shows over the years. In general, they were more low-key affairs than what I witnessed at the show I caught during this recent run—on his final night at Duffy’s. At previous events, he’s played unamplified (“Amplification is counter-revolutionary,” he once said during a gig in the back parking lot of the much-missed Blackbird bookstore/venue). And with the exception of an extended, Chicocentric version of “That Summer

Feeling,” he’s mostly avoided playing any of his universally known (at least among aging rock literati) material at shows I’ve attended. Not to say that’s a bad thing, because in every instance I have been moved and inspired by his performances. But I can see how some nostalgiahungry fans expecting a hit parade could be confused.

Richman still played an acoustic guitar, though it and his voice were gently microphone-amplified. The set was louder and more playful than I’d seen before—undoubtedly influenced by Larkins’ presence—and even contained two of Richman’s “hits”: rousing renditions of “Pablo Picasso” (which dates all the way back to his Modern Lovers days) and “I Was Dancing in the Lesbian Bar.”

He rarely plays his songs straight, frequently changing tempo, musical styles, languages (this night he alternated between English, Spanish and Italian), and adding spoken asides. He is not one to rest on his older, beloved songs, and is constantly reinventing them, as well as releasing new material on the Blue Arrow Records label

Other songs included “Let Her Go into the Darkness” and “The Fading of an Old World” (a significant re-working of the Modern Lovers song, “Old World”). The duo closed out the set with “Cold Pizza”—a metaphorical analogue about accepting and celebrating life as it is rather than as we might imagine it (“It is what it is …,” runs the refrain). Then they returned for an encore, the rollicking “En la Discoteca Reggaeton,” complete with crowd participation clapping and throat-singing.

I wasn’t able to catch either of the theater shows on the tour. I would’ve liked to have seen how the duo adapted to the different spaces/ audiences. Referring to the different venues on his Chico mini tour—and referencing the Blue Room’s all-ages status—Richman said they were for “the drinkers, the little stinkers and the thinkers.” They were undoubtedly different than the Duffy’s outing, each completely unique reminders of how blessed we are to have this whimsical, ever-evolving, genius showman among us. Ω

SEPTEMBER 7, 2023 CN&R 49
Review: Jonathan Richman at Duffy’s Tavern, Aug.
Jonathan Richman and drummer Tommy Larkins on the stage at Duffy’s Tavern on Aug. 22. PHOTO BY KEN SMITH Poster for Richman’s recent tour of Chico. An arty shot of Richman and Larkins at the Pageant art-house theater on Aug. 24. PHOTO BY BRYAN TROTTER

LICENSE #1066922




When the CN&R published the “definitive” career-spanning Spark & Cinder feature in 2006 (written by the late Carey Wilson), it was to mark the band’s 30th anniversary reunion show. Turns out, that wasn’t the end of the story. Another reunion is going down this month, Sept. 29, 8:30 p.m., at Mulberry Station Brewing Co., at what could be called the 47th anniversary(!) of Chico’s beloved dance-friendly rock/reggae/Latin/ funk band.

For some background, I defer to Carey’s words:

For the linear minded and chronologically obsessed, the bare-bones story is that in the early ’70s there was a large community of California hippies living east of town in Butte Creek Canyon and playing music under the name the Butte Creek Family Band, led by Michael Cannon. And at the same time there was a small community of East Coast/Jersey City musicians living in a sprawling farmhouse northwest of town in what were then the walnut orchards along Lassen Avenue. The Jersey contingent called their band Supa Nova, a band that eventually splintered and reformed as Jackstraw, led by drummer/mandolinist Jimmy Fay. The two musical communities circled around and interacted with each other, playing the same venues in and around Chico, and eventually intertwined to the point of combining forces and resources and appearing as what is now simply called Spark & Cinder.


GOD: DIONYSUS Out there in the interwebs, sneaking around the edges of your digital feed, is some promising new fun for Chico: Botella, a “neighborhood wine bar and bottle shop.” So far, Arts DEVO knows that most Fridays Botella pops up on the outdoor patio at Cafe Coda when the live music is happening, and that the folks behind it (Gina and Steven Hall) have produced a series of fun and silly commercials to promote the events. The videos are showing up on social media and feature shenanigans by Gina, local acting badass Samantha Shaner and the very surprising return of the Pageant Dads!

A brick-and-mortar Botella is in the works. For updates on the latest developments, follow Botella Chico on Instagram and Facebook.


A trio of local classical music mainstays is taking Chico back to the 17th and 18th centuries with a project called Butte Baroque. The brainchild of two former North State Symphony managers—Elizabeth Quivey and Keith Harritt—and organist/harpsichordist Jeffrey Cooper, the organization will be “providing performances and educational opportunities” to our area. The first concert by the Butte Baroque string orchestra—with violins, violas, cello, bass and keyboards—will feature music from Bach, Vivaldi and others and will take place Dec. 9, at St. John’s Episcopal Church (2341 Floral Ave.). Find “Butte Baroque” on Facebook for more info, and visit the GoFundMe campaign to help compensate musicians playing the premiere gig: gofundme.com/f/butte-baroque-winter-strings-concert

50 CN&R SEPTEMBER 7, 2023
Botella Boys have a “bouquet of rosé” just for you. Vintage Spark & Cinder.
| www.patiopros.com

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Aries chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov says war is “more like a game of poker than chess. On a chess board, the pieces are face up, but poker is essentially a game of incomplete information, a game where you have to guess and act on those guesses.” I suspect that’s helpful information for you these days, Aries. You may not be ensconced in an out-an-out conflict, but the complex situation you’re managing has resemblances to a game of poker. For best results, practice maintaining a poker face. Try to reduce your tells to near zero. Here’s the definition of “tell” as I am using the term: Reflexive or unconscious behavior that reveals information you would rather withhold.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Raised in poverty, Taurus-born Eva Peron became a charismatic politician and actor who served as First Lady of Argentina for six years. The Argentine Congress ultimately gave her the title of “Spiritual Leader of the Nation.” How did she accomplish such a meteoric ascent? “Without fanaticism,” she testified, “one cannot accomplish anything.” But I don’t think her strategy has to be yours in the coming months, Taurus. It will make sense for you to be highly devoted, intensely focused, and strongly motivated—even a bit obsessed in a healthy way. But you won’t need to be fanatical.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Gemini author Ben H. Winters has useful counsel. “Every choice forecloses on other choices,” he says. “Each step forward leaves a thousand dead possible universes behind you.” I don’t think there are a thousand dead universes after each choice; the number’s more like two or three. But the point is, you must be fully committed to leaving the past behind. Making decisions requires resolve. Second-guessing your brave actions rarely yields constructive results. So are you ready to have fun being firm and determined, Gemini? The cosmic rhythms will be on your side if you do.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Journalist

Alexandra Robbins was addressing young people when she gave the following advice, but you will benefit from it regardless of your age: “There is nothing wrong with you just because you haven’t yet met people who share your interests or outlook on life. Know that you will eventually meet people who will appreciate you for being you.” I offer this to you now, Cancerian, because the coming months will bring you into connection with an abundance of like-minded people who are working to create the same kind of world you are. Are you ready to enjoy the richest social life ever?

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Author Kevin Kelly is a maverick visionary who has thought a lot about how to create the best possible future. He advocates that we give up hoping for the unrealistic concept of utopia. Instead, he suggests we empower our practical efforts with the term “protopia.” In this model, we “crawl toward betterment,” trying to improve the world by one percent each year. You would be wise to apply a variation on this approach to your personal life in the coming months, Leo. A mere one-percent enhancement is too modest a goal, though. By your birthday in 2024, a six-percent upgrade is realistic, and you could reach as high as 10 percent.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): In honor of the Virgo birthday season, I invite you to be exceptionally distinctive and singular in the coming weeks, even idiosyncratic and downright incomparable. That’s not always a comfortable state for you Virgos to inhabit, but right now it’s healthy to experiment with. Here’s counsel from writer Christopher Morley: “Read, every day, something no one else is reading. Think, every day, something no one else is thinking. Do, every day, something no one else would be silly enough to do. It is bad for the mind to continually be part of unanimity.” Here’s a bonus quote from Virgo poet Edith Sitwell: “I am not eccentric! It’s just that I am more alive than most people.”

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Do you sometimes wish your life was different from what it actually is? Do you criticize yourself for not being a perfect manifestation of your ideal self? Most of us indulge in these fruitless energy drains. One of the chief causes of unhappiness is the fantasy that we are not who we are supposed to be. In accordance with cosmic rhythms, I authorize you to be totally free of these feelings for the next four weeks. As an experiment, I invite you to treasure yourself exactly as you are right now. Congratulate yourself for all the heroic work you have done to be pretty damn good. Use your ingenuity to figure out how to give yourself big doses of sweet and festive love.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Scorpio novelist Kurt Vonnegut testified, “I want to stay as close on the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge, you see all kinds of things you can’t see from the center. Big, undreamed-of-things—the people on the edge see them first.” I’m not definitively telling you that you should live like Vonnegut, dear Scorpio. To do so, you would have to summon extra courage and alertness. But if you are inclined to explore such a state, the coming weeks will offer you a chance to live on the edge with as much safety, reward, and enjoyment as possible.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): “Where there is great love, there are always miracles,” wrote Sagittarian novelist Willa Cather (1873–1947). In accordance with upcoming astrological aspects, I encourage you to prepare the way for such miracles. If you don’t have as much love as you would like, be imaginative as you offer more of the best love you have to give. If there is good but not great love in your life, figure out how you can make it even better. If you are blessed with great love, see if you can transform it into being even more extraordinary. For you Sagittarians, it is the season of generating miracles through the intimate power of marvelous love.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Capricorn author Alexander Woollcott (1187–1943) could be rude and vulgar. He sometimes greeted cohorts by saying, “Hello, Repulsive.” After he read the refined novelist Marcel Proust, he described the experience as “like lying in someone else’s dirty bath water.” But according to Woollcott’s many close and enduring friends, he was often warm, generous, and humble. I bring this to your attention in the hope that you will address any discrepancies between your public persona and your authentic soul. Now is a good time to get your outer and inner selves into greater harmony.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): In 1963, Aquarian author Betty Friedan published The Feminine Mystique, a groundbreaking book that became a bestseller crucial in launching the feminist movement. She brought to wide cultural awareness “the problem that has no name”: millions of women’s sense of invisibility, powerlessness, and depression. In a later book, Friedan reported on those early days of the awakening: “We couldn’t possibly know where it would lead, but we knew it had to be done.” I encourage you to identify an equivalent quest in your personal life, Aquarius: a project that feels necessary to your future, even if you don’t yet know what that future will turn out to be.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): “Among those whom I like or admire, I can find no common denominator, but among those whom I love, I can: All of them make me laugh.” Piscean poet W. H. Auden said that. After analyzing the astrological omens, I conclude that laughing with those you love is an experience you should especially seek right now. It will be the medicine for anything that’s bothering you. It will loosen obstructions that might be interfering with the arrival of your next valuable teachings. Use your imagination to dream up ways you can place yourself in situations where this magic will unfold.

SEPTEMBER 7, 2023 CN&R 51
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