Across from Chico State, Kinder’s provides menagerie of meats
Being the poor, starving student that I am, my mom buys me gift certificates for various restaurants downtown so I can grab a bite between classes. Just recently she got me one for Kinder’s Meat, Deli, BBQ, the small barbeque joint tucked away behind the public parking lot across from the Madison Bear Garden and Chico State (where Woodstock’s Pizza used to sit), making it convenient for students.
The atmosphere is pretty laidback and gives off a sports bar vibe with an array of football and baseball pictures hanging on the walls. On a recent visit there was a game playing on the flat screen in the dining room, cold beer on tap (Bud, Bud Light and Sierra Nevada, of course) and friendly, familiar faces behind the counter.
I talked with owner Torin Papp, the big, huggable bear behind the counter—as my mom refers to him—and got a little history about the restaurant. The first Kinder’s Deli opened almost 60 years ago in San Pablo, Calif. The small family business grew over time, and now has six locations in California and one in Tempe, Ariz. Kinder’s has avoided the “chain restaurant” reputation by staying away from processed garbage, using only choice-cut meats and bread baked fresh each morning.
I had heard great things about Kinder’s BBQ beef sandwich ($5.95), so I ordered one, and opted for a side of potato salad and BBQ beans for $1.50 more. The BBQ beef consists of shredded beef marinated in a tasty barbecue sauce, topped with cheese, served on a fresh, white roll (Beware: It can get a little messy). My roomie got the ball-tip steak sandwich, which after tasting I must say I liked better than the BBQ beef. The ball-tip sandwich, one of Kinder’s most popular items, is served with tender steak slices, tomato, lettuce and barbecue sauce.
Kinder’s is also well-known for its ribs, which, like all of their other meats, are marinated in Kinder’s house sauces. Along with sandwiches, Kinder’s offers Louisiana-style hot links and hamburgers starting at $4.95. They have sandwiches to curb every appetite, from the “deluxe” size, stacked with one-third pound of meat ($5.75), to the “mini” for $3.95.
For the non-meat eaters Kinder’s offers a vegetarian sandwich, made with cream cheese, walnuts, baby greens, sliced cucumbers, sprouts and green peppers served on whole-grain bread. They also have a large selection of salads to choose from that are all pretty tasty. Varieties change daily, but regular choices include: potato, macaroni, cucumber and tomato, tortellini and bacon (delicious!), green salad and a fresh fruit salad. Their larger salads include blackened chicken Caesar salad ($6.25), Kinder’s BBQ chicken salad or a chef salad (both for $5.95).
Aside from being a pretty good dining spot, Kinder’s is also a fresh deli, where you can purchase meats, cheeses, sauces, marinades, rubs and salads to go, right from the cold cases. There are eight different sandwich meats to choose from, including peppered turkey, Italian dry salami and corned beef. From the smoker they sell already-cooked tequila-lime ribs, prime rib, chicken, tri-tip and more.
For barbequing at home, Kinder’s offers New York steaks, T-bones, marinated jerk chicken and plenty of other items. For party planners and partygoers, Kinder’s does catering as well.
Anywhere that has a good atmosphere, large quantities and fair prices will always get my business (and that of other students) more than once.