Best of Chico: Readers’ picks

You voted for Chico’s very best—and here are the winners!

Jersey’s Clips & Brews

Jersey’s Clips & Brews

Goods & Services


1ST PLACE: Jersey’s Clips & Brews

615 Mangrove Ave., Ste. 120, 893-2547

Sometimes a haircut is more than a haircut. Sometimes it’s an experience, complete with football on the TV and a brewski in your hand. At Jersey’s Clips & Brews, men are free to be men, even when it’s time for a trim. (Here’s a well-kept secret: Women are welcome, too, but a love of sports and beer is encouraged.) As an added bonus, students get drink discounts. And for all you hipsters out there—beard trims are only six bucks.

2ND PLACE: Curley’s Barber Shop

181 East Ave., 342-8002

3RD PLACE: Gearhead Barbershop

221 Normal Ave., 894-2889

Antiques store

1ST PLACE: Eighth & Main Antique Center

745 Main St., 893-5534

The iconic Eighth & Main Antique Center in the SOPO (south of the post office) neighborhood just south of downtown offers countless intriguing items from the collections of hundreds of vendors. It’s easy to spend an entire afternoon poking around at all the fascinating wares on offer at this jam-packed, multi-building venue—from dozens of pairs of vintage cowboy boots and beautiful antique furniture, to collectable dolls and toys, to old postcards and black-and-white photographs perfect for the creative crafter or the collector.

2ND PLACE: Country Squyres’ Antiques

164 E. Third St., 342-6764

3RD PLACE: Orange Street Consignment

514 Orange St., 899-7064

Auto repair shop

1ST PLACE (tie): Affordable Automotive

2106 Park Ave., 892-1774

1ST PLACE (tie): C&M Automotive

1188 E. Lassen Ave., 343-5613

When it comes to caring for their automobiles, there are two places Chicoans trust: C&M Automotive and Affordable Automotive. Both shops are locally owned and have a reputation for quality service, from preventive maintenance to more complicated transmission and brake problems. What really sets C&M and Affordable apart from the rest is an honest and sincere dedication to customer service and the long-term health of the vehicles.

2ND PLACE: Spencer Automotive

2303 Esplanade, Ste. 80, 345-5600

3RD PLACE: Boradori Automotive

287 Humboldt Ave., 891-4972

Bank/credit union

1ST PLACE: Tri Counties Bank

Various locations

Founded in Chico in 1974, local fave Tri Counties’ name is a little misleading. The full-service bank—with friendly tellers and managers—now has 66 branches located in two dozen counties. Still, it’s not your average Wall Street behemoth, thank goodness!

2ND PLACE: Golden 1 Credit Union

239 W. Second St., (877) 465-3361

3RD PLACE: Sierra Central Credit Union

352 E. First St., 345-3625

Bike shop

Pullins Cyclery

1ST PLACE: Pullins Cyclery

801 Main St., 342-1055

Located in the hip SOPO neighborhood, Pullins boasts a really friendly staff (including owner and Irish-music aficionado Steve O’Bryan) that knows its stuff when it comes to bikes—both selling them (new and used) and fixing them. Plus, the shop, with its worn wooden floors and stuff hanging and parked everywhere, gives you that great feeling of hanging out in a really cool old place (the music playing in the repair area is always great, too). No wonder it gets picked as Best Bike Shop repeatedly!

2ND PLACE: North Rim Adventure Sports

178 E. Second St., 345-2453

3RD PLACE: Campus Bicycles

330 Main St., 345-2081


1ST PLACE: Lyon Books & Learning Center

135 Main St., 891-3338

Lyon Books again takes the prize for Best Bookstore, and deservedly so. Heather and Aaron Lyon’s vibrant independent book shop—which recently moved into bigger digs—is loved by locals for its helpful service and great selection of new and used books, as well as magazines, cards and interesting novelty gift items. Its focus on local authors is refreshing, too: Periodic book signings and presentations by local writers are among Lyon Books’ compelling offerings. Plus, there’s a membership option that provides discounts every time you shop there. Two thumbs up (three, if we had ’em)!

2ND PLACE: The Bookstore

118 Main St., 345-7441

3RD PLACE: Barnes & Noble Booksellers

2031 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway, 894-1494

Cab company

1ST PLACE: Liberty Cab


Always-available Liberty Cab is once again the first-place winner for best local cab company. Liberty’s patriotic phone number is easy to remember, even after a long night of partying, and the company even offers roomy van cabs to haul an entire group of people to their next destination. Also, Liberty Cab is proud of its friendly, efficient drivers and its support of local nonprofit children’s groups.

2ND PLACE: Ecocab


3RD PLACE: Taxi Dave


Car dealership

1ST PLACE: Chuck Patterson Toyota

200 East Ave., 403-4962

Chuck Patterson wins again for Best Car Dealership! That’s because this family-owned dealership—in business for going on five decades—is overflowing with a wide selection of new and pre-owned Toyota, Scion and Dodge vehicles, as well as friendly, knowledgeable salespeople who are always there to help you with your car-buying and -financing.

2ND PLACE: Courtesy Motors

2520 Cohasset Road, 345-9444

3RD PLACE: Chico Nissan Hyundai

575 Manzanita Ave., 891-1777

Day spa

1ST PLACE: Sweetwater Day Spa

1031 Village Lane, 894-7722

Imagine a day at the spa: the music is tranquil, the aroma calming, the lighting romantic. But there’s more to it than that. The facial must be transformative, the waxing both effective and comfortable, the massage deep-tissue-relaxing. Sweetwater meets all these qualifications and then some. The locally owned and operated day spa offers top-notch services with excellent customer service and an inviting ambiance, which is why locals have chosen it the Best of Chico.

2ND PLACE: Urban Medspa

The Grateful Bed

3221 Cohasset Road, 891-8772

3RD PLACE: Agua Azul Oasis

40 Declaration Drive, 345-0226


1ST PLACE: The Grateful Bed

1462 Arcadian Ave., 342-2464

Visitors and locals alike relish the tranquility and comfort provided by innkeepers Rick and Carol Turner at The Grateful Bed. Nestled in the Avenues, this quaint bed-and-breakfast offers a restful night’s sleep in a century-old home filled with antique furnishings and surrounded by quiet gardens. Breakfasts are served by candlelight and feature herbs from the garden. Guests rave about the cleanliness of the rooms and gourmet quality of their breakfasts. After 15 years, it’s clear the Turners have perfected their B&B business.

2ND PLACE: Goodman House Bed & Breakfast

1362 Esplanade, 566-0256

3RD PLACE: Cory’s Country Inn

4673 Nord Highway, 345-2955

Dry cleaner

1ST PLACE: Chico Express Cleaners

752 East Ave., 343-8844, and 641 Walnut St., 343-6013

Chico Express Cleaners is once again Chicoans’ favorite dry cleaner. With two locations and more than 20 years in the business, owners Lance and Helen Marshall are truly rocking Chico’s dry-cleaning world. Chico Express will clean just about anything, and they even have a free pickup and delivery service, as well as a drive-through drop-off (and a commitment to using environmentally friendly cleaning products).

2ND PLACE: 3rd Generation Cleaners

1354 East Ave., Ste. S, 899-0333

3RD PLACE: Flair Custom Cleaners

660 Mangrove Ave., 345-0522


1ST PLACE: Christian & Johnson

250 Vallombrosa Ave., 891-1881

Once again, Christian & Johnson comes in first in the Best Florist category. This lovely shop bordering Big Chico Creek has been part of Chico’s history for more than a century, ever since Annie Bidwell’s gardener, F. G. Petersen, opened a nursery there. The nursery is gone, but the florist/gift shop remains. The delicate, sweet smell of fresh flowers entertains the senses while one waits for a bouquet or peruses the greeting cards and interesting knick-knacks on offer.

2ND PLACE: Flowers by Rachelle

2485 Notre Dame Blvd., 345-2661

3RD PLACE: Chico Florist

1600 Mangrove Ave., Ste. 145, 345-1855

Gift shop

1ST PLACE: Hubbs Stationery

956 Mangrove Ave., 892-4940

Shopping for gifts in Chico is no difficult task. With the plethora of local shops to choose from, to be named the Best of Chico is quite a feat. After nearly 60 years in business—17 of them in Chico—Hubbs Stationery has hit its sweet spot when it comes to creating an inviting space for gift giving. Not only is it the No. 1 spot to get your Vera Bradley fix or find sweet-scented candles, Hubbs is also the place to go when you need wedding invitations or office supplies.

2ND PLACE: Little Red Hen Gift Shop

897 E. 20th St., 897-0100

3RD PLACE: Bird in Hand

320 Broadway, 893-0545

Hair salon

1ST PLACE: The Hair Company

2760 Esplanade, Ste. 150, 894-2002

Once again, CN&R readers voted for The Hair Company as their favorite one-stop shop for getting completely gussied up and pampered. In addition to the dozen or so stylists on hand to meet all your cutting and coloring needs, the shop is home to two nail stylists, a massage therapist and a licensed esthetician to complete your beauty makeover.

2ND PLACE: Satori Color & Hair Design

627 Broadway, Ste. 120, 342-2828

3RD PLACE: Dimensions Salon

810 Broadway, 894-2515


Men’s clothier

1ST PLACE: Trucker

232 Broadway, 343-1073

It’s a safe bet that the reason Chico guys are so stylin’ has a little something to do with Trucker. With a reliable inventory of the most fashionable—and flattering—board shorts, pants, button-downs and even shoes, Trucker ensures your man never has to worry about looking good. Chicoans have grown to expect the best from locally owned Trucker, and clearly the downtown shopping mecca continues to impress.

2ND PLACE: Urban Laundry

222 Main St., 345-2444

3RD PLACE (tie): Men’s Wearhouse

1950 E. 20th St., 342-1769

3RD PLACE (tie): JCPenney

1932 E. 20th St., 899-8160

Women’s clothier

1ST PLACE: Urban Laundry

222 Main St., 345-2444

Urban Laundry tops the Best Women’s Clothier category again this year. This large boutique in a cool old downtown Chico building offers an ample selection of casual-to-upscale women’s clothing (lots of trendy name brands), including stuff made out of denim, and TOMS shoes. Folks also rave about the friendly staff.

2ND PLACE: Trucker

232 Broadway, 343-1073

3RD PLACE: For Elyse

228 Broadway, 893-0106

Baby/kids’ clothier

1ST PLACE: Apple Blossom Baby

1372 Longfellow Ave., 345-1617

Quintessentially Chico, this locally owned store offers everything from new cloth diapers and baby shoes to gently used clothing and locally crafted items, as well as a variety of organic goods. Designed with parents in mind, Apple Blossom Baby features a play area for kids and a rocking chair for nursing mothers. Customers love the ability to trade items or sell them on consignment.

2ND PLACE: Kat’s Meow

138 W. Third St., 899-8811


365 East Ave., 893-3454


1ST PLACE: Bubbles Laundry

664 Mangrove Ave., 343-8815, and 1008 W. Sacramento Ave., 345-6453

Customers love this laundromat with the cute name because they know they can count on the stores being clean, on machines working well, and on the ease with which they can accomplish an otherwise boring chore. Bubbles also gets bonus points for keeping customers up-to-date on store news and discounts with a kept-up-to-date Facebook page.

2ND PLACE: East Avenue Coin Laundry

986 East Ave., 891-8805

3RD PLACE: Chico Laundry Co.

1000 W. Sacramento Ave., 342-9274

Local pharmacy

1ST PLACE: Bidwell Pharmacy & Medical Supply

1200 Mangrove Ave., 891-0388

Bidwell Pharmacy—the last of a dying breed of locally owned pharmacies—wins for Best Local Pharmacy again this year. The personalized service it offers is both fast and friendly, including the staff’s dedication to filling prescriptions and offering educated information about each one. Delivery service is another plus.

2ND PLACE: Next Door Pharmacy

285 Cohasset Road, 809-2278

3RD PLACE: Chico Pharmacy

251 Cohasset Circle, 343-4440

Hardware store

1ST PLACE: Collier Hardware

105 Broadway, 342-0195

Yet again, this awesome, old-school hardware store wins first prize for Best Hardware Store. In addition to tools, paint and hardware, Collier stocks a world-class selection of kitchenware, such as Le Creuset cookware and pots and pans by All-Clad, as well as myriad other useful stuff like kitchen towels (Collier’s selection is top-notch), night lights, dinner bells, mixing bowls, tea pots and barbecues. Visit Collier just for that old-time feeling of being in a “real” hardware store!

2ND PLACE: Lowe’s

2350 Forest Ave., 895-5130

3RD PLACE: Home Depot

2580 Notre Dame Blvd., 342-0477


1ST PLACE: Hotel Diamond

220 W. Fourth St., 893-3100

One of Chico’s landmark buildings, Hotel Diamond offers first-class accommodations as well as a comfy bar (with a daily happy hour) and a restaurant—Johnnie’s Restaurant—on the street level. Offering a “100 percent nonsmoking environment,” the hotel also features honeymoon and balcony suites, and complimentary use of local gym In Motion Fitness for guests.

2ND PLACE: Oxford Suites

2035 Business Lane, 899-9090

3RD PLACE: Holiday Inn

685 Manzanita Court, 345-2491


1ST PLACE: Kirk’s Jewelry

246 W. Third St., 891-0880

Kirk’s Jewelry wins as Best Jeweler once again. That’s because it is much more than just a jewelry store—it’s where family heirlooms can be redesigned into modern pieces and where diamond rings are often created from scratch. Owner/jeweler Kirk Bengston has been at his craft for nearly 40 years and it obviously makes a difference in the quality of his store’s offerings.

Chico Computer Clinic

2ND PLACE: Olde Gold Estate Jewelry

225 Main St., 891-4610

3RD PLACE: Gabrielle Ferrar

214 Main St., 487-1336

Local computer store

1ST PLACE: Chico Computer Clinic

1304 Mangrove Ave., 636-1337

Let’s face it—for most of us, a day without our computer is like a day being lost in the desert. That’s why, when it comes to getting our laptops and desktops repaired, Chicoans trust Chico Computer Clinic. After just a year and a half in business, Chico Computer Clinic—and owner Kyle Silliman—has certainly made a name for itself. The locally owned shop specializes in quick-turnaround repairs and upgrades, but also offers competitive prices on refurbished computers as well as fix-it options for gaming systems.

2ND PLACE: Super Mike’s Computer Services

12 Trieste Way, 570-8488

3RD PLACE: PCI Computer Services

225 Main St., 891-4152

Place to buy music gear

1ST PLACE: The Music Connection

973 East Ave., Ste. V, 898-0110

Once again, Sally MacMillan’s Music Connection store (which she runs with the help of her musician husband, Bruce, and young daughters, Mary and Juliet) is the blue-ribbon winner for Best Place to Buy Music Gear. No surprise here, since it offers a great selection of musical instruments and other musical necessities, as well as music lessons taught by some of Chico’s best musicians.

2ND PLACE: Herreid Music

824 Oroville Ave., 894-7777

3RD PLACE: Sounds by Dave

1256 Esplanade, 891-5800

The Music Connection

Place for a mani/pedi

1ST PLACE: Tammy’s Nails

1354 East Ave., 899-8912

Tammy’s Nails (in the Safeway shopping center on East Avenue) once again wins as the best place in town to get a manicure or a pedicure. Tammy’s boasts a relaxing and affordable experience, featuring fancy massage chairs, and a welcoming and knowledgeable staff that can do just about anything you desire for your nails.

2ND PLACE: US Nails & Spa

726 Mangrove Ave., 345-2520

3RD PLACE: Queen Nail Salon & Spa

801 East Ave., Ste. 112, 893-8900


1ST PLACE: Magnolia Gift & Garden

1367 East Ave., 894-5410

Magnolia Gift & Garden wins for Best Nursery again. No wonder, since the natural beauty of the nursery mixed with the business’ artsy elements serve to create a sort of suburban garden paradise. Owners Courtney Paulson and Chris Hunter and their staff are as well-versed in plants and seeds (including heirloom varieties) as they are in the sculptures and water features they sell. Magnolia also offers a nice selection of garden pottery and fairy-garden supplies.

2ND PLACE: The Plant Barn & Gift Shop

406 Entler Ave., 345-3121

3RD PLACE: Little Red Hen Nursery

189 E. Eighth St., 891-9100

Place to buy outdoor gear

1ST PLACE: Mountain Sports

176 E. Third St., 345-5011

Mountain Sports is the place to go for top-notch clothing and other gear for hiking, camping, rock-climbing, etc. It’s no surprise it came in first in this category again this year. Truly a downtown gem, Mountain Sports boasts a friendly and knowledgeable staff, plenty of maps and useful books, and a nice selection of good-looking clothes for going out to eat a well-earned dinner after you’ve spent a day hiking or biking the trails of Upper Bidwell Park.

2ND PLACE: Chico Sports LTD

698 Mangrove Ave., 894-1110

3RD PLACE: North Rim Adventure Sports

178 E. Second St., 345-2453

Place to buy home furnishings

1ST PLACE: Nantucket Home

603 Broadway, 895-1038

One could spend hours inside of Nantucket Home, a local family business in Chico’s SOPO neighborhood, started in 1975 by owners Rick and Nan Tofanelli. Nantucket offers a full interior-design studio and is always well-stocked with a wide selection of fine furniture, from oversized down-filled sofas and unique bedroom sets to snuggly throws, candle holders and other upscale home accessories. Visit Nantucket Home and you’ll understand why Chicoans voted it as No. 1 in this category again this year!

2ND PLACE: Finds Design & Decor

1341 Mangrove Ave., 892-1905

3RD PLACE: The Address

240 Main St., 898-9000

Local pet store

1ST PLACE: TrailBlazer Pet Supply

752 Mangrove Ave., 892-1848

Chicoans love their pets, plain and simple. So it’s only natural that they frequent locally owned pet stores for all their puppy- and kitty-pampering needs. TrailBlazer Pet Supply offers just about everything a good pet owner needs, from organic dog foods, to leashes and jackets, to toys and treats. What sets TrailBlazer apart from the rest is its excellent customer service (especially by pup-in-residence Izzy), a local calendar of animal-related events and great grooming for all Chico’s furry friends.

2ND PLACE: Northern Star Mills

510 Esplanade, 342-7661

3RD PLACE: All Cats & Dogs

232 Main St., 894-0364

Shoe store

1ST PLACE: Heel and Sole Shoes

708 Mangrove Ave., 899-0725

Jam-packed from floor to ceiling with practically every brand of shoes (and boots and sandals) you can think of, Heel and Sole Shoes continues to be the go-to shop for Chicoans to buy footwear. Heel and Sole also has a great selection of cool socks. This longtime shop’s attentive employees help shoppers find what they’re looking for and get them checked out fast and easy!

2ND PLACE: Johnson’s Shoes

1950 E. 20th St. (Chico Mall), 342-2310, and 801 East Ave. (North Valley Plaza Shopping Center), 343-8923

3RD PLACE: Urban Sole

228 Main St., 809-1553

Place for shoe repair

1ST PLACE: Preston’s Shoe Repair

161 E. Third St., 345-0103

Preston’s Shoe Repair rocks the No. 1 spot in this category again this year. Named for owner and resident cobbler Preston Powers, this longtime Chico business caters to anyone who needs a polish, a patch or a new sole on an otherwise perfectly good pair of shoes. The super-friendly, ponytailed Powers charges reasonable prices for his top-quality work, and his sense of humor ensures no customer walks away without a smile. Plus, Powers—who is also a blues DJ at local community radio station KZFR 90.1 FM—always has great music playing in his welcoming shop.

2ND PLACE: J & M Boots & Repairs

2021 N. Lindo Ave., 342-3238

3RD PLACE: Instant Shoe Repair

2055 Forest Ave., Ste. 1, 342-7463

Sporting goods

1ST PLACE: Chico Sports LTD

698 Mangrove Ave., 894-1110

This huge, locally owned store, in business in Chico for more than a quarter century, keeps customers coming back for not only its large selection of bikes, shoes, sleeping bags, clothing and other outdoor gear, but also its knowledgeable, friendly staff. Chances are that Sports LTD has what you’re looking for when it comes to sports and the outdoors. No wonder it got voted Best Sporting Goods Store again this year.

2ND PLACE: Big 5 Sporting Goods

1717 Mangrove Ave., 891-1545

3RD PLACE: Mountain Sports

176 E. Third St., 345-5011

Tanning salon

1ST PLACE: California Sun

706 Mangrove Ave., 674-7600

Part of living in California begs us to strut our sun-splashed stuff, regardless of how much actual sun our bodies are exposed to. Thanks to tanning salons, we don’t have to worry about pasty-white legs or accidentally rocking a farmer’s tan. Chicoans have chosen California Sun as their top tanning salon for just that reason: They know they will walk out the doors feeling positively radiant. If you’re not up for the beds, the salon offers expert spray-tanning in addition to a wide array of beauty products.

2ND PLACE: Tropical Zone Exotic Tanning

1354 East Ave., Ste. L, 893-3300

3RD PLACE: Tropi-Tana Sun Tanning Salon

1722 Mangrove Ave., 894-5030

Victory Tattoo

Tattoo parlor

1ST PLACE: Victory Tattoo

1818 Mangrove Ave., 896-1818

With four highly skilled resident tattoo artists—owner Derek Parsons, “2Buck” Chuck Byfield, Kipper Thomas and Max Scott—Victory Tattoo once again takes the top prize for Best Tattoo Parlor. This premier tattoo shop has a commitment to sterility and vegan-friendly inks, making it an obvious choice when it comes to where to go to get your next tat.

2ND PLACE: Eye of Jade

319 Main St., Ste. 200, 343-5233

3RD PLACE: Red Room Tattoo

231 Nord Ave., 342-1287

Thrift store

1ST PLACE: ARC Thrift Store

2020 Park Ave., 343-3666

The ARC Thrift Store wins as Best Thrift Store again this year! Besides the fact that its proceeds go to benefit children and adults with developmental disabilities, the ARC has a great selection of top-notch used stuff—clothes, furniture, jewelry, kitchen goods, etc. One can spend hours perusing the shelves of this popular shop.

2ND PLACE: Elite Repeat (Salvation Army)

700 Broadway, 342-2195

3RD PLACE: Thrifty Bargain

2432 Esplanade, 894-3995

Liquor store

1ST PLACE: Mangrove Bottle Shop

1350 Mangrove Ave., 342-7575

Conveniently located, with a great selection of wines, imported and craft beers, and other spirits, Mangrove Bottle Shop was voted Best Liquor Store by CN&R readers again this year. The store’s clerks are helpful, prices are competitive, parking is convenient—and dogs are welcome, even if they aren’t leading a thirsty blind person!

2ND PLACE: Spike’s Bottle Shop

1270 E. First Ave., 893-8410

3RD PLACE: Star Liquors

959 Nord Ave., 891-4842

Vintage/second-hand threads

1ST PLACE: Three Sixty Ecotique

511 Main St., 342-8752

Again this year, Three Sixty Ecotique is Chico’s favorite place to buy vintage clothes. This downtown boutique also sells shoes, as well as cool stuff—like earrings, bags and dresses—by local designers. The sales clerks are friendly and your goods get bundled together like a present with a bow in eco-friendly strips of used clothing—check it out!

2ND PLACE: Bootleg

126 W. Second St., 895-1426

3RD PLACE: Pepper Grand Coulee’s Funky Trunk

1112 Mangrove Ave., 894-8065

Food & Drinks

Local restaurant—Chico

1ST PLACE: 5th Street Steakhouse

345 W. Fifth St., 891-6328

Voted Best Local Restaurant in Chico again this year, 5th Street Steakhouse is best known for its juicy steaks, ranging from the six-ounce filet mignon to the 22-ounce Delmonico rib-eye. But it also features other delicious offerings, such as hazelnut-crusted halibut and fettuccini Alfredo, as well as a “Whole Body Fit” nutritionally designed two-course dinner. There’s a full bar, too, in this upscale restaurant that has Chicoans coming back for more, especially when choosing where to dine for special occasions.

2ND PLACE: Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Taproom & Restaurant

1075 E. 20th St., 345-2739

3RD PLACE: Leon Bistro

817 Main St., 899-1105

Local restaurant—On the Ridge

1ST PLACE: Black Bear Diner

5791 Clark Road, 877-0877

Ridge dwellers know their diners. So when they choose Black Bear Diner as the Ridge’s best overall restaurant (again!), you know it’s gotta be good. The food is consistently good, the service is friendly and the ambiance is just right for anything from a family get-together to a down-home dinner date. Black Bear offers a yummy array of comfort food, from barbecue pork ribs and bacon-stuffed chicken, to pecan-crusted trout and fish and chips, to delicious cakes, cobblers and pies.

2ND PLACE: Smokie Mountain Steak House & Lounge

7039 Skyway, 872-3323

3RD PLACE: Meehos Mexican Restaurant

6808 Skyway, 877-7031

Local restaurant—Oroville

1ST PLACE: Tong Fong Low

2051 Robinson St., 533-1488

Tong Fong Low, which celebrated its centennial last year, takes the top prize in this category again this year. Diners rave about the restaurant’s chop suey (the restaurant, incidentally, was originally called Charlie’s Chop Suey), as well as its yummy Cantonese items and spicy Szechuan dishes. It was Tong Fong Low’s success in Oroville, in fact, that led it to open up a second location, in Chico, which is also very popular, as its win for Best Asian Cuisine this year attests to.

2ND PLACE: The Steak House (at Gold Country Casino)

4020 Olive Highway, 538-4560

3RD PLACE: Feather Falls Casino Brewing Co.

3 Alverda Drive, 533-3885

Roots Restaurant

New restaurant (opened in the last year)

1ST PLACE: Roots Restaurant

3221 Esplanade, 891-4500

If you’re hungry for breakfast or lunch and haven’t tried Roots Restaurant, you are missing out. For months, Chicoans have been raving about the internationally inspired menu with local twists, setting the foodie world abuzz. Run out of the Roots Catering banquet space on The Esplanade by the Gomez family—including executive chef David—the restaurant is dedicated not only to flavorful dishes but also to supporting other local businesses.

2ND PLACE: The Kitchen Table

1250 East Ave., Ste. 30, 592-3480

3RD PLACE: Tannins Wine Bar & Bistro

234 W. Third St., 636-4468

Cheap eats

1ST PLACE: La Comida

954 Mangrove Ave., 345-2254

La Comida, which has served its signature huge portions of fresh Mexican fast food since 1968, leads the pack once again this year. The roomy place is most often packed (though the efficient bus crew always seems to clear a table just when you need it) with diners of all ages chatting it up with one another as they chow down at this local mainstay.

2ND PLACE: La Cocina Economica

905 Wall St., 809-0370

3RD PLACE: Sol Mexican Grill

3269 Esplanade, 342-4616

Fine dining

1ST PLACE: 5th Street Steakhouse

345 W. Fifth St., 891-6328

2ND PLACE: Crush

201 Broadway, 342-7000

3RD PLACE: Leon Bistro

817 Main St., 899-1105


1ST PLACE: Upper Crust Bakery & Eatery

130 Main St., 895-3866

Once again, the Upper Crust has garnered the top spot for Best Bakery. Its much-loved sandwiches, salads, soups and black-bean chili, as well as its cookies, pastries and wedding cakes are widely appreciated for their deliciousness (and, in the case of wedding and other cakes, their beauty as well). This venue’s packed outdoor and indoor seating on a Saturday morning or during a weekday lunch hour attest to its popularity.

2ND PLACE: Tin Roof Bakery & Café

627 Broadway, 345-1362

3RD PLACE: Lovely Layers Cakery

131 Meyers St., Ste. 120, 828-9931


1ST PLACE: Sin of Cortez

2290 Esplanade, 879-9200

No surprise that Sin of Cortez won for Best Breakfast again this year, since its selection of specialty omelets, fruit-filled pancakes, seasoned potatoes and excellent coffee easily separates this popular eatery from the rest of the pack. Plus, the staff is always fast and friendly. Late-risers, don’t worry: Breakfast is served until 2 p.m.

2ND PLACE: Morning Thunder Café

352 Vallombrosa Ave., 342-9717

3RD PLACE: Mom’s

209 Salem St., 893-3447


CSA (Community-supported agriculture)


3197 W. Sacramento Ave., 680-4853,

Since relocating from the GRUB Cooperative on Dayton Road to its new location on West Sacramento Avenue late last year, GRUB CSA Farm hasn’t missed a beat. It is still producing some of the most beautiful, tasty and healthful local produce around, as CN&R readers obviously know, hence this First Place win in this inaugural category.

2ND PLACE: Comanche Creek Farms

240 Speedway Ave., 894-7775,

3RD PLACE: Pyramid Farms

12242 Meridian Road, 899-7586,

T. Tea Bar and Fusion Café


1ST PLACE: T. Tea Bar and Fusion Café

250 Vallombrosa Ave., 895-8100

When it comes to lunching, Chicoans prefer to do it with a festive wrap or salad and a refreshing beverage. T. Tea Bar and Fusion Café fits that bill—dare we say it?—to a “T.” The menu of fusion fare, customizable according to the protein, sauce and presentation of your choice, makes it easy to please everyone. Plus, you can create your own tea—do you like yours frozen, perhaps, or even sparkling? We’re not sure it gets any better than that.

2ND PLACE: Broadway Heights

300 Broadway (upstairs), 899-8075

3RD PLACE: Pluto’s

201 Main St., 343-0165

Spot to satisfy your sweet tooth

1ST PLACE: Shubert’s Ice Cream & Candy

178 E. Seventh St., 342-7163

Local landmark Shubert’s has been serving up yummy ice cream and candy at the same location for 75 years now. The ice cream and most of the sweets are made on site, and the staff still uses one of founder and namesake Leonard Shubert’s five-gallon ice-cream-making machines. And the shop is still owned and operated by Shubert’s descendants. How much more local and delicious can you get?

2ND PLACE: Powell’s Sweet Shoppe

121 W. Third St., 332-9866

3RD PLACE: Jon & Bon’s Yogurt Shoppe

300 Broadway, 899-9580, and 1722 Mangrove Ave., 899-0484

The Naked Lounge Tea & Coffeehouse

Local coffeehouse

1ST PLACE: The Naked Lounge Tea & Coffeehouse

118 W. Second St., 895-0676

Downtown Chico has a charm all its own, and it owes a huge chunk of that charm to the diverse businesses that line its streets and attract a wide array of locals. The Naked Lounge is no exception. Step inside the Second Street hotspot and you’ll know why it’s Chico’s favorite coffeehouse—the aroma of coffee beans, the sounds of laughter and lively conversations, and the comfort of your home sofa. Oh, and the baristas are no joke, either—the coffees and teas are always just as good as the ambiance.

2ND PLACE: Bidwell Perk

664 E. First Ave., 899-1500

3RD PLACE: Dutch Bros. Coffee

Various locations

Place for tea

1ST PLACE: T. Tea Bar and Fusion Café

250 Vallombrosa Ave., 895-8100

2ND PLACE: The Naked Lounge Tea & Coffeehouse

118 W. Second St., 895-0676

3RD PLACE: Bidwell Perk

664 E. First Ave., 899-1500

Food server

1ST PLACE: Tommy Bradford (Grana)

198 E. Second St., 809-2304

Getting good food is key to a satisfying meal, but so is good service. In Chico it’s tough to beat the finesse—and the charm—that Tommy Bradford brings to the table. Bradford always knows the menu inside and out, so he’s quick to answer questions and make suggestions. He goes out of his way to see that his customers—who regularly ask to be seated in his section—have a great dining experience.

2ND PLACE: Jason Shabba (Pete’s Restaurant & Brewhouse)

2495 Carmichael Drive, 891-0611

3RD PLACE: Nick Allen (Sicilian Café)

1020 Main St., 345-2233

Asian cuisine

1ST PLACE: Tong Fong Low

2072 E. 20th St., Ste. 100, 898-1388

2ND PLACE: Happy Garden

180 Cohasset Road, 893-2574

3RD PLACE: Cocodine Thai Cuisine

2485 Notre Dame Blvd., 891-1800

International cuisine

1ST PLACE: Priya Indian Cuisine

2574 Esplanade, 899-1055

Both vegetarians and meat-lovers love Priya Indian Cuisine’s diverse menu, with items such as fall-off-the-bone tandoori chicken and comforting eggplant curry. No wonder it got voted as having the Best International Cuisine again this year. Order a thali dinner to get a sense of the range of scrumptiousness offered by Priya—it comes with one main feature, six small sides, naan bread, and a choice of three delicious desserts. The lunch buffet is another option for maximum deliciousness; it is served every day from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

2ND PLACE: Cocodine Thai Cuisine

2485 Notre Dame Blvd., 891-1800

3RD PLACE: Gogi’s Café

230 Salem St., 891-3570

Italian cuisine

1ST PLACE: Italian Cottage

2234 Esplanade, 343-7000, and 2525 Dominic Drive, 342-7771

With its comforting atmosphere (sawdust-covered floors, red-and-white-checkered tablecloths!) and vast array of Italian classics, from pizza and sandwiches to its famous “Valley lasagna,” it’s no wonder Italian Cottage is a repeat winner in the Best Italian Cuisine category. Perfect for families as well as for a casual-but-intimate date (Italian Cottage’s booths are excellent for a cozy little tête-à-tête).

2ND PLACE: Sicilian Café

1020 Main St., 345-2233

3RD PLACE: Franky’s

506 Ivy St., 898-9948

Mexican cuisine

1ST PLACE: Casa Ramos

216 W. East Ave., 894-0119, and 2490 Park Ave., 893-5050

Once again, Casa Ramos wins First Prize for Best Mexican Cuisine. This small family-owned chain offers a wonderful array of Mexican dishes at two Chico locations. If you’re particularly hungry, build a combination plate with two of your favorites—enchiladas, tacos, chile relleno, and so on—and rice and beans, or try one of the specialty dishes like the seafood molcajete (a stew of shrimp, scallops and whitefish). Yum!

2ND PLACE: La Hacienda

2635 Esplanade, 893-8270

3RD PLACE: Tres Hombres Long Bar & Grill

100 Broadway, 342-0425

Wild Oak Café

Place for vegetarian food

1ST PLACE: Wild Oak Café

196 Cohasset Road, 343-4876

As a vegetarian in Chico, there are plenty of options when it comes to eating out. But few compare with Wild Oak Café and its impressive salad bar including greens, veggies, nuts, fruit and even seeds. The restaurant, located in the former Grilla Bites, serves up fresh, raw juices, a variety of tofu and other veg-friendly sandwiches and a delicious vegetarian meatloaf. What’s even better is there is a large selection of vegan, gluten-free and organic options on the menu, including a few for your meat-eating friends.

2ND PLACE: T. Tea Bar & Fusion Café

250 Vallombrosa Ave., 895-8100

3RD PLACE: Aonami Sustainable Sushi

1008 W. Sacramento Ave., 924-3168


1ST PLACE: The Rawbar

346 Broadway, 897-0626

The Rawbar tops the Best Sushi list once again this year. No surprise, since the eatery offers a fabulous menu of sushi and other Japanese dishes, as well as a wide range of sakes. The restaurant’s industrial-chic atmosphere adds to the venue’s charm. Open seven days a week, this downtown establishment offers a Happy Hour Monday-Friday, from 3-5 p.m. (try one of the signature saketinis!).

2ND PLACE: Japanese Blossoms

2995 Esplanade, 891-9022

3RD PLACE: Big Tuna Sushi Bistro

1722 Mangrove Ave., 345-4571


1ST PLACE: Cozy Diner

1695 Mangrove Ave., 895-1195

Locals love Cozy Diner, the always-busy Mangrove Avenue mainstay, where breakfast is served all day long. Chicken and chicken-fried steak, burgers (and prime-rib burgers!), fish and chips, pies, sundaes—you get it: diner food galore! Also, senior-citizen and kids’ menus. Check it out!

2ND PLACE: Jack’s Family Restaurant

540 Main St., 343-8383

3RD PLACE: Morning Thunder

352 Vallombrosa Ave., 342-9717

The Hunter & The Farmer

Street food

1ST PLACE: The Hunter & The Farmer

Various locations

Since hitting the street in January, The Hunter and The Farmer’s Paleo-diet-friendly menu—with offerings emphasizing quality meat and vegetables—has been a clear hit. Owners Analise Farmer and Jenna Hunter, both former Chico State soccer coaches, were immediately overwhelmed by customer response (Hunter had to quit her part-time job at Leon Bistro to meet demand), and lines typically stretch around the block wherever they park their truck.

2ND PLACE: Mayhem Gourmet Grilled Cheese

Various locations

3RD PLACE: Gordo Burrito No. 2

Nash’s 7th Avenue Omelette House

Eighth and Pine streets

Champagne brunch

1ST PLACE: Nash’s 7th Avenue Omelette House

1717 Esplanade, 896-1147

Tucked away in the Avenues, Nash’s offers a full breakfast menu, including a dozen different omelets, and an attentive staff that strives to keep your glass of bubbly from running dry. As CN&R staff writer Ken Smith wrote in a recent article in our Savor dining-and-nightlife guide, on the joys of having champagne brunch at Nash’s, “No matter which side of the bed you tend to rise from—the wrong or the right—there are few things guaranteed to put a rosy perspective on a new day like kicking it off with a champagne brunch.” Cheers!

2ND PLACE: Johnnie’s Restaurant (inside Hotel Diamond)

220 W. Fourth St., 895-1515

3RD PLACE: Café Coda

265 Humboldt Ave., 566-9476

Small bites (apps/tapas)

1ST PLACE: Wine Time

26 Lost Dutchman Drive, 899-9250

This eatery housed in one of John Bidwell’s old pig barns is certainly making a name for itself. Wine Time’s “Quick Bites” menu offers a delectable array of tapas, from its “Not Garlic Bread,” featuring pork belly, gorgonzola, queso fresco and thyme butter on Tin Roof Bakery sourdough, to lamb meatballs with almonds and pine nuts in tomato sauce. And each bite can be matched with a wine, making this north Chico establishment equally suitable for a group of friends looking for a fun time or a romantic date for two.

2ND PLACE: Christian Michaels Ristorante

192 E. Third St., 894-4005

3RD PLACE: Grana

198 E. Second St., 809-2304


1ST PLACE: Burger Hut

3211 Cohasset Road, 342-4555, and 2451 Forest Ave., 891-1430

Chicoans obviously agree that there’s something special about getting handed a freshly grilled Burger Hut burger—made from 100 percent fresh-ground USDA grade-A beef—straight from the cooks and then adding all the fixings at the “Fresh Fixin’s Bar,” where you’ll find two types of pickles (dill and bread-and-butter), jalapeños and special sauce, as well as the regular toppings: lettuce, onion and tomatoes. Burger Hut’s fries are awesome as well, and come in huge portions. Veggie burgers available, too!

2ND PLACE: Nobby’s

1444 Park Ave., 342-2285

3RD PLACE: Burgers & Brew

201 Broadway, 879-9100

Hot dog

1ST PLACE: The Dog House

1008 W. Sacramento Ave., 894-3641, and 1354 East Ave., 894-2242

The Dog House’s hot dogs are yummy and definitely not your average run-of-the-mill dog. Its locations at East and Nord avenues crank out a number of varieties of serious hot-dog deliciousness (and burgers, too), with the East Avenue restaurant offering inside dining as well. You can also get some Dog House goodness at the One-Mile Recreation Area’s concession stand from May to September.

2ND PLACE: Zot’s Hot Dogs & Deli

225 Main St., 345-2820

3RD PLACE: Costco

2100 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway, 342-6494


1ST PLACE: Celestino’s Live from New York Pizza & Deli

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

Pizza from Celestino’s rocks, no doubt about it! This quintessential New York-style pizzeria makes a pizza for every taste, from those in love with lots of meat to those craving pizza-pie deliciousness with veggies only (Olive Special—yum!!). The pizzeria is best known for its thin-crust pies, but also serves up meatball sandwiches, calzones, salads, pasta and specials (visit to see what’s available). Cannoli for dessert, of course!

2ND PLACE: Woodstock’s Pizza

166 E. Second St., 893-1500

3RD PLACE: Farm Star Pizza

2359 Esplanade, 343-2056


1ST PLACE: Spiteri’s Deli

971 East Ave., 891-4797

Tucked away at the rear of an East Avenue strip mall, Spiteri’s Deli is a sandwich lover’s dream, offering delicious masterpieces made from a wide selection of quality meats, cheeses, fresh vegetables and breads. Spiteri’s also offers a variety of yummy specialty salads and traditional deli-counter favorites like meatloaf and bagel dogs, as well as a wide selection of bottled beers, with a few on tap as well. Worth seeking out, as readers obviously know.

2ND PLACE: Broadway Heights California Cuisine

300 Broadway, 899-8075

3RD PLACE: Great Harvest Bread Co.

Various locations

Ice Cream

1ST PLACE: Shubert’s Ice Cream & Candy

178 E. Seventh St., 342-7163

2ND PLACE: Jon & Bon’s Yogurt Shoppe

Various locations

3RD PLACE: La Flor de Michoacan Paleteria y Neveria

1080 W. Sacramento Ave., 893-9999

Bacio Catering & Carry Out


1ST PLACE: Bacio Catering & Carry Out

1903 Park Ave., 345-7787

Bacio Catering & Carry Out has proven itself as one of Chico’s top picks for catering. This year, however, it also sets itself above the rest for Best Take-out. It’s no wonder why—the food is consistently delicious, whether it’s at a wedding or ready to take home for your family (or dine-in, in the little on-premises dining area). Bacio makes a mean Thanksgiving dinner and can also help you create the perfect romantic night in. As an added bonus, Amanda Leveroni’s company prides itself on using fresh, healthful, local ingredients.

2ND PLACE: Tong Fong Low

2072 E. 20th, Ste. 100, 898-1388

3RD PLACE: Happy Garden Restaurant

180 Cohasset Road, 893-2574


1ST PLACE: Aca Taco

133 Broadway, 894-0191, and 1000 W. Sacramento Ave., 343-0909

From its breakfast burritos to its long list of lunch/dinner burritos, including a “Vegetarian Aca,” Aca Taco is a longtime Chico favorite when it comes to burritos. The portions are generous, and service is fast and friendly. It’s a popular lunch spot for downtown employees as well as high schoolers and college students who munch out at both the downtown and West Sacramento Avenue locations.

2ND PLACE: Gordo Burrito

1295 E. Eighth St., 809-1211

3RD PLACE: Sol Mexican Grill

3269 Esplanade, 342-4616

Date-night dining

1ST PLACE: Crush

201 Broadway, 342-7000

Super-popular Crush wins it for Best Date-night Dining. Head upstairs to eat at this swanky downtown nightspot and you’ll easily see why. Its warm interior—with candlelit tables and a smoothly attractive, Architectural Digest-worthy waterfall—as well as its festive outdoor patio overlooking downtown Chico, dial in the ambiance to a tee. And, of course, Crush’s menu—which boasts Italian classics like chicken parmigiana, linguini and clams, and brick-oven pizzas—provides just about everything you need, when teamed up with a glass of fine wine (or a cocktail or two), to make for a deliriously romantic date night.

2ND PLACE: 5th Street Steakhouse

345 W. Fifth St., 891-6328

3RD PLACE: Christian Michaels Ristorante

192 E. Third St., 894-4005

Drunk munchies

1ST PLACE: The Banshee

134 W. Second St., 895-9670

Uh, you’re tipsy after a long night of partying downtown (but you still have hours to go before you hit the sack), and now you’re starving—The Banshee is the no-brainer choice for another brew or cocktail and a plate of pub grub that satisfies the hunger starting to gnaw at your insides. Chow down on a house-ground-beef burger that you design yourself from a list of mouthwatering ingredients and “modifications,” including bleu cheese, a fried-cheddar “skirt,” grilled onions, peanut butter, pulled pork, fried egg, bacon and avocado. Other menu items include homemade-chorizo-and-goat-cheese quesadillas, Philly cheesesteak sandwiches, macaroni and cheese with ham or bacon, house-smoked chicken wings, Baja-style fried-cod tacos and French fries with garlic.

2ND PLACE: Aca Taco

133 Broadway, 894-0191, and 1000 W. Sacramento Ave., 343-0909

3RD PLACE: Franky’s

506 Ivy St., 898-9947

LaRocca Vineyards

Local winery

1ST PLACE: LaRocca Vineyards

12360 Doe Mill Road, Forest Ranch, (800) 808-9463

It’s been a busy year for Forest Ranch’s LaRocca Vineyards, and if the Best of Chico results are any indication, all the LaRocca family’s hard work has paid off. With a new tasting room at 222 W. Second St. in downtown Chico, locals and visitors alike have easy access to the winery’s top-notch, totally organic, sulfite-free flavors. Varieties range from chardonnays to cabernets and even include a sparkling wine (the country’s first to be certified organic and sulfite-free!). Salud!

2ND PLACE: Bertagna Son Kissed Vineyards

3363 Hegan Lane, 343-8014

3RD PLACE: Gale Vineyards

9345 Stanford Lane (Durham), 891-1264


1ST PLACE: Ann Leon (Leon Bistro)

817 Main St., 899-1105

Ann Leon’s impressive résumé begins at San Francisco’s California Culinary Academy, and includes stops at the world-renown Chez Panisse in Berkeley and up the hill from there at the Claremont Hotel as its head restaurant chef, so it’s no surprise that Leon has been chosen Best Chef in Chico once again. Plus, her fresh, contemporary California Cuisine is awesome and she also offers regular themed classes on everything from the basics of Indian cuisine to the Paleo diet.

2ND PLACE: James Taylor (Sicilian Café)

1020 Main St., 345-2233

3RD PLACE: Rebecca Stewart (Spice Creek Café)

230 W. Third St., 891-9951


1ST PLACE: Bacio Catering & Carry Out

1903 Park Ave., 345-7787

2ND PLACE: Roots Catering

3221 Esplanade, 891-4500

3RD PLACE: Three Girls and a Kitchen

Duffy’s Tavern, 636-0156

Nightlife & the Arts


1ST PLACE: Duffy’s Tavern

337 Main St., 343-7718

If there’s any place in Chico that can attract newcomers and old-timers, politicians and pot heads, hipsters and suits, squeaky cleans and tattooed freaks, it’s Duffy’s Tavern. That’s why locals have hailed the Main Street mainstay Chico’s Best Bar. Duffy’s had been dethroned as a first-place finisher for a few years, but now the bar is back on top.

2ND PLACE: The Banshee

134 W. Second St., 895-9670

3RD PLACE: Madison Bear Garden

316 W. Second St., 891-1639

Bar—On the Ridge

1ST PLACE: Canteena

6067 Skyway, 877-5215

Apparently, there is but one place worthy of being No. 1 in the Best Bar on the Ridge category, as CN&R readers have shown us again this year: Canteena. Watch pro football and baseball on widescreen TVs, drink ice-cold beer and munch on yummy pub grub, and get down to karaoke, DJ dancing and live cover bands. Canteena’s sign is notable, incidentally, for its double-e and big cactus “t.” Head up the hill and check it out!

2ND PLACE (tie): King’s Tavern

5771 Clark Road, 877-7100

2ND PLACE (tie): Barney O’Rourke’s

740 Elliott Road, 877-9973

2ND PLACE (tie): Lynn’s Optimo

9225 Skyway, 872-1788


1ST PLACE: Spirits Lounge (at Gold Country Casino)

4020 Olive Highway, 538-4560

Like we told you last year when it won as Best Bar in Oroville, Spirits is probably your best bet if you wanna bust out singing “I Got Friends in Low Places” with a rockin’ cover band on a Friday night. In addition to wide-screen TVs for sports fans, daily drink specials (including Microbrew Mondays, with $2 pints), there is always a packed slate of free DJ, comedy and live-music entertainment.

2ND PLACE: Feather Falls Casino Brewing Co.

3 Alverda Drive, 533-8944

3RD PLACE: Western Pacific Brewing

2191 High St., 534-9101

Watering hole for townies

1ST PLACE: The Handle Bar

2070 E. 20th St., Ste. 160, 894-2337

A beer bar in Chico? Seems like a no-brainer, so it’s no wonder The Handle Bar, which specializes in specialty and craft beers, has won the Best Watering Hole award. Stop in for a pint of something delicious—if you’re no beer aficionado, ask one of the extremely knowledgeable staff members to recommend something!—or try a few for yourself by ordering a “flight.” Also on tap is a decent-sized menu of bar foods to munch on while getting your drink on.

2ND PLACE: Duffy’s Tavern

337 Main St., 343-7718

3RD PLACE: The Banshee

134 W. Second St., 895-9670

Sports bar

The Handle Bar

1ST PLACE: Bella’s Sports Pub

134 Broadway, 893-5253

The three keys to a great sports bar are: big-screen TVs on which to catch the big game, beer (preferably cheap) and hunger-quenching pub grub. Bella’s packs all those into a small package. In the mood for wings and a Pale Ale while

you watch the Giants game? Chances are you’re headed downtown to join your friends at Bella’s, where the food is as good as the beer is cold.

2ND PLACE: The Graduate

344 W. Eighth St., 343-2790

3RD PLACE: The End Zone

250 Cohasset Road, 345-7330

Place to dance

1ST PLACE: LaSalles

229 Broadway, 893-1891

Years ago, LaSalles was a sedate fern bar, a hangout for lawyers and professors. But it has been party central in downtown Chico for quite some time now, and it’s not just college kids bustin’ the moves. Happy-hour Thursdays feature live bands on the outdoor patio, where a wide range of Chico dancers and twirlers get down to classic rock cover bands, local jam bands and so on in the early evening. When the LaSalles party gets crackin’ at night—both inside and outside—the scene shifts with DJs, and also some live acts, depending on the night.

2ND PLACE: Crazy Horse Saloon

303 Main St., 894-5408

3RD PLACE: Duffy’s Tavern

337 Main St., 343-7718

Drink with a view

1ST PLACE: Crush

201 Broadway, 342-7000

2ND PLACE: Scotty’s Landing

12609 River Road, 893-2020

3RD PLACE: Tres Hombres Long Bar & Grill

100 Broadway, 342-0425

Venue for live tunes

1ST PLACE: Sierra Nevada Big Room

1075 E. 20th St., 345-2739

This 350-seat concert venue inside the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., with its elegant mahogany tables and brass railings, is a class act. It regularly sells out because of the quality of the nationally known bands that play there, its great acoustics and the excellent sightlines from anywhere in the house. The Big Room stage and its top-notch offerings have been featured in many a live TV concert and DVD. All ages are welcome, with dinners sold before each show. And, of course, there’s Sierra Nevada’s world-famous beer, plus an array of wines and nonalcoholic drinks.

2ND PLACE: Café Coda

265 Humboldt Ave., 566-9476

3RD PLACE: LaSalles

229 Broadway, 893-1891


1ST PLACE: Evan Billman (Christian Michaels)

192 E. Third St., 894-4005

Once again, the undeniably witty and courteous mixologist Evan Billman, head bartender at Christian Michaels Ristorante downtown, was voted Chico’s Best Mixologist. Plunk yourself down at the classy Christian Michaels bar and say hi to him!

2ND PLACE: Brent Walton (Crazy Horse Saloon)

Evan Billman at Christian Michaels

303 Main St., 894-5408

3RD PLACE: Wendy Reid (Studio Inn Lounge)

2582 Esplanade, 343-0662

Local music act

1ST PLACE: Mossy Creek

Yet again, Chicoans chose this local bluegrass outfit as Best Local Music Act. In addition to winning Best of Chico honors, the band has previously picked up several CAMMIES awards. Congrats, y’all!

2ND PLACE: Kyle Williams


Local visual artist

1ST PLACE: Janet Lombardi Blixt

Read why voters also chose this art teacher as favorite Instructor/Professor on page 38.

2ND PLACE (tie): Lee Wright

2ND PLACE (tie): Sea Monster (Christine Fulton)

Place to see art

1ST PLACE: 1078 Gallery

820 Broadway, 343-1973

Art in Chico comes in many forms—visual, aural, 3-D. So when it comes to seeing art in this town, it should come as no surprise that this year the winner is 1078 Gallery, which prides itself on presenting a diverse lineup of shows, from both local and visiting artists. The nonprofit art space on Broadway consistently offers top-notch art-viewing and live concerts, earning it the top spot on this year’s Best of Chico list.

2ND PLACE: Avenue 9 Gallery

180 E. Ninth Ave., 879-1821

3RD PLACE: Chico Paper Co.

345 Broadway, 891-0900

Place to buy art

1ST PLACE: Chico Paper Co.

345 Broadway, 891-0900

Chico Paper Co. carries the work of some of Chico’s finest artists, from acclaimed printmaker Jake Early and sculptor Matt Auvinen to photographers Geoff Fricker and Jon-Michael Basile and painters Cynthia Schildhauer and Claudia Steel, as well as bonsai from shop co-owner Greg Strong. Chico Paper also offers custom framing and an amazing selection of handmade papers from around the world, as well as an excellent selection of greeting cards and locally made jewelry.

2ND PLACE: Art Etc.

122 W. Third St., 895-1161

3RD PLACE: Avenue 9 Gallery

180 E. Ninth Ave., 879-1821

Theater company

1ST PLACE: Blue Room Theatre

139 W. First St., 895-3749

Yet again, the little black-box theater above Collier Hardware comes in first in this category. The Blue Room has been a mainstay in Chico’s community-theater scene for most of its almost-20-year existence. From its Butcher Shop backyard-theater roots to its current slate of mainstage productions and its children’s theater program, this theater company has a lot to offer.

2ND PLACE: Chico Theater Co.

166 W. Eaton Road, 894-3282

3RD PLACE: California Regional Theater

3851 Morrow Lane, (800) 722-4522


Happy hour

1ST PLACE: Crush

201 Broadway, 342-7000

2ND PLACE: Christian Michaels Ristorante

192 E. Third St., 894-4005

3RD PLACE: Tres Hombres Long Bar & Grill

100 Broadway, 342-0425

Place to drink a glass of wine

1ST PLACE: Monks Wine Lounge & Bistro

128 W. Second St., 343-3408

Monks offers a full menu of fine-dining favorites and wine-friendly tapas items (bacon-wrapped dates, dolmas, polenta, and more) to go along with its impressive selection of fine wines, including many affordable selections.

2ND PLACE: Tannins Wine Bar & Bistro

234 W. Third St., 636-4468

3RD PLACE: Crush

201 Broadway, 342-7000


1ST PLACE: Tres Hombres Long Bar & Grill

100 Broadway, 342-0425

Tres Hombres’ bar serves more than 120 varieties of tequila, and can whip up traditional margaritas or an array of fruity concoctions (strawberry, raspberry, peach, melon, mango, banana and passion fruit) in two sizes or by the pitcher. “Tres,” as patrons like to call it, also has other exotic drinks and a full menu of Mexican fare.

2ND PLACE: La Hacienda

2635 Esplanade, 893-8270

3RD PLACE: Casa Ramos

216 W. East Ave., 894-0119; and 2490 Park Ave., 893-5050


1ST PLACE: Crush

201 Broadway, 342-7000

2ND PLACE: Christian Michaels Ristorante

192 E. Third St., 894-4005

3RD PLACE: 5th Street Steakhouse

345 W. Fifth St., 891-6328

Bloody Mary

1ST PLACE: Duffy’s Tavern

337 Main St., 343-7718

2ND PLACE: Joe’s Bar

749 W. Fifth St., 894-3612

3RD PLACE: Nash’s Restaurant

1717 Esplanade, 896-1147

Karaoke night

1ST PLACE: Madison Bear Garden

316 W. Second St., 891-1639

What could be better than getting a big, juicy Bear burger, downing a pint or two for courage, and then heading out to the patio stage to belt it out like Lady Gaga or Kid Rock? It’s a pretty sure bet that more than a few guys and gals have gotten lucky thanks to their Bear-E-oke. Huzzah!

2ND PLACE: The Maltese Bar & Tap Room

1600 Park Ave., 343-4915

3RD PLACE: LaSalles

229 Broadway, 893-1891


1ST PLACE: Gold Country Casino & Hotel

4020 Olive Highway, Oroville; 538-4560

In addition to offering live music by national acts to enjoy while you work the tables and slots, Gold Country is home to one of Oroville’s most popular bars, the Spirits Lounge. It also boasts a multi-tiered steakhouse with a panoramic view of the northern Sacramento Valley, as well as an 87-room hotel for those wishing to get some rest after a fierce night of gaming and entertainment.

2ND PLACE: Feather Falls Casino

3 Alverda Drive, Oroville; 533-3885

3RD PLACE: Rolling Hills Casino

2655 Everett Freeman Way, Corning; 528-3500

Health/ Wellness

The Pinwheel Community Acupuncture Project

Acupuncture clinic

1ST PLACE: The Pinwheel Community Acupuncture Project

740 Flume St., 345-5566

Considering the many community-acupuncture clinics in Chico, notions of “community” and providing affordable health care are obviously things that resonate with Chicoans. And The Pinwheel Community Acupuncture Project near downtown Chico, which offers acupuncture treatments and herbal medicine in a group setting—as well as sliding-scale payment—is now Chico’s favorite place for treating everything from headaches and stress, to cold and flu symptoms and allergies.

2ND PLACE: Chico Community Acupuncture

1057 Village Lane, 345-5300

3RD PLACE: Regina Dagorret

13 Williamsburg Lane, 345-3382

Local health-care provider

1ST PLACE: Mission Ranch Primary Care

114 Mission Ranch Blvd., 894-0500

When it comes to taking care of their bodies, whether it be for a routine checkup or to diagnose a problem, Chicoans know they can trust the doctors and nurses at Mission Ranch Primary Care to do it right. What sets the practice apart—aside from the array of Jake Early prints on the walls—is the dedication to being on time for appointments and always providing the best-quality care.

2ND PLACE: Argyll Medical Group

100 Independence Circle, 899-0295

3RD PLACE: Chico Immediate Care Medical Center

376 Vallombrosa Ave., 891-1676

Alternative health-care provider

1ST PLACE: Chico Community Acupuncture

1057 Village Lane, 345-5300

Chico Community Acupuncture, part of the People’s Organization of Community Acupuncture cooperative, opened in Chico in 2010, when it took the town by storm thanks to its friendly, healing environment and sliding-scale services. The clinic also practices traditional Chinese medicine, offering herbal remedies for common ailments.

Dr. Patrick Tedford

2ND PLACE: Robyn Barlow (Chico Naturopathic Medicine)

4 Williamsburg Lane, Ste. D, 332-9355

3RD PLACE: Adam Moes (Acupuncture and Herbs)

689 E. 18th St., 828-2589


1ST PLACE: Dr. Patrick Tedford

643 W. East Ave., 342-0502

Over his decades of caring for kids, Dr. Patrick Tedford has developed a reputation for being extremely patient and a good listener. Parents value those traits and his focus on customer service. Tedford, a graduate of Notre Dame Medical School, has been practicing in Chico for 36 years, according to his staff. Amazingly, this beloved local doctor is seeing a third generation of patients. Rumors of his retirement are just that—rumors. In fact, he is accepting new patients.

2ND PLACE: Dr. John Asarian

10 Governors Lane, 343-8522

3RD PLACE : Dr. Robert Stanley

1427 Magnolia Ave., 896-1446

General practitioner

1ST PLACE: Dr. Herbert Lim

114 Mission Ranch Blvd., 894-0500

Chicoans trust Dr. Herbert Lim—that’s why they have chosen him Best General Practitioner once again this year. He has been lauded for his timeliness, his bedside manner and his ability to explain medical conditions. His practice is part of Mission Ranch Primary Care, whose office came in No. 1 this year for Best Local Health-care Provider.

2ND PLACE: Dr. Corky Rey

114 Mission Ranch Blvd., 894-0500

3RD PLACE (tie): Stuart Mishelof (PA)

100 Independence Circle, 899-0295

3RD PLACE (tie): Dr. Ross Nayduch

114 Mission Ranch Blvd., 894-0500


1ST PLACE: Fragoso Chiropractic Sports and Family Wellness Center

2062 Talbert Drive, 891-9010

John Fragoso’s chiropractic outfit rocks the Best Chiropractor category again this year! Fragoso treats patients of all ages, specializing in athletes and ironman performance care (and he “continues to participate in sports such as olympic and power-lifting, grappling, and functional conditioning,” as it says at the Fragoso Chiropractic website). Customers with various types of injuries count on the knowing practitioner to provide them the relief and healing they are looking for.

2ND PLACE: Karen Escott

389 Connors Court, 345-4204

3RD PLACE: Jesse Smith (Spine Chiropractic)

1166 Esplanade, Ste. 2, 809-2695

Massage therapist

1ST PLACE: Babette Maiss

13 Williamsburg Lane, 321-5668

What can we say? Babette Maiss must have magical hands—why else would she be chosen once again as Best Massage Therapist? She’s got lots of satisfied and faithful customers, and she keeps getting more through word of mouth. Maiss works with athletes, giving deep-tissue sports massages, and also specializes in prenatal massage. She offers lymphatic massage for post-cancer patients as well.

2ND PLACE: Ashley Stevens (Balance Massage)

1376 Longfellow Way, 519-6388

3RD PLACE: Lindsey Pernell

1279 E. First Ave., Ste. B, 520-7075

Eye-care specialist

1ST PLACE: Chico Eye Center

605 W. East Ave., 895-1727

Founded in 1978, Chico Eye Center is a force to be reckoned with as far as eye care goes, as readers have once again picked it as Best Eye-care Specialist. A large, highly trained staff offers routine eye exams, prescribes glasses and contacts, diagnoses diseases of the eye, prescribes needed medications, and performs eye surgery (including LASIK) when needed. Botox and Juvederm cosmetic services are offered as well.

2ND PLACE: Family Eye Care

2565 Ceanothus Ave., Ste. 155, 899-3939

3RD PLACE (tie): Dr. Jerry Laskey

680 Rio Lindo Ave., 343-5541

3RD PLACE (tie): Dr. Douglas Myers

119 Yellowstone Drive, 891-1146

Dental care

1ST PLACE: Nelsen Family Dentistry

1307 Esplanade, Ste. 4, 898-8511

Along with Dr. Thomas Farris, doctors John and Melissa Nelsen provide dental care for all ages at this dental office that has once again been chosen by CN&R readers as Best Dental Care. From routine cleanings to root canals and dental implants, to tooth whitening, Nelsen Family Dentistry offers a wide array of services in a friendly, caring atmosphere.

2ND PLACE: Kremer Dental Care

3 Glenbrook Court, 892-1234

3RD PLACE: Dr. William Moon

227 W. Sixth St., 342-3525

Evers Veterinary Clinic

Pet doctor

1ST PLACE: Evers Veterinary Clinic

1150 El Monte Ave., 343-0713

Evers Veterinary Clinic, which finished third in this category last year, receives glowing reviews on its Facebook page including, “Like a second family,” “Wonderful place to take your pet!” and, of course, “The best in town!” Now there is documented proof that Evers is the place to take your pooch or kitty to treat illnesses or wounds, or just to help maintain good health. The clinic holds a pet-of-the-month contest as well as fundraisers to help the Butte Humane Society.

2ND PLACE: Valley Oak Veterinary Center

2480 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway, 342-7387

3RD PLACE: Chico Animal Hospital

3015 Esplanade, 342-0518


1ST PLACE: In Motion Fitness

1293 E. First Ave., 343-5678

You’ll find pretty much all you could ever want in a workout facility at In Motion Fitness: treadmills, elliptical machines, free weights and resistance machines, pools, a basketball gym and a yoga studio. Also, there are numerous fitness classes, from spinning and interval training to pilates and Zumba, and personal trainers are there to help you meet your fitness goal. Oh, and there’s childcare for the little ones. How much more wonderful could it get? No wonder “In Mo” was chosen Best Gym once again this year!

2ND PLACE: Chico Sports Club

260 Cohasset Road, 345-9427

3RD PLACE: NorCal Strength & Conditioning

629 Entler Ave., Ste. 17, 605-2766

Place to take a dip

1ST PLACE: Sycamore Pool at One-Mile

Lower Bidwell Park

What other town has such a large and inviting pool in such a beautiful environment as the One-Mile Recreation Area in Bidwell Park? This summer hotspot—complete with an on-site snack bar—is the perfect place to relax, people-watch and take a dip in the creek. This Chico landmark is a perennial local favorite.

2ND PLACE: In Motion Fitness

1293 E. First Ave., 343-5678

3RD PLACE: Bear Hole

Upper Bidwell Park

Place for kids to play

1ST PLACE: Caper Acres

Good old Caper Acres once again gets first prize for Best Place for Kids to Play. The beloved fenced-in playground offers swings, slides, tunnels, a fort-like play structure and a soft, spongy central area full of things kids love to climb on, including the impressive mosaic sea serpent made by local artist Robin Indar. Due to city budget issues, though, Caper Acres’ hours may vary, so call the city’s General Services department at 896-7800 for days and hours.

2ND PLACE (tie): Bidwell Park

2ND PLACE (tie): DeGarmo Park

Yoga studio

1ST PLACE: In Motion Fitness

1293 E. First Ave., 343-5678

2ND PLACE: Chico Sports Club

260 Cohasset Road, 345-9427

3RD PLACE: Bikram Yoga Chico

1140 Mangrove Ave., Ste. B, 342-YOGA (9642)

Martial arts studio

1ST PLACE: Haley’s Martial Arts Center

260 Cohasset Road, 895-3114

Haley’s Martial Arts Center wins again for Best Martial Arts Studio in Chico. In an effort to stay up-to-date on the techniques of Shorin Ryu karate—the specialty of Haley’s—Kyoshi Pat Haley travels to Japan at least once a year to train with instructor Shugoro Nakazato. Members of the public are invited to observe or participate as guests in classes at Haley’s, which occur throughout the day and evening, as well as on weekends.

2ND PLACE: Azad’s Martial Arts Family Center

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

3RD PLACE: Morning Sun Martial Arts

135 W. Eighth Ave., Ste. A, 342-5833


Architectural treasure

1ST PLACE: Bidwell Mansion

525 Esplanade, 895-6144

Chicoans love the home built by Chico founder John Bidwell—that’s why it tops the Best Architectural Treasure list again this year. Bidwell and his wife, Annie, lived in this lovely home from 1868 until 1900, when he died (and Annie stayed on until she passed away in 1918). The full name of the property on which the mansion sits is Bidwell Mansion State Historic Park, and it’s a park worth visiting, not just for a tour of the beautiful, fascinating mansion, but also to roam the well-kept grounds and poke around in the park’s gift shop/visitor center.

2ND PLACE: Senator Theatre

517 Main St., 891-1809

3RD PLACE: El Rey Theatre

230 W. Second St., 892-1838

Local do-gooder

Farshad Azad

1ST PLACE: Farshad Azad

Once again, Farshad Azad has been chosen Best Local Do-gooder. Besides being the face of Azad’s Martial Arts Family Center, where he teaches everything from beginning karate to cardio kickboxing to self-defense, Azad has become known over the years for donating his time and skill to many local nonprofits, including the Sunshine Connection, the Chico State Advisory Board and its Public Safety Commission. Perhaps his most visible local philanthropic effort has been the Basket Brigade, an event he founded more than two decades ago to provide Thanksgiving meals for needy Chico families. We applaud Mr. Azad for all of the fine philanthropic work he does!

2ND PLACE: Laurie Maloney, localphilanthropist

3RD PLACE: Bill Such, Jesus Center executive director

Place to spend your last buck

1ST PLACE: The Dollar Tree

801 East Ave., 345-5763, and 2485 Notre Dame Blvd., 343-9898

And why wouldn’t The Dollar Tree be chosen Best Place to Spend Your Last Buck again this year? You’ve got a dollar, you go to The Dollar Tree—it’s a no-brainer. You can buy practically anything there for a dollar, from food to baby clothes to dishware to paper products, and a zillion other things. Plus, it’s a great place for teachers to find inexpensive school and craft supplies, as well as a wonderful place for party supplies and wrapping paper. Go, Dollar Tree!

2ND PLACE: Duffy’s Tavern

337 Main St., 343-7718

3RD PLACE: Saturday Chico Certified Farmers’ Market

Second and Wall streets


1ST PLACE: Janet Lombardi Blixt (Chico Art School)

It’s no secret that Chicoans, who seem to naturally gravitate toward art, love Janet Lombardi Blixt (she took first place this year for Local Visual Artist). But they love her for more than just her plein-air art and depictions of local landmarks. She’s also the owner and instructor at Chico Art School, where she teaches aspiring (and accomplished!) artists of all ages. Students describe Blixt as an encouraging mentor. And to have someone who actively practices what she teaches—well, it’s no wonder she’s been named the best!

2ND PLACE (tie): Kim Jaxon (Chico State, English)

2ND PLACE (tie): Amy Lance (Chico State, communication arts and sciences)

2ND PLACE (tie): Jodi Rives Meier (Butte College, communication)

Teacher (K-12)

1ST PLACE: Liz Albright (Little Chico Creek Elementary School)

Liz Albright, who teaches first grade at Little Chico Creek Elementary School, is our readers’ choice this year for best teacher in the K-12 category. To teach little ones, one must be kind, enthusiastic and—above all—have that special something when it comes to communicating with and imparting knowledge to this tender age. We salute Albright for her wonderful dedication and are pleased that she has been recognized for her abilities.

2ND PLACE: Jennifer Rossovich (Hooker Oak Elementary School)

3RD PLACE: Rachel Love (Academy for Change)

Local website

1ST PLACE: home-improvement company’s win is easy to understand. For one thing, with a name like that, the site is pretty easy to locate. Just ask one of the more than 5 million satisfied customers from across the country who’ve commented. The homepage offers links for bathroom and kitchen supplies as well as for lighting, fans, hardware, appliances, heating and cooling, tools, outdoor needs and flooring. The site is easy to navigate and fast.

2ND PLACE: Lulu’s Fashion Lounge

3RD PLACE: Chico News & Review

Youth organization

1ST PLACE: Boys & Girls Club of Chico

601 Wall St., 899-0335

The ever-popular Boys & Girls Club of Chico was founded in 1993, providing youth ages 6 to 18 a positive, encouraging environment in which to participate in after-school programs. The club’s Ostrander Clubhouse is open to first- through sixth-graders, and “The Club” is designed for those in junior high and high school. Fees for both are $10 per year. Both clubs offer daily drop-in services as well as activities and programs in the arts; character and leadership development; education and career development; health and life skills; and sports, fitness and recreation.

2ND PLACE: Sixth Street Center for Youth

130 W. Sixth St., 894-8008

3RD PLACE: Chico Area Recreation and Park District, 895-4711

Place to pray

1ST PLACE: Bidwell Park

Whether it’s just sitting on a bench next to Sycamore Pool at the One-Mile Recreation Area with eyes closed or hiking all the way to the back of Upper Bidwell Park to commune in solitude with nature, Bidwell Park offers so many possible spots for prayer and reflection. It’s no wonder it was chosen as readers’ favorite Place to Pray.

2ND PLACE: Bidwell Presbyterian Church

208 W. First St., 343-1484

3RD PLACE: Chico New Thought Center for Spiritual Living

14 Hillary Lane, 895-8395

Place to volunteer

1ST PLACE: Butte Humane Society

2579 Fair St., 343-7917

Butte Humane Society shelters and cares for temporarily displaced animal friends—and relies heavily on volunteers to help out. The shelter also provides low-cost spay and neuter services, a major key to helping solve the cat-and-dog overpopulation problem. The goodness that Butte Humane provides makes it no surprise that it was chosen again this year as Best Place to Volunteer.

2ND PLACE: Jesus Center

1297 Park Ave., 345-2640

3RD PLACE: Enloe Medical Center

1531 Esplanade, 332-7300

Butte Humane Society

Charitable cause

1ST PLACE: Butte Humane Society

2579 Fair St., 343-7917

2ND PLACE: Jesus Center

1297 Park Ave., 345-2640

3RD PLACE (tie): The Arc of Butte County

2030 Park Ave., 891-5865

3RD PLACE (tie): Little Red Hen

Various locations

Community event

1ST PLACE: Taste of Chico (DCBA)

Taste of Chico is a yearly one-day celebration of local food, art and music. This year’s 28th annual event, produced as always by the Downtown Chico Business Association, was held on Sept. 8, attracting hundreds of people to the closed-off streets of downtown Chico for a taste of local wares while being entertained by live music. More than 150 vendors, restaurants, musicians, artists and exhibitors participated in this year’s signature-Chico event!

2ND PLACE: Bidwell Bark (Butte Humane Society fundraiser)

3RD PLACE: Thursday Night Market (DCBA)

Customer service

1ST PLACE: Chico Computer Clinic

1304 Mangrove Ave., 636-1337

2ND PLACE: Grocery Outlet

2157 Pillsbury Road, 345-2666


Rob Blair

Local personality

1ST PLACE: Rob Blair

Former KHSL/KNVN anchor/weatherman

Despite the fact that local TV stations KHSL and KNVN gave him the boot earlier this year and that he now lives in Southern California, Rob Blair—a Living Legend in this category—has been voted by CN&R readers as Best Local Personality again this year. Chicoans obviously remain attached to the likeable Blair, who also won Butte Humane Society’s “Humane-atarian of the year” award last year.

2ND PLACE: Megan McMann

KHSL/KNVN anchor

3RD PLACE: Linda Watkins-Bennett

KHSL/KNVN anchor

Place for eavesdropping

1ST PLACE: The Naked Lounge Tea & Coffeehouse

118 W. Second St., 895-0676

2ND PLACE: Duffy’s Tavern

337 Main St., 343-7718

3RD PLACE: Downtown Chico

Place to tie the knot

1ST PLACE: Bidwell Park

Our glorious Bidwell Park wins for Best Place to Tie the Knot. No surprise there, since it offers so many lovely areas to hold a wedding: in countless spots in the One-Mile Recreation Area and the Five-Mile Recreation Area that offer natural beauty as well groomed picnic areas with barbecues and restrooms. There are also equally countless places to get married in Upper Park, for those wanting a somewhat more rugged and picturesque natural environment in which to conduct that special event (pics are great, too, in this part of the park!).

2ND PLACE: The Palms

2947 Nord Ave., 894-8000

3RD PLACE: White Ranch

214 Hagenridge Road, 342-6530

Place to see and be seen

1ST PLACE: Saturday Chico Certified Farmers’ Market

Rain or shine, Chicoans turn out for the Saturday downtown farmers’ market year-round for the mind-boggling variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, local meats and cheeses, locally produced food and drink, handmade jewelry and cards, etc., available. And for countless Chicoans, “the market” is also the best place to catch up with friends and the friendly vendors who work there. It’s become the equivalent of the town square of old—and a Chico institution that few would want to do without.

2ND PLACE: Thursday Night Market (DCBA)

3RD PLACE: Crush

201 Broadway, 342-7000

Farmers’ market vendor

Chico Chai

1ST PLACE: Chico Chai

The Chico Certified Farmers’ Market, arguably Chicoans’ most beloved institution, is chock-full of vendors each week representing a wide array of specialties, from organic produce to grass-fed beef to candles and other homemade goodies. So when locals choose Chico Chai as their favorite vendor, you know it must be good. Stop by the busy booth for a glass of hand-mixed, organic, spiced blend or buy your own to mix at home. Delish!

2ND PLACE: Sweet Cottage

3RD PLACE: Rico’s Tamales

Place to spend your birthday

1ST PLACE: Bidwell Park

Many readers obviously like to spend their birthdays outdoors, as we can see by the results for Best Place to Spend Your Birthday. And Bidwell Park is the obvious choice for those folks. How lucky we are to have such a fabulous (2,500-acre!) treasure in our midst!

2ND PLACE: Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Taproom & Restaurant

1075 E. 20th St., 345-2739

3RD PLACE (tie): 5th Street Steakhouse

345 W. Fifth St., 891-6328

3RD PLACE (tie): Tres Hombres Long Bar & Grill

100 Broadway, 342-0425