Best on the Ridge

Readers’ choice awards

Debbie’s Restaurant

Debbie’s Restaurant

Photo By Alan Sheckter


1ST PLACE: Canteena
6067 Skyway; 877-5215

In business since 2003, Canteena is unabashedly a sports bar. The walls are plastered with sports memorabilia, and 10 televisions spaced evenly throughout the barroom make for easy game-watching no matter where you sit. A sports grill tucked into a back corner offers plenty of sensibly priced munchies, such as chicken wings, tacos, nachos, burgers and Philly cheese-steak sandwiches. Soup of the day with two tortillas is only $2.99. Well drinks on “Tuesday Boozeday” are $2.50.

2ND PLACE: King’s Tavern
5771 Clark Road; 877-7100

3RD PLACE: Smokie Mountain Steak & Smoke House (tie)
7039 Skyway; 872-3323

3RD PLACE: Barney O’Rourke’s (tie)
6007 Clark Road; 877-9973


1ST PLACE: Sophia’s Thai Cuisine
7641 Skyway; 877-4296

Much more 21st-century chic than Manny’s Chili Bowl, which used to occupy this little spot, Sophia’s Thai Cuisine is a great alternative to the overabundance of Mexican restaurants and kitschy diners that dominate the Ridge. Not only does Sophia’s serve 91 menu choices of Thai food, it’s high quality, authentic and reasonably priced. Choose from stand-bys like SaTay Chicken with peanut sauce or challenge your pallet with Larp, Nam Tok Neaur or Gaeng Massaman.

2ND PLACE: Casa de Paradiso
5667 Clark Road; 877-4107

3RD PLACE: Black Bear Diner
5791 Clark Road; 877-0877

Place for Breakfast

1ST PLACE: Debbie’s Restaurant
7967 Skyway; 872-5078

While restaurants go out of business with uncommon frequency in Paradise, Debbie’s Restaurant, open 7 a.m.-2 p.m. daily, is comfortably entrenched in the town’s culture. Whether you want to talk to local gadflies about politics or the latest wildfires, or just chow down on a pastrami sandwich or old-fashioned blueberry pancakes, the quality is what keeps locals lining up, especially on weekends. Dan Presson runs the 20-year-old eatery, and although she no longer is involved with the restaurant, former Paradise Town Councilwoman and current Chico City Clerk Debbie Presson is its namesake.

2ND PLACE: Black Bear Diner
5791 Clark Road; 877-0877

3RD PLACE: Comeback Diner
6053 Clark Road; 877-9466

Place for Lunch

1ST PLACE: Juice & Java
7067 Skyway; 872-9633

Housed in a rustic wooden building with ample seating both inside and outside on the wraparound deck, Juice & Java bustles at lunchtime with patrons eagerly gobbling up such delights as He-Man sandwiches (Black Forest ham, provolone, pepperoncini, red onion, lettuce, tomato, mayo and Dijon on a homemade French roll), broccoli-and-cheddar-stuffed baked potatoes, and chicken Caesar salads. Enjoy teas, fresh juices and coffee from beans roasted on the premises. Try the popular Swinging Monkey smoothie—strawberries, banana, pineapple, coconut, and vanilla ice cream. (Lunch served: Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m.)

2ND PLACE: Meehos
6808 Skyway; 877-7031

3RD PLACE: Izzy’s Burger Spa
460 Pearson Road; 872-1266

Sophia’s Thai Cuisine

Photo By Alan Sheckter

Place for Dinner

1ST PLACE: Sophia’s Thai Cuisine
7641 Skyway; 877-4296

2ND PLACE: Casa de Paradiso
5667 Clark Road; 877-4107

3RD PLACE: Smokie Mountain Steak & Smoke House
7039 Skyway; 872-3323

Place for Coffee

1ST PLACE: Coffee’s On
6344 Skyway; 877-7578
6653 Clark; 877-9578 A prominent sign behind the register at this coffee shop’s Skyway location confidently reads: “Best coffee around.” Coffee’s On offers an outdoor patio and a cozy sipping and chatting area inside, painted a dramatic burgundy, in which to enjoy a cup of coffee or an espresso drink, an Italian soda, or a fruit freeze. Muffins, pastries and breakfast quiches also available. Plenty of parking, but use the drive-thru if you’re in a hurry.

2ND PLACE: Juice & Java
7067 Skyway; 872-9633

3RD PLACE: Colonial Coffee & Tea Co.
5923 Clark Road; 877-6949

Place for Dessert

1ST PLACE: Baskin-Robbins
6616 Clark Road; 872-0310

Despite the fact that several restaurants and coffee shops on the Ridge make their own scrumptious desserts, voters went with the old stand-by, Baskin Robbins. Ah, well, what’s not to love? Entering Baskin-Robbins is a ritualistic experience, and once across the threshold, scrumptious treasures await. In addition to those crazy ice cream flavors, like Creole Cream Cheese, Cherries Jubilee and Apple Pie a la Mode, the place is also famous for its occasion cakes and Cappuccino Blasts. But beware; on $1-scoop Tuesdays (soon to rise to $1.50), the parking lot sometimes resembles a football stadium tailgate party.

2ND PLACE: Darlene’s Fine Chocolates & Ice Cream Parlor
6014 Clark Road; 872-8434

3RD PLACE: Foster Freeze
646 Pearson Road; 877-3180

Clothing/Shoe Store

1ST PLACE: City Shoes
6268 Skyway; 877-4969

Whether it’s brand-new skate shoes or a new pair of heels you desire, City Shoes promises the best selection, quality and price in Paradise. And the locals agree! Located in the downtown area of Paradise, along the Skyway, City Shoes is locally owned and boasts a wide array of brand-name footwear.

2ND PLACE: Trailhead Adventures
6265 Skyway; 877-6876

3RD PLACE: Buttons & Bows
6200 Clark Road; 877-8151

Gift Store

1ST PLACE: Fir Street Gallery
6256 Skyway; 872-8889

Pam Funk is one of Paradise’s biggest cheerleaders when it comes to the town’s downtown revitalization efforts. Her stores, Fir Street Gallery and the adjoining Creative Glass Carvings, add quite a bit of class to the ‘hood. The Gallery is a classy and bountiful place to pick up specialty gifts, original art, jewelry, fragrance candles and gourmet food items, while one little corner of the store hosts wine tastings on Fridays and Saturdays. Funk’s Creative Glass Carvings offers custom art-glass supplies and stained glass classes.

2ND PLACE: Winding Vine (Mendon’s)
5424 Foster Road; 872-3341

770 Birch St.; 876-8170

Auto Repair Shop

1ST PLACE: Clark’s Auto Service (tie)
1236 Bille Road; 872-3281

1ST PLACE: Skyway Auto Tune (tie)
758 Fir St.; 872-8863

Part of the charm of the Paradise Ridge is its independent small businesses and so far, giant chain retailers have not yet infiltrated. Out of the dozens of owner-operated automotive repair shops that dot the foothills, two are tops with CN&R readers. Clark’s, the namesake of its owner, not of Clark Road, which is adjacent to the three-bay shop, specializes in foreign cars. But automotive magicians Clark White and Dan Hanes can take care of whatever ails your domestic vehicle as well. Over at Skyway Auto Tune, a three-bay shop and official Smog-check station that’s back under the ownership of Bill Dickey after a two-year break, their motto is, “We do it right the first time.”

3RD PLACE: Ken’s Automotive Service
5335 Skyway; 872-4446

Antique Store

1ST PLACE: Jeannie’s
8670 Skyway; 877-6650

Open daily and packed to the gills with housewares, furniture, tools and assorted curios, bric-a-brac and knickknacks of yesteryear, Jeannie’s has been a place to buy and sell nostalgic treasures for 20 years. Current manager Carol Stark presides over the business, spread out over two expansive buildings that are connected by a generous spread of Western gear and tack. Evidenced by its hundreds of consignment customers, Jeannie’s is also a swell place to sell one’s antiques.

2ND PLACE: Attic Treasures
7409 Skyway; 876-1541

3RD PLACE: Skyway Antique Mall
6118 Skyway; 877-6503

Place to Pray/Meditate

1ST PLACE: Bille Park
501 Bille Road

Why limit oneself to praying on Sunday morning in an enclosed sanctuary? Situated in a forested area of town, Bille Park boasts a kids’ playground, barbecue grills, a sizeable meadow, a little redwood grove and a recently added gazebo and kitchen area. But walk a couple of hundred paces to the north or west of the parking lot and you’ll truly find yourself in God’s country, with awesome overlook views of Butte Creek Canyon.

2ND PLACE: Paradise Alliance Church
6491 Clark Road; 877-7069

3RD PLACE: St. Thomas More Catholic Church
767 Elliot Road; 877-4501

Place to Work Out

1ST PLACE: Beyond Fitness
7224 Skyway; 877-7500

Conveniently located on the Skyway, Beyond Fitness’ spacious facility offers weight-training, swimming, yoga, Pilates, spin, karate, kickboxing and tai chi classes. The health club also has two year-round outdoor pools, and a coed weight area featuring the latest equipment, plus treadmills, Stairmasters, stationary bikes and a climbing wall. Beyond Fitness employs 10 knowledgeable instructors and personal trainers, some of whom specialize in the exercise needs of the senior population. On the other end of the age spectrum, kids can have fun in the Imagination Station while their parents (or grandparents) work out.

2ND PLACE: Fit One Athletic Club
6854 Pentz Road; 872-2582

3RD PLACE: Bille Park
501 Bille Road

Health-care Provider

1ST PLACE: Deborah Touchette
5500 Clark Road; 872-5500

Deborah Touchette, owner of the Paradise Hearing and Balance Center, is known nationally and loved locally. One of the only audiologists in the region, Touchette offers help for those with hearing loss. An authority on the balance centers of the inner ear, Touchette has lectured around the country and co-authored two books on the subject.

2ND PLACE: Feather River Hospital
5974 Pentz Road; 877-9361

3RD PLACE: Immediate Care Medical Center
5875 Clark Road; 877-2351


1ST PLACE: Mendon’s
5424 Foster Road; 877-7341

A trip to Mendon’s Nursery is like visiting lush botanical gardens. More than just a nursery, Mendon’s, which boasts the Winding Vines gift shop, a knowledgeable staff and five acres of perennials, annuals, house plants, fruit trees, statuaries and more, is one of those places that locals tell visitors is a must see. Mendon’s also carries interesting big-budget items like a $55,000 Sago Palm; and 34 years after opening the business, 78-year-old Jerry Mendon still comes to work every day.

2ND PLACE: Paradise Garden Center
5557 Clark Road; 877-5678

3RD PLACE: Reid’s Pet & Garden Supply
480 Pearson; 877-4563

Salon/Day Spa

1ST PLACE: Main Event
5848 Skyway; 877-2939

Bubbly new owner/stylist Teresa Munjar took over the cozy Main Event in June of this year after working at the business for more than 15 years. This busy hair and nail (mani- and pedi-) salon boasts six talented hair stylists. One of them—Crystal, who specializes in hair coloring—was recently acquired from the prestigious Prima spa in Redding. Fume-free gel nails available. Open Monday-Saturday, with “varied hours into the late night,” Main Event takes both appointments and walk-ins.

2ND PLACE: Dream Makers (tie)
5420 Clark Road; 872-4247

2ND PLACE: Shearlings (tie)
5913 Clark Road; 872-5070

Local Charitable Cause

1ST PLACE: Paradise Rotary

Those who join the Rotary are generally people who care about their community. In Paradise, it’s no different. With an event going on seemingly almost every day, members have been extremely active. Since community service is a major part of the organization, it should come as no surprise that the Paradise Rotary not only gives of time but money. In the last fiscal year alone, the group donated $51,000 to various causes. Interesting side note: The organization’s president, John Touchette, is married to another Best on the Ridge winner: Deborah Touchette of the Paradise Hearing and Balance Center.

2ND PLACE: TOPCats on the Ridge

3RD PLACE: Paradise Community Foundation

Youth Organization

1ST PLACE: Boys & Girls Club of Paradise Ridge
6241 Skyway; 872-3662 It may feel as though the Boys & Girls Club of Paradise Ridge has been around forever, but in reality, it started just a decade ago—with four members. Now the organization is 1,000 strong. The club gives kids and teens a safe, fun place to relax after school, make friends and do homework. Plus, the Teen Center offers theme nights with games and activities. Definitely a worthy cause to get behind.

2ND PLACE: Youth for Change

3RD PLACE: Paradise Junior Football

Public Servant

1ST PLACE: Chuck Rough, Paradise town manager

Even on slow weeks Paradise Town Manager Chuck Rough keeps busier than a Johnny Appleseed Days pie-maker, managing and administering the town’s day-to-day government operations. But when all hell broke loose mid-June and for the next six weeks, Rough dutifully wore his Director of Emergency Services hat. Rough, who arrived on the job from Ukiah in 1996, spent many sleepless nights monitoring the wildfires that threatened Paradise from all directions, acting as a liaison between heroic fire crews, concerned community members and the media, as the whole country watched.

2ND PLACE: Alan White, town councilman

3RD PLACE: Robin Huffman, town councilwoman

Community Volunteer

1ST PLACE: Alice Smith

No one has more civic pride than town of Paradise matriarch Alice Smith. A few months shy of her 100th birthday, Smith is still out there serving her community in a huge way. A fixture at Town Council meetings (even though her days as mayor have long passed), the no-nonsense Smith serves as vice chair of the town’s Redevelopment Advisory Committee, volunteers at Paradise Performing Arts Center, is a docent at Gold Nugget Museum and is active at her church. A co-founder of the Paradise Ridge Senior Center, Smith was named Humanitarian of the Year by the Paradise Boys & Girls Club in 2006.

2ND PLACE: Gwen Nordgren (tie) Bill Hartley (tie) Sherry Swim (tie)