Carts, crepes and cavatappi

Food-cart couple open a brick-and-mortar, Crepeville comes to downtown, and then there's pasta

During my freshman year at Chico State I had a history class in a portable classroom near the corner of Second and Ivy streets. Though I generally was a good student, I'm at a loss to remember anything about the course now. I have no idea what period of time we covered or for that matter whether it was American or European history. In fact, the only recollection I have remotely associated with that class is passing by the Crazy Dog hot dog cart on the way to lectures.

Though I didn't know his name at the time, John Geiger would greet me twice a week with a huge smile, a vibrant welcome congruous with the rainbow umbrella hat and Hawaiian shirt that was his standard uniform. Sometimes Geiger's wife, Ethel, would join him, and I remember stopping by at one point during that semester for a hot dog and a Dad's Root Beer and finding a proud exclamation that the Geigers were going to be parents.

It's been more than a decade since that time, and over the years the Geiger family business has expanded beyond hot dogs. The Crazy Dog cart is still around, but John also spearheads the Fork in the Road events and oversees Street Food, Chico—a Facebook group with the haps on local fare.

Ethel, whose nickname is Inday, opened Inday's Filipino Food cart a few years back, and on Saturday, July 25, she will officially open a brick-and-mortar restaurant at 1043 W. Eighth St.

The food cart will stay in operation and the restaurant is unlike anything I've ever heard of. It will be open only on Saturday evenings for what the Geigers are calling Kaymayn Saturday Nights. The tables will be set with banana leaves and will be absent of any utensils or plates; patrons will eat dishes like shrimp lumpia and boneless pork ribs with their hands.

I've never been an adventurous eater (hence the frequent trips to the hot dog cart), but this is one experience that sounds too intriguing to miss. Keep in mind reservations will be required (call 520-2593) and a minimum of four people must be in your party.

Speaking of new eateries, Crepeville is (really) coming to downtown Chico. The restaurant was originally slated to open in the same building that houses Burgers and Brew, as the eateries have the same owners, but when the burger joint recently reopened at its new location at Third and Broadway, there were no crepes on the menu. Manager Nick Land said the owners were exploring a standalone location just for crepes, and now a home appears to be found—a banner announcing Crepeville's impending arrival is hanging from the Grand View Building at 240 Main St.

Also, national chain Noodles & Co. will open next to the planned Panera Bread at the Chico Mall, in a new building under construction where Marie Callender's used to stand. The menu is, as its names implies, a carb lover's dream, featuring pastas, as well as salads and sandwiches.