Coffee talk

What’s happening with Peet’s, Cal Java, Blackbird and 15th Street Cafe?

It’s funny how sometimes a whole lot seems to happen in one particular segment of the community all at once. Right now, that appears to be the case with coffee shops in Chico. In the past few months alone, I’ve written about the sad departure of two popular downtown caffeine stops: Midtown Local and Has Beans.

And, of course, there are more changes afoot. Sadly, Peet’s Coffee & Tea management confirmed with me last week that corporate is still planning to close its downtown store. That means no more Javivas—unless, of course, I find myself near Raley’s on Notre Dame Boulevard. And, actually, last I checked, they had a modified menu there that didn’t include my go-to blended chocolate-caramel swirl.

The good news here comes by way of Jennifer Silva, who owns Chico Coffee Co. (on Parmac Road, near the DMV) and two Cal Java locations in town with her boyfriend, Shawn Hamilton. Silva tells me that she and Hamilton will be taking over the Peet’s spot starting Jan. 1, 2018. “Our goal is a very short turnover time for construction in attempts to retain as many staff and customers as possible,” she said.

I’m happy to hear the spot won’t stay vacant for long, and I wish the local business owners much success—you’ll probably see me often!

But wait, there’s more That’s right, there are a few more bits of coffee-related news, uh, brewing. First, there’s the imminent opening of Blackbird: Books, Gallery, & Cafe in that cute little house on Park Avenue (1431 to be precise) that’s been home to a barbershop, art galleries and even a thrift store over the years. I reached out to the folks behind the coffee shop/book store/gallery and Molly Roberts, who co-owns the space with Miles Montalbano, told me they expect to be open at the beginning of October.

Just across the street from Blackbird is another soon-to-be coffee shop: 15th Street Cafe. (1414 Park Ave.—at the rear of the small strip mall where Nobby’s is). This one’s owned by the father-son team of Mike and Mark McGinnis. Mark tells me they’re planning to be open by the end of October/early November. They’ll be serving Equator Coffees & Teas out of Marin County, and they hope to begin roasting their own single-origin coffees sometime next year, in addition to serving locally made pastries, sandwiches and salads.

Help The Depot A few months ago, a fire ravaged The Depot Restaurant and Cafe in Magalia, causing extensive damage, although firefighters were able to put out the blaze quickly and save the building’s structural integrity. The historic building was an actual train depot built in 1903. Owners and siblings John and Jacki Clifford opened the restaurant and cafe in 2013, after six years spent fixing up the place (which, incidentally, survived two arson attempts by a serial arsonist back in 2011). If you’d like to help in the restoration effort, the Paradise Elks Lodge is hosting a benefit buffet dinner Sept. 30. Tickets are $25 in advance and can be purchased at the lodge, at Rabobank in Magalia or by calling 876-9903.