Eating and greeting
A couple of new restaurants and the grand opening of Wild Ink Press
In the year that I've been writing this column, one thing has become clear: The restaurant business in Chico is booming.
In addition to established restaurants like the Pour House and Panighetti's expanding, there have been a number newcomers that I've written about: Midtown Local, Pop's Pizza, Buffalo Wild Wings, The Foodie Café, Panera Bread and Forcella to name a few.
From the look of things at The Mangrove Plaza, Chico will welcome yet another new eatery: Ready Chef Go (readychefgo.net). I've noticed signs up in the windows at the old Blockbuster building recently, with obvious construction underway. A fence surrounds the location that has been vacant since the movie-rental business closed in late 2013.
Ready Chef Go, an existing catering business, will be expanding to a new bistro and market at the Mangrove location. The venture is a partnership between Sean Mindrum and Frank and Melinda Kennemer. Mindrum is a Chico native whose first job was washing dishes and doing prep work at Chico's R. Fish & Co. Since then, he's built a career in the restaurant industry as an executive chef at a number of restaurants, including Napa's Mustard's Grill Valley, Patina in San Francisco and, most recently, The Calistoga Inn.
Frank Kennemer owns and has successfully operated Outback Steakhouse in Chico for almost 18 years. The partnership seems like a dynamic opportunity for a great menu and successful endeavor.
I drive by the location almost every day, so I'm keeping watch for an open date.
Meanwhile, just up the street, Chico's only Pizza Hut location is now open for business. The chain pizzeria, which has a location in Oroville, opened earlier this month farther north on Mangrove, after months of construction and renovation. The debut in Chico comes just in time for the business to start making deliveries of its newest pizza concoction: The hot-dog stuffed-crust pizza.
Press party. A few months back, I shared my affection for local letterpress business Wild Ink Press and the opening of the brick-and-mortar shop in downtown. Since that time, the shop, at 183 E. Sixth St., has become one of my favorites to wander into. My husband's grandfather spent his career operating a printing press, and we have a great picture of him standing next to an old Heidelberg press, similar to one of the Heidelbergs that Wild Ink Press uses to make letterpress greeting cards and stationery.
If you haven't dropped by the store and checked out the old presses and new merchandise, there's a perfect upcoming opportunity: Owners Rebekah and Matt Tennis are hosting a grand opening event Saturday, June 27, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., which corresponds with the sixth anniversary of the business. There will be summer cocktails, Shubert's ice cream, live jazz, and the printing presses will be whirring. Any shop proceeds will be donated to the Museum of Northern California Art (Monca). RSVPs are encouraged and can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.