Everybody’s business

Not quite Thai
An Asian-inspired restaurant will soon open in the downtown, and owner Julie Ye says it will be the first of its kind in Chico. “Most people think it’s going to be another Thai restaurant,” said Ye, who is from Thailand. “It’s going to be completely different.”

“I call it Southeast Asian,” she said. “It’s like you’d find in San Francisco—fusion. It’s a combination of Southeast Asian foods.”

House of Bamboo will have both regular menu items and specials. I got a peek at the menu and saw dishes such as five-spice chicken breast and garlic string beans. “You won’t see fatty foods here,” Ye promised. She said the “casual, elegant and affordable” restaurant should be open by Oct. 1.

Ye in recent years has worked in nutrition at Enloe Medical Center. But she’d helped friends with restaurants before, and starting her own had long been a dream.

House of Bamboo is located at 171 East Second St., in a new space created by the splitting of the old Diamond W/ Mind Games spot where Pluto’s restaurant will go.

Prize pig
This section was reported by our newest intern, Siana Sonoquie:

Orland’s Farm Sanctuary hopes to gain exposure and maybe a little bit of cash by entering a local pig in a national contest intended to recognize a farm animal that is housed in a shelter.

Lily the pig was on her way to the slaughterhouse when she fell off a crowded truck and was rescued by a family driving nearby. After outgrowing a dog pen in her suburban home, she ended up at the 300-acre Farm Sanctuary.

“She is a very brave pig,” said Diane Miller, the shelter’s director. “She’s very smart and has a huge vocabulary.”

Lily, who weighs in at 850 pounds, is currently ranked ninth in the contest (the results are tallied as the votes come in), even beating out a pig named Porky who can open a refrigerator door for snacks.

To vote for Lily, go to http://nfaaw.hsus.org. The top four animals will receive cash prizes for their sanctuaries and share half of the donations generated by the contest. The contest is being sponsored by the Humane Society of the United States in recognition of National Farm Animal Awareness Week.

Big business beef
Like many retail stores, the Costco in Chico has a sign outside announcing that it is forbidden to petition or give out pamphlets or leaflets on the premises.

That’s why I found it ironic when, the last time I went to Costco, I was confronted by an employee asking me to sign a petition urging the state to fix the workers’ compensation system.

Costco has organized its own drive, complete with a table full of petitions and fliers titled “Costco Needs Your Help!” We all know employers’ premiums have risen dramatically in recent years; Costco claims the current system “promotes and rewards behavior that is wrong for the employees and wrong for employers. Small businesses in the state are being hurt or have been forced out of business.”

In another irony, Costco itself is far from a small business. With 92,000 employees and 374 stores, it’s the largest wholesale club operator in the country, with $38 billion a year in sales. Chairman Jeffrey Brotman makes $381,000 a year.

The flier also asks shoppers to contact their state legislator but doesn’t list ours—giving only the names and addresses of some from Sacramento and farther south.