Everybody’s business

From bistro to sporto
For more than a month, the windows of Bella’s Bistro have been covered with white paper, raising the question—what’s going on in there?

Well, it looks like what’s going in the cozy Broadway location is a sports bar that could become the new sanctuary for the high-fivin’ sports enthusiast.

Bella’s Sports Pub could be open by Saint Paddy’s Day, said General Manager Jeff Young.

I talked to Young last week as he was painting, and he said five giant televisions, including two hi-defs and a flat-screen, had just been installed. A new bar is also being built where the counter used to be.

Young said he plans to serve typical pub grub like burgers and fries as well as soups and veggie wraps.

“We’ll cater to the greasy side and the healthy side,” Young said.

He said he hopes the pub will draw the mid-to-late-20s crowd.

In case you were wondering…
Fidelity National Title Co., which has a main office downtown on Wall Street, recently opened another branch in the new La Dolce Plaza building on East Lassen, across the street from Coldwell Banker DuFour Realty. The new escrow branch opened on Feb. 14.

The basement’s back
I ran in to Ken Ridino this week as he strolled up the stairs of the old Team Players building on Main Street. He told me things are moving forward again in his attempt to open a new billiards hall and restaurant at the location.

Ridino said he and landlord Greg Englebrecht recently spoke with Chico police Sgt. Linda Dye to discuss the business plan and, after agreeing to a few stipulations, were able to have the protest against a liquor license withdrawn.

Dino’s Billiards & Grill will hopefully open in the first part of April, pending health permits and ABC final approval, Ridino said. He said ABC was very cooperative in the negotiations, allowing him to go forth with his original 10-pool-table plan.

The groundwater and sewer pumps have all been replaced, which should eliminate the funky odor that permeated the basement. Ridino agreed to add more lighting to the outside and said alcohol would not be served after 1 a.m.

The new spot will have an expanded menu that Ridino describes as “continental with Italian flair.” He said there will be at least three new cooks, who will share recipes to build up the new menu.

Taking a recess
Court Theatre, the student-staffed repertory program that has been a part of Chico summers for the past 40 years, will not produce a season in 2005.

Bill Johnson, who chairs Chico State University’s Department of Theatre Arts, said the department has no intention of ending the program, but it’s time to re-evaluate how to run the program more effectively based on a new funding structure and a revamped department curriculum. Johnson said Court Theatre would continue but could take on a different format that may include fewer shows.

The Department of Theatre Arts has put on summer productions since 1967 based on a model conceived by Larry Wismer and Pat Kopp.