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Longtime catering company lets you come and get itLongtime catering company lets you come and get it

KEEP IT SIMPLE<br>Bacio offers only a few selected dishes for take-away but caters more than 100 events a year.

Bacio offers only a few selected dishes for take-away but caters more than 100 events a year.

Photo By Josh Graham

Bacio Catering Co.
1903 Park Ave.
Open weekdays 11:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m.
Phone: 345-7787
More info:

Bacio Catering & Carry Out

1903 Park Ave.
Chico, CA 95928

(530) 345-7787

I first tried Bacio Catering Co.'s carry-out earlier this summer when a friend brought over a meal to share before we headed out to see a movie. The weather was already quite hot, and the cold delicacies were refreshing and delicious.

Bacio has been a consistent favorite in Chico since it opened in 1989. In June the catering company added carry-out and moved to the former Kramore Inn building on Park Avenue—just a stone’s throw from Bacio’s long-time commercial kitchen.

That first visit made an impression. My friend and I shared a large bowl of chilled gazpacho ($3.50 for two cups) that was like eating a liquid salad, the fresh raw ingredients (most are grown locally) bursting with flavor. The crisp cucumber, sweet red pepper and red onion blended with a tomato base slid down my throat like a cool smoothie. The texture of the soup was enhanced by crusty bread and minced garlic.

We also shared the Kramore Inn Thai Chicken Salad ($8.75 a pound; serves about four), made with red peppers, red onion, broccoli and pieces of tender chicken diced into lightly seasoned sesame noodles. My friend said she felt the salad was heavy on the noodles and light on the chicken, but when I ordered the same salad during a more recent visit, I was satisfied with the portion of chicken.

Bacio’s small storefront houses a small display counter from which to choose the available menu items. There are only a handful of choices each day, so picking a dish or two is quick and easy. Some of the offerings included ready-serve pasta and rice dishes (with seasonal sauces served on the side) as well as roasted Smashed Potatoes and Seashells ‘n’ Cheese baked with cheese from Orland’s Pedrozo Dairy and Cheese Co.

I ordered half a Petaluma Farms free-range rotisserie chicken ($6.75), which was tender to the bone. A few days later I returned to try the boneless pork chop, which, although covered in a wonderful spicy cherry glaze with red and yellow peppers and garlic ($12.95 a pound, or a little more than $7 per chop), was a bit tough. But the simple meatloaf ($13.75 a pound; $4.95 bought a thick slice) was spicy and flavorful without a lot of filler. The burgundy glaze was a welcome change from the usual meatloaf tomato paste topping.

Since Bacio follows seasonal trends, the daily menu and prices are likely to change without notice. Any number of salads, mesquite-grilled meats, or dips and sides could be offered.

I was lucky enough to drop in on a day the restaurant had a surplus of ancho chiles. The friendly server offered me a taste of the fresh Romesco sauce made from pulverized ancho chiles, tomato, red pepper and jalapeño, sampled on a bread stick. The sauce was smoky and robust like an excellent red wine. I ordered a half-pint of the Romesco ($4), which was the hit of a backyard barbecue the next evening.

The motto for Bacio’s carry-out is “from our kitchen to yours.” The quick take-aways are an excellent choice for those who don’t have time, energy or know-how to cook fresh, healthful gourmet food.

In the five years prior to opening for catering, Bacio served up ravioli and pasta, all based on the family recipes of founder and owner Amanda Leveroni. In the decades since, Bacio has built a reputation for its gorgeous food presentations that use local ingredients. Nowadays the company caters about 100 events a year.

And the carry-out is a good go-to when you’re in a pinch or need some food for a picnic. Even if you enjoy it in the comfort of your own home, you couldn’t do much better—just keep in mind that Bacio is open only on weekdays.