Hipness factor growing downtown

Checking in on what all the fuss is about at Second and Broadway

Downtown Chico is getting quite a makeover lately. With Burgers & Brew having moved out of the old Bank of America building at Second and Broadway and down the street, much buzz has been stirring about the future of that prime corner space. Construction has been going strong; currently crews are busy widening the sidewalk along Second Street, creating space for what one might presume (and rightly so) will be a large outdoor patio.

I’ve been a fan of Mohammed Shabbar’s cooking ever since he opened Mediterranean eatery Petra (where the awesomely delicious Ali Baba now resides on Broadway). I ran into him several months ago, when he first told me about his new venture, Tellers, with partner David Halimi (who owns Diamond W, the old Bank of America building and other properties). So, I gave Shabbar a ring and we arranged to meet up to discuss their plans for Tellers, so named because of the building’s banking roots.

As we walked through the vast space, they took turns highlighting different features. Halimi is particularly excited about the brightly colored walls and the many bar areas for singles to mingle. He also touted the 32 beer taps and offering wine on tap, too (one of the hottest new restaurant trends, which ensures each glass is perfectly fresh). Shabbar, who will serve as head chef, waxed on about the freshness of the menu, which will feature gourmet salads, sandwiches and burgers. They’ve already partnered with some local providers, including Divide Ranch, and Halimi pointed to an inside wall that will showcase the restaurant’s own herb garden.

And the patios, well, they should be quite a draw. The current entrance at the corner will be a covered patio space, which will open into open-air seating, complete with a fire pit. For those looking for more intimate outdoor dining, there also will be patio space out back. All in all, it sounds like Tellers is going to be the hippest new downtown hotspot—in about three months, Halimi estimated. I’ll definitely be among the first to check it out.

Calling all cooks Next Thursday (April 14), anyone who either already has a food business or wants to start one should mark their calendars for next Thursday (April 14) from 9 a.m. until at least 4:15 p.m. During that time, the Micro Goes to Market, Specialty Food Conference will be setting up shop at Manzanita Place to offer tips and tools for growing success. Tickets are $26.50 and include breakfast and lunch. After the sessions, which range from food trends to finances, there will be a specialty foods exhibit, where attendees can display their goods. For more info, and to buy tickets, go to www.eventbrite.com/e/micro-goes-to-market-tickets-22474999328.

Movin’ in Dunkin’ Donuts announced it will soon be arriving in the North State. A franchise group called Far North Ventures LLC will be opening four shops—in Chico, Redding, Yreka and Eureka—starting next year.