Hudson’s opens, more to come

Gastropub serves upscale comfort food on the north side, plus Taps and Libations & Co. on the horizon

New restaurants are always fun to check out, so it really wasn’t all that surprising when CN&R Editor Melissa Daugherty and I pulled into the parking lot of Hudson’s Gastropub last Friday evening to find it nearly full. We actually had to have our names written on a list—it’s been a long while since I’ve had to do that in Chico.

The weather that night was nice, so we happily accepted a table on the outdoor patio, which is covered by swanky awnings. The chairs out there were clearly built for tall people, which I, at 5-foot-2, am not—so I had to sort of sit on the edge if I didn’t want my legs to dangle. Oh, well.

I’d been waiting for the announcement of Hudson’s opening ever since I heard about the place a few months ago. It took over the space formerly occupied by Panighetti’s in the shopping center at the corner of The Esplanade and Lassen Avenue. It’s the newest venture for local restaurateur Christian Steinbach, whose namesake is Christian Michaels Ristorante (he also owns California Pasta Productions).

The menu at Hudson’s is upscale comfort food, including a number of specialty burgers and pizzas. We ordered the duck quesadilla to share, and it was definitely a little different. Tasty but not quite crispy enough for me. Melissa got the wedge salad, which comes with bacon, gorgonzola, fried onion strings and tomatoes. And I had to try the mac and cheese, with the optional short ribs and fried onion topping. The salad was good, but the mac and cheese was epic—my only complaint was that the tiny bowl made it difficult to get both meat and mac in the same bite.

For the time being, Hudson’s is open just for happy hour (4-6 p.m.) and dinner, but it’s expected to expand its hours soon to include lunch.

Excitement on the horizon I’ve noticed some action happening in a few spots in town and decided to look into what other new businesses are gearing up to open. The first is over where Angelo’s Cucina Trinacria used to be at 407 Walnut St. Trucks have been parked outside; lights on inside. According to the beer and wine license for that spot, an eating establishment called Taps is in the works. I would say it’s fair to assume the place will serve beer.

The second spot that shows some promise is up the road at 2277 Nord Ave. I reached out to Joe and Valerie Perry, the owners of Libations & Co., which will be occupying the space. Joe says that, while the cafe-style restaurant is still in the early stages, their plan is to focus on locally sourced beverages. “The restaurant space we are working with is very limited, so we have decided to invite in food trucks for lunch and dinner service,” he said. “We want to have a fun and somewhat quirky family/neighborhood gathering place.” Sounds very promising, indeed! Keep an eye on for updates.