¿Tienes hambre? Try Tres Hombres
Downtown fixture offers Mexican chic in a historic atmosphere
If Mexican meals tempt you, choices await you in Chico. Want ultra-casual? Visit one of the many taco wagons that dot the landscape. Want casual elegance in a fun, service-oriented environment in the heart of Chico’s downtown? ¡Vamos! Try Tres Hombres.
This atmospheric establishment on the corner of Broadway and First is a Chico fave. It’s not just the aesthetically pleasing interior sporting old-fashioned brick walls (it was once John Bidwell’s general store) and large potted plants, and it’s not only the over-sized windows that you give you a constant, fun view of Chico life, and neither is it solely the generous plates of well prepared food or the sumptuous drinks—notably, the margaritas.
The je ne se quoi of Tres Hombres is all of these attributes combined with something else: the splendidly honed service and attitudes of the wait staff. These people wake up on the right side of the bed and do what service people everywhere should do—please the customer.
“My name’s Gabriel, and I’ll be taking care of you today,” a superbly handsome young man graciously informed me—I almost blushed—as my group of teachers was expeditiously seated at a table for about 20. He and the other servers had no trouble at all contending with such a large crowd; in fact, Tres Hombres welcomes large groups, professional or recreational. Excelente describes the smooth, polished and well-mannered service we received—no small thing in today’s world of diminishing service orientation.
In this sleek venue of slowly whirling Panama fans, authentic contemporary Hispanic music and elegant wood furniture, my colleagues and I relaxed and chatted while awaiting the meals we had ordered from the hard-to-choose-from menu. Since we had to return to work after lunch, we declined drink orders, but those who love tequila drinks will want to check out the several types offered, along with the varied mixed drinks and the delightful array of margaritas (the “Horni Marg” looks fascinating; $9.25/grande, $4.75/glass). Bar customers can order delicious finger foods, such as nachos and calamari strips.
As the upbeat, cheerful servers put our plates down before us, we noticed the ample attention given to plate presentation. Several of our group ordered the light lunch salads or sandwiches from the menu, while others chose vegetarian dishes or any of the vast array of dishes available on the regular menu (tostadas, ensaladas, quesadillas, gourmet sandwiches, etc.). Among the gourmet sandwiches, the Mahi-Mahi Burger ($7.95) appeared very appealing.
I tried the Fajita Taco Salad (5.95). Very fresh greens lined the generously sized bowl, and a delicious marinated chicken breast topped them, along with tomato, avocado, jack cheese and tortilla chips. If you want the perfect summer lunch meal, this might be it. Tres Hombres also offers a Salmon Salad ($7.95) that probably hits the spot on a hot summer day, with a bed of greens topped with a broiled salmon filet, zucchini, crookneck squash, roasted bell pepper, tomato, avocado, cucumber, black olives and green onion.
I declined dessert, but some of my colleagues went for the Baja Banana ($4.95) and the New York Cheesecake ($3.25). By their raves, I would say that dessert is a good bet at Tres Hombres.
As good as the food was, it was Tres Hombres’ service that stood out in my mind. Maybe it’s just me, but who can resist a handsome young man with a smile like the sun who says, “Hi, my name’s Gabriel, and I’ll be taking care of you today"?
Gabriel shared Tres Hombres’ secret: “The atmosphere is personable.” He said everyone who works there gets along and that “We’re all friends and family in this place! Because we enjoy it, our customers enjoy it.”
Give this young man a raise.