Laundromat to sell different kind of suds

After 37 years of business, the Fifth and Ivy Laundromat will be closing its doors to local students and fraternity members and opening its doors as a restaurant.

In an area that is already bustling with college students—and alcohol—owner David Clayton said he hopes to improve the area by making it an “upscale hamburger joint.”

“We’re trying to make it a cool and fun scene,” he said. “And get kids off the street and stop loitering.”

Clayton and his family have owned the Fifth Street property for 25 years and said that it was time to either replace the old washing machines or do something different.

“We’re not making money as a laundromat,” he said. “We used to be the only one on this side of town, but now there are too many in the area.”

The proposed restaurant will hold about 32 seats and have eight parking spaces, the same amount as the laundromat.

Clayton said he is trying to fit the needs of the students in the area and provide them with a healthy option, yet make it a fun place to go. By changing from a laundromat and improving the current structure, Clayton said he feels it will not be an eyesore for the community.

However, one problem Clayton faces is getting a liquor license. Last week, the Chico Planning Commission voted 4-3 to allow Clayton to sell beer and wine from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. But a representative from the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control wrote the commission that alcohol sales are too concentrated in that area already. Clayton countered that by being open late and serving only food, people waiting in the lines at bars such as Riley’s would have an alternative place to go.

“I think I could live on Riley’s overflow,” he said.

Though no opening date is set, Clayton said he was excited for the change but might keep some things in the new place to remind customers of the laundromat.

"Maybe I’ll keep a washing machine and put it in the corner for kicks," Clayton said.