Local. Real. Food.

Hurry to Billy’s lunch cart before it moves on down the road

Oliver Wong orders some good-for-you lunchtime eats from Marianne Turri at the Billy’s Local Real Food cart.

Oliver Wong orders some good-for-you lunchtime eats from Marianne Turri at the Billy’s Local Real Food cart.

Photo By christine g.k. lapado

Get it while you can
Cheeseburgers, hot dogs, a few sandwiches, milkshakes and root-beer floats. That’s just about the entire menu at Billy’s Local Real Food lunch cart (pictured), which sets up shop in the parking lot of Chico Natural Foods on Fridays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Yes—local, real food. Not junk.

A Billy’s cheeseburger is a half-pound of 100-percent-natural, grass-fed and -finished beef from Turri Family Farms in Flournoy, in Tehama County topped with artisan cheese from Rumiano Cheese Co. in Willows and lettuce, onions and tomato from local food cooperative/CSA GRUB. Hot dogs are made with Turri Farms beef and contain no preservatives (and are delicious). Roast beef is also from Turri; salami and turkey come from St. John Family Farms in Corning.

All breads used are artisan breads from either Rosser’s Bakery in Red Bluff or Chico’s own Tin Roof Bakery & Café.

Peaches for the fresh-peach milkshakes (the only flavor Billy’s serves) come from R & K Orchards in Corning, and the ice cream (which is organic) is from Alden’s Ice Cream in Eugene, Ore.

Needless to say, Billy’s is proof that having a burger for lunch (or a hot dog, for that matter) doesn’t have to be life-threatening, if you know what I mean.

Marianne Turri runs Billy’s and Turri Farms along with her husband, Tony. She told me that she actually uses produce from her own garden as much as possible at Billy’s, supplementing it whenever needed with GRUB’s veggies. “We’ll have tomatoes in another week!” she told me happily.

The only bad thing about the Billy’s-at-Chico-Natty setup is that it’s temporary. The cart will be there through Sept. 16. As an ag-related business, Billy’s can do business in Chico this year for a three-month period, according to city code, said Turri, similar to the way Christmas-tree vendors are allowed a block of time each year in which to sell their wares.

“We’d love to be at the Thursday Night Market,” Turri said, citing current space constraints for big-truck vendors (Billy’s filled in one recent Thursday night when another burger vendor was unable to make it). Billy’s also operates in Corning and at the Red Bluff Farmers’ Market on Wednesday evenings.

You can call in to-go orders ahead of time: 526-0821. Find Billy’s on Facebook at www.facebook.com/billyslocalrealfood. Turri Farms’ meats are sold at Chico Natural Foods.

“Number 8” by Jackson Pollock

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I recently found out that Upper Crust Bakery & Eatery will be operating a café with indoor and outdoor seating in Enloe Medical Center’s new patient tower come early 2012.

“Upper Crust distinguished itself not only through its food and beverage offerings, but its customer service philosophy and commitment to quality,” Laura Hennum, Enloe’s vice president of Professional Services and Business Development, said of the decision to bring the popular café/bakery on board.

Fresh Thai peanut tofu salad, house-made soup or black-bean chili with pesto from Upper Crust—sounds like good preventative health care to me.

Local cycling guru Ed McLaughlin dropped me a good one: The house where the late and famous artist Jackson Pollock once resided, according to Steven Naifeh’s book, Jackson Pollock: An American Saga—at 2545 W. Sacramento Ave.—is on the market. Coldwell Banker has the four-bedroom farmhouse on 18-plus acres listed for $650,000.