Fresh face

Jasco’s California Café, which, situated on the top floor of the Phoenix Building, has arguably the best view of any downtown restaurant, is being sold.

If all goes well with escrow and such, husband-wife team Paul and Shannon Lavery will be taking over from Steve Jasco as of July 1. Paul Lavery has been managing Jasco’s for four years, and at age 28 he’s been working in restaurants for half his life.

Lavery and his wife of seven years, a sought-after interior decorator, saved up to be ready for such an opportunity. (He first moved to Chico in 1993 with just $200—"no mom and pop’s money.") He worked in Australia, where he was chosen to serve the prime minister, and was the maitre d’ at the best French restaurant in Belgium. Later, he worked in Austin, Texas, where George W. Bush would ask for him by name. But Lavery prefers Chico: “I love being around people and keeping in touch with the crowd of Chico.

“The business is going to be run a lot more personally,” said Lavery, who plans a hands-on approach in which he will, for example, be dropping by your table to say “hi.” The kitchen has been overhauled, the building has been professionally cleaned in every nook and cranny, and he’ll keep the air-conditioning on, too. “My goal is to honestly cater to every style of person,” Lavery said, so diners feel at home there.

Lavery said he’ll keep the pizzas and foccacia sandwiches that Jasco’s is known for, but “we’re going to expand upon it.” Dinners include salmon, ribs, chicken parmigiana and more, and there will also be a 3-5 p.m. “happy hour” when sandwiches are $1.50 off. Also watch for classical and jazz guitarists.

Eventually, he added, there will be a name change.

Out the window

After suffering layoffs and other setbacks for months now, one-time big Chico employer and sales tax generator Mike’s Mobile Windshield on June 7 finally filed for bankruptcy. I found out because I routinely check with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court online, but—though it makes journalists all over town grind their teeth to say it—it’s tenacious Tim Bousquet of the Chico Examiner who’s been covering this business story since last fall.

All of the 38 phone numbers listed for Mike’s Mobile Windshield were disconnected, and, though I spent $7.90 of my company’s hard-earned money on public records searches, I couldn’t find a home number for owner Mike Nordyke, and I decided against skulking around his house. (I do think it’s ironic that he’s not listed, because his telemarketers were famous for their cold calls.)

Linda Herman, the city of Chico’s management analyst, expressed sympathy, saying, “We hate to see any businesses fold.

“At one time, they had a couple hundred employees,” Herman said. “They were going to make a big call center and they were going to be a big employer.”

Instead, the company, which once had trucks out fixing windshields up and down the state, went under.

The city’s Redevelopment Agency is still owed money on a 2000 low-interest loan of about $90,000 that Nordyke used to build a 15,000-square-foot facility at the Chico Municipal Airport, but Herman said he had been paying—it’s only $111 a month—until May, which is pretty recent. But if he stops, she said, “there are a lot of people ahead of us [on the creditors’ list.]”

Salad days

The Chico Unified School District will likely vote this week to raise the prices for cafeteria meals, after holding steady for 15 years. Now, lunch will go from $1.45 to $1.75 at elementary schools, where about 960 students buy school lunch each day, and $1.60 to $2 at high schools, where 215 do so. All this should raise about $80,000 a year to help balance the Cafeteria Fund budget.