Opening Taps, NFL protests

New restaurant on Walnut; local businesses weigh in on kneeling; and Dutch Bros. donates

Almost a year and a half ago I noticed the fictitious business statement filed by Younes Anani for a restaurant called Taps and eagerly awaited its opening. Every time I passed by the space, I hoped to see some movement, but nothing happened. Then, six months ago or so, I started to notice the lights were on at night and cars were parked out front—indications that a transformation was taking place inside. Paper covered the windows, though, so it remained a mystery.

Not anymore. The space, at 407 Walnut St., is now home to Taps Bar & Grill, and I was fortunate enough to be invited by a friend to its soft opening Monday night (Sept. 25). It went pretty smoothly, from my point of view. The staff was courteous and attentive. The drinks were delicious and service was fast. And the food was good. The fettuccine Gorgonzola was awesome—I’ll return for that dish alone. I also got to try the Buffalo chicken sandwich, which was on point; and the steak, which was cooked to a perfect medium rare, as ordered. Our table also got the fried green beans, which were satisfyingly crispy. A few items needed some work—but that’s what soft openings are for, to work out the kinks.

I also met Anani, one of the owners, and chatted with him intermittently as he dashed around, ensuring everything was working as planned. Nice guy, and clearly a hard worker, which is encouraging. The chef, too, comes with an impressive résumé: Mike Kelley previously worked at The Steak House at Gold Country Casino as well as Midway Steakhouse (which, sadly, has closed indefinitely).

A few other fun tidbits: Anani told me that DBI Beverage, a huge beer distributor with a warehouse in Chico, created four beers specifically for Taps and available, believe it or not, on tap (at the triangle-shaped bar!). I’ll have to go back to taste them. Also, check out the keg lamps hanging above the booths in front of the windows—they’re super cool! It’ll be open to the public soon—stay tuned.

Politics at play Two local restaurants made headlines this past week for weighing in on the kneeling-during-the-national-anthem debate. First, the Park Avenue Pub posted a picture of a Colin Kaepernick jersey on its Facebook page (and reportedly also in the restaurant) with a sign reading, “Will work for anything.” Then, Mike Fuller, owner of Mike’s Grande Burgers in Oroville, announced he will no longer air football games “due to the lack of respect by the NFL.”

We’re all entitled to our opinions and to expressing those opinions. The flack—and support—those restaurants are getting is only natural. But let’s remember what Kaepernick was protesting in the first place. It wasn’t the flag and it wasn’t our troops. It was the systemic racism in America, the same racism that will dilute his message if you let it.

Drink up Dutch Bros. is at it again—fundraising, that is. This Friday (Sept. 29), is National Coffee Day and, in celebration, every Dutch Bros. will be donating $1 from each drink sold to a children’s organization. In Chico and Oroville, money will go to Environmental Alternatives and in Paradise, it’ll go to Youth for Change. So, drink up!