Readers’ picks 2012

Y’all chose Chico’s very best—take a gander at the results!

Goods & Services

Antiques store

1ST PLACE: Eighth & Main Antique Center

745 Main St., 893-5534

The iconic Eighth & Main Antique Center in downtown offers the collections of hundreds of vendors, cleaned and polished up for sale. Be it a triple-door bookcase, jewelry boxes, sterling-silver bracelets, a retro sofa set, silver flatware or a vintage Singer sewing machine, the collected works at Eighth & Main give it a museum-like feel.

2ND PLACE: Country Squyres’ Antiques

164 E. Third St., 342-6764

3RD PLACE: Ambiance Antiques & Art

180 E. Ninth Ave., 894-6900

Auto repair shop

1ST PLACE: C&M Automotive

1188 E. Lassen Ave., 343-5613

There’s a reason why C&M Automotive moved from its former location on Longfellow Way to its current, much larger shop on Lassen Avenue: Its business grew dramatically because customers know owners Terry and Renee Koslofsky and their team of experienced technicians provide friendly, skillful and reliable service, including brakes, radiators, batteries and referral services on all makes and models. C&M has proven it’s a place drivers can trust.

2ND PLACE: Doctor of Motors

2303 Esplanade, 879-0700

3RD PLACE: Spencer Automotive

3674 Esplanade, 345-5600

Lyon Books & Learning Center

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Book store

1ST PLACE: Lyon Books & Learning Center

121 W. Fifth St., 891-3338

Once again, Lyon Books takes the prize for Best Bookstore. This vibrant independent book shop is loved by Chicoans for its great selection of new and used books (including a great used children’s book section!), magazines, cards and interesting novelty-gift items. Its focus on local—local authors, local musicians’ CDs, local greeting-card artists—is dedicated and refreshing. Periodic book signings and presentations by local and more widely known writers round out Lyon’s compelling offerings.

2ND PLACE: Barnes & Noble Booksellers

2031 Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway, 894-1494

3RD PLACE: The Bookstore

118 Main St., 345-7441

Bank/credit union

1ST PLACE: Tri Counties Bank

Various locations

Founded right here in Chico in 1974, Tri Counties is now located in 24 counties from Butte to Fresno and operates 41 traditional branches and another 27 in-store facilities. The tellers and managers are genuinely friendly and besides checking and savings, they offer cashier’s checks, traveler’s checks, online banking, home loans, money-market accounts and safe-deposit boxes. This ain’t no Wall Street bank; it’s still based in Chico.

2ND PLACE: Wells Fargo Bank

Various locations

3RD PLACE: Umpqua Bank

Various locations

Cory’s Country Inn

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Bed and breakfast

1ST PLACE: Cory’s Country Inn

4673 Nord Highway, 345-2955

When Chicoans want the best for their out-of-town guests—or they just want to treat themselves to a restful, personalized staycation—they turn to Cory’s Country Inn. The bed & breakfast is housed in a 1950s ranch-style home owned by chef Cory Davis, who prepares breakfast each morning and desserts upon request. Davis’ love of art is also apparent in the design of the inn and its three elegant guest rooms. Given that much of that art is by local artists, it’s no wonder Cory’s Country Inn has won over Chico’s heart.

2ND PLACE: The Grateful Bed

1462 Arcadian Ave., 342-2464

3RD PLACE: The Goodman House Bed & Breakfast

1362 Esplanade, 566-0256

Bike shop

1ST PLACE: Pullins Cyclery

801 Main St., 342-1055

This local institution, located in the SOPO neighborhood, boasts a super friendly crew that really knows its stuff when it comes to bikes—both selling them (new and used) and fixing them. Plus, the nearly 100-year-old shop, with its worn wooden floors and stuff hanging and parked everywhere, gives you that great feeling of hanging out in a really cool old place.

2ND PLACE: Campus Bicycles

330 Main St., 345-2081

3RD PLACE: North Rim Adventure Sports

178 E. Second St., 345-2453

Cab company

1ST PLACE: Liberty Cab


With a phone number that’s easy to remember even when you’re tipsy (898-1776), Liberty Cab rocks the Best Cab Company slot again this year. Available 24/7 for everyone from the lone rider needing a lift home from the airport to a large group of partiers seeking safe transport to the next stop, Liberty is proud of its friendly, efficient drivers and its support of local nonprofit children’s groups.

2ND PLACE: Ecocab


3RD PLACE: Chico Yellow Cab


Car dealership

1ST PLACE: Chuck Patterson Auto World

200 East Ave., 895-1771

When you’ve been in business for 45 years like the Pattersons have, you learn a few things along the way about how to appeal to customers. The family-owned dealership is overflowing with a wide selection of new and pre-owned Toyota, Scion and Dodge vehicles, and their knowledgeable, approachable salespeople are always there to help you with your car-buying and -financing, without being pushy. And Chuck Patterson Auto World’s easy family atmosphere extends to their professional parts, auto-service and body shop departments as well.

2ND PLACE: Wittmeier Auto Center

2288 Forest Ave., 895-8181

3RD PLACE: Chico Nissan-Hyundai

575 Manzanita Ave., 891-1777

Local computer store

1ST PLACE: PCI Computers

225 Main St., 891-4152

Located downtown in the Garden Walk Mall with easy access from both Main and Wall streets, PCI offers a friendly, helpful and very knowledgeable staff. Founded in 2000 by four Chico State students, PCI stocks a variety of the newest and often spiffy looking systems, with desktops, laptops and computer components. The ever-expanding shop includes a repair center that is both fast and convenient.

2ND PLACE: Chico Computer Clinic

1304 Mangrove Ave., 636-1337

3RD PLACE: Computers Plus

2499 Forest Ave., 891-7587

Day spa

1ST PLACE: Urban Medspa

3221 Cohasset Road, 891-8772

Need some serious pampering? The swank furnishings and exotic spa menu at Urban Medspa—which employs two licensed estheticians, a massage therapist and registered nurses—is sure to deliver. Those hoping to look their best and brightest should check out the spa’s specialized anti-aging treatments; the staff can also tailor skin-care programs for each client’s skin type. It’s the one-on-one experience everyone (including you, guys) wants from a day spa.

2ND PLACE: Agua Azul Oasis

40 Declaration Drive, 345-0226

3RD PLACE: Bella Day Spa Salon & Boutique

15C Williamsburg Lane, 342-0434


1ST PLACE: Magnolia Gift & Garden

1367 East Ave., 894-5410

Anyone who has wandered the grounds at Magnolia Gift & Garden has probably been taken by the natural beauty mixed with artsy elements to create a sort of modern garden paradise. Owners Courtney Paulson and Chris Hunter strive to strike that perfect balance of outdoor beauty and to help customers find what is right in their home gardens. The staff is well-versed in all the flora as well as the sculptures and water features available at the nursery, which is certainly a big reason why Chicoans voted it their favorite.

2ND PLACE: The Plant Barn & Gift Shop

406 Entler Ave., 345-3121

3RD PLACE: Little Red Hen

189 E. Eighth St., 891-9100


1ST PLACE: Christian & Johnson

250 Vallombrosa Ave., 891-1881

This lovely shop bordering Big Chico Creek has been part of the town’s history for more than a century, ever since Annie Bidwell’s gardener, F. G. Petersen, opened a nursery there. The nursery is gone, but the florist (and gift) shop remains. Customers roam the aisles, stopping to smell or admire the plants, flowers, decorations and amusing knick-knacks. The current owner, Melissa Heringer, joined the team as a designer in 1998. She grew up in Chico, and proudly carries on the business’ traditions.

2ND PLACE: Flowers by Rachelle

2485 Notre Dame Blvd., 345-2661

3RD PLACE: Chico Florist

1600 Mangrove Ave., Ste. 145, 345-1855

Bird in Hand

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Gift shop

1ST PLACE: Bird in Hand

320 Broadway, 893-0545

This downtown Chico gift shop has been specializing in fun for decades and has the formula figured out. Basically, if you’re in the market for some scented soaps for Mom, a Tommy Bahama shirt for Uncle Joe, a yo-yo for Junior and something Chico-related for the out-of-town in-laws, you can find it all in one place. And with the loving care of owners Bob and Barbara Malowney, Chicoans know any item they choose will be of the highest quality.

2ND PLACE: Made in Chico

127 W. Third St., 894-7009

3RD PLACE: Hubbs Stationery

956 Mangrove Ave., 892-4940

Hair salon

1ST PLACE: The Hair Company

2760 Esplanade, Ste. 150, 894-2002

From their smart-looking north Chico suite, The Hair Company is your one-stop shop for getting completely gussied up and pampered. In addition to the dozen or so stylists on hand to meet all your cutting and coloring needs, the shop is home to two nail stylists, a massage therapist and even a licensed esthetician to complete your beauty makeover.

2ND PLACE: The Poison Apple Salon

240 Main St., 899-7875

3RD PLACE: Satori Color & Hair Design

627 Broadway, 342-2828


1ST PLACE: Bubbles Laundry

664 Mangrove Ave., 343-8815 and 1008 W. Sacramento Ave., 345-6453

It’s a fact of life: Clothes get dirty and have to be washed. For many Chicoans that means it’s time to head to the laundromat. Customers keep coming back to Bubbles because they know they can count on the stores being clean, on machines working well, and on the ease with which they can accomplish an otherwise boring chore. Bubbles gets bonus points for keeping customers up-to-date on store news and discounts with a well-moderated Facebook page.

2ND PLACE (tie): Chico Laundry Co.

1000 W. Sacramento Ave., 342-9274

2ND PLACE (tie): East Avenue Coin Laundry

986 East Ave., 891-8805

Local pharmacy

1ST PLACE: Bidwell Pharmacy & Medical Supply

1200 Mangrove Ave., 891-0388

Bidwell Pharmacy is among the last of a dying breed of locally owned pharmacies, but there’s a reason it’s still around—Chicoans love it. They keep going back for the personalized service that is both fast and friendly. And they appreciate the staff’s dedication to getting their prescriptions filled, which includes knowledgeable explanations of each drug as well as a delivery service.

2ND PLACE: Chico Pharmacy

251 Cohasset Road, Ste. 100, 343-4440

3RD PLACE: Next Door Pharmacy

285 Cohasset Road, 809-2278


1ST PLACE: Barber Jon’s

532 Nord Ave., 342-7342

There’s no better way for a man to reconnect with his masculine side than to plop down in a barber’s chair for a shave and a haircut. Barber Jon’s offers the perfect opportunity to do this. It’s refreshingly old school, a place far removed from a frou-frou salon. It’s the kind of shop where a guy can hear some corny jokes, play a game of pool and come out looking his best. Haircuts include a hot-lather neck shave and neck trims between visits.

2ND PLACE: Curley’s Barber Shop

181 East Ave., 342-8002

3RD PLACE: Jerseys Clips and Brews

615 Mangrove Ave., Ste. 120, 893-2547

Hardware store

1ST PLACE: Collier Hardware

105 Broadway, 342-0195

Year after year, this old-school downtown hardware store takes home the blue ribbon in this category. In addition to tools, paint and hardware, Collier stocks a world-class selection of kitchenware, such as Le Creuset cookware and pots and pans by All-Clad, as well as myriad other useful stuff like night lights, dinner bells, mixing bowls, timers and barbecues (and a great selection of barbecue aprons). Folks love to poke around in Collier just for that nostalgic feeling of being in a “real” hardware store.

2ND PLACE: Lowe’s

2350 Forest Ave., 895-5130

3RD PLACE: Orchard Supply Hardware

231 W. East Ave., 332-9226


1ST PLACE: Hotel Diamond

220 W. Fourth St., 893-3100

Standing on a spot once occupied by a burned-out home for wayward pigeons, the regal Hotel Diamond has done a lot to upgrade the downtown region. Serving as one of Chico’s landmark buildings, the hotel offers more than top-notch accommodations—it’s also the home of Johnnie’s Restaurant, where the ambiance is classy yet comfortable, and the food is delicious. The restaurant has a brand-new menu that includes many small plates.

2ND PLACE: Oxford Suites

2035 Business Lane, 899-9090

3RD PLACE: Holiday Inn

685 Manzanita Court, 345-2491

Urban Laundry

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Men’s clothier

1ST PLACE: Urban Laundry

222 Main St., 345-2444

Men like to be fashionable, even if shopping isn’t their favorite pastime. So, given the funky, modern feel of Urban Laundry, it’s no wonder they’ve chosen the store as the Best Men’s Clothier in Chico. They can walk in to the trendy shop and quickly (because of some stellar customer service and easy-to-shop shelves) walk back out with a new pair of Joe’s Jeans, a Billabong sweatshirt and shades. What more could a guy ask for? Urban Laundry also sells women’s clothing, and was also chosen by readers as Best Women’s Clothier and Best Clothing Boutique in Chico.

2ND PLACE: Trucker

232 Broadway, 343-1073

3RD PLACE: Men’s Wearhouse

1950 E. 20th St., 342-1769

Women’s clothier

1ST PLACE: Urban Laundry

222 Main St., 345-2444

2ND PLACE: For Elyse

228 Broadway, 893-0106

3RD PLACE: Trucker

232 Broadway, 343-1073

Baby/kids’ clothier

1ST PLACE: Apple Blossom Baby

1372 Longfellow Ave., 345-1617

Apple Blossom Baby’s unique approach to selling baby/kids clothes and other items is precisely why it’s been voted Best of Chico. The locally owned store offers everything from new cloth diapers and baby shoes to gently used clothing and locally crafted items. The store was designed with parents in mind, offering a play area for kids and a rocker for nursing mothers. There’s also a nice variety of organic goods and customers rave about the ability to trade items or sell them on consignment.

2ND PLACE: Kat’s Meow

138 W. Third St., 899-8811

3RD PLACE: The Children’s Place

1950 East 20th St. (Chico Mall), 343-0706

Clothing boutique—Chico

1ST PLACE: Urban Laundry

222 Main St., 345-2444

2ND PLACE: For Elyse

228 Broadway, 893-0106

3RD PLACE: Three Sixty Ecotique

511 Main St., 342-8752

Clothing boutique—Oroville

1ST PLACE: Ruby’s Boutique

1858 Montgomery St., 532-1399

Ruby’s is a fashion gem in the heart of historic downtown Oroville. With brands ranging from 7 for All Mankind and Testament to Free People and Waxing Poetic, there’s much to choose from. The artfully designed storeroom and knowledgeable, friendly staff just add to the shopping experience and keep customers coming back for more.

2ND PLACE: Red Fly Clothing

1919 Montgomery St., 533-9307

3RD PLACE: What to Wear

2010 Bird St., 534-9574

Clothing boutique—On the Ridge

1ST PLACE: Buttons & Bows

6200 Clark Road, 877-8151

As customers to this Paradise shop know, Buttons & Bows is no ordinary boutique. This year, owners Linda and Ralph Hein celebrate their store’s 40th birthday, and they do so with the support of the Ridge community. Over the decades they have worked hard to provide an excellent selection of women’s clothing and accessories in a pleasant shopping environment. Clearly they have succeeded.

2ND PLACE: My Girlfriend’s Closet

6141 Skyway; 872-8826

3RD PLACE : Elegant Rose

5675 Almond St., Paradise, 877-6136

Dry cleaner

1ST PLACE: Chico Express Cleaners

752 East Ave., 343-8844 and 641 Walnut St., 343-6013

It should come as no surprise that, when it comes to dry cleaners, Chicoans’ top choice is Chico Express Cleaners. With two locations and more than 20 years in the business, owners Lance and Helen Marshall truly go the extra mile to make sure customers walk out happy (and wearing a clean shirt). The stores will clean just about anything, but what sets them apart are their free pickup and delivery service (and drive-through drop-off!) and a commitment to using environmentally friendly cleaning products.

2ND PLACE: 3rd Generation Cleaners

1354 East Ave., Ste. S, 899-0333

3RD PLACE: Esplanade Cleaners

164 East Second Ave., 342-4306


1ST PLACE: Kirk’s Jewelry

246 W. Third St., 891-0880

Kirk’s Jewelry is where Chicoans go when they really want to get something special for someone special—or even for themselves. That’s because Kirk’s is a jewelry store and so much more—it’s where family heirlooms are redesigned into modern pieces and where a diamond ring is created from scratch. Owner and jeweler Kirk Bengston has been at his craft for nearly 40 years and Chicoans obviously appreciate his dedication—it’s not hard to see why.

2ND PLACE: Olde Gold Estate Jewelry

225 Main St., 891-4610

3RD PLACE: Mundy & Co. Fine Jewelers

152 E. Second St., 342-4367

Place to buy music gear

1ST PLACE: The Music Connection

973 East Ave., Ste. V, 898-0110

Sally MacMillan runs a popular shop. Once again, Music Connection (which MacMillan runs with the help of her guitar-playing husband, Bruce, and young daughters, Mary and Juliet) is in the top slot for Best Place to Buy Music Gear. No surprise, since it offers a great selection of musical instruments and other musical necessities as well as lessons taught by some of Chico’s finest musicians.

2ND PLACE: Herried Music

824 Oroville Ave., 894-7777

3RD PLACE: Best Buy

2005 Forest Ave., 566-1012

Place for a mani-pedi

1ST PLACE: Tammy’s Nails

1354 East Ave., 899-8912

If only the perfect mani-pedi afternoon with the girls will do, Tammy’s Nails (in the Safeway shopping center off East Avenue) offers a relaxing and affordable experience. Super-fancy massage chairs, welcoming and knowledgeable staff—which can handle anything your nails desire—make Tammy’s the premier mani-pedi destination in Chico.

2ND PLACE: Poison Apple Salon

240 Main St., 899-7875

3RD PLACE: Queen Nail Salon & Spa

801 East Ave., Ste. 112, 893-8900

Place to buy outdoor gear

1ST PLACE: Mountain Sports

176 E. Third St., 345-5011

Local outdoors lovers know that Mountain Sports is the place to go for top-notch clothing and other gear for hiking, camping, rock-climbing and so on. If you’re headed for the hills (or elsewhere) for some rugged outdoor action, Mountain Sports is your one-stop shop. This downtown gem boasts a friendly and knowledgeable staff, plenty of maps and useful books, and also a nice selection of good-looking duds for going out to eat a well-earned dinner after you’ve spent a day hiking the North and South Rim trails in Bidwell Park.

2ND PLACE: Chico Sports LTD

698 Mangrove Ave., 894-1110

3RD PLACE: Big 5

1717 Mangrove Ave., 891-1545

Place to buy home furnishings

1ST PLACE: Nantucket Home Furnishings

603 Broadway, 895-1038

One could spend hours inside of Nantucket Home Furnishings. This downtown gallery offers a full interior-design studio and is always well-stocked with a wide selection of fine furniture, from oversized down-filled sofas and unique bedroom sets to velvety throws, candle holders and other home accessories. The layout and selection allow customers to visualize how they can turn ordinary spaces into their own private showrooms. Started in 1975 by owners Rick and Nan Tofanelli, Nantucket remains a local family business.

2ND PLACE: Finds Design & Decor

1341 Mangrove Ave., 892-1905

3RD PLACE: Evans Furniture

2101 Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway, 895-3000

Three Sixty Ecotique

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Place to buy vintage threads

1ST PLACE: Three Sixty Ecotique

511 Main St., 342-8752

Cool vintage clothes. Cool shoes. Cool stuff—like earrings, bags and dresses—by local designers. Cool sales clerks. Cool atmosphere. Cool customers. Three Sixty Ecotique is just plain cool. And since many of the offerings are vintage, shopping there assures you’ll never be caught in the fashion faux pas of running into someone wearing your exact same outfit.

2ND PLACE: Pepper Grand Coulee’s Funky Trunk

1112 Mangrove Ave., 894-8065


225 Main St., Ste. D, 895-3282

Thrift store

1ST PLACE: ARC Thrift Store

2020 Park Ave., 343-3666

CN&R readers chose the ARC Thrift Store as their favorite again this year. Besides the fact that its proceeds go to benefit children and adults with developmental disabilities, the ARC has a frequently re-stocked selection of top-notch used stuff—clothes, furniture, jewelry, etc. What’s not to love?

2ND PLACE: Thrifty Bargain

2432 Esplanade, 899-3360

3RD PLACE: Elite Repeat (Salvation Army)

700 Broadway, 342-2195

Local pet store

1ST PLACE: Northern Star Mills

510 Esplanade, 342-7661

Established in 1898, Northern Star Mills has kept Chicoans’ farms running and household pets happy for well more than a century. Located in a historic brick warehouse on The Esplanade, the feed-and-seed store is no-frills, yet offers competitive prices on high-quality pet supplies (and, with an air of chivalry, employees often offer to carry your goods to your car for you). You can also find seedlings, soil and even chickens for sale here. Oh, and don’t forget to say hello to Jake, the black Lab store mascot, on your way in.

2ND PLACE: Trailblazer Pet Supply

1612 Mangrove Ave., 892-1848

3RD PLACE: All Cats & Dogs

232 Main St., 894-0364

Shoe store

1ST PLACE: Heel and Sole Shoes

708 Mangrove Ave., 899-0725

Heel and Sole Shoes continues to be the go-to shop for Chicoans to pick up footwear. The longtime shoe store is jam packed with all of the favorites: Puma, Converse, Vans, UGGs, you name it. From high heels for prom night to comfortable everyday sneakers, the store has a huge selection of inventory from which to choose. Fortunately, the shop’s attentive employees help shoppers find what they’re looking for and get them checked out fast.

2ND PLACE: Urban Sole

228 Main St., 809-1553

3RD PLACE: Robyn Marie’s Shoe Closet

215 Main St., 566-1825

Preston’s Shoe Repair

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Place for shoe repair

1ST PLACE: Preston’s Shoe Repair

161 E. Third St., 345-0103

Walking into Preston’s Shoe Repair is like taking a step into the past. Named for owner and resident cobbler Preston Powers, the more than 20-year-old business caters to anyone who needs a polish, a patch or a new sole on an otherwise perfectly good pair of shoes. Powers charges reasonable prices for his top-quality work, and his sense of humor ensures no customer walks away without a smile.

2ND PLACE: Pat’s Shoe & Boot Repair

181 E. Second St., 343-4522

3RD PLACE: J & M Boots & Repairs

2021 N. Lindo Ave., 342-3238

Sporting goods store

1ST PLACE: Chico Sports LTD

698 Mangrove Ave., 894-1110

Whether they’re in the market for a new ride (of the two-wheeled variety), a pair of running shoes, a warmer sleeping bag for the colder weather or just the newest color of Klean Kanteen, Chicoans know they can count on Chico Sports LTD to fill the bill. The locally owned store, in business in Chico for more than a quarter century, keeps customers coming back for not only its large selection but also its knowledgeable, friendly staff.

2ND PLACE: Big 5 Sporting Goods

1717 Mangrove Ave., 891-1545

3RD PLACE: Mountain Sports

176 E. Third St., 345-5011

Tattoo parlor

1ST PLACE: Victory Tattoo

1818 Mangrove Ave., 896-1818

As everyone knows, getting inked is a permanent procedure, so when you’re in a town with seemingly as many tattoo shops as undergrads at Chico State, being named the best offers a lot more than mere bragging rights. With two resident tattoo artists—owner Derek Parsons and “2Buck” Chuck Byfield—Victory Tattoo has a commitment to sterility and even vegan-friendly inks, and is the place to go for your next work of art, whether it be your first or your fiftieth.

2ND PLACE: Eye of Jade

319 Main St., Ste. 200, 343-5233

3RD PLACE: Red Room Tattoo

231 Nord Ave., 342-1287

Place to get bronzed

1ST PLACE: Perfect Tan Salon

2995 Esplanade, Ste. 101, 898-8000

If a Hawaiian vacation is likely to bust the budget, Perfect Tan might just offer the next best thing without leaving Chico. The salon’s themed rooms, lay-down and stand-up beds and Magic Tan spray machines (for those who want the glow without the UVA rays) provide Chicoans with a brief tropical respite.

2ND PLACE: Tropical Zone Exotic Tanning

1354 East Ave., Ste. L, 893-3300

3RD PLACE: California Sun

706 Mangrove Ave., 343-3082

Liquor store

1ST PLACE: Mangrove Bottle Shop

1350 Mangrove Ave., 342-7575

This conveniently located chop carries a great selections of wines, import and craft beers and general spirits, and the clerks behind the counter and friendly and helpful. Prices are competitive and dogs are welcome, even if they aren’t leading a thirsty blind guy. And talk about convenient parking. Turn off the engine, exit the car and you’re practically in the store. Mangrove Bottle is where the cool cats go to quench their adult-beverage thirst.

2ND PLACE: Ray’s Liquor

207 Walnut St., 343-3249

3RD PLACE: Finnegan’s Jug

1084 E. First Ave., 342-6204

Food & Drink

Local restaurant—Chico

1ST PLACE: 5th Street Steakhouse

345 W. Fifth St., 891-6328

Naturally the place is best known for its juicy steaks, made from prime cuts, ranging from the six-ounce filet mignon to the 22-ounce Delmonico rib-eye, all of which come with a baked potato. On the side you can get roasted-garlic mashed potatoes, grilled asparagus and creamed spinach. If you don’t want beef check out the chicken stuffed with prosciutto, spinach and fontina cheese or the blackened salmon in a citrus butter sauce, or the ravioli with garlic, asparagus and Parmesan cheese. While you’re there, say “hello” to John, one of the friendliest (and tallest) bartenders in town.

2ND PLACE: Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Taproom & Restaurant

1075 E. 20th St., 345-2739

3RD PLACE: Tres Hombres Long Bar & Grill

100 Broadway St., 342-0425

Tong Fong Low

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Local restaurant—Oroville

1ST PLACE: Tong Fong Low

2051 Robinson St., 533-1488

There are few businesses in the North State that can boast 100 years of excellence. Tong Fong Low, which celebrated its centennial this year, is a diamond in the rough. Diners who frequent the Oroville restaurant rave about the chop suey (appropriate since the restaurant was originally called Charlie’s Chop Suey), the flavorful Cantonese items—try the cashew chicken!—and spicy Szechuan dishes. In fact, the restaurant has been so successful this past decade, it decided to open a second location in Chico, which has done well in its own right. It was awarded the honor this year of being named Best Asian Cuisine and also Best Take-Out.

2ND PLACE: The Steak House (at Gold Country Casino)

4020 Olive Highway, 538-4560

3RD PLACE: Papacito’s Mexican Grill & Cantina

1751 Oro Dam Blvd., 532-9344

Local restaurant—On the Ridge

1ST PLACE: Black Bear Diner

5791 Clark Road, 877-0877

Paradise residents know their diners. So when they choose Black Bear Diner as the Ridge’s best overall restaurant, you know it’s got to be good. Walk in on any weekend morning—or any time of day, any day of the week, for that matter—and you’ll likely be seated in a nearly full dining room. That’s because the food is consistently good, the service friendly and the ambiance perfect for anything from a family get-together to an omelet-and-pancakes date for two.

2ND PLACE: Meehos Mexican Restaurant

6808 Skyway, 877-7031

3RD PLACE: Smokie Mountain Steak House & Lounge

7039 Skyway, 872-3323


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New restaurant (opened in the past year)

1ST PLACE: Grana

198 E. Second St., 809-2304

When Grana opened its doors in downtown Chico, a rumble ensued. A pizza place in downtown Chico … did they know what they were up against? Apparently so. The refreshingly urban atmosphere is matched only by the consistently top-notch fare making its way from the kitchen and huge wood-fire oven behind the bar. Grana also serves up some delectable entrees as well as yummy small plates and salads. Chicoans also love the restaurant’s dedication to fresh, sustainable ingredients. Add to all this the features of outdoor dining and last month’s launch of happy-hour specials.

2ND PLACE: Aonami Sustainable Sushi

1008 W. Sacramento Ave., 924-3168

3RD PLACE: Wine Time

26 Lost Dutchman Drive, 899-9250

Cheap eats

1ST PLACE: La Comida

954 Mangrove Ave., 345-2254

“La comida” means “the dinner” in Spanish, but its first meaning is “the food.” Both are appropriate for this landmark restaurant, whose owners, the Pavis family, have been serving generations of loyal locals huge portions of their singular brand of fresh Mexican fast food since 1968. Good food and lots of it at low prices seems to be their watchword, and if that’s not a recipe for success, what is? For more than 40 years Chicoans have been flocking to the restaurant that is seemingly busy during every open hour.

2ND PLACE: La Cocina Economica

905 Wall St., 809-0370

3RD PLACE: Aca Taco

133 Broadway, 894-0191; and 1000 W. Sacramento Ave., 343-0909

Cozy Diner

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1ST PLACE: Cozy Diner

1695 Mangrove Ave., 895-1195

There’s no shortage of establishments serving up greasy-spoon delicacies in Chico, but locals flock to Cozy Diner time and time again. Maybe it’s the breakfast served all day, or the large portion sizes or fast, friendly servers … OK, it’s probably all of the above. We hear the chicken-fried steak is to die for, and the fried chicken isn’t far behind. When it’s homestyle you’re looking for, follow the locals to the Cozy Diner.

2ND PLACE: The Roost Café

1144 Park Ave., 892-1281

3RD PLACE: Morning Thunder

352 Vallombrosa Ave., 342-9717

Fine dining

1ST PLACE: 5th Street Steakhouse

345 W. Fifth St., 891-6328

2ND PLACE: Crush

201 Broadway, 342-7000

3RD PLACE: Red Tavern

1250 Esplanade, 894-3463

Date-night dining

1ST PLACE: Crush

201 Broadway, 342-7000

Sure, the name itself is the perfect complement to a night of romance, but Crush Italian restaurant and lounge does a lot more to provide the perfect atmosphere. Crush lives up to the promise of its mission of “unsurpassed appearance, class and decorum” by providing a warm interior with beautiful furniture, candlelit tables and a sleek waterfall, as well as a festive outdoor patio overlooking downtown Chico. And the menu, forget about it. Italian classics like chicken parmigiana, linguini and clams, and brick-oven pizzas, when paired with a glass of fine wine or a cocktail (or two), make for a nice long, warm evening of staring across the table into your lover’s eyes.

2ND PLACE: 5th Street Steakhouse

345 W. Fifth St., 891-6328

3RD PLACE: Red Tavern

1250 Esplanade, 894-3463


1ST PLACE: Upper Crust Bakery & Eatery

130 Main St., 895-3866

Again and again, the Upper Crust Bakery & Eatery lands in the No. 1 spot in the Best Bakery category. A local institution, the Upper Crust is loved as much for its sandwiches, salads, soups and black-bean chili as it is for its cookies, pastries and marvelous wedding cakes. Plus—as evidenced by its often packed indoor and outdoor seating—it’s a great place to meet a friend for lunch or Saturday-morning coffee.

2ND PLACE: Tin Roof Bakery & Café

627 Broadway, 345-1362

3RD PLACE: Mim’s Bakery

890 Humboldt Ave., 345-3331

Sin of Cortez

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1ST PLACE: Sin of Cortez

2290 Esplanade, 879-9200

A true Chico hotspot on Saturday and Sunday mornings, Sin of Cortez does breakfast a little different than your average breakfast joint. Specialty omelets, fruit-filled pancakes, seasoned potatoes and an excellent selection of coffee separates this popular eatery from the pack. The staff is always fast and friendly. If you slept through the morning hours, never fear—breakfast is served until 2 p.m.

2ND PLACE: Café Coda

265 Humboldt Ave., 566-9476

3RD PLACE: Morning Thunder Café

352 Vallombrosa Ave., 342-9717


1ST PLACE: Broadway Heights California Cuisine

300 Broadway, 899-8075

What’s not to like about Broadway Heights? The eatery is located in one of the nicest spots in the downtown core; the second floor of the Phoenix Building, overlooking Broadway. There really isn’t a bad seat in the house. Add to that ambiance a vast selection of gourmet sandwiches on delicious fresh-baked focaccia bread and some delicious salads (try the prosciutto Caesar!) and you’ve pretty much got the perfect recipe for an unbeatable lunch spot. Readers also chose the eatery as Best Business Lunch.

2ND PLACE: T. Tea Bar & Fusion Café

250 Vallombrosa Ave., 895-8100

3RD PLACE: Pluto’s

201 Main St., 343-0165

Business lunch

1ST PLACE: Broadway Heights California Cuisine

300 Broadway, 899-8075

2ND PLACE: Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Taproom & Restaurant

1075 E. 20th St., 345-2739

3RD PLACE: 5th Street Steakhouse

345 W. Fifth St., 891-6328

Spot to satisfy your sweet tooth

1ST PLACE: Jon & Bon’s Yogurt Shoppe

300 Broadway, 899-9580 and 1722 Mangrove Ave., 899-0484

In a town full of frozen-yogurt shops, Jon & Bon’s continues to outshine the competition. If you’ve lived in Chico for any length of time (especially during the summer!) and haven’t tried one of Jon & Bon’s delicious frozen yogurts, you are definitely missing out. The local favorite with two locations offers a variety of toppings as well as specialty drinks and desserts. As a bonus, they consistently offer sugar-free flavors.

2ND PLACE: Powell’s Sweet Shoppe

121 W. Third St., 332-9866

3RD PLACE: Cupcake Crusader

782 East Ave., 899-1100

Local coffee house

1ST PLACE: Bidwell Perk

664 E. First Ave., 899-1500

This centrally located coffee house has a steady stream of loyal customers throughout the morning and the day. In addition to serving up top-quality teas and coffee drinks, Bidwell Perk offers breakfast and lunch fare with a many health-conscious options, including several salads. The shop is a great place to order up a latte and settle in at a cozy table or soft chair with a good book or a laptop (take advantage of the free Wi-Fi).

2ND PLACE: The Naked Lounge

118 W. Second St., 895-0676

3RD PLACE: Cal Java Coffee Roasters

Various locations

Food server

1ST PLACE: Taylor Gibbons (Outback Steakhouse)

1990 East 20th St., 899-8112

Food service is no easy business, but Outback Steakhouse’s Taylor Gibbons makes it look like a breeze. The bubbly college student is quick to smile and chat with customers, putting them instantly at ease and ensuring they receive the best quality food and service. Co-workers call her a “breath of fresh air,” adding that she clearly cares about her job and her positive attitude rubs off on those around her.

2ND PLACE (tie): Laura Baume (Japanese Blossoms)

2995 Esplanade, Ste. 104, 891-9022

2ND PLACE (tie): Tommy Bradford (Grana)

198 E. Second St., 809-2304

2ND PLACE (tie) : Dawn McGaffick (Broadway Heights California Cuisine)

300 Broadway, 899-8075

Asian cuisine

1ST PLACE: Tong Fong Low

2072 E. 20th St., Ste. 100, 898-1388

2ND PLACE: Happy Garden

180 Cohasset Road, 893-2574

3RD PLACE: Cocodine Thai Cuisine

2485 Notre Dame Blvd., 891-1800

Priya Indian Cuisine

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International cuisine

1ST PLACE: Priya Indian Cuisine

2574 Esplanade, 899-1055

This restaurant has been a wonderful addition to the Chico dining scene since the day it opened. Folks were hungry for a good Indian restaurant, and Priya gave them what they wanted. Meat lovers and vegetarians alike love the restaurant’s diverse menu, with items such as fall-off-the-bone tandoori chicken and mouth-watering eggplant curry. Get an excellent sampling by ordering a thali dinner, which comes with one main feature, six small sides, naan bread, and a choice of three desserts. Or try the impressive lunch buffet, served every day from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

2ND PLACE: Cocodine Thai Cuisine

2485 Notre Dame Blvd., 891-1800

3RD PLACE: Sipho’s Restaurant and Café

1228 Dayton Road, 895-1866

Mexican cuisine

1ST PLACE: Casa Ramos

216 W. East Ave., 894-0119 and 2490 Park Ave., 893-5050

Casa Ramos is a Northern California institution that offers a dazzling array of Mexican dishes at two Chico locations. This small family-owned chain is especially known for serving up generous portions of lovingly prepared Mexican fare. Build a king-sized combination plate with two of your favorites—enchiladas, tacos, chile relleno, you name it—and a healthy serving of rice and beans, or try one of the specialty dishes like the seafood molcajete (a stew of shrimp, scallops and whitefish) and you’re guaranteed a singular sit-down dining experience.

2ND PLACE: Tres Hombres Long Bar & Grill

100 Broadway, 342-0425

3RD PLACE: La Hacienda

2635 Esplanade, 893-8270

Italian Cottage

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Italian cuisine

1ST PLACE: Italian Cottage

2234 Esplanade, 343-7000 and 2525 Dominic Drive, 342-7771

With its sawdust-covered floors, red-and-white-checkered table cloths and delicious cucina Italiana, Italian Cottage offers a unique dining experience at both of its locations. It’s like visiting a classic Italian trattoria without leaving Chico. With its comforting atmosphere and vast array of Italian classics, from pizza and sandwiches to its famous “Valley lasagna,” it’s easy to see why the Cottage is a reader favorite. Try the roasted garlic. It’s fabulous!

2ND PLACE: Sicilian Café

1020 Main St., 345-2233

3RD PLACE: Franky’s

506 Ivy St., 898-9948

Place for vegetarian food

1ST PLACE: Grilla Bites

196 Cohasset Road, 343-4876

At the heart of Grilla Bites is one of the most expansive and impressive salad bars you’re likely to find in Chico, stocked with a huge selection of delicious organic ingredients. Or if you don’t feel like building your own, they have a number of veggie-filled sandwich melts to suit any taste, and a fantastic portobello burger. They also offer meat dishes, including dolphin-free tuna and buffalo burgers. Tucked away in the Garden Villa Plaza on Cohasset, Grilla Bites is open every day for lunch and dinner, and offers breakfast on weekends.

2ND PLACE: T. Bar & Fusion Café

250 Vallombrosa Ave., 895-8100

3RD PLACE: Pluto’s Restaurant

201 Main St., 343-0165


1ST PLACE: The Rawbar

346 Broadway, 897-0626

Rawbar has won over Chico’s sushi lovers year after year with its impressive menu and creative specials. It’s also won over other folks by offering a selection of non-fish fare such as mouth-watering baby back ribs. The restaurant’s elegantly modern atmosphere is welcoming to couples, larger parties and families alike. So, cozy up in a corner or chat up the sushi chefs at the long bar and gorge down.

2ND PLACE: Japanese Blossoms

2995 Esplanade, 891-9022

3RD PLACE: Big Tuna Sushi Bistro

1722 Mangrove Ave., 345-4571

Meals on wheels

1ST PLACE: Gordo Burrito No. 2

Eighth and Pine streets

Year after year, the taco-shop-on-wheels at Eighth and Pine streets consistently captures the hearts and minds of Chico’s food lovers. Formerly known as El Paisa but now called Gordo Burrito No. 2, the name change is to reflect the truck’s association with the Uriarte clan, who serve tasty Mexican cuisine at three locations, each overseen by three brothers. All of the typical taco truck fare can be found here—carne asada, al pastor and more—as well as a number of fantastic shrimp dishes.

2ND PLACE: Tacos El Pinolero

2732 Esplanade and 275 E. Park Ave.

3RD PLACE: Cupcake Crusader

752 East Ave., 899-1100

Champagne brunch

1ST PLACE: Nash’s 7th Avenue Omelette House

1717 Esplanade, 896-1147

Whether you’re looking to cap off a long weekend or reinvigorate for the final stretch, Sunday-morning champagne brunch is always a fantastic option. Many a Chicoan’s favored destination to engage in the age-old pastime is Nash’s. Tucked away in the Avenues, the homey spot offers a full breakfast menu, including a dozen different omelets, and an attentive staff that strives to keep your glass from running dry.

2ND PLACE: Italian Cottage

2234 Esplanade, 343-7000; and 2525 Dominic Drive, 342-7771

3RD PLACE: Café Coda

265 Humboldt Ave., 566-9476

Wine Time

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Small bites (apps/tapas)

1ST PLACE: Wine Time

26 Lost Dutchman Drive, 899-9250

For an eatery open only six months, and in one of John Bidwell’s old pig barns at that, Wine Time sure has made quick work of spreading the word about its fabulous small bites. With a “diabolical” menu inspired by local, seasonal ingredients, Wine Time offers a lot out of a little, specializing in small plates to tantalize the taste buds without filling you up on any one flavor. Each bite can be matched with a wine, making this north Chico establishment fun for a group of friends or a romantic evening.

2ND PLACE: Crush

201 Broadway, 342-7000

3RD PLACE: Christian Michaels Ristorante

192 E. Third St., 894-4005


1ST PLACE: Burger Hut

Various locations

There’s just something about getting handed a freshly grilled Burger Hut burger straight from the cooks and then dressing it yourself at the “Fresh Fixin’s Bar.” That’s where you’ll find two types of pickles, jalapenos and special sauce, and also the regular fixings such as lettuce, onion and tomatoes. Burger Hut’s patties are high-quality: 100 percent fresh-ground USDA grade A beef. It’s no wonder there are three locations in town.

2ND PLACE: Nobby’s

1444 Park Ave., 342-2285

3RD PLACE: Burgers & Brew

201 Broadway, 879-9100


1ST PLACE: Aca Taco

133 Broadway, 894-0191 and 1000 W. Sacramento Ave., 343-0909

Aca Taco has long been a Chico favorite when it comes to burritos. The portions are generous—even the poquito burrito is pretty darn big. The ingredients are scrumptious and the service is fast and friendly. We’ve always liked a place where you can see your food getting prepared. It’s a popular lunch spot for downtown employees as well as high schoolers and college students, who patronize both the downtown and West Sacramento Avenue locations.

2ND PLACE: Gordo Burrito

1295 E. Eighth St., 809-1211

3RD PLACE: Chipotle

620 Mangrove Ave., 343-8707

Hot dog

1ST PLACE: The Dog House

1008 W. Sacramento Ave., 894-3641 and 1354 East Ave., 894-2242

This is the kind of dog house you definitely want to be in—and there are two of them! The Dog House locations at East and Nord avenues crank out some delicious takes on an American classic, and they do burgers, too! You can also get some Dog House dogs at the One-Mile Recreation Area’s concessions stand from May to September.

2ND PLACE: Costco

2100 Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway, 342-6494

3RD PLACE: Zot’s Hot Dogs & Deli

225 Main St., 345-2820


1ST PLACE: Celestino’s Live From New York Pizza & Deli

101 Salem St., 896-1234 and 1354 East Ave., 345-7700

Tom Jones, Olive Special, the Godfather. Are you drooling? If not, you probably haven’t eaten at this quintessential New York-style pizzeria. Celestino’s may have started as a student favorite, but all of Chico has embraced it. The pizzeria is best know for its thin-crust pies, but also serves up delicious sandwiches, salads, pasta and other Italian food fare.

2ND PLACE: Woodstock’s Pizza

166 E. Second St., 893-1500

3RD PLACE: Farm Star Pizza

2359 Esplanade, 343-2056


1ST PLACE: Spiteri’s Deli

971 East Ave., 891-4797

Spiteri’s Deli is a sandwich lover’s dream, offering consistently delicious masterpieces with a wide selection of quality meats, cheeses, fresh vegetables and breads (the Dutch crunch is especially worth checking out). Spiteri’s also offers a variety of delectable specialty salads and traditional deli-counter favorites like meatloaf and bagel dogs, as well as a wide selection of bottled beers, with a few on tap as well. Try the Fiesta Lasagna!

2ND PLACE: Great Harvest Bread Co.

Various locations

3RD PLACE: Broadway Heights California Cuisine

300 Broadway, 899-8075

Ice Cream

1ST PLACE: Shubert’s Ice Cream & Candy

178 E. Seventh St., 342-7163

Shubert’s is a destination in Chico. It’s been serving up ice cream and dolling out candy at the same location for the past 74 years. The shop’s products are made on site and the staff still uses one of founder and namesake Leonard Shubert’s five-gallon ice-cream-making machines. And the place is still owned and operated by Shubert’s descendants. Along with the great variety of ice cream flavors, check out the truffles, mints and almond clusters. Most of the ingredients, like honey, butter and nuts are purchased from local farms.

2ND PLACE: Jon & Bon’s Yogurt Shoppe

Various locations

3RD PLACE: Cold Stone Creamery

146 Broadway, 891-3331


1ST PLACE: Tong Fong Low

2072 E. 20th St., Ste. 100, 898-1388

2ND PLACE: Happy Garden

180 Cohasset Road, 893-2574

3RD PLACE: Bacio Catering & Take Out

1903 Park Ave., 345-7787

Drunk munchies

1ST PLACE: The Banshee

132 W. Second St., 895-9670

2ND PLACE: Aca Taco

133 Broadway, 894-0191 and 1000 W. Sacramento Ave., 343-0909

3RD PLACE: Franky’s

506 Ivy St., 898-9947

Local winery

1ST PLACE: New Clairvaux Vineyard

26240 Seventh St., 839-2161

Nearly a decade of tending the harvest and turning a variety of grapes into delicious wines has clearly paid off for the Trappist monks in Vina’s New Clairvaux Vineyard, led by fifth-generation winemaker Aimee Sunseri. The winery produces reds, whites and rosés—check out the newly released 2010 St. James Syrah—and has collaborated on several beers with Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. But the Abbey of New Clairvaux offers more than just a tasting room, and a 45-minute tour reveals the impressive grounds, rich in both beauty and history.

2ND PLACE: La Rocca Vineyards

12360 Doe Mill Road, Forest Ranch, 899-9463

3RD PLACE: Bertagna Son Kissed Vineyard

3363 Hegan Lane, 343-1623

Ann Leon

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1ST PLACE: Ann Leon (Leon Bistro)

817 Main St., 899-1105

With a résumé that starts at San Francisco’s California Culinary Academy and includes stops at the world-renown Chez Panisse in Berkeley and up the hill from there at the Claremont Hotel as its head restaurant chef, it’s no surprise that chef Ann Leon has made such a big impression on Chico. Not only does she have her name on the sign of the restaurant for which she provides a popular menu of fresh, contemporary California Cuisine, but the chef also connects to the city by inviting customers into the kitchen for regular themed classes—every thing from the basics of Indian cuisine to the paleo diet.

2ND PLACE: James Taylor (Sicilian Café)

1020 Main St., 345-2233

3RD PLACE: Rebecca Stewart (Spice Creek Café)

230 W. Third St., 891-9951


1ST PLACE: Bacio Catering & Carry Out

1903 Park Ave., 345-7787

Bacio’s amazingly delish food fare and artful presentation made it the readers’ choice for Best Caterer again this year. In addition to its catering services, the Park Avenue headquarters offers take-away lunches and dinners made with fresh ingredients (not to mention local and organic) and with flair and creativity. One taste of Bacio’s pulled organic Llano Seco pork sandwich or turkey-spinach meatballs is enough to get you hooked, as the patrons slipping in Bacio’s front door at 6:45 p.m. on a weeknight (it closes at 7 p.m.) to buy dinner boxes will attest.

2ND PLACE: Special Times Catering

2500 Floral Ave., 892-2837

3RD PLACE: Italian Guy Catering

28 Bellarmine Court, 321-3456

Nightlife & The Arts


1ST PLACE: The Banshee

132 W. Second St., 895-9670

The Banshee has established a faithful following, drawing in customers with its excellent offerings of foreign brews and liquor as well as some delicious pub grub to soak it all up. The fish tacos and macaroni and cheese are two menu favorites. And a burger from the bar’s outside window is an especially good way of capping off a night of boozing.

2ND PLACE: Duffy’s Tavern

337 Main St., 343-7718

3RD PLACE: Madison Bear Garden

316 W. Second St., 891-1639


1ST PLACE: Spirits Lounge (at Gold Country Casino)

4020 Olive Highway, 538-4560

Probably your best chance of getting to bust out singing “I Got Friends in Low Places” with a rockin’ cover band on a Friday night is Gold Country Casino’s lively Spirits Lounge. In addition to wide-screen TVs for sports fans, daily drink specials (including Microbrew Mondays, with $2 pints), there is always a packed slate of free DJ, comedy and live-music entertainment.

2ND PLACE: Feather Falls Casino Brewing Co.

3 Alverda Drive, 533-8944

3RD PLACE: Montgomery Street Pub

1933 Montgomery St., 533-0900

Bar—On the Ridge

1ST PLACE: Canteena

6067 Skyway, 877-5215

If you want to party on the Ridge, there is one place that has checked off all the boxes on the good-time party list: Pro football and Giants baseball on widescreens: check. Cold beer: double-check. Pub-grub: yup. Karaoke, DJ dancing and live cover bands: check-it on the dance floor. “Canteena” sign with double-e and big cactus “t”: Just go check it out already!

2ND PLACE: King’s Tavern

5771 Clark Road, 877-7100

3RD PLACE: Smokie Mountain Steak House & Lounge

7039 Skyway, 872-3323

Duffy’s Tavern

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Watering hole for townies

1ST PLACE: Duffy’s Tavern

337 Main St., 343-7718

If you’ve lived in Chico for any amount of time (and you’re of age) but have never stepped foot in Duffy’s, you might want to think twice about calling yourself a Chicoan. Duffy’s Tavern is where the townies go for a Pabst Blue Ribbon or a stiff cocktail. It’s kind of like that one bar on that TV show in the ‘80s, you know, the one where everybody knows your name. It’s nearly impossible to walk into this cozy downtown pub without recognizing at least five or six people you know. The bartenders also know how to make a mean Bloody Mary, the best in town, in fact.

2ND PLACE: The Town Lounge

327 Main St., 896-0235

3RD PLACE: The Banshee

132 W. Second St., 895-9670

Place to grab a beer and cheer

1ST PLACE: The Banshee

132 W. Second St., 895-9670

2ND PLACE: Bella’s Sports Pub

134 Broadway; 893-5253

3RD PLACE: The Graduate

344 W. Eighth St., 343-2790

Place to bust a move

1ST PLACE: LaSalles

229 Broadway, 893-1891

LaSalles ain’t no “fern bar” anymore. The long-ago hangout of lawyers and bearded professors has been party central in downtown Chico for years now. But it’s not just college kids bustin’ moves. Happy-hour Thursdays feature live bands on the outdoor patio, where a wide range of Chico rug-cutters blow off steam to classic-rock cover bands in the early evening. But once the party heats up at night downtown, the scene shifts with DJs (and, a couple/few nights a week, live rock and rap acts) bumpin’, and hot dance parties blowin’ up both outside and inside on the big dance floor.

2ND PLACE: The Beach

191 E. Second St., 898-9898

3RD PLACE: Crazy Horse Saloon & Brewery

303 Main St., 894-5408

Drink with a view

1ST PLACE: Crush

201 Broadway, 342-7000

2ND PLACE: Scotty’s Landing

12609 River Road, 893-2020

3RD PLACE: Tres Hombres Long Bar & Grill

100 Broadway St., 342-0425

Sierra Nevada Big Room

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Venue for live tunes

1ST PLACE: Sierra Nevada Big Room

1075 E. 20th St., 345-2739

It’s often said of the Big Room that there’s not a bad seat in the house, and it’s true. This 350-seat auditorium inside the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., with its mahogany tables and brass railings, is one class act. It regularly sells out because of the quality of the nationally known bands that play there, its amazing acoustics and the great views from anywhere in the house. Its intimate, classy setting has been the stage for many live TV concerts and DVDs. All ages welcome, with dinners sold before each show, and of course Sierra Nevada’s world-famous beer, in addition to an array of wines and nonalcoholic drinks.

2ND PLACE: Laxson Auditorium

Chico State campus

3RD PLACE: LaSalles

229 Broadway, 893-1891

Happy hour

1ST PLACE: Crush

201 Broadway, 342-7000

2ND PLACE: Christian Michaels Ristorante

192 E. Third St., 894-4005

3RD PLACE: Riley’s

702 W. Fifth St., 343-7459

Place for a glass of wine

1ST PLACE: Monks Wine Lounge & Bistro

128 W. Second St., 343-3408

Sure, being a “wine lounge” by definition is a good start for being the top destination for a glass of wine, but Monks has a lot more going for it. First off, it’s right in downtown Chico, just steps away from the plays and concerts that go so well with a pre- or post-show glass of wine. And, the food is just as impressive as the wines. Monks features a full menu of fine-dining faves—steaks, seafood—and wine-friendly tapas items (bacon-wrapped dates, dolmas, polenta, to name a few) to go along with the impressive selection of fine wines, including many very affordable selections.

2ND PLACE: Wine Time

26 Lost Dutchman Drive, 899-9250

3RD PLACE: Christian Michaels Ristorante

192 E. Third St., 894-4005


1ST PLACE: Evan Billman (Christian Michaels)

192 E. Third St., 894-4005

For a night out on the town, there’s little better than a delicious cocktail with friends, except maybe a delicious cocktail served by a handsome, courteous and witty mixologist. And Evan Billman, head bartender at Christian Michael’s Ristorante downtown, fits that bill quite nicely.

2ND PLACE: Jake Smith (Crazy Horse Saloon & Brewery)

303 Main St., 894-5408

3RD PLACE: Wendy Reid (Studio Inn Lounge)

2582 Esplanade, 343-0662


1ST PLACE: Crush

201 Broadway, 342-7000

2ND PLACE: Christian Michaels Ristorante

192 E. Third St., 894-4005

3RD PLACE: Johnnie’s Lounge

220 W. Fourth St., 893-3100

Bloody Mary

1ST PLACE: Duffy’s Tavern

337 Main St., 343-7718

2ND PLACE: Nash’s Restaurant

1717 Esplanade, 896-1147

3RD PLACE: Joe’s Bar

749 W. Fifth St., 894-3612


1ST PLACE: Tres Hombres Long Bar & Grill

100 Broadway St., 342-0425

“Meet me at Tres” is a phrase often heard escape the lips of many a college-aged and older denizen of Chico, and more often than not the goal of the meeting is to partake of the establishment’s excellent margaritas. The bar serves more than 120 varieties of tequila, and can whip up traditional margaritas or an array of fruity blended concoctions (strawberry, raspberry, peach, melon, mango, banana and passion fruit) by the pitcher or in two sizes. Tres Hombres also has other exotic drinks and a full menu of Mexican fare.

2ND PLACE: Casa Ramos

216 W. East Ave., 894-0119; and 2490 Park Ave., 893-5050

3RD PLACE: La Hacienda

2635 Esplanade, 893-8270

Local music act

1ST PLACE: Mossy Creek

Bluegrass band Mossy Creek proves time and time again—with numerous CAMMIES awards and a Best of Chico already under its belt—that it’s a musical force to be reckoned with. The group of a multitalented and accomplished musicians and singers play everything from traditional favorites to original tunes.

2ND PLACE: The Hooliganz

3RD PLACE: Kyle Williams


1ST PLACE: DJ Jigga Julee

You don’t have to leave your house to hear DJ Jigga Julee playing the hottest hits. That’s because when she isn’t getting the booties shakin’ at Chico hotspots like the Beach, she’s on Power 102.5 FM. Jigga Julee’s skill on the turntables helped her beat out the competition, but we’re sure the fact that she’s smokin’ hot didn’t hurt!


3RD PLACE: Brandon Walters

Karaoke night

1ST PLACE: Madison Bear Garden

316 W. Second St., 891-1639

Karaoke on Monday nights at the Bear is very nearly an institution in Chico. What’s better than getting a big, juicy burger, downing a pint or two (for courage) and then heading up to the patio stage to belt it out like Kelly Clarkson or Elvis? We’re confident more than a few guys—and girls—have gotten lucky thanks to their Bear-E-oke. Cheers to that!

2ND PLACE: LaSalles

229 Broadway, 893-1891

3RD PLACE: The Maltese Bar & Tap Room

1600 Park Ave., 343-4915

Blue Room Theatre

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Theater company

1ST PLACE: Blue Room Theatre

139 W. First St.; 895-3749

The little black-box theater above Collier Hardware has been the lively heart of Chico’s community-theater scene for most of its 18-year existence. From its backyard roots at the Butcher Shop avant happenings to its current slate of modern and contemporary mainstage productions and rich children’s theater program, the Blue Room Theatre has grown in into one of the pillars of the Chico community.

2ND PLACE: Chico Theater Company

166 W. Eaton Road, 894-3282

3RD PLACE: California Regional Theater

3851 Morrow Lane, (800) 722-4522

Place to buy art

1ST PLACE: Chico Paper Co.

345 Broadway, 891-0900

This downtown gallery and framing store may make the most creative use of space of any shop in Chico. Artwork is everywhere, even hanging from the ceilings. But it’s no gimmick: Chico Paper Co. carries the work of some of Chico’s finest artists, from acclaimed printmaker Jake Early and sculptor Matt Auvinen to photographers Geoff Fricker and Bill Di Grazia and painters Cynthia Schildhauer and Claudia Steel. Chico Paper also offers custom framing and an amazing selection of handmade papers from around the world.

2ND PLACE: Avenue 9 Gallery

180 E. Ninth Ave., 879-1821

Chico Paper Co.

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3RD PLACE: Art Etc.

122 W. Third St., 895-1161

Place to see art

1ST PLACE: Avenue 9 Gallery

180 E. Ninth Ave., 879-1821

Located up The Esplanade from downtown Chico, Avenue 9 Gallery is a remarkable space filled with an ever-changing rotation of artists and their works. Officially a guild, the gallery has 20 member artists, who regularly display the fruits of their passion, but they also open up the space to guest artists and the community and collaborate often with Chico State and Butte College art students and faculty.

2ND PLACE: Chico Paper Co.

345 Broadway, 891-0900

3RD PLACE: Chico Art Center

450 Orange St., 895-8726

Local artist

1ST PLACE (tie): Jake Early

1ST PLACE (tie): Janet Lombardi Blixt

Each of these artists has taken this award in years past, so it’s only fitting that they share the honor at least once. We know printmaker Jake Early mostly for his signature boldly colored serigraph series of various iconic Chico features in the windows of Chico Paper Co.—everything from Bear Hole to the farmers’ market. Plein-air painter Janet Lombardi Blixt’s works have shown all over Chico—including at her downtown Chico Art School gallery/school—and some of her best-known pieces have also featured iconic local institutions, such as Big Al’s Drive In and the façade of Duffy’s Tavern.

2ND PLACE: Lee Wright

3RD PLACE: Sea Monster (Christine Fulton)


1ST PLACE: Gold Country Casino

4020 Olive Highway, Oroville; 538-4560

The casino’s slogan is “Where the stars play,” but anyone can get a taste of the fine life at Gold Country Casino. Enjoy live music by national acts and enjoy the tables and slots. Gold Country is home to one of Oroville’s most popular bars, the Spirits Lounge. It also boasts a multi-tiered steakhouse offering a striking panoramic view of the North Valley (nearby Table Mountain is particularly spectacular). The atmosphere ensures everyone can feel like a winner.

2ND PLACE: Feather Falls Casino

3 Alverda Drive, Oroville; 533-3885

3RD PLACE: Rolling Hills Casino

2655 Barham Ave., Corning; 528-3500

Health / Wellness

Chico Community Acupuncture

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Acupuncture clinic

1ST PLACE: Chico Community Acupuncture

1057 Village Lane, 345-5300

Chico Community Acupuncture has come a long way in just a few short years. The clinic, part of the People’s Organization of Community Acupuncture cooperative, opened in Chico in 2010 and has already won two Best of Chico recognitions. This year they take the title for Best Acupuncture Clinic and Best Alternative Health-care Provider, which should come as no surprise. The acupuncturists strive to provide a friendly, healing environment for their clients, and they offer their services on a sliding scale depending on how much a patient can pay. The clinic also practices traditional Chinese medicine, offering herbal remedies for common ailments.

2ND PLACE: Adam Moes

689 E. 18th St., 828-2589

3RD PLACE: The Pinwheel Community Acupuncture Project

740 Flume St., 345-5566

Local health-care provider

1ST PLACE: Argyll Medical Group

100 Independence Circle, 899-0295

The doctors behind Argyll Medical Group, including CEO Roy Bishop, have a long-established commitment to health care in Butte County. The eclectic group, named for Dr. Bishop’s homeland in Scotland, offers services in primary care, internal medicine, endocrinology and skin care.

2ND PLACE: Mission Ranch Primary Care

114 Mission Ranch Blvd., Ste. 10, 894-0500

3RD PLACE: Enloe Medical Center

1531 Esplanade, 332-7300

Alternative health-care provider

1ST PLACE: Chico Community Acupuncture

1057 Village Lane, 345-5300

2ND PLACE: Adam Moes

689 E. 18th St., 828-2589

3RD PLACE: Chico Doula Circle


1ST PLACE: John Asarian

10 Governors Lane, 343-8522

Dr. John Asarian is a true gem in Chico’s pediatrics community. Having founded Chico Pediatrics more than a decade ago, he’s dedicated his life to treating patients from birth to age 18. The colorful doctor enjoys talking about traveling, in particular his trip to Kenya last year, which was the inspiration behind Chico Pediatrics’ giraffe logo. It’s no wonder children and parents alike love their visits to “Dr. John.”

2ND PLACE: Patrick Tedford

643 W. East Ave., 342-0502

3RD PLACE : Robert Stanley

1427 Magnolia Ave., 896-1446

General practitioner

1ST PLACE: Herbert Lim

114 Mission Ranch Blvd., 894-0500

Finding a reliable family practice physician you trust is an absolute must, and Chicoans who know put their trust in Dr. Herbert Lim. They turn to him for whatever ails them, from ordinary medical issues to chronic illnesses. He’s praised for his timeliness, his bedside manner and his ability to explain medical conditions. His practice is part of Mission Ranch Primary Care, whose office also gets high marks for being courteous and easy to work with.

2ND PLACE: Corky Rey

114 Mission Ranch Blvd., 894-0500

3RD PLACE: Wayne Caviness

1040 Mangrove Ave., 345-0064Chiropractor

1ST PLACE: Fragoso Chiropractic Sports and Family Wellness Center

2062 Talbert Drive, 891-9010

Whether you hurt yourself lifting huge weights or hunching over a computer, Fragoso Chiropractic has got your back. Get it? John Fragoso treats patients of all ages, but specializes in athletes and practices ironman performance care. Customers with various types of injuries have counted on Fragoso for help, which is why he was chosen as Best Chiropractor.

2ND PLACE: Preference Chiropractic

1635 Magnolia Ave., 895-0224

3RD PLACE: Joyce Family Chiropractic

9 Frontier Circle, 899-8500

Babette Maiss

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Massage therapist

1ST PLACE: Babette Maiss

13 Williamsburg Lane, 321-5668

Babette Maiss has magical hands and a lot of satisfied and faithful customers, and has built her reputation through word of mouth. This is the Chico massage therapist’s fourth straight win. Maiss works with athletes, giving deep-tissue sports massages. She also specializes in prenatal massage, and offers lymphatic massage for post-cancer patients.

2ND PLACE: Amanda Loewen

113A W. Eighth Ave., 343-7522

3RD PLACE: Ashley Stevens

1376 Longfellow Way, 519-6388

Eye-care specialist

1ST PLACE: Chico Eye Center

605 W. East Ave., 895-1727

Chico Eye Center was founded in 1978, and has expanded from its north Chico location to a Paradise office as well as an office in south Chico, at 2056 Talbert Drive, Ste. 100, across from Wittmeier. Four ophthalmologists and two doctors of optometry offer routine eye exams, prescribe glasses and contacts, diagnose diseases of the eye, prescribe needed medications, and perform eye surgery when needed. Botox and Juvederm are among cosmetic services offered for improving the appearance of the skin around the eyes.

2ND PLACE: Family Eye Care

2565 Ceanothus Ave., Ste. 155, 899-3939

3RD PLACE: North Valley Eye Care

114 Mission Ranch Blvd., Ste. 50, 891-1900


1ST PLACE: Nelsen Family Dentistry

1307 Esplanade, 898-8511

Love isn’t likely the first thing that pops to mind when people think of dentistry, but there’s a love story at the heart of this family-focused dental office on The Esplanade. Doctors John and Melissa Nelsen met on the first day of dental school, graduated together in 1999, and opened the practice in 2000. Along with Dr. Thomas Farris, the Nelsens provide dental care for all ages.

2ND PLACE: William Moon

227 W. Sixth St., 342-3525

3RD PLACE: Chico Dental Care

236 W. Third St., 342-8314


1ST PLACE: In Motion Fitness

1293 E. First Ave., 343-5678

Need to get fit? Go In Mo! There, you’ll find pretty much all you could ever want in a workout facility: treadmills, elliptical machines, free weights and resistance machines, pools, a basketball gym, and a yoga studio (In Motion is also taking home the award for Best Yoga Studio and Best Place to pick up the CN&R!). In addition, there are numerous fitness classes, from spinning and interval training to pilates and Zumba. Personal trainers are there to help you meet your fitness goal, and there’s childcare for the little ones.

2ND PLACE: Chico Sports Club

260 Cohasset Road, 345-9427

3RD PLACE: Chico State WREC

Chico State campus

Place to take a dip

1ST PLACE: Sycamore Pool at One-Mile

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of people living in Chico who say they decided they wanted to move here when they saw Sycamore Pool for the first time. What other town has such a large and inviting pool in such a beautiful environment as the One-Mile Recreation Area in Bidwell Park. Now that the snack bar has reopened, the summer hotspot is the perfect place to relax, people watch and take a dip in the creek.

2ND PLACE: In Motion Fitness

1293 E. First Ave., 343-5678

3RD PLACE: Bear Hole

Upper Bidwell Park

Place for kids to play

1ST PLACE: Caper Acres

Where else in the world can you romp and climb on a chunk of Swiss cheese, a crooked house, a castle, a tree house, a mine shaft and a life-sized (pre-fall) Humpty Dumpty? What a great place for kids to play while their parents watch. Dogs and bicycles are not allowed and those over 13 must be accompanied by someone under 13 to get in. Caper Acres is open from 9 a.m. to sunset Tuesdays through Sundays.

2ND PLACE: DeGarmo Park

3RD PLACE: Bidwell Park

Yoga studio

1ST PLACE: In Motion Fitness

1293 E. First Ave., 343-5678

2ND PLACE: Chico Sports Club

260 Cohasset Road, 345-9427

3RD PLACE: Bikram Yoga Chico

1140 Mangrove Ave., Ste. B, 342-YOGA (9642)

Martial arts studio

1ST PLACE: Haley’s Martial Arts

260 Cohasset Road, 895-3114

Haley’s Martial Arts Center was born more than a quarter century ago, and the time that’s gone into fostering its dedication to teaching martial-arts enthusiasts has not gone unnoticed. Kyoshi Pat Haley, who travels to Japan yearly to complement his training, has created a space for Chicoans to learn and become part of a likeminded community.

2ND PLACE: Azad’s Martial Arts Family Center

313 Walnut St., Ste. 150, 892-2923

3RD PLACE: Nibukikan Martial Arts

636 Nord Ave., 342-1275

Valley Oak Veterinary Center

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Pet doctor

1ST PLACE: Valley Oak Veterinary Center

2480 Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway, 342-7387

For years, Acacia Veterinary Hospital took top honors in this category, so it should come as no surprise that the mega-vet center they merged into takes the cake for 2012. The brand-new facility, near Costco, is open 24 hours for emergencies and has a seriously sweet waiting area, with a coffee machine and several sofa areas to segregate the furry ones. After all, they’re the real clients.

2ND PLACE: Chico Animal Hospital

3015 Esplanade, 342-0518

3RD PLACE: Evers Veterinary Clinic

1150 El Monte Ave., 343-0713


Bidwell Mansion

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Architectural treasure

1ST PLACE: Bidwell Mansion

525 Esplanade, 895-6144

If there is one building in Chico that epitomizes the town’s image, it’s the Bidwell Mansion. That’s why, not only did locals vote for it as Best Architectural Treasure, they also banded together over the past year to raise more than $120,000 when it was threatened with closure. Community members love the home built by Chico founder John Bidwell, and it won’t get shuttered on their watch.

2ND PLACE: Senator Theatre

517 Main St., 891-1809

3RD PLACE: Stansbury House

307 W. Fifth St., 895-3848

Local do-gooder

1ST PLACE: Farshad Azad

Most Chicoans know Farshad Azad as the face of Azad’s Martial Arts Family Center, where the grandmaster teaches all manner of classes, from beginner’s karate to cardio kickboxing to self-defense. But over the years Azad has donated his time and skill to many local nonprofits, including the Sunshine Connection, the Chico State Advisory Board and its Public Safety Commission. Perhaps his most visible local philanthropic effort has been the Basket Brigade, an event he founded more than 20 years ago to provide Thanksgiving meals for needy Chico families. The list could go on and on, which is why, of course, Azad was chosen Best Local Do-gooder.

2ND PLACE: Judy Sitton, local philanthropist

3RD PLACE: Ken Grossman, Sierra Nevada Brewery owner

Rob Blair

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Local personality

1ST PLACE: Rob Blair


Chicoans truly love Rob Blair. This “local legend” of the Best of Chico awards has clearly won over audiences here in the North State, with his witty personality and bright, genuine smile. The weatherman and co-host of KHSL’s morning show, Wake Up!, has so much personality, in fact, that after the morning show is over he works as an afternoon deejay at Now 107.5 FM. Keep it coming, Rob.

2ND PLACE: Megan McMann


3RD PLACE: Kris Kuyper


Youth organization

1ST PLACE: Boys & Girls Club of Chico

601 Wall St., 899-0335

Boys & Girls Club of the North Valley has been providing youngsters aged 6 to 18 a positive, encouraging environment to participate in after-school programs since 1995. The nonprofit organization includes nine locations, 70 staffers and 300 volunteers who help more than 2,000 young people with homework and guided athletic activities for just $10 a year per child. For families unable to pay, scholarship opportunities are available.

2ND PLACE: Chico Area Recreation and Park District, 895-4711

3RD PLACE (tie): Sixth Street Drop In Center

130 W. Sixth St., 894-8008

3RD PLACE (tie): Boy Scouts of America


1ST PLACE: Kim Jaxon (Chico State)

This award is a particularly sweet one because not only is Kim Jaxon a beloved Chico State professor, her roots run deep in this community. A Chico native and Chico State alumna herself, she is an assistant professor of English, with a focus on literacy and the teaching of reading and writing. Students love her because of her passionate teaching style and energetic nature. Plus, her willingness to embrace technology—she uses online resources like Twitter, Tumblr and Google Docs in her teaching—shows she really speaks their language.

2ND PLACE: Sanjay Dev (Chico State, mathematics and statistics)

3RD PLACE (tie): Jesse Dizard (Chico State, anthropology)

3RD PLACE (tie): Ann Schulte (Chico State, education)

3RD PLACE (tie): Mark Stemen (Chico State, geography and planning)

Teacher K-12

1ST PLACE: Jennifer Rossovich (Hooker Oak Elementary School)

Sue Hegedus, principal at Hooker Oak Elementary School, calls teacher Jennifer Rossovich “the kindergarten whisperer.” Apparently, Rossovich has also won the admiration of many parents and students, who have chosen her as Best Teacher. Rossovich taught in the open-structured kindergarten for more than 10 years, and recently switched to teaching first grade. She has been an amazing mentor to Chico State student teachers. Hegedus said Rossovich possesses a unique “calm about her that everyone envies and tries to emulate. Her presence with students is one of respect and integrity.” Last year, Rossovich was named one of Butte County’s Teachers of the Year.

2ND PLACE: Margie Werner (Little Chico Creek Elementary)

3RD PLACE: Margie Taresh (Rosedale Elementary)

Place to pray/meditate

1ST PLACE: Lower Bidwell Park

Though decidedly less hectic than living in larger cities, the hustle and bustle of living anywhere can wear on one’s soul. Luckily, wherever you are in Chico, you’re not far from Bidwell Park, where a simple turn down one of the many walking paths can lead to the solitude and opportunity to connect with nature we all sometimes crave. From rolling green lawns to overgrown creekside spots and groves of ancient oak trees, Bidwell Park has something for everyone, any season.

2ND PLACE: Upper Bidwell Park

3RD PLACE: Bidwell Presbyterian

208 W. First St., 343-1484

Butte Humane Society

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Place to volunteer

1ST PLACE: Butte Humane Society

2579 Fair St., 343-7917

What can we say? Here is a place that serves a worthy purpose—housing and caring for our temporarily (we hope) displaced friends—and relies heavily on volunteers stepping up to the plate. And the shelter has improved lately with new dog kennels and the year-old care facility that also provides low-cost spay and neuter services, a major key to solving the overpopulation (and possible homelessness) of our four-footed friends, who will be genuinely grateful for your efforts.

2ND PLACE: Jesus Center

1297 Park Ave., 345-2640

3RD PLACE: Habitat for Humanity of Butte County

220 Myers St., 343-7423

Community event

1ST PLACE: A Taste of Chico

One of the most exciting events of the year, Taste of Chico is a one-day celebration of local food, art and music. This year’s 27th annual event was held on Sept. 9, and drew thousands of hungry participants into the closed-off streets of downtown Chico. They ate, drank and kicked back as local bands and artists showed why our fair city is the cultural hub of the North State.

2ND PLACE: Saturday Chico Certified Farmers’ Market

3RD PLACE: Thursday Night Market

Charitable cause—Chico

1ST PLACE: Butte Humane Society

2579 Fair St., 343-7917

2ND PLACE: Jesus Center

1297 Park Ave., 345-2640

3RD PLACE: Torres Community Shelter

101 Silver Dollar Way, 891-9048

Place to spend your last buck

1ST PLACE: The Dollar Tree

Various locations

When all they have left is a buck, Chicoans turn to the Dollar Tree to get their money’s worth. We can’t blame them—after all, where else can you go to turn a measly Washington into a four-pack of dish towels, a candelabra, a can of Progresso soup or a King James Bible? The opportunities are endless.

2ND PLACE: Duffy’s Tavern

337 Main St., 343-7718

3RD PLACE: Saturday Chico Certified Farmers’ Market

Place for eavesdropping

1ST PLACE: Starbucks

Various locations

When was the last time you sat in Starbucks, sipping a Pumpkin Spice Latté with your bestie, gossiping over last night’s escapades? Likelihood is the pair at the next table were digesting some of your racy rant along with their muffins. Or maybe you were taking turns eavesdropping on them! Chicoans love their Starbucks for a morning pick-me-up, catch-up session, making it the perfect place to overhear a juicy story or two.

2ND PLACE: Naked Lounge

118 W. Second St., 895-0676

3RD PLACE: Downtown Chico

Chris’ Egg Farm

Photo By Kyle Delmar, Kyle Emery, JoVan Johnson, Melanie MacTavish and CN&R staff

Farmers’ market vendor

1ST PLACE: Chris’ Egg Farm

When it comes to fresh eggs, Chris’ Egg Farm’s Chris Copley knows what he’s doing. Not only are all his 3,000 hens free-range, but he also vows to sell only eggs harvested that day. So come Saturday morning, the former helicopter pilot wakes up in the wee morning hours to gather his market wares from his Corning farm and totes them to Chico, much to his loyal customers’ delight. Whether he’s been voted the best for his eggs or his personable nature (have you been called “love” lately?), we’re not sure. He definitely gets props for offering discounts for reusing egg crates.

2ND PLACE: GRUB Cooperative

3RD PLACE: Chico Chai

Customer service

1ST PLACE: Rooney Law Firm

The folks at Rooney Law Firm, including its namesake, Michael Rooney, take great pride in helping people through tough times. And clearly their dedication to working personally with each client has paid off, earning them bragging rights for Chico’s Best Customer Service. The firm specializes in a range of legal areas, from civil to criminal defenses, from family law to personal-injury complaints. Testimonials on the firm’s website attest to Rooney’s willingness to go the extra mile for his clients, clearly a contributing factor in earning their votes.

2ND PLACE (tie): Collier Hardware

105 Broadway, 342-0195

2ND PLACE (tie): For Elyse

228 Broadway, 893-0106

Place to see and be seen

1ST PLACE: Saturday Chico Certified Farmers’ Market

Rain or shine, Chicoans turn out for the Saturday farmers’ market week after week for reliably fresh fruits and veggies, local meats and cheeses and handmade jewelry and other goods. And let’s face it—the farmers’ market is also a social experience, offering an opportunity to catch up with friends, neighbors and friendly vendors.

2ND PLACE: Thursday Night Market

3RD PLACE: Downtown Chico

Place to pick up the CN&R

1ST PLACE: In Motion Fitness

1293 E. First Ave., 343-5678

2ND PLACE: Chico State

3RD PLACE: Burger Hut

Various locations

Local website

1ST PLACE: Lulu’s Fashion Lounge

Locals love Lulu’s Fashion Lounge’s website because, simply put, it’s fab. When the brick-and-mortar boutique closed down a few years back, the Lulu’s family vowed to remain a part of Chico’s heart, digitally speaking. The site allows shoppers to easily search new styles from well-known and upcoming designers and to keep up-to-date on the trends via its A La Mode Blog. It’s a fun blend of online shopping and keeping it local.


3RD PLACE: Chico News & Review