Readers’ Picks

Your Chico winners for 2008

Goods and Services

Antiques Store:

1st PLACE: Eighth & Main Antique Center
745 Main St.; 893-5534

Wandering through Eighth & Main Antique Center is like going on a treasure hunt. You never know what kind of knickknacks, doodads and unique pieces you’ll find at this popular downtown establishment. Whether you’re searching for that special something for that special someone or just browsing, the store’s array of odd and interesting items will allow you to browse the day away.

2ND PLACE: Attic Treasures
325 Broadway; 343-0129

3RD PLACE: Sandy Gulch Furniture Co.
1916 Oleander Ave.; 345-4617

Auto Repair Shop

1ST PLACE: Guido’s Auto Precision
135 W. Eighth Ave.; 891-8313

Good mechanics, like good lawyers, are hard to come by. But when it comes to specialty import car service, Guido’s Auto Precision is where Chicoans park their BMWs, Saabs and Volvos when they need a tune-up. Since 1982, Guido and his crew have proven themselves superior auto technicians, boasting 75 years of combined factory-trained and certified experience. Italian born, ASE certified, as well as trained at Ferrari and Lamborghini factories in Italy, Guido has made Chico his home, earning the trust of many local professionals who testify to years of loyalty to this European automobile service shop.

2ND PLACE: Affordable Automotive
2106 Park Ave.; 892-1774

3RD PLACE: C & M Automotive
1188 E. Lassen Ave.; 343-5613


1ST PLACE: Tri Counties Bank
Various Locations

This locally owned bank started small—just one branch—but now has many locations in Chico and the surrounding area. It’s a full-service bank, offering products and services customers will find at national banks. It’s also got two sites housed inside area supermarkets and a conveniently located ATM on the Chico State campus, so students and locals have no trouble finding funds with Tri Counties.

2ND PLACE: Butte Community Bank
Various Locations

3RD PLACE: Washington Mutual
Various Locations

Bed and Breakfast

1ST PLACE: Goodman House Bed & Breakfast
1362 Esplanade; 566-0256

Set along the Sycamore-lined Esplanade, the historic Goodman House offers visitors the opportunity to experience a setting similar to what they might have encountered a century ago. Of course, the 102-year-old Colonial Revival home has been lovingly restored by owners Margo and Tom Graham and is updated with modern amenities, such as central heating and air-conditioning. Guests will enjoy a choice of five beautifully furnished bedrooms with private bathrooms and delicious gourmet breakfasts during their stay at this classic charmer in the heart of Chico.

2ND PLACE: The Grateful Bed
1462 Arcadian Ave.; 342-2464

3RD PLACE: Johnson’s Country Inn
3935 Morehead Ave.; 345-7829

Bike Shop

1ST PLACE: Campus Bicycles
330 Main St., 345-2081

It’s hard to walk by Campus Bicycles without drooling over the beautiful cruisers displayed on the sidewalk out front, but the service is what makes this place a Best of Chico winner. For 35 years, the business has been an integral part of the strong cycling community. A friendly staff will fully service any bike, including the Trek bikes sold at the downtown retailer.

2ND PLACE: Pullins Cyclery
801 Main St.; 342-1055

3RD PLACE: North Rim Adventure Sports
178 East Second St.; 345-2453

Book Store

1ST PLACE: Barnes & Noble Booksellers
2031 Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway; 894-1494

B&N is the closest thing to a supermarket of books. Not only does it have the largest selection in town, it also offers browsers comfy sofas for perusing the books and a Starbucks café where they can sit down with an espresso and a scone while they’re reading or talking. Like all bookstores, as well as libraries, it provides an energy jolt that comes from being in the presence of so much literature and knowledge.

2ND PLACE: Lyon Books & Learning Center
121 W. Fifth St.; 891-3338

3RD PLACE: Bookstore
118 Main St.; 345-7441

Car Dealership

1ST PLACE: Chuck Patterson Auto World
200 East Ave.; 895-1771

In addition to selling new and used Toyota, Dodge and Scion cars, trucks and SUVs, Chuck Patterson Auto World operates a full-service repair shop. Thanks to a recent remodel, this Chico dealership is now housed in a modern, attractive facility at its long-time home on East Avenue near the entrance to Highway 99. Head in and check out the new digs, and get some help from the business’ friendly staff.

2ND PLACE: Chico Volkswagen
902 Main St.; 891-6275

3RD PLACE: Wittmeier Auto Center
2288 Forest Ave.; 895-8181

Computer/ Electronics Store

1ST PLACE: Best Buy
2005 Forest Ave.; 566-1012

Oh, Best Buy. Who can resist your weekly specials on DVDs? Not Chicoans. This warehouse-like retailer in southeast Chico is jam packed with all the newest releases, plus a fairly decent selection of classics, both movies and music. The store also offers great deals on all the new gizmos and gadgets every geek needs for a proper tech arsenal. We’re talking all of latest in audio and video equipment, along with a wide variety of computers, software and accessories. Having trouble with your home computer? The Geek Squad’s there to help.

Goodman House

CN&R file photo

2ND PLACE: PCI Computers
225 Main St.; 891-4152

3RD PLACE: Tech Connection
973 East Ave.; 891-5464

Day Spa

1ST PLACE: The Poison Apple
131 Meyers St.; 899-7875

The Poison Apple has provided day-spa, hair and nail-care services to Chico customers since 2006. Clients rave about a variety of spa services, including hot stone massages. This year, these loyal customers voted the business No. 1 day spa, hair salon and nail salon, making it a triple threat. Head in for an array of unique services, such as eyelash perms and extensions, eyebrow tinting and amazing facials.

2ND PLACE: Agua Azul Oasis
40 Declaration Drive; 345-0226

3RD PLACE: Face (tie)
366 Rio Lindo Ave.; 342-3223

3RD PLACE: Urban Med Spa (tie)
3221 Cohasset Road; 891-8772


1ST PLACE: Christian & Johnson
250 Vallombrosa Ave.; 891-1881

Situated at the creekside end of the parking lot it shares with Morning Thunder Café, Christian & Johnson features a wide array of unique and seasonal flowers—from orchids, lilies and roses to the more unusual pink kangaroo paws, cottage-red yarrow flowers, and lime-green bells of Ireland. This favorite florist also offers a large selection of greeting cards and gift items, such as candles, kitchen towels, flower-planting kits, and silver platters and bowls from Mexico. Browse their online store ( before calling or going into their sweet-smelling shop to place your order.

2ND PLACE: Flowers by Rachelle
2485 Notre Dame Blvd.; 345-2661

3RD PLACE: San Francisco Flower Studio
116 Broadway; 895-3117

Grocery Store

1ST PLACE: Trader Joe’s
801 East Ave.; 343-9920

Why has Trader Joe’s been such a tremendous success in Chico? The store’s taken it a step above your average neighborhood grocer by traveling the world for the best-tasting foods and beverages to stock on its shelves. Check it out for yourself. Be adventurous and pick up some curry naan and a boilable packet of Indian fare (several varieties are available).While TJ’s main ingredients are innovation, value and honest pricing, the food is definitely what keeps customers coming back.

2060 E. 20th St.; 342-1599

3RD PLACE: Safeway
Various locations

Hair Salon/ Barbershop

1ST PLACE: The Poison Apple
131 Meyers St.; 899-7875

2ND PLACE: Salon Chic-O
509 Main St.; 893-2442

3RD PLACE: Blondie’s for Hair
175 Cohasset Road; 345-7774

Hardware Store

1ST PLACE: Collier Hardware
105 Broadway; 342-0195

Collier has been part of the Chico community since 1871, one year before the city was even incorporated. The quality inventory and excellent customer service keep the downtown store’s doors open to the public. These days, in addition to traditional hardware on well-stocked shelves, you’ll find odds and ends, along with gift items and a fantastic selection of kitchen gadgets, including percolators. A friendly, helpful staff will guide you to the right section for your needs, and they’ll even wrap your purchases.

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

Hotel Diamond’s antique furniture, lavish rooms, etched glass and distinctive woodworking make it a great option for visitors or locals simply looking for an in-town getaway. Beautifully restored, and representing the best of the city’s distinct past, lively present and bright future, this historic building is an asset to Chico’s downtown.

2ND PLACE: Oxford Suites
2035 Business Lane; 899-9090

3RD PLACE: Holiday Inn
685 Manzanita Court; 345-2491

Kids’ Clothier

1ST PLACE: For Kids Only (FKO)
365 East Ave.; 893-3454

Moms and dads who’ve been through the back-to-school shopping madness know all about FKO. For more than 20 years, it’s been the place to go for a wide variety of hip new duds, including shoes, for little and big kids, infants to juniors. Those familiar with the store know there’s also a selection of menswear.

2ND PLACE: Kat’s Meow
138 W. Third St.; 899-8811

3RD PLACE: Old Navy
2023 Forest Ave.; 892-0203

Men’s Clothier

1ST PLACE: Men’s Wearhouse
1960 E. 20th St.; 343-2685

Men’s Wearhouse offers guys everything from casual clothing to tuxedos, and it seems there’s always a good sale going on. The store is well-stocked with sweaters, shirts, suits and accessories, such as ties and belts. Like spokesman George Zimmer says, “You’re going to like the way you look … I guarantee it!”

2ND PLACE: Trucker
232 Broadway; 343-1073

3RD PLACE: JCPenney (tie)
1932 East 20th St. (Chico Mall); 899-8160

Chuck Patterson Auto World

Photo By Josh Graham

3RD PLACE: Kohl’s Department Store (tie)

1505 Springfield Dr.; 897-0920

Nail Salon

1ST PLACE: The Poison Apple
131 Meyers St.; 899-7875

2ND PLACE: Tammy Nails
1354 East Ave.; 899-8912

3RD PLACE: Blondie’s for Hair & Nails (tie)
175 Cohasset Road; 345-7774

3RD PLACE: OP Nails & Spa (tie)
2015 Forest Ave.; 343-9037


1ST PLACE: Little Red Hen
189 E. Eighth St.; 891-9100

This nonprofit nursery on the periphery of town offers a wide variety of indoor and outdoor plants displayed along well-tended pathways leading past and around tiered display tables and groves of small potted trees, bushes and shrubs. Keep in mind that profits from the organization aid disabled children. Little Red Hen also employs disabled people, who gain self-confidence and independence through their work experience.

2ND PLACE: The Plant Barn & Gift Shop
406 Entler Ave.; 345-3121

3RD PLACE: Hodges Nursery & Tree Farm
9681 Midway, Durham; 894-6598

Pet Store

1ST PLACE: Petco
2005 Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway; 899-1422

People love to spoil their pets and Petco is the place to go to do it right. We’re talking about a zillion toys ranging from simple, catnip-stuffed mice to rawhide bones big enough to use for a baseball bat. The store has practical stuff, too. How about 20 pounds of litter for that litter of kittens? A bag of parakeet seed? The jam-packed store also carries all manner of pet houses, cages and cat towers. And if you’re looking for a new pet, check here for cat and dog adoption offers as well as lots of fish, reptiles, hermit crabs and birds.

2ND PLACE: Northern Star Mills
510 Esplanade; 342-7661

3RD PLACE: Pet Works
2201 Pillsbury Road; 345-0934

Place for Auto Supplies/Accessories

1ST PLACE: Pep Boys Automotive Supercenter
1555 Mangrove Ave.; 895-1336

Remember when you bought that broken-down 1970 VW Bug to fix up? It may be three years and several thousand dollars later, but you’re still determined to finish the project and Pep Boys is the place to go for the new air filter, spark plugs and brakes you’re going to need to get that heap running. You can even log on to the company’s Web site ( to learn how to wash and wax the car when you’re done!

2ND PLACE: Kragen Auto Parts
485 Notre Dame Blvd.; 345-2782
1618 Mangrove Ave.; 893-8525

136 East Ave.; 892-8155
1843 Park Ave.; 892-8053

Place to Buy Home Furnishings

1ST PLACE: Ashley Home Furnishings
2101 Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway; 345-2616

Ashley’s huge showroom has become the go-to place for furniture in Chico for the past couple of years. The store’s giant inventory is filled with an array of furniture, from bedrooms to dining rooms, both ornate and simple, along with elegant decorating items and a wide selection of other home-interior goodies, such as rugs and mirrors.

2ND PLACE: Nantucket Home Furnishings
127 W. Third St.; 895-1038

3RD PLACE: Holbrook’s Clearance Center
1408 Park Ave.; 893-2019

Place to Buy Music Supplies

1ST PLACE: The Music Connection
973 East Ave.; 898-0110

From electric guitars to band instruments and sheet music to music accessories, The Music Connection has become the place to go in Chico for music supplies. Owner Sally Long MacMillan is known as a fierce advocate of music education, so she offers plenty of affordable, quality instruments for sale and rent, for both the budding and the seasoned musician. Private lessons are also offered on-site by some of Chico’s best musicians.

2ND PLACE: Herreid Music
824 Oroville Ave.; 894-7777

3RD PLACE: Best Buy
2005 Forest Ave.; 566-1012

Place to Buy Outdoor Gear

1ST PLACE: Mountain Sports
176 E. Third St.; 345-5011

Employees of Mountain Sports include some serious adventurers, but novices shouldn’t be intimidated by this downtown Chico store. Whether you’re beginning a new hobby or a pro looking for advanced equipment, this business has you covered. A friendly staff will give you the lowdown on an inventory that includes all the basics, plus a wide variety of specialty items and gadgets. When they aren’t helping you find the right camping, hiking, backpacking, skiing or climbing equipment, they’re out using those same products.

2ND PLACE: Chico Sports LTD
698 Mangrove Ave.; 894-1110

3RD PLACE: Big 5 Sporting Goods
1717 Mangrove Ave.; 891-1545

Place to Buy Specialty Foods

1ST PLACE: Trader Joe’s
801 East Ave.; 343-9920

2ND PLACE: S&S Organic Produce & Natural Foods
1924 Mangrove Ave.; 343-4930

3RD PLACE: Chico Natural Foods
818 Main St.; 891-1713

Place to Pick Up a Video Game

The Music Connection

Photo By Josh Graham

1ST PLACE: All the Best Video

245 Walnut St.; 893-2368
2422 Cohasset Road; 893-3155

It’s always nice to see a local business trump corporate dominance. A Chico mainstay, All the Best Video provides great customer service to back up its large selection of games. For four bucks you can rent a newer game for two days or an older one for five—enough time, if you dedicate yourself, to reach the last level.

2ND PLACE: Blockbuster
Various locations

3RD PLACE: Best Buy
2005 Forest Ave.; 566-1012

Place to Pick Up a Movie

1ST PLACE: Blockbuster Video
980 Mangrove Ave.; 342-0837
241 W. East Ave.; 892-8162

Action? Adventure? Drama? Comedy? Blockbuster’s large and diverse selection has it all—even a decent Foreign section—so it may be hard to decide on just one. Maybe you’ve been wanting to see the latest Coen brothers movie, or perhaps you want to reminisce with a classic Chris Farley flick. Whatever your taste, Chico’s two Blockbuster locations will surely have what you need—including popcorn and Milk Duds.

2ND PLACE: All the Best Video
Various locations

3RD PLACE: Hollywood Video
Various locations

Real Estate Office

1ST PLACE: Coldwell Banker DuFour Realty
1350 E. Lassen Ave.; 895-1545

<Founded by Tom and Ingrid DuFour, DuFour Realty has been serving the community for 36 years, finding its customers the perfect home, investment or commercial property. This north-Chico office boasts a large, helpful staff (more than 40 agents) and a helpful Web site (<a href="" target="_blank">

2ND PLACE: Century 21 Jeffries Lydon
1101 El Monte Road; 345-6618

3RD PLACE: W.M. Campbell Realty
120 Amber Grove Dr.; 342-9848

Shoe Store

1ST PLACE: Heel and Sole Shoes
708 Mangrove Ave.; 899-0725

Heel and Sole Shoes has been a mecca for shoe lovers since its grand opening in 2002. Every nook and cranny of this 8,000 square-foot store is filled with every imaginable style of footwear. From the newest, hippest sneakers for men, women and children, including name brands such as Puma and Converse, to simple, professional high heels, the store has got all of your footwear needs covered.

2ND PLACE: Robyn Marie’s Shoe Closet
215 Main St.; 566-1825

3RD PLACE: Johnson’s Comfort Shoes
1950 E. 20th St. (Chico Mall); 342-2310

Sporting Goods Store

1ST PLACE: Chico Sports LTD
698 Mangrove Ave.; 894-1110

Located just east of downtown, the locally owned Sports LTD offers a pretty amazing selection at its spacious store. Don’t go in expecting to see racks of bats, racquets and balls; this place caters to the active, outdoorsy type. And with the massive Bidwell Park mural on the wall, you’ll almost feel like you are outdoors. If you lead an active life, Sports LTD has many things that are up your alley, such as a full-service bike shop and a climbing wall that’s free and open to the public.

2ND PLACE: Big 5 Sporting Goods
1717 Mangrove Ave.; 891-1545

3RD PLACE: Mountain Sports
176 E. Third St.; 345-5011

Thrift Store

1ST PLACE: ARC Thrift Store
2020 Park Ave.; 343-3666

ARC is a lot more than your typical thrift store. The money from your purchases goes to a local program that serves the disabled in our community, so you’re actually helping others while getting a great deal. Socially conscious shopping on a tight budget—genius! The shop has a large selection, with tons of clothes, shoes and accessories, along with everything from golf clubs to a quirky selection of old records. Just have patience and ye shall be rewarded.

2ND PLACE: Thrifty Bargain
2432 Esplanade; 899-3360

3RD PLACE: Salvation Army
Various Locations

Women’s Clothier

212 Main St.; 343-3545

LuLu’s inventory changes often to keep up with the latest styles in the fashion world. Within its cute pink doors you’ll uncover a variety of belts, bags and accessories, including funky heels, cool purses and jewelry, along with the trendy threads that keep Chico girls (and women!)—looking hot. But the best part about this downtown shop is that it allows customers to stay stylish without breaking the bank.

2ND PLACE: For Elyse
228 Broadway; 893-0106

3RD PLACE: Artifax
247 Main St.; 343-7577

Tanning Salon

1ST PLACE: Perfect Tan
2995 Esplanade; 898-8000

Even at the end of a long, beautiful summer, some of us still find ourselves a nice shade of pasty white. For folks who have not been blessed by the gene-pool, a trip or two to Perfect Tan can make all the difference. And if UV rays aren’t your thing, a spray tan may be the way to go. For 25 bucks and about a minute of your time, you get an even—albeit temporary—glow.

2ND PLACE: Tropical Zone
1354 East Ave.; 893-3300

3RD PLACE: Cabo Sun & Beauty Studio
542 Broadway; 893-2226


1ST PLACE: Acacia Veterinary Hospital
479 East Ave.; 345-1338

When it comes to their animals, pet owners are careful to seek out trustworthy caregivers for their furry loved ones. Acacia Veterinary Hospital is a full-service facility featuring an in-house laboratory, pharmacy and surgery center, plus grooming and boarding services for cats and dogs. You would be hard-pressed to find a more dependable resource than an operation that’s been serving Chico’s pet-care needs since 1970.

ARC Thrift Store

Photo By Josh Graham

2ND PLACE: Evers Veterinary Clinic
1150 El Monte Ave.; 343-0713

3RD PLACE: Mangrove Veterinary Hospital
1900 Mangrove Ave.; 891-4818

Food and Drinks

Chain Restaurant

1ST PLACE: Chili’s Grill & Bar
1908 E. 20th St.; 345-1687

What are you craving today? Mexican food? Seafood? How about an old-fashioned hamburger and French fries? Well, whatever you have a taste for, it’s sure to be found at Chili’s Grill and Bar on East 20th Street. With fresh chips and salsa, grilled baby back ribs, an array of juicy “big mouth burgers” and delectable margaritas, Chili’s accommodates any taste!

2ND PLACE: Outback Steakhouse
1990 E. 20th St.; 899-8112

3RD PLACE: Olive Garden Italian Restaurant
2020 Business Lane; 898-8075

Cheap Eats

1ST PLACE: La Comida
954 Mangrove Ave.; 345-2254

La Comida continues to dominate in the category of Cheap Eats, taking Best of Chico honors for an amazing seven years running. Curious why? Head over there and chow down on some tasty Mexican fare, including free chips and salsa, for very affordable prices. Customers of all ages and all walks of life flock to the eatery for its ridiculously cheap eats. Chances are you’ll see somebody you know while you’re there.

2ND PLACE: Aca Taco
133 Broadway; 894-0191
1000 W. Sacramento Ave.; 343-0909

3RD PLACE: In-N-Out Burger
2050 Business Lane; 1(800)-786-1000

Fine Dining

1ST PLACE: 5th Street Steakhouse
345 W. Fifth St.; 891-6328

Chicoans love the steakhouse. What steakhouse? Well, 5th Street Steakhouse, of course. Yes, this year 5th Street scored big in three categories, taking Best Fine Dining, Local and Overall restaurant in Chico. Sure, you can order great seafood and chicken at this south-campus eatery, but the beef, such as the mouth-watering filet mignon, is what keeps loyal customers coming back year after year.

2ND PLACE: Red Tavern
1250 Esplanade; 894-3463

3RD PLACE: Christian Michael’s Ristorante
192 E. Third St.; 894-4005

Local Restaurant

1ST PLACE: 5th Street Steakhouse
345 W. Fifth St.; 891-6328

2ND PLACE: Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Taproom & Restaurant
1075 E. 20th St.; 345-2739

3RD PLACE: Black Crow Grill & Taproom
209 Salem St.; 892-1391

New Restaurant

1ST PLACE: Crush 201
210 Broadway; 342-7000

Nestled on the second story of the old Bank of America building at Second and Broadway, Crush 201 has definitely made itself at home in Chico and gained many adoring regulars. The Italian eatery offers an intimate setting, a beautiful view of downtown and a menu featuring everything from crab cakes to brick-oven-style pizzas, making it one of the coolest places for a warm gathering with friends and family—or a date with someone special.

2ND PLACE: Japanese Blossoms
2995 Esplanade; 891-9022

3RD PLACE: Tacone Flavor Grill
605 Mangrove Ave.; 899-1654

Overall Restaurant

1ST PLACE: 5th Street Steakhouse
345 W. Fifth St.; 891-6328

2ND PLACE: Red Tavern
1250 Esplanade; 894-3463

3RD PLACE: Black Crow Grill & Taproom
209 Salem St.; 892-1391

Chain Coffee House

1ST PLACE: Starbucks Coffee
Various locations

Chicoans love their coffee and many of them get their fix at the biggest coffee chain in the world. With quality coffee, espresso and delicious blended treats, you can’t blame folks for loving Starbucks. Fortunately for them, the coffee giant has set up shop all over the community. Really. Where isn’t there a Starbucks in Chico?

2ND PLACE: Peet’s Coffee & Tea
145 Main St.; 894-6716

3RD PLACE: Dutch Bros. Coffee
480 E. Park Ave.; 345-5288
2393 Cohasset Road

Local Coffee House

1ST PLACE: The Naked Lounge
118 W. Second St.; 895-0676

The Naked Lounge opened its doors in the summer of 2001, revealing a mecca for coffee lovers and connoisseurs. This arty hangout provides a dark oasis in which to enjoy the shop’s high-quality coffee and teas. NL’s staff is friendly and helpful and so obsessed with perfecting a cup o’ Joe that oftentimes the coffee itself is a work of art.

2ND PLACE: Bidwell Perk
664 E. First Ave.; 899-1500

El Paísa

CN&R file photo

3RD PLACE: Cal Java Coffee Roasters
Various Locations

Breakfast Place

1ST PLACE: Morning Thunder Café
352 Vallombrosa Ave.; 342-9717

Why do Chicoans find themselves returning to Morning Thunder again and again, despite a wait that could last the better part of an hour on the weekend? It could be the giant pancakes, which spill over the edges of the plate. Perhaps it’s the cute, friendly waitresses and diner-feel. It might be that you’re sure to see someone you know. Really, we return because it’s delicious and we like it. That’s enough.

2ND PLACE: Sin of Cortez
2290 Esplanade; 879-9200

3RD PLACE: Café Coda
265 Humboldt Ave.; 566-9476

Lunch Place

1ST PLACE: Broadway Heights California Cuisine
300 Broadway; 899-8075

Broadway Heights is a great place to eat, and Chicoans once again proved it by voting the eatery Best Lunch Place for the second time in as many years. This popular bistro’s menu comprises a variety of California cuisine fare, including specialty sandwiches served on freshly baked focaccia bread, a variety of delicious calzones, gourmet pizzas and crisp salads (the prosciutto Caesar is to-die-for). In addition to excellent food, the eatery also serves up spectacular views of the downtown.

2ND PLACE: Pluto’s
201 Main St.; 343-0165

3RD PLACE: Grilla Bites
196 Cohasset Road; 343-4876

Asian Food

1ST PLACE: Happy Garden Restaurant
180 Cohasset Road; 893-2574

Talk about a well-oiled machine—Happy Garden practically hums with energy, so efficient and expert are its servers, surely one of the friendliest and fastest staffs in town. But don’t let that fool you: The food here is consistently excellent and the prices are perfectly affordable, which is why Happy Garden does such great business and has won first place in this Best of Chico category for six years running. If you haven’t tried it, you have a treat in store.

2ND PLACE: Rice Bowl
2804 Esplanade; 899-9098

3RD PLACE: Turandot North China Gourmet Cuisine
1851 Esplanade; 893-1156

International Food

1ST PLACE: Priya Indian Cuisine
2574 Esplanade; 899-1055

At last—great Indian food has come to Chico, and it looks like it’s sticking around for a while. At lunch, take advantage of Priya’s abundant and varied buffet, which will run you just less than $10. In the evening, thali plates—many of them vegetarian—offer a little of everything—soup, vegetable curry, lentils, and an entrée, all served with rice and freshly baked naan. The spices will clean out your system and leave you satisfied.

2ND PLACE: Sultan’s Bistro
300 Broadway; 345-7455

3RD PLACE: Cocodine Thai Cuisine
2485 Notre Dame Blvd.; 891-1800

Italian Food

1ST PLACE: Italian Cottage Restaurant
2234 Esplanade; 343-7000

2525 Dominic Drive (Off the Skyway); 342-7771

Famous for the sawdust on the floor, Italian Cottage is the perfect place for a family affair. Its two locations serve up tasty sandwiches, pasta and pizza, along with everything else Italian. If you’re having salad, try the special blue cheese dressing. The restaurant’s lively atmosphere makes it a fun spot for a date, and the champagne brunch (the cottage potatoes are a must-have) has become a Sunday ritual for many in Chico.

2ND PLACE: Sicilian Café
1020 Main St.; 345-2233

3RD PLACE: Franky’s
506 Ivy St.; 898-9948

Mexican Food

1ST PLACE: Casa Ramos
216 W. East Ave.; 894-0119
2490 Park Ave.; 893-5050

With its rubber-chicken and sombrero birthday wishes, Casa Ramos is a fun place to celebrate. The popular, slightly Americanized eatery boasts huge portions of delicious, greasy fare, so it’s a great place to eat, too. Wash it all down with a margarita, or a cold bottle of Pacifico. ¡Que delicioso! Casa Ramos regulars can attest to its huge menu filled with all sorts of Mexican favorites as well as some American dishes. The restaurant also delivers for $6 extra if you’re not in the party mood.

2ND PLACE: Tres Hombres Long Bar & Grill
100 Broadway; 342-0425

3RD PLACE: La Hacienda
2635 Esplanade; 893-8270


1ST PLACE: The Rawbar
346 Broadway; 897-0626

Locals love their sushi, and over the past few years Chico has seen some fine restaurants come to town. Even the most seasoned sushi lovers admit Rawbar puts many Bay Area establishments to shame. Its delicious food and central downtown location have made it a hotspot. The restaurant adheres to the highest standards when it comes to the quality of its fish, and its creative specials and artistic presentation only add to the appeal. In addition to a long list of sashimi, rolls and nigiri, the menu includes more traditional entrées.

2ND PLACE: Japanese Blossoms
2995 Esplanade; 891-9022

3RD PLACE: Rice Bowl
2804 Esplanade; 899-9098

Taco Truck

1ST PLACE: El Paísa
Eighth and Pine streets

Never mind the negative moniker of roach coach—taco trucks are a staple in Chico, and everyone from skate rats to lawyers line up for what is probably the most authentic Mexican food in town. Where else can you get fresh-made Mexican eats, a whole belly’s worth, for about three bucks? There are plenty to choose from. And while serious debate has raged over which taco truck reigns supreme, downtown’s El Paísa continues to get big props, winning this category three years running.

2ND PLACE: Tacos El Pinolero
275 E. Park Ave. (near Chico Collision Center) and 3300 Esplanade

Priya Indian Cuisine

CN&R file photo

3RD PLACE: Tacos Tonaya
409 Nord Ave. at Nord Market; 519-2118

Vegetarian Food

1ST PLACE: Grilla Bites
196 Cohasset Road; 343-4876

This restaurant is known for its selection of organic sandwiches, served on signature grilled breads, as well as soups and healthy wraps. But diners can also feast upon meals of their own creation of giant salads from Grilla Bites’ salad bar, featuring dozens of varieties of the freshest produce purchased from local farmers. Operating a sustainable business is part of the motto of this Chico-born chain, which just opened a new restaurant in In Motion Fitness and has locations in Oregon.

2ND PLACE: House of Nature’s Own
117 Broadway; 520-5135

3RD PLACE: Sin of Cortez
2290 Esplanade; 879-9200


1ST PLACE: Jack’s Family Restaurant
540 Main St., 343-8383

Jack’s is the go-to place for a cross section of the Chico community, but especially the late-night crowd looking to fill their bellies with yummy, greasy American food after a long night of fun. The restaurant is open 24 hours a day, making it a popular stop for graveyard-shift workers, high-schoolers leaving prom or football games and downtowners heading home from the bars. You never know who or what you’re going to see at Jack’s, which is part of its charm.

2ND PLACE: Cozy Diner
1695 Mangrove Ave.; 895-1195

3RD PLACE: Morning Thunder Café
352 Vallombrosa Ave.; 342-9717


1ST PLACE: Burger Hut
Various Locations

Loved by families and picky eaters, Burger Hut’s build-it-yourself condiment bar allows customers to customize their burgers and sandwiches. The locally-owned eatery has since franchised out, and prides itself on using fixin’s from S&S Produce and beef minus antibiotics or steroids. Jalapeños, two types of pickles, tomatoes, onions and all of the rest of the toppings make it easy to spruce up that burger (or turkey and garden varieties). Don’t forget the basket of fries and some special sauce.

2ND PLACE: Nobby’s
1444 Park Ave.; 342-2285

3RD PLACE: Big Chico Burger
1550 East Ave.; 891-6100


1ST PLACE: Aca Taco
133 Broadway; 894-0191
1000 W. Sacramento Ave; 343-0909

There’s a reason Chicoans love Aca Taco’s burritos. Whether it’s the size, the freshness, the speed with which they’re prepared or simply the great taste, Aca Taco does whip up Mexican cuisine for bargain prices, a bonus for the hungry late-night crowd. The restaurant’s downtown location is a favorite among the high school and college crowds, and the shop on West Sacramento is probably best known for being open until late (great for the post-party munchies).

2ND PLACE: Chipotle Mexican Grill
620 Mangrove Ave.; 343-8707

3RD PLACE: El Patron Taqueria
1354 East Ave.; 343-9779
2454 Notre Dame Boulevard; 891-8888

Hot Dog

1ST PLACE: Costco
2100 Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway; 342-6494

If there’s one thing you can trust in, it’s a Costco hotdog. It’s always cheap—$1.50 for a kosher or polish dog and drink—and it’s always tasty. Around lunchtime the tables at the food court fill up with everyone from construction workers on their breaks to families, hungry and weary after a long Costco haul.

2ND PLACE: Zot’s Hot Dogs & Deli
225 Main St.; 345-2820

3RD PLACE: The Dog House
1008 W. Sacramento Ave.; 894-3641


1ST PLACE: Celestino’s
101 Salem St.; 896-1234
1354 East Ave.; 345-7700

When you’re in the mood for a tasty slice of thin-crust pizza, there’s no better place to go than Celestino’s. The pizzeria is located downtown, just steps from the Chico State campus, so it’s a favorite among students. And an East Avenue location means good thin-crust is never more than a few minutes away. For those who don’t care for pizza, Celestino’s also serves up a variety of specialty salads.

2ND PLACE: Woodstock’s Pizza
166 E. Second St.; 893-1500

3RD PLACE: Round Table Pizza
Various Locations


1ST PLACE: Spiteri’s Deli
971 East Ave.; 891-4797

For a business located in a dated strip mall, Spiteri’s sure draws a hefty lunch crowd. But it’s certainly for good reason. This north-Chico delicatessen is chock-full of meats, such as real Italian dry salami (you’ll see it hanging on the back wall), a variety of freshly-baked rolls and breads, including dark rye, and even croissants. The line out the door around lunch is a testament to the sandwiches’ quality, taste and affordable prices.

2ND PLACE: Great Harvest Bread Co.
Various Locations

3RD PLACE: Broadway Heights California Cuisine
300 Broadway; 899-8075


1ST PLACE: Upper Crust Bakery & Café
130 Main St.; 895-3866

To people who work downtown, Upper Crust is like the neighborhood kitchen, the place they go knowing they’ll see friends, find delicious, healthful food and feel right at home. Oh yeah, it’s also a bakery with display cases full of éclairs, glossy fruit tarts, peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies, crumbly Russian teacakes, or cool, creamy cheesecake. And the wedding cakes are stunning, masterfully decorated and lusciously rich. Those of us who aren’t getting married, though, might still feel the call of German chocolate cake or chocolate amaretto. Really, it’s hard to imagine downtown without the Upper Crust.

2ND PLACE: Great Harvest Bread Co.
Various Locations

3RD PLACE: Mim’s Bakery
890 Humboldt Ave.; 345-3331

Dessert Place


CN&R file photo

1ST PLACE: Shubert’s Ice Cream & Candy
178 E. Seventh St.; 342-7163

This downtown, classic ice cream parlor celebrated its 70th birthday this year, and its gift was offered in Good Morning America wrapping paper. Appropriately the shop was featured in the show’s Best Scoop contest, proving that Chicoans not only love their local parlor, but others think it’s great, too. On hot summer nights, families and couples hop in line for a scoop of their favorite flavors, so if you’re anywhere near downtown, the shop is worth a quick stop.

2ND PLACE: Jon & Bon’s Yogurt Shoppe
Various Locations

3RD PLACE: Upper Crust Bakery & Café
130 Main St.; 895-3866

Place for Ice Cream

1ST PLACE: Shubert’s
178 E. Seventh St.; 342-7163

2ND PLACE: Jon & Bon’s Yogurt Shoppe
Various Locations

3RD PLACE: Cold Stone Creamery
146 Broadway; 891-3331


1ST PLACE: Woodstock’s Pizza
166 E. Second St.; 893-1500

Chicoans can’t get enough pizza and when they want it delivered—and fast—they call on Woodstock’s. Serving Chico since 1983, the friendly staff at this downtown pizza shop serves up the restaurant’s tasty pies, such as a topping-loaded Mediterranean Masterpiece or All Meat Orgy, in a jiff (about 35-45 minutes to your door). Salads, sammies, chicken wings and sodas, too.

2ND PLACE: Round Table Pizza
Various Locations

3RD PLACE: Mountain Mike’s Pizza
1722 Mangrove Ave; 893-1923

1105 W. Fifth St.; 899-9115


1ST PLACE: Happy Garden Restaurant
180 Cohasset Road; 893-2574

Winner as the best Asian restaurant, Happy Garden is also great for take-out. Same great food, but only more of it. Be sure to pick up a menu the next time you’re in the place. Call-in orders are filled promptly, and you’re almost guaranteed to end up with sufficient leftovers for lunch the next day.

2ND PLACE: Egg Roll King
659 Palmetto Ave.; 893-1838

3RD PLACE: Hula’s Chinese Bar-B-Q
2540 Esplanade; 342-8564

1937 E. 20th St.; 342-6304

Nightlife and Entertainment


1ST PLACE: Duffy’s Tavern
337 Main St., 343-7718

Ah, Duffy’s. Nothing can keep Chicoans away from your dingy innards. Swing open the green doors on any given night—or day—and you’ll find every subculture and microcosm that has ever held congress in a drinking establishment in this quintessential neighborhood tavern. Friday’s happy hour Irish music sessions are legendary, the bloody Marys are divine, and the daily $2 PBRs make this pub the go-to downtown watering hole.

2ND PLACE: The Banshee (tie)
132 W. Second St.; 895-9670

2ND PLACE: Madison Bear Garden (tie)
316 W. Second St.; 343-2591


1ST PLACE: Blake Anderson—
Black Crow Grill & Taproom

209 Salem St.; 892-1391

Women just love blond-haired heartthrob Blake Anderson. One of his regular clients calls Anderson “the bartender of all bartenders.” He knows what each one of his customers drinks and never neglects anyone or brings them the wrong order. He’s also tended bar in other countries, making him interesting to talk to. Plus, he’s entertaining and funny, delivering hysterical lines with a deadpan face. Oh, and he’s very good looking. (Inside info: Anderson keeps a Ken doll—renamed “The Blake”—behind the bottles at the bar, which he dresses up in different outfits and brings out when the mood strikes him.)

2ND PLACE: Steve Jamieson— Johnnie’s Restaurant
220 W. Fourth St.; 895-1515

3RD PLACE: Corey Walker—LaSalles
229 Broadway; 893-1891


1ST PLACE: Tony Cox—
KALF 95.7 FM/ Crazy Horse Saloon & Brewery

Tony Cox has proven for three years now that he’s Chico’s favorite DJ. The Little Rock, Ark., native shares his Southern roots with the city he’s called home for more than a decade now, both on KALF 95.7 FM weekdays from 2 to 7 p.m. and at the Crazy Horse for “Wild, Wild Wednesday.” Word on the street is he’s learning to play bass in a garage band, so who knows, maybe next year he’ll take home the prize in a different category as well.

2ND PLACE: DJ Marvel
The Hooliganz/LaSalles/The Maltese

3RD PLACE: DJ Mack Morris
LaSalles/Riley’s/Lost On Main

Drink Special

1ST PLACE: Buck Night at Riley’s
702 W. Fifth St.; 343-7459

As long as you’re not in a “top-shelf” mood (and you’re not afraid of huge crowds), there is no better place on a Tuesday night to get yer drink on than Riley’s during Buck Night. For one hour’s worth of California’s minimum wage you can mix and match your choice of eight well drinks, well shots or select bottled beers. Just take your time and remember that you have four hours (9 p.m.-1 a.m.) to enjoy your Buck Night.

2ND PLACE: $3 teas at Panama’s
177 E. Second St.; 895-8817

3RD PLACE: Mojito at Johnnie’s Restaurant
220 W. Fourth St.; 895-1515

Duffy’s Tavern

CN&R file photo

Place to View Art

1ST PLACE: 1078 Gallery
820 Broadway; 343-1973

Two very important things make the 1078 the best place to view art. First, it is a perfect, large, multipurpose space that is suitable for all mediums. During an evening reception, the giant front windows glow as one looks inside at the huge, yet warm, former warehouse with long, sky-high white walls. Second, the art is great. From world-class works and performances by the likes of photographer Ira Latour and pianist John Milbauer, to cutting-edge innovations from Chico and around the world, the programming at 1078 is nonpareil.

2ND PLACE: Chico Art Center
450 Orange St.; 895-8726

3RD PLACE: Chico Paper Co.
345 Broadway; 891-0900

Place to Buy Art

1ST PLACE: Chico Paper Co.
345 Broadway; 891-0900

With nearly 50 artists represented, Chico Paper Co. is the place to go to buy art. For more than 30 years, local artists have come here to show and sell paintings, prints, sculpture, and other novelty art on consignment. This downtown shop is home to Jake Early’s wildly popular prints featuring scenes from Bidwell Park and Chico icons, such the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. and Bidwell Mansion. In addition to answering questions about the art, a friendly and professional staff will also help you meet your framing needs.

2ND PLACE: 1078 Gallery
820 Broadway; 343-1973

3RD PLACE: Avenue 9 Gallery (tie)
180 E. Ninth Ave.; 879-1821

3RD PLACE: Lost On Main (tie)
319 Main St.; 892-2445

Local Artist

1ST PLACE: Janet Lombardi Blixt
Plein-air painter Janet Lombardi Blixt wins the honor as favorite artist—no small feat in a town loaded with top-notch visual artists. The pretty Southern California ex-pat, who began oil painting at the age of 7 while growing up in Los Angeles, studied painting, printmaking and graphic design at Chico State, where she obtained a bachelor’s in art. Blixt’s dramatic, expressionistic, oil, acrylic and pastel renditions of natural scenery and local architecture have been shown at Avenue 9 Gallery, Art Etc, Sally Dimas Art Gallery and Chico Art Center.

2ND PLACE: Jake Early

3RD PLACE: Dylan Tellesen

Local Music Act

1ST PLACE: The Hooliganz
The Hooliganz have a loyal following, and the fans let their voices be heard loud and clear, choosing the foursome as Best Local Music Group for the second year in a row. DJ Marvel, MC J-Pigg, MC i2K and B. Lee are heavyweights in the local hip-hop scene. The group’s latest CD, Welcome to Hooliwood, includes a mix of styles developed over years and perfected by their energetic live shows.

2ND PLACE: Random Tuesday

3RD PLACE: Hot Flashes

Performing Arts Company

1ST PLACE: Chico Cabaret
2201 Pillsbury Road; 895-0245

Chico Cabaret always brings terrific theater to the community and Chicoans can’t get enough of it. The company is run by Phil and Sue Ruttenburg, and has a steady group of very talented players. The Cabaret is best known for its rollicking productions of Rocky Horror Live, which has been brought back year after year due to undying popularity. If you haven’t seen this show, put it on your to-do list.

2ND PLACE: The Blue Room Theatre
139 W. First St.; 895-3749

3RD PLACE: Chico Theater Co.
166 W. Eaton Road; 894-3282

Place for Billiards

1ST PLACE: The Graduate
344 W. Eighth St.; 343-2790

This sports bar tucked into the south-campus neighborhood is packed with more than a dozen televisions, a full bar with a selection of 50 beers on tap, and, most important to billiards players, four well-lit pool tables. Regulars include students as well as families, who all refer to this downtown hangout as The Grad.

2ND PLACE: Oasis Bar & Grill
1007 W. First St.; 343-4305

3RD PLACE: Nick’s Night Club
1414 Park Ave.; 342-5202

Place for a Bloody Mary

1ST PLACE: Duffy’s (tie)
337 Main St., 343-7718

1ST PLACE: Joe’s Bar (tie)
749 W. Fifth St.; 894-3612

A good Bloody Mary is hard to come by, so a tie in this category says that patrons of both establishments are passionate that the drinks mixed up at these classic Chico bars are top notch. Hmmm … perhaps a mix-off is in order? Recipes for the “Bloody Joe” and the concoction at Duffy’s (mmm … green beans) may differ by bartender, but, in most cases, the common denominator equals deliciousness.

3RD PLACE: Black Crow Grill & Taproom
209 Salem St.; 892-1391

Place for a Cold Beer

1ST PLACE: Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Taproom & Restaurant
1075 E. 20th St.; 345-2739

CN&R readers agree: If you want the best, go to the source. Sierra Nevada’s brewery offers some of the finest beers made in this country, and serves them in one of the most gorgeous settings ever to see a condensation ring wiped up by a friendly waitperson. Not only can brewery visitors sip on Sierra Nevada’s staple brews, they can also sample varieties not sold in stores.

2ND PLACE: Duffy’s Tavern
337 Main St.; 343-7718

3RD PLACE: Madison Bear Garden
316 W. Second St.; 343-2591

Place for a Glass of Wine

1ST PLACE: Monks Wine Lounge & Bistro
128 W. Second St.; 343-3408

Monks is a bit quieter than most of the other over-21 establishments around town, making it a great spot for an intimate evening out. Of course, it wouldn’t be unusual for a large party to spend the entire night there, sampling wine and cheese. The extensive wine list includes more than 100 selections, including more than 50 by the glass. Monks also serves sumptuous desserts and a selection of craft beer.

Chico Paper Co.

CN&R file photo

2ND PLACE: Christian Michael’s Ristorante
192 E. Third St.; 894-4005

3RD PLACE: Johnnie’s Restaurant
220 W. Fourth St.; 895-1515

Place for Happy Hour

1ST PLACE: Christian Michael’s
192 E. Third St.; 894-4005

Happy hour happens every night from 4-6 at Christian Michael’s, where lawyers rub elbows with college students and nurses to sip specialty martinis, fine wine and an array of beers on tap. The elegant lounge, tasty appetizers and good company all make this Chico’s favorite place to unwind after work. Evan the bartender is there to delight your weary palate with a lemon drop or cosmopolitan, and the soothing jazz, cushy chairs and bar stools make for an inviting moment of respite from the day.

2ND PLACE: Duffy’s
337 Main St.; 343-7718

3RD PLACE: Black Crow Grill & Taproom
209 Salem St.; 892-1391

Place for Live Music

1ST PLACE: LaSalles
229 Broadway; 893-1891

LaSalles has become a favorite of many touring bands as well as local acts across genres who enjoy the sound of the venue and its mellow atmosphere. The dance floor is large, but small enough to keep shows feeling intimate. And the long bar allows for a barstool view of the performers. Early-bird pitcher specials don’t hurt, either.

2ND PLACE: Sierra Nevada Big Room
1075 E. 20th St.; 345-2739

3RD PLACE: Café Coda
265 Humboldt Ave.; 566-9476

Place for a Margarita

1ST PLACE: Tres Hombres Long Bar & Grill
100 Broadway St., 342-0425

Drinks are served up quickly at this downtown establishment, and the margaritas are definitely the specialty. They range from traditional to blended fruity varieties, such as strawberry and melon, and are a great way to cool down after a long day. You’ll find a large selection of premium tequilas—but if you do decide on a shot or two, you’d also be wise to partake in an item or two from the handy, quick and delicious taco bar.

2ND PLACE: La Hacienda
2635 Esplanade; 893-8270

3RD PLACE: Casa Ramos
216 W. East Ave.; 894-0119

2490 Park Ave.; 893-5050

Place for a Martini

1ST PLACE: 33 Steaks, Booze & Jazz
305 Main St.; 893-1903

Recently expanded by owners Tyler and Lisa Cooke, 33 Steaks, Booze & Jazz now offers two bars for patrons to belly-up to and enjoy an Elliott Ness (vanilla vodka and espresso liqueur in a cocoa-rimmed glass with espresso coffee beans) or a Grand Larceny (cherry brandy and crème de cassis with a frozen raspberry). The restaurant’s Third and Main streets expansion offers a contemporary urban vibe with its corrugated aluminum bar-front and minimalist decor, and there’s a big-screen projection TV to watch the game on. Check out the popular “Dueling Pianos” on Thursday nights!

2ND PLACE: Johnnie’s Restaurant
220 W. Fourth St.; 895-1515

3RD PLACE: Black Crow Grill & Taproom<
209 Salem St.; 892-1391

Place to Dance

1ST PLACE: LaSalles
229 Broadway; 893-1891

2ND PLACE: Madison Bear Garden
316 W. Second St.; 891-1639

3RD PLACE: Crazy Horse Saloon & Brewery
303 Main St.; 342-7299

Place to See a Play

1ST PLACE: The Blue Room Theatre
139 W. First St.; 895-3749

The Blue Room offers some serious plays in an intimate atmosphere, and never fails to impress. It is the perfect place for a date, as the subject matter is often more adult in nature or theme and the theater is located near several good restaurants downtown. Sitting in the front row is risking getting spat on—that’s how intimate this place is—but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

2ND PLACE: Chico Cabaret
2201 Pillsbury Road; 895-0245

3RD PLACE: Chico Theater Company (tie)
166 W. Eaton Road; 894-3282

3RD PLACE: Chico State’s Laxson Auditorium (tie)

Place to See a Movie

1ST PLACE: Tinseltown
801 East Ave.; 879-9612

Movie-goers have chosen the Cinemark theater as their pick for watching the latest flicks. Tinseltown has 14 big screens on which to view beloved movie stars. Munch on the popcorn and down some soda while your ears throb with Dolby digital surround sound that practically rocks the floor.

2ND PLACE: Pageant Theatre
351 E. Sixth St.; 343-0663

Sports Bar

1ST PLACE: The Graduate
344 W. Eighth St.; 343-2790

2ND PLACE: The End Zone
250 Cohasset Road; 345-7330

3RD PLACE: Bella’s Sports Pub
134 Broadway; 893-5253

The Jesus Center

Photo By Meredith J. Cooper

Health and Fitness

Dental Office

1ST PLACE: Dr. Barbro Lauri Beckett
1430 East Ave.; 893-8913

Originally from Sweden, Dr. Beckett still retains traces of her native accent, which makes conversation with this friendly and gracious woman all the more pleasant. And, when she starts working on your teeth and the conversation necessarily ends, you enjoy the confidence that comes from knowing you’re in the hands of a true professional with a first-rate staff and the highest-quality and most up-to-date equipment.

2ND PLACE: Dr. Bill Moon/ Gentle Dentistry
227 West Sixth St.; 342-3525

3RD PLACE: Nelsen Family Dentistry
1307 Esplanade; 898-8511

Medical Office

1ST PLACE: Argyll Medical Group
100 Independence Circle; 899-0295

Argyll Medical Group, founded by Dr. Roy Bishop and named after his home country in the Highlands of Scotland, is located in the comfy confines of north Chico’s Philadelphia Square. This locally owned practice boasts a talented team of physicians, many of whom have long ties with the community. In addition to excellent doctors with varying specialties, Argyll is run by a friendly and caring staff whose utmost concern is for the well being of the patients served by the group.

2ND PLACE: Immediate Care Medical Center
376 Vallombrosa Ave.; 891-1676

3RD PLACE: Skypark Walk In Medical Center
2485 Notre Dame Blvd.; 899-9500

Golf Course

1ST PLACE: Bidwell Park Golf Course
3199 Golf Course Road; 891-8417

Deer are a common sight at this 18-hole public course at the bottom of the foothills. Set in Big Chico Creek Canyon at the beginning of Upper Bidwell Park, the course offers a combination of beautiful scenery, reasonable green fees and challenging design. It has a pro shop, snack bar and putting green, and is open every day except Christmas.

2ND PLACE: Canyon Oaks Country Club
999 Yosemite Drive; 343-2582

3RD PLACE: Butte Creek Country Club
175 Estates Drive; 343-7979

Place for Kids

1ST PLACE: Bidwell Park

2ND PLACE: KidsPark
2438 Notre Dame Blvd.; 894-6800

3RD PLACE: Cal Skate at Funland
2465 Carmichael Drive; 343-1601

Place to Play Basketball

1ST PLACE: In Motion Fitness
1293 E. First Ave.; 343-5678

2ND PLACE: Chico State University

3RD PLACE: Emma Wilson Elementary School (tie)
1530 W. Eighth Ave.

3RD PLACE: Hooker Oak Recreation Area (tie)
1928 Manzanita Ave.

Place to Swim

1ST PLACE: Bidwell Park
A variety of swimming spots make Bidwell Park the best place in Chico to take a dip. At Lower Park, One-Mile is a Chico institution. Any warm summer day will find hundreds of sweaty Chicoans lying in the sun and jumping into the cool water of Sycamore Pool. Bear Hole is the most popular swimming hole in Upper Park, but as readers pointed out there are plenty of other little spots hidden along Big Chico Creek.

2ND PLACE: In Motion Fitness
1293 E. First Ave.; 343-5678

3RD PLACE: Chico Sports Club
260 Cohasset Road; 345-9427

Place to Work Out

1ST PLACE: In Motion Fitness
1293 E. First Ave.; 343-5678

In Motion Fitness is a hit with Chicoans, who have once again given top honors to this full-service health club in a Mediterranean setting. In addition to free weights and cardio equipment, the gym offers pilates and yoga lessons. The club also has a full aquatics center with four pools and an indoor, regulation-size basketball court. Conveniently located on site is a Grilla Bites restaurant, where hungry clients (and the public) can get delicious, healthful eats.

2ND PLACE: Fit One Athletic Club (tie)
1026 Skyway; 898-8348

2ND PLACE: Chico Sports Club (tie)
260 Cohasset Road; 345-9427

Sporting Event

1ST PLACE: Chico Outlaws
Few people can deny the charm of munching on a hot dog, sipping a cold beverage and cheering for the home team on a warm summer night. With the start of the independent Golden Baseball League in 2005, the Chico Outlaws filled the void left when the Chico Heat folded after the 2002 season. It didn’t take long to get the fans back to Nettleton Stadium, a beautiful ballpark located on the Chico State campus. Go Outlaws!

2ND PLACE: Almond Bowl

3RD PLACE: Silver Dollar Sprint Cars

Sports Field

1ST PLACE: Community Park (East 20th St.)
A Crayola-box array of colors can be seen all over the fields of Community Park most Saturdays, as hundreds of young soccer players don bright shirts and take advantage of the lush playing fields located off of East 20th Street. For everyone else, there are courts and fields for every sport, a beautiful playground, a gymnasium, and the wonderful recent addition of the “Ancestor Gates,” a community art installment.

2ND PLACE: Hooker Oak Recreation Area
1928 Manzanita Ave.

3RD PLACE: DeGarmo Park
Esplanade at Leora Court

The Blue Room Theatre

CN&R file photo

Yoga Studio

1ST PLACE: Blue Lotus Yoga & Wellness
973 East Ave.; 895-9642

The experienced staff at Blue Lotus Yoga & Wellness is ready to guide you to your mat and soothe your mind, body and spirit. This yoga studio welcomes beginners and experienced practitioners, expecting moms, athletes, the elderly, and anyone curious about movement or meditation. Yoga is an excellent way to combat stress, fatigue, backache, insomnia and many other ailments. Private classes are available, and morning and evening classes are held seven days a week. Drop-ins are welcome, and the first week of classes is free for new students.

2ND PLACE: In Motion Fitness
1293 E. First Ave.; 343-5678

3RD PLACE: Chico Sports Club
260 Cohasset Road; 345-9427


Community Event

1ST PLACE: Farmers markets
There’s just something about an open-air market that makes people happy. Whether you’re into Thursday nights along Broadway or Saturday mornings at Second and Wall streets, Chico’s market events are a great way to enjoy local goods, food and entertainment. If you haven’t sampled the sights, smells, sounds and flavors, you must be a newcomer in need of initiation.

2ND PLACE: Taste of Chico

3RD PLACE: Friday Night Concerts in the Park

Green Business

1ST PLACE: Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

2ND PLACE: Greenfeet

3RD PLACE: Shastan Homes

Green Institution/ Organization

1ST PLACE: Chico State University
Sometimes it’s hard to keep up with Chico State’s environmental efforts, but here’s a quick glance: The university recently finished constructing its first LEED-certified facility, the Student Services Center; is gearing up for its annual This Way to Sustainability conference in November; and professors continue to introduce aspects of sustainable development throughout the entire curriculum, from anthropology to zoology. From students and professors to staff and administrators, the whole campus is working on a common goal of helping the Earth.

2ND PLACE: Butte Environmental Council
116 W. Second St.; 891-6424

3RD PLACE: GRUB (Growing Resourcefully Uniting Bellies)

Leader in Sustainability

1ST PLACE: Ken Grossman, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. owner and founder

Ken Grossman’s Sierra Nevada beer is world renowned, but these days his focus on making the brewing operation as eco-friendly as possible has brought attention to this craft brewery. Fuel cells and an extensive recycling program are operated behind the scenes, but Grossman’s efforts to green his operation are more evident than ever thanks to a prominent solar array at the brewery’s parking lot.

2ND PLACE: Scott McNall, executive director, Chico State’s Institute for Sustainable Development (tie)

2ND PLACE: Mark Roberts, president, Springboard Biodiesel (tie)

Charitable Cause

1ST PLACE: The Jesus Center
1297 Park Ave.; 345-2640

The Jesus Center has been helping Chico’s hungry and homeless since the early 1980s. Initiated by the combined efforts of one Mary Thekston—a woman who conducted Bible studies with homeless people and gave out free food in crock-pots—and a group of young people from St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church, the Jesus Center provides food and shelter in a spirit of Christ-centered compassion. Executive director Bill Such invites the needy to come eat breakfast and dinner any day of the week, from 7:30-8:30 a.m., and 3:30-4:30 p.m.

2ND PLACE: The ARC of Butte County
2745 Oroville Dam Blvd. (main office); 532-1272

3RD PLACE: Little Red Hen
189 E. Eighth St.; 891-9100

Local Media Personality

Rob Blair loves Chico and Chicoans have repaid him by loving him right back. The boisterous, boyishly good-looking Wake Up! weatherman has snagged readers’ votes in this category two years running. That’s pretty impressive considering the cast of media types around these parts. Way to go, Rob!


3RD PLACE: Tony Cox, KALF 95.7 FM

Youth Organization

1ST PLACE: Boys & Girls Club of Chico
601 Wall St.; 899-0335

The Boys and Girls Club is an amazing agency. Fortunately, it enjoys tremendous community support, with donations of time and money coming from the most prominent members of our community to single parents struggling to make ends meet. This support is vital for the club to continue to inspire and enable all young people to reach their full potential as caring, productive and responsible citizens.

2ND PLACE: Big Brother, Big Sisters


Public Servant

1ST PLACE: Jane Dolan, county supervisor
Jane Dolan is a veteran supervisor who doesn’t mess around when it comes to protecting Butte County and the people within her district, especially the residents of Chapmantown. Dolan is known for sticking to her guns and proved so most recently with her dissenting vote on the controversial New Era Mine. She’s also a tireless advocate for the environment.

2ND: Andy Holcombe, Chico mayor

3RD PLACE: Tom Nickell, Chico city councilman

Radio Station

KZFR truly has something for everyone—reggae, jazz, blues, classical and talk shows, as well as shows for kids and teenagers. The station is by far one Chico’s best auditory assets. If you’re feeling a little tired of consumerism, listening to this ad-free station is a welcome break, and things are always fresh and interesting. Give it a go.



Place to Pray/Meditate

1ST PLACE: Bidwell Park

2ND PLACE: Blue Lotus Yoga & Wellness
973 East Ave.; 895-9642

3RD PLACE: St. John the Baptist Catholic Church
435 Chestnut St.; 343-8741