Ready, set … throw

Arianna Mathiopoulos

Photo by Josh Cozine

Arianna Mathiopoulos moved to Chico from San Diego last December, looking for a slower pace. She quickly noticed a lack of evening entertainment outside of going to the bars. Having experience in the business realm, including working in the insurance and restaurant industries, Mathiopoulos started brainstorming ideas for the Chico market, and eventually landed on the idea of ax-throwing. She taught herself the basics of opening a business and got her first business license last month to open The Hatchet House. After an Oct. 19 grand opening to chop out the kinks, the business is now open Wednesday-Sundays. Check it out at 845 Cherry St. or call 715-7547 or visit for more information.

Are you a big ax-thrower yourself, or is it just about the business?

I think it’s a little bit of both. It’s more of a business, and I just wanted to create something new in Chico. But once I started to throw axes, I got why people enjoyed it. It’s actually fun. It’s an odd stress relief.

How did you find this location?

I was out to sushi one night with a buddy, and I was venting about how difficult it had been [to find a place], and he said, “Let’s go drive around.” So we were driving and there’s a location like four blocks down the street … and there was a hole at the top, so we backed up his truck to see what was in it and the owner came up and thought we were trying to break in. He was like, “What are you doing? Get down from there! Explain yourself!” He was super hot about it, but we started talking and I told him what I was looking for and he said he had a property down the street and to go check it out. I did, and to me this is the perfect space.

What were renovations like?

My 70-year-old dad … actually built all of this himself. I was still working full time in insurance and would come help after work. And on the weekends my brother and my mom, my nephew and sister-in-law would come here and paint and be other hands for my dad. It probably took three weeks to get everything up and standing, but I primarily have to give my dad the credit.

What do you do to make sure it stays safe?

I put a 5-foot barrier between the first bar to divide the audience, and you need to make sure you step in front of the line to throw. You have to make sure that nobody is throwing in the other lanes when you go to retrieve your axe. I put hay bales at the bottom to stop bounce back. Make sure your eyes are forward. Be alert, be aware, and no visibly intoxicated people.