Recovering from fire

Holiday shoppers shouldn’t let the downtown fire deter them from going downtown

The fire early Tuesday morning that hit two downtown restaurants, Tres Hombres and Mr. Pickle’s Sandwich Shop, is a big blow not only to them, but also to the other stores downtown as the holiday shopping season is getting up to speed. Tres Hombres especially is an anchor business and a big draw for downtown shoppers eager to grab a meal or have a drink. It’s also located in one of the most significant historical buildings in Chico, John Bidwell’s former general store and offices, built in 1861.

Fortunately, nobody was injured in the blaze, and Tres Hombres’ bar and dining area were mostly undamaged. It’s also good news that both stores plan to rebuild and reopen. In the meantime, though, many of the 80 or so employees in the two shops will be out of work over the holidays, though Tres Hombres co-owner Mike Thomas has said he intends to hire as many of his 75 workers as possible to help clean up the mess.

At this point, it’s important for people thinking of doing their holiday shopping downtown to remember that there are many other excellent places to eat and drink there. Tres Hombres fans looking for another restaurant with a full-service bar can check out Johnnie’s, in the Hotel Diamond, or Christian Michael’s, at the corner of Third and Wall. And those are just two of more than a dozen excellent eateries downtown.

Downtown store owners are counting on Christmas shoppers not to let the fire deter them from supporting the heart of Chico. We join with them in urging readers who were planning to shop downtown to go ahead and do so and hope others will follow suit.