Rolling on the range
Steven Hall and Gina Tropea Hall
Although they once promised each other they’d never open a restaurant together (knowing the considerable work that comes with it), married couple Steven Hall and Gina Tropea Hall are currently going back on that agreement. With their combination of business and cooking experience, Steven (who helped launch Winchester Goose) and Gina (who ran Humboldt Cafe with her mom) were excited to use the Winchester’s old location to create their own bar and restaurant, The Bank Club. But after the space proved to be too small for their renovations and the lease fell through, they’ve turned their efforts toward a food trailer as their interim project before establishing a brick-and-mortar location. With the help of chef Emily Porter, Stagecoach is now up and running (or parked) around Chico, providing a tasty, rotating menu featuring various cuisines. Steven recently sat down with the CN&R to discuss the truck.
What’s the story behind your business name(s)?
The Bank Club was going to be our bar/restaurant at the corner of Eighth and Broadway. We were bringing back the old business that lived at that corner from 1937-1979. We got really excited about it and branded ourselves. Before we found out the lease wasn’t going to work, we’d started social media and bought a business license. Then when we went to get a food trailer, we wanted to be careful because it’s not The Bank Club. It’s a few of us from The Bank Club doing a side-hustle. We wanted a name that would tie the two together and Matthew Heyden (a work consultant) thought of Stagecoach. Until we open at Bank Club, everything’s going to be “brought to you by Bank Club.”
Describe developing the menu.
We get to work with a pro [Emily]. We spent all summer working together. We set up our own little test kitchen and we played around and had fun, and got to know each other in a culinary and personal way. Emily is rocking the Mediterranean food. She worked at Sultan’s Bistro and loves and misses those flavors and she brought them to us and we were like, “Wow, you’ve got this.” She’s learning Mexican cuisine from me, we’re learning Chinese from Gina and her mom. Besides gyros, we’ve done handmade dumplings, hand pies, and Mexican food. We’re in California, so it’s a melting pot of cultures and flavors. We try to focus on local ingredients.
Favorite dish from the lineup?
I’ve fallen in love with gyros. I didn’t realize how much I liked Mediterranean food until Emily showed me the way.
Where can people find you?
For now, watch us on social media (Facebook and Instagram). We’ve been parked on Eaton Road, but we’re putting that on pause for now … . We’ll be parked next to ThirdLove every Friday, and we’ve started parking at Secret Trail on Mondays. Some of our former co-workers from Winchester are [there] bartending; the rest are at Bill’s Towne Lounge and Sierra Nevada. We all hang out and we’re trying to figure out how to get the band back together.