Screens and Starbucks

Outdoor patio looking to get an upgrade; and America’s favorite coffee chain opens yet another spot in Chico

One of my favorite things about living in Chico is being able to enjoy a meal outdoors. I’m not much of a nature gal, but if I have the option, I’d much rather enjoy a burger on a patio than in an air-conditioned restaurant. Fortunately, Chico has a wealth of great outdoor dining options, and one local business is looking to make that experience even better.

Gary and Nadya Lewis, who own The Pour House at the North Valley Plaza, have submitted plans to the city to enhance the large patio space that their business currently uses at the corner of Cohasset and East Avenue. The plans are far from standard and, according to Gary, would create an atmosphere unparalleled in the state.

“It’s not just a large patio. It’s not just an extension of more tables and more umbrellas and more chairs. It will be a premier outdoor dining experience,” he said.

The preliminary plans, which went to the Architectural Review and Historic Preservation Board in early September, include a new large gazebo, outdoor bar, infrared heaters, a fire pit, lounge furniture, a large art feature and, the most intriguing part to me, a giant outdoor LCD video wall.

Lewis envisions patrons sitting out on the patio watching Sunday football games or families coming midweek to sit under the stars and take in a flick. The Pour House, which opened three years ago, already has a 135-inch screen in the banquet room for sports viewing, but the new outdoor screen would be truly unique.

The designs are still conceptual and the project was continued to a later ARHPB meeting, but it is an exciting prospect for that space. Weeks ago I wrote about another likely addition to the North Valley Plaza, Buffalo Wild Wings, and that prediction was spot on. The eatery is working on getting its liquor liscense. I also know there’s yet another innovative project that is moving forward with plans for development there, though the players aren’t ready for it to hit print.

Lewis said the collaborative efforts of all these businesses toward new development and renovation are bringing a new energy to the shopping center.

“We are reinventing North Chico,” he said.

Until the plans for the new patio at Pour House come to fruition, you can continue to enjoy the restaurant’s deep-fried artichoke hearts or sweet potato fries on their current patio, which is already a fabulous outdoor location.

I drive by that corner often and, unless it is raining, almost always see people sitting under the restaurant’s bistro lights for happy hour, or sipping on Starbucks, which shares the patio space with The Pour House.

Speaking of Starbucks, their new South Chico location opened last week at the corner of Skyway and Notre Dame. The former Bank of America building had an established ATM drive-thru, which has been retooled for the coffee chain.

The newest spot is in the same shopping center as locally owned Cal Java, and becomes the fifth standalone Starbucks in the city, the second with a drive-thru.