The Kettle is on

New craft beer bar/store on Nord; Baker’s Birkenstock celebrates; SNB’s sign fixed; plus, Tesla returns to Chico.

Kevin Jaradah is building up quite a portfolio of businesses here in Chico, in a short amount of time. In fact, this Friday (April 19) marks the one-year anniversary of The Lab Bar & Grill, the science-themed pub off of Cohasset Road that boasts a variety of beers on tap and quite possibly the best chicken sandwich in town (I might, however, need to sit down for a side-by-side comparison with the version at Bill’s Towne Lounge).

As if running the Lab and Spike’s Bottle Shop weren’t enough, Jaradah’s got a new venture. Last Saturday (April 13), I stopped in to check out The Brew Kettle, on Nord Avenue across from Safeway. What a cool little place! It’s a combination craft brew bar/liquor store/lounge and like nothing else currently in Chico.

When I got there, a handful of people were occupying futons along a wall and a table in the center of the space. I ordered a half-pint of a blonde ale and sat on a futon in one of about half a dozen groupings, each of them facing its own big-screen TV. The reggae on the stereo was a refreshing break from the seemingly constant pop noise everywhere else.

“I just want this to be a chill spot,” Jaradah told me. So far, it’s working. At the moment, in terms of food, he’s just serving tamales—from the infamous Mary, who also makes tamales and fried chicken for the Durham Country Market—but hopes to expand the kitchen offerings. And, with an alcohol license that allows him to sell solely beer, he hopes to attract an all-ages crowd. The bonus: You can buy beer to go. Best of luck!

Sandal season Just in time for the warm weather, Baker’s Birkenstock is celebrating its 43rd anniversary. Stop by the Chico shop, on Broadway—which currently also houses the Paradise store—now through the end of April and enter to win $100 credit to the store. The shop has super cute sandals and an awesome selection of socks. I can’t bring myself to get on board with combining the two, though!

Sign saved I had no idea until earlier this week that local homeless advocate/tree hugger Charles Withuhn also happens to be a woodworker. Apparently, he carved the iconic sign that hangs outside Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. back in the 1980s. Sadly, it was hit recently by a truck and broken into several pieces—but do not fear, it’s been rehung after some TLC from Withuhn, who gifted the roughly $2,500 job to Ken Grossman as a way to thank him for all the generosity he’s shown since the Camp Fire. How’s that for good karma?

Back in town After abruptly shutting down the Tesla Energy operations in Chico last summer and laying off 30 employees there, the company is poised to reopen its Huss Lane office in another capacity: as a service station. As far as I’m concerned, the company owned by Elon Musk has some work to do reputation-wise locally, so let’s hope it treats its new employees better than its old ones.