Breakfast, lunch or dinner, Nash’s is consistent and cozy
Chico, CA 95926
Colette suggested stopping at Nash’s on The Esplanade for lunch the other day. We were returning from shopping for kitchen shears at Fanno Saw Works and she’d noticed the big trucks parked out front—her second and fourth husbands were both workermen, and she still has a weakness for hardhats and rolled-up blueprints.
She turned off onto the side street and slowed, looking for a place to park, then pulled into a spot next to a big truck with a wheelbarrow in the back and a Ducks Unlimited bumper sticker—probably not referring to Peking or a l’Orange.
“You all right?” she said.
I nodded nervously and set Miss Marilyn next to Mr. Theo on the back seat.
Nash’s is actually sort of two restaurants, Nash’s Restaurant and the 7th Avenue Omelette [sic] House. And though each has its own entrance—from opposite sides of the building—they share a common main dining room, which is spacious, with an open ceiling, a concrete floor, and lots of plants and warm, decorative lighting. The restaurant side also has a bar, and the Omelette House has a second, smaller, carpeted dining room with large windows and lots of natural light. There’s also a nice outdoor patio.
We were greeted warmly, seated in the main dining room, and handed menus as soft jazz drifted out over the tables.
“Business lunches,” Colette said, looking around at the mix of professionals and blue-collar workers.
“I bet everyone thinks we work together,” I said.
“That would presuppose that they thought you worked.”
“What about my articles?” I said. “My writing.”
“I said ‘worked.’ “
Nash’s breakfast menu includes 12 different three-egg omelets ($8.25-$9.95), ranging from plain cheese to smoked salmon, as well as traditional eggs, pancake and waffle breakfasts, breakfast burritos, and biscuits and gravy ($5.50-$8.50).
The lunch menu features sandwiches and half-pound burgers ($8.25-$12.95), including the Sun Burger, with sun-dried tomatoes, fresh basil and Mozzarella; and the French grill, with prime rib, grilled onions and Swiss cheese. All include choice of soup, salad, fries, chili or pasta. You can also get fish and chips ($9.95), fresh albacore ($8.95), and main-dish salads, including chicken Florentine, smoked salmon, Chinese chicken, and shrimp and avocado ($8.95-$10.50).
Dinner appetizers include roasted garlic with toast and Brie ($7.95) and fried calamari ($8.95), and entrées ($16.95-$24.95, with soup or salad) range from lemon parmesan chicken and fresh salmon to sautéed prawns and prime rib (Friday and Saturday nights only). Plus: burgers, seafood cakes, fish and chips, and salads ($9.95-$11.95).
While the wine list is limited to mostly mid-range, though decent and drinkable, California wines, they’re all quite affordable, with most available by both the glass ($4.50-$6.25) and bottle ($17-$25).
Colette ordered the grilled salmon, which came on mixed greens with toasted onion slices, capers and sliced cherry tomatoes, and I ordered the albacore, which the waitress said would be cooked medium, and a Bloody Mary. The large steak came on a salad bed of baby spinach, with grilled mushrooms, zucchini, red bell peppers and sliced Roma tomatoes, which was superb—though the albacore was a bit overdone (next time I’ll order it rare). Colette was very impressed with her salmon.
In fact, we returned several days later for breakfast and had a lovely morning, reading the newspaper and enjoying our coffee in the pleasant, smaller dining room. My California omelet, with diced chicken, tomato, avocado, mushrooms, grilled onions and jack cheese, was very good, as was the side of country potatoes with green onions. And Colette said her French toast was delicious, the egg batter spiced with cinnamon and vanilla.