After an early lunch at the Madison Bear Garden I walked over to Main Street. What attracted me to this bakery and eatery was the exceptionally crowded nature of this bakery/eatery. It wasn't quite 1pm and this place was still packed with folks having lunch. Students as well as older folks sitting at one of the tables or on the counter that faces the street. Since I had received a phone call I sat at one of the few empty tables and observed what folks were eating. A variety of sandwiches and salads were being served.
After completing my call I walked back to the counter to check out the amazing selection of cakes. Upper Crust I was told was known for many things but there cakes are supposed to be amazing. Since the thought of a slice of cake was a little overwhelming after a hamburger at the Bear Garden I surveyed their selection of fresh cookies and made a selection
Favorite Dish: Great cookies and the cakes look simply amazing looking cakes. I went for a dark chocolate chip cookie that was very chewy. I could tell that it had been baked within the last day. It was excellent and not too heavy. Just the right concentration of chocolate chips and sugar to give me an afternoon high.
Madison Bear Garden in downtown Chico was no exception. I first viewed the building that houses the garden from across the street at the Chico Museum. At first I thought it might be an adjunct to the museum or a historical building, but no it is a bear, I mean beer garden.
The home of the Madison Bear Garden was originally constructed in 1886 for a prominent lawyer and businessman. In 1976 the building was purchased by Grand American Fare Inc; a large restaurant change. After substantial renovation the garden was opened in 1977 and has been in existence at this location for 35 years!
The other day, I ventured into see what the place looked like. I was surprised to find so many young people drinking around noon,. I ordered the "Bear Burger in Paradise." A large slab of well cooked beef with sharp cheddar cheese, thousand island dressing and two tomatoes. At
just under $ 8 it was overpriced but worth seeing the action in the bar.
Favorite Dish: Bear Burger in Paradise. A hamburger with sharp cheese and a side salad. At $ 8 it is a tad expensive but the atmosphere is worth it.
Tres Hombres is a very popular Downtown Chico institution specializing in Mexican food. When the university is in session this restaurant and bar is always hopping, so good luck getting a table. The do a good job with ordinary “Mexican” fare like tacos and enchiladas. Their margaritas keep locals returning for more. This place is always jumping, and while the food isn’t necessarily “authentic” the atmosphere keeps this spot hopping well into the night. Tres Hombres is popular with locals and students alike.
Favorite Dish: The food is tasty and plentiful. It’s your average “Mexican” joint with affordable prices and good margaritas. Tres Hombres is also a place to “see and be seen” in Chico.
The Black Crow has succumbed to the hardships of this down-turned economy and has closed its doors. It was a good place, with good food, lively fun, and a good location, but it just couldn't survive. So we have to say goodbye to one of Chico's icons.
The Bear, as it's called by Chicoans and the college students who habituate the place, is a rockin' and raucous venue on weekend nights when the college students are in town! There's an upstairs, a downstairs, and a back patio - music, dancing, pool, pinball, free wireless internet, Trike Races, Two Trip Tuesdays, sports TVs, you name it, it's happening! Great pub fare (burgers, "hot dawgs," munchies), microbrews and imports and - of course - our own local Sierra Nevada brews.
But it's not only college students - locals of all ages like to drop in for a burger and a brew, maybe catch a game or play a little pool (sometimes more so when the students are NOT in town, just so it's a LITTLE quieter). The Bear has been a Chico eatery icon since 1977 and offers a crazy, mixed up, funky-fun atmosphere of antiques and movie memorabilia. If you're visiting Chico, you definitely have to check it out!
Favorite Dish: Try the famous Papa Bear Burger: the traditional burger and fixins PLUS cheddar, bacon, beer battered onion rings, and Bear-B-Que sauce,
Or the Bravo Avocado Burger: avocado slices, sour cream, mayo, diced green chilies & jalapeño cheese.
Be sure to grab plenty of napkins!
This is one of our favorite restaurants in Chico, both for its Japanese food, and for its local flavor! The owners are local, the cuisine is Contemporary Sushi and Fusion Asian Cuisine. They serve both modern and traditional sushi, along with a menu full of cooked dishes ranging from appetizers to desserts.
The Master Sushi Chef is Masaki Tanaka, known to all of us as "Mike," and a frequent and popular visitor to the restaurant is Kimihiko Nomura ("Kimi"), Professor of Japanese in the Department of Foreign Languages at California State University, Chico.
It's a fun place with a great menu, an unbelievable array of sakes (both hot and cold) and a selection of "saketinis."
Favorite Dish: Who can pick just one Favorite Dish?? But the Homemade Miso Soup is to die for; the Edamame with Kosher salt is excellent, not to mention the Ginger Pork Potstickers. Everything Sushi is wonderful ~ fresh and well-prepared! My favorites are the Eel Unagi, the Spider Crab, and the Angry Philly.
And we ALWAYS order the special!
Artistically designed venue that feels just right. The food is innovative Californian. Very fresh with subtle but complex flavors. Add great coffees and teas, wines and beers plus live music 3 nights/week. For late risers, breakfast is served (along with lunch) until 2 pm.
Favorite Dish: Coda Benedict, Parmesan crusted focaccia with Bearnaise and fresh spinach and a french press full of coffee. Since I hate to leave the place, I follow that up with a pot of Organic Mint Melange tea. Peace.
The Graduate is a longtime favorite in the community, especially with the college students. It’s known for burgers, beer and sports. Orders are taken at the counter then it’s a free-for-all to find a table. Waitresses (formerly clad in rollerskates) bring your food to the table for you. This place is always hopping and it can be often difficult to find a table. But it’s a great casual place to watch sports, hang out with friends and grab a beer. The burgers keep people coming back for more.
Favorite Dish: It's all about the burgers.
Well, you haven't really experienced Chico till you have had Jon n' Bon's. It's got a great location downtown by the city park, and good food too: build your own frozen yougurt. It's got lots of flavors of delicious frozen yougurt, and a ton of really good toppings. Chico gets plenty hot in the summer, so grab something from this place an go enjoy some music in the park.
Favorite Dish: Something chocolatey with chunky chocolatey stuff on top.
Aca Taco is one of the most popular Mexican restaurants in Chico amongst the students. It is pretty cheap and the food is very, very good. There are two locations, one at the corner of 5th and Ivy, and one located in the Safeway shopping center on the corner of Hwy 32 (aka Nord) and West Sacramento Ave. I usually went to the one on West Sacramento, and I think it is a little better than the one on Ivy street. You can't go wrong with anything you order here, and if you appreciate Mexican food, you will love Aca Taco. It's a smaller place, and is set up in the cafe style (order, grab food, take back to table), so sometimes it may be hard to find a table, but you can always call in an order to go.
Favorite Dish: I was always a huge fan of the Aca Nachos, which are some of the best nachos I've found in Chico.
Madison Bear Garden is known fondly as “The Bear”. It’s close proximity to the University campus (it’s practically ON campus) makes it a popular spot with the students. During the school year The Bear is overrun with drunk college students but in the Summer locals will stop in for a beer and a burger on the outdoor patio. During peak times this is a place to party, get drunk and watch sports. The décor is eclectic, the drinks are cheap and the burgers are good (or so I’ve been told… I haven’t had a burger in years). It’s definitely a “scene” on the weekends.
Favorite Dish: Go for the burgers.
Kona’s is a nice little, local (read: non-chain) coffee house and bakery located in Downtown Chico. The baked goods and sandwiches are perfect for a lunch on-the-go. There’s also plenty of café-style seating for the dine-in experience and friendly service to boot.
Redwood Forest is a Chico institution since 1976. Located in historic downtown Chico, they used to serve only lunch but now serve dinner on Wednesday through Saturday nights. They specialize in great sandwiches, salads and clam chowder. I haven't tried dinner here, but I've always been pleased but the lunch service they do.
If you're looking for fine dining in Chico, look no further than Christian Michaels. The food is wonderful, and although pricey compared to other restaurants in the area, well-worth it. It's the perfect place to celebrate a special occasion or even a romantic dinner for two. The service is friendly and knowledgeable, the ambience is warm and inviting and the food is fantastic. I would highly recommend Christian Michaels for an excellent fine dining experience.
Favorite Dish: The warm spinach salad is always a favorite!
The location of this great pizzeria is its best asset next to its great slices! You won't find all the fluff you see at Round Table. But you will see the people lining up out the door to get a slice of "The Godfather" or other wonderfully prepared pies. And there is no doubt that once you hear the East Coast accent that Celestino (yes, it's really his name, and the "C" is pronounced "Ch" as in Cello) has, that his pizza is authentic.
The restaurant originally was a small wedge in the northwest corner of the building at Salem Street and 1st Street. (Smack dab in the middle of the busiest intersection at Chico State). Since then, the place has taken over the former coffee shop next door, took out the common wall and opened it up to more seating, another coffee counter, large plasma TVs for sports and the old world Italian pizzeria flavor that you expect.
In July 2005, I was sitting in a pizzeria on the corner 33rd Street & 3rd Avenue in Manhattan. No kidding. I was there for the 4th of July show on the East River. And this was every bit as good as Celestino's. :)
Favorite Dish: Godfather Pizza slice. I think its the dab of fresh prepared pesto on each slice. The dough is prepared by traditional methods and is thrown in the air like a real pizzeria. Try that at Round Table! Oh, and you won't have to buy an entire pizza to enjoy it. Where most pizza houses charge from $5.00 to $25.00 for a pizza, you can get away from Celestinos for less than $5 with a drink. Nice going!
Oh...and they deliver.