“I don’t think many people know how great Chico is.”
The much anticipated Chico episode of the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives – Coming Together in Cali – aired on April 19th and delivered everything we wanted from the Northern California local Guy Fieri and his son Hunter. After the devastating fires of 2018, Fieri was one of the most prominent supporter of the devastated communities and first responders in NorCal.
The episode turned out amazing, featuring three local restaurants that any local will tell you are a great choice to showcase to a national audience. In a fun turn of events, they visited during the winter of 2019 – so guess what? It was raining. Fieri and his son Hunter hilariously walk around downtown Chico with an odd-shaped umbrella:
Although DDD is centered around food, this episode served as a dedication and reminder to the tens of thousands of people who lost their homes in the Camp Fire. The theme is brought up continuously throughout the episode, which interviews local firefighters and families that lost their homes to the flames. Fieri has proven time and time again to be a great supporter of NorCal communities ravaged by wildfire. They even donned their Chico Fire Department shirts during the entire episode.
But alas, this show was about food. Let’s take a walk through all the great restaurants visited on this Chico episode of DDD:
“The Banshee is Chico’s best kept secret.”
The first place Fieri visited was The Banshee in downtown Chico, which serves as an Irish bar that cooks up some shockingly delicious asian-inspired grub. Hanging in the kitchen with owner Will Brady, Fieri tried the Pho French Dip and Bahn Mi Tacos while interacting with some locals, including a couple who lost their home in the Camp Fire.
The episode did a great job of encapsulating the rare feel of The Banshee, which is not quite a dive bar and not quite a restaurant, but a great combination of the two. The Banshee is super unique, which made it the perfect way to start off the Chico episode.
*Note: The camera crew did a great job of lighting The Banshee. Typically, it’s a dark dive bar. The episode made it look like a lit-up day hangout.
Upper Crust Bakery
“Upper Crust is definitely a Chico icon.”
Next, Fieri walked around the corner to the Upper Crust Bakery which is the premiere bakery in Chico, serving up delicious breakfast eats, like egg sandwiches and croissants, in the morning and making mouthwatering lunch meals throughout the day.
Fieri spent the day with Jeff and Shelby Plummer, old workers of the 30-year-old bakery before buying it. He also spent time in the kitchen with chef Ryan Derra where he tried the black bean chili and the Korean Pork Salad.
This location showed the traditional side of Chico, where the town’s older, lifelong residents gathered to show the true local spot in an otherwise college-based town.
Grana Wood Fired Foods
“Grana is definitely a star in Chico.”
Finally, DDD visited Grana, also in downtown Chico, which specializes in wood-fire Italian food with a modern flare.
Fieri hung with owner Jeff King, who boasts he opened the restaurant across the street from the downtown farmer’s market to accentuate his farm to fork beliefs. The centerpiece of the restaurant is its oven, which was imported all the way from Italy, and Fieri enjoyed their wood-fire delicacies such as the Braised Pork Ragu and a Wine Braised Chicken Leg.
They even featured a quick interview with Dino from Granzella’s (a Guy Fieri favorite) in Williams. In case you missed it, we like Granzella’s too:
It was such an awesome episode of DDD. To see Chico, a place near and dear to my heart, be featured and romanticized by a foodie icon was an amazing experience. It was a perfect love letter to an amazing community that showed the world how to come together in time of need.
With your cable provider login information, you can watch the episode at https://watch.foodnetwork.com/.
As the Food Editor and Co-Founder of Eating NorCal, Brien O’Brien is one of the most influential foodies in NorCal. After being named the “14th Best Home Cook in America” in 2017 by the FOX television show MasterChef with Gordon Ramsay, he moved to the Napa Valley where he spent a year and a half studying food and wine at the Culinary Institute of America. Now, he resides in the Farm to Fork Capital of America – Sacramento.