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Part II:
The Downtown Eatery

Monday you heard (it here first) that Nathan Peterson and William York will soon open The Downtown Eatery on Market Street in Redding. Since 1991, that location was Cheesecakes Unlimited’s spot until it closed last month. 

York and Peterson are friends and business partners who’ve owned and operated Nathan’s Anthems Tattoos & Piercings since 2004, just a few doors down from their future venture.

“Billy” York called Tuesday to return my message and answer questions I listed in last night’s column. 

What a nice guy. You’ll like him. So much energy. Such great ideas. We had a long chat. Here’s an excerpt.

When do you expect The Downtown Eatery to open?

“Approximately,  I’d say we’re shooting for June, but it could be later.”

Is there a theme?

“There’s a little bit of a theme, leaning toward the whole 1920s, flappers, Prohibition-era. We’re going to push the flavor of the old Sherven Square. We even heard this story about a sheriff that had a distillery in the basement.”

What will The Downtown Eatery look like?

“We’ve already removed the partition in the current median area, so that main room will be even bigger. We’ll open the space up quite a bit. Yes, we’ll keep it a restaurant style, but we’ll also throw in some couches, tables and some corner booths. It will be a casual atmosphere, with limited waitressing. We’re running lean, with a cool wait staff floating around to help. Staff it with some good people and we’ll see what happens.”

And the chef?

“Ryan Klemek is our chef. He’s quite skilled, and he’s concerned about price. We think there’s no reason we can’t make good food at good prices.”

How did you guys come up with The Downtown Eatery name?

“We finally decided on a name and settled with it. But our official title is The Sherven Square Eatery and Downtown Libations. But that won’t fit on a business card.” 

What sort of food can we expect at The Downtown Eatery?

“The food will be incredible, really a surprising detail. For example, I’m really excited about the falafel burger. But we’ll have all kinds of foods. We’ll have salads. We’ll have red meat. We’ll have ice cream, beer and wine and a full coffee bar. We’ll have hard-to-find sodas in bottles. We’ll have sweets and treats. Basically, we’ll have it all. We’re aiming high, we definitely are.” 

Will Kendra Quan be involved? (The young woman who’d planned to open Sugar Mama’s bakery in the old Sweet Pea location. She works for York and Peterson at their tattoo and piercing shop.) 

“Yes, Sugar Mamma’s will be a part of it. She ran into some architectural snags with her space, but maybe it was a blessing in disguise.”

How about the hours and days of operation?

“I see us open almost every day for lunch, maybe not Sunday. We’ll serve dinners on Friday and Saturday nights. The other nights we can have events, parties and do catering. Breakfast, we won’t really do that, but we’re considering opening late morning. There’d be the coffee bar and baked goods and we’d carry a bunch of newspapers. People could just kick back on the couch. Real casual gourmet. I see music here. There are so many acts we can bring to town, so many themes, old and new. I want to bring swing here. We think people will like this space for different reasons. We’ll have a meeting room with all the technology. With its location, it should just be a good downtown meeting place.”

Are you worried about getting burned out?

“It’s not a matter of burning myself out, but biting off more than we can chew. We’re very busy now, and it’s only going to get busier. I see so many opportunities. We have the opportunity to be very versatile here and appeal to many demographics. But I’m very nervous. This is a major undertaking. We’ll run it lean and keep our eyes open for each other. You can tell people we’re just good people trying to do good stuff.”

Note: York said he might be hiring more staff for The Downtown Eatery. Those who are interested should e-mail him at nathansbodyart@aol.com.

Doni Chamberlain

Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded A News Cafe in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke. Chamberlain holds a Bachelor's Degree in journalism from CSU, Chico. She's an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She's been featured and quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, The Washington Post, L.A. Times, Slate, Bloomberg News and on CNN, KQED and KPFA. She lives in Redding, California.

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